Encounters with Jesus: A Man Born Blind

Sin undealt with always leads to suffering and heartache.  Always.  But suffering and heartache are not always the direct result of sin.  Jesus clearly demonstrates the fallacy of this ‘reverse logic’ in his encounter with a man who was blind from birth.  As he went along, (Jesus) saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”  – John 9:1, 2

Let’s not make the mistake the disciples made.  Let’s not jump too quickly to conclusions which may be well wide of the mark.  As always, we can take Jesus and his response as a model for how we should respond to others.  He did what lay within his power to alleviate suffering.  In this instance, that included miraculous intervention to give sight to a man who had never seen before.  We can only imagine this man’s excitement and gratitude.  Friends and neighbours were amazed at his change in fortune.

“How then were your eyes opened?” they asked. He replied, “The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash.  So I went and washed, and then I could see.”  vs. 10, 11 All this took place on the Sabbath; a fact guaranteed to raise eyebrows amongst the Pharisees! Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.”  But others asked, “How can a sinner perform such signs?”  So they were divided. 17 Then they turned again to the blind man, “What have you to say about him? It was your eyes he opened.”  The man replied, “He is a prophet.”  vs. 16, 17

This was never going to go down well!  The Pharisees interrogated the man’s parents, then brought him back for more questions. “Give glory to God by telling the truth,” they said. “We know this man is a sinner.” 25 He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”  vs. 24, 25

What a great response!  We don’t have to be learned theologians to be able to tell others about the changes Jesus has brought to our lives.  How people deal with our testimony is their responsibility.  Those hard-hearted Pharisees were never going to accept this man’s story because it validated Jesus’ ministry and his claim to be sent from God.  They became quite abusive in their questioning. The man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will. 32 Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”  34 To this they replied, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out.  vs. 30-34

What a rollercoaster ride for the man that day!  He started the day blind.  He ended the day a grateful follower of Jesus, able to see … and thrown out of the synagogue!  (How sad when the religious establishment is at odds with the Kingdom of God!)

 

PRAYER: Forgive us, Father, for those times when we jump to unwarranted conclusions.  Help us to treat others with the compassion we have received from you.  We pray again for those doing it tough through these difficult times.  And for those blinded by the things of this world or their current circumstances, open their eyes so they may see you as you are, and respond to your love.  Amen

(Written by Ange van der Leeuw)

SONGOpen My Eyes by Hayes Barton Baptist Fellowship (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UkXIjZERSnE)