“AS HE passed along, He noticed a man blind from his birth. His disciples asked Him, Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind? Jesus answered, It was not that this man or his parents sinned, but he was born blind in order that the workings of God should be manifested (displayed and illustrated) in him” (John 9:1-3 AMP).
“When He had said this, He spat on the ground and made clay (mud) with His saliva, and He spread it [as ointment] on the man’s eyes. And He said Go, wash in the Pool Of Siloam–which means Sent. So he went and washed, and came back seeing” (John 9:6-7 AMP).
WHEN THINGS GO WRONG
It might not be blindness that comes your way but it certainly can be other disorders: Cancer, heart disease, diabetes (I know that personally!), deafness, etc. When this happens to us or to family and friends, we want to know the reason, as was the case of Jesus’ disciples in John 9:1-3. They wanted to know who to blame for the “blind man’s” suffering. The disciples couldn’t go back to the blind man’s parents to expose a sin; tell them “if only” his mother had eaten the right foods, taken the right pre-natal vitamins, handled stress better, exercised more or less. Her son would have been born with all five senses.
There is a true explanation, a more simple one right in front of us! We don’t have to go through with all sorts of reasoning; the “what if’s”, the “if only’s” to find the reason of the man’s blindness.
There are two issues here in this passage of physical infirmities:
#1. Jesus was dispelling the Jewish belief that all deformities and disabilities are a result of sin by an individual or his or her parents (Exodus 20:5; 34:7). In a general sense, these things came into the world as a consequence of sin, BUT…not a direct punishment for individual sin.
#2. Jesus never said God created man to be blind, so Jesus could cure him. Only that this man’s condition of blindness allowed the work of God displayed in his life. It’s the application of Genesis 50:20: ‘What the enemy intended for harm, God intended for good.’
After reading The Book of Job, in chapter 1, we can see that Job lost his wealth, his family and everything that he had. And yet the Word tell us that Job had sinned not nor did he blame God foolishly (Job 1:22).
A Story of Two Blind Men:
I read a story yesterday about two blind men who were both healed by Jesus. They happened to meet one day, each man being excited to meet someone else who had been healed. I enjoy conversing about Diabetes; the ups and downs of the disease. The discussion can be encouraging to someone who has been recently diagnosed. I have dealt with the disease for 54 years.
The two men talked about the wonder of sight; the color of flowers, the glory of sunrise, the faces of children and grandchildren. They conversed about the power that came in seeing Jesus’ face. They enjoyed laughing, telling stories of their blind experiences and generally having a great time together. When one of them said, “And do you remember when Jesus took spit, made mud and put it into your eye?” [John 9:6-11]
The other guy looked somewhat stunned, and answered, “Why no, he just said, ‘Receive your sight,’ and I could see.” [Mark 10:46-52]
The first man said, “Wait a minute. You mean he didn’t use any mud?”
“Well, did he at least have you wash in the Pool of Siloam?”
“No, of course not. Who ever heard anything as ridiculous as mud in your eye, washed off in the pool?”
“Well,” said the first man, “if he didn’t put mud in your eyes and have you wash in the Pool of Siloam, you are still blind! Blind, do you hear me? Because that’s the way Jesus healed me, that’s the way he does it!”
Then the second man became angry. He shouted, “Mud, mud! Who ever heard of using mud?! That’s the dumbest thing I ever heard! You still have mud in your eyes. You’re the one who’s still blind!”
They got into a big argument and their relationship was destroyed right then and there. They immediately formed the first two denominations in history because of their disagreements; the Mudites and the Antimudites! So who’s blind now?
The Physical and the Spiritual BLINDNESS Connection
John’s Gospel story is long and detailed concerning the discussion of blindness: its causes, its cures and whose blindness remains.
Jesus and the disciples see the man blind from birth and the disciples want to know whose fault it is that he’s blind. Notice the question they asked, “Was it his fault or the fault of his parents? Thus the multi part story begins with Jesus telling His listeners, neither the man or his parents had caused his problem Meaning that their questioning was wrong!
What He could have told them was, “It’s nobody’s fault. God didn’t make this man blind as a punishment. This particular blind man came to us so you can be made to see. Now open your eyes and watch this!”
Adding Spit to Dirt and NOT Making a Mess!
When the blind man was able to see for the first time, his neighbors didn’t even recognize him. He looks like our neighbor alright, and yet…
“So they said to him, How were your eyes opened?” (John 9:8-10).
“He replied, The Man called Jesus made mud and smeared it on my eyes and said to me, Go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and I obtained my sight!” (verse 11).
In this act, Jesus runs afoul of the Pharisees (the religious leaders)… Big Time! John goes on to tell us that Jesus had performed the miracle on the Sabbath and on the Sabbath, one must not work at all; it was a day of rest.
Jesus mixing dirt with saliva, spreading the mixture on the man’s eyes, was WORK. Had Jesus just sat still, told the blind man his sight had been restored, there wouldn’t have been a real exchange between the Pharisees and Jesus. BUT, He did it so we get to the rest of John’s story.
The Pharisees find out what had happened and begin to question the man. They want the man to tell them that Jesus was a sinner, or got his power from someplace else other than God. BUT, the man answers,
“I do not know whether He is a sinner and wicked or not. BUT
one thing I do know, that whereas I was blind before, now I see.”
Then the Pharisees summon “the name of Moses”—the chief cornerstone of their faith–and they tell the man that they have no idea where Jesus comes from. What is the implication here? “BUT we’re pretty sure it’s not from Moses like us.” So who was blind?
Barbara Brown Taylor, a professor and writer explains that the Pharisees in this story were in their eternal hunt:
“Not ‘what if it is God and I believe that it is’ but, ‘What if it is God and I believe that it is not?’
That is the question the Pharisees forgot to ask. They were so sure of everything–that God
did not work on Sundays, that Moses was God’s only spokesman, that anyone born blind
had to be a sinner, and ditto for anyone who broke the Sabbath, that God did not work through
sinners, that god did not work on sinners, and that furthermore no one could teach them anything.”
(Barbara Brown Taylor, in Christian Century (March 6, 1996) p.260)
Aren’t you glad that the Pharisees are not around us today? Those people who were faced with miracles, signs and wonders (The WORD Detective blog; Miracles, Signs and Wonders Are Alive! January 23, 2012). They were face to face with the incarnate God, Jesus Christ, right in their midst. Yet, they couldn’t see who and what Jesus was. They who were clueless, bordered on hopelessness. Boy, I sure glad to know we don’t have spiritual blindness around us today. But then again…
Pharisaical Blind Spots
We all have our “Pharisaical blind spots, don’t we?” By looking into our hearts and souls we make an allowance of Jesus–the Light of life to shine on us and really examine our lives to look and see where we act pharisaically. You see, blindness affects us all. It’s OK. Go ahead and take a look at yourself. God already knows about our blind spots. He just waiting for our eyes to be opened and believe! It is by His grace that we can see!
A -maz-ing grace! How sweet the sound – That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost but now am found, Was blind but now I see.