Daily Devotional - 22 July 2020
“I know this: I was blind, and now I can see” (John 9:25b)!
One of my favourite Jesus stories comes from John 9, where we read how Jesus healed a blind man. Given that Jesus would later demonstrate that He was capable of raising the dead, healing a man born blind may not have seemed like such a big deal. However, the reason this is one of my favourite stories is not because of Jesus’ healing power–though that is truly incredible–it is the healed man’s response. This man has had to live his entire life up to this point in the dark. He is forced to beg to survive and to be subjected to mistreatment. Jesus and His disciples take notice of the man and he once again hears the familiar question, one that has been plaguing him for years, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins” (9:1).
It was the common supposition of the day, that if an individual was suffering, it was a direct result for sin in his/her life. Naturally, a person born blind–possibly with no eyes at all in this case, for even the disciples could tell this unknown beggar had been ‘born blind’–must have an immense amount of guilt to have to suffer in this way. Jesus’ answer confused the disciples, but lit a spark of hope in the blind man. He may have been blind, but he wasn’t deaf. He had heard about Jesus the miracle worker and here He was stating that his blindness was not as a result of sin, but “this happened so the power of God could be seen in him” (9:3b).
What would Jesus do? The text doesn’t tell us that Jesus asked if he wanted to see; it doesn’t say that the man asked to be healed. It just says that Jesus made a paste using his spit and the dirt, rubbed it over the man’s eye area, then told him to go wash in the pool of Siloam, which means ‘sent.’ The man obeys. There is no hint of hesitation. He goes to the pool a blind man and comes back seeing. And while everyone argues about whether or not he is the same beggar as the blind man they have known, he scans the crowd for the One who has given him sight. He gives testimony and full credit to Jesus for his new condition. He has never laid eyes on the Healer, but he has inexplicably experienced His touch!
He is then taken to the Pharisees. It becomes quite clear that their interest isn’t in the miracle, but the fact that it took place on the Sabbath. Work is not allowed on the Sabbath...not even healing...therefore the one who did the ‘work’ must be a sinner. Jesus, the one the man claims is responsible for his healing, cannot have acted in the power of Holy God for he is in direct disobedience to their understanding of the Old Testament law, “the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work” (Exodus 20:10a).
It is the next part of the story which makes it one of my favourites. This man, born blind, is far less ‘blind’ than those questioning him. He may not have ‘seen’ Jesus, but he has experienced His touch and is ready to obey Him and recognize Him as being from God. In their spiritual blindness, the Pharisees are left groping in the theological dark. This miracle didn’t happen according to their terms and so they reject it...but still cannot deny it! But they remain adamant in their refusal to acknowledge that Jesus may have been acting in accordance to God’s Will. The newly sighted man doesn’t have any of these difficulties. He states with full confidence (and a degree of sauciness), ““Why, that’s very strange!” the man replied. “He healed my eyes, and yet you don’t know where he comes from? We know that God doesn’t listen to sinners, but he is ready to hear those who worship him and do his will. Ever since the world began, no one has been able to open the eyes of someone born blind. If this man were not from God, he couldn’t have done it” (John 9:30-33).
As a reward for his faith, the Pharisees accuse him of being a total sinner, unfit to instruct them, and turf him out of the synagogue. John tells us that after Jesus heard what had happened to the man, He went out of His way to find him. Jesus introduces Himself. The man born blind now has a face to put with the name. His response is immediate; he bows down in worship. The man believed, not because he had seen Jesus for himself, but because of the work that Jesus had done in his life. His is a faith that should speak to all of us. We shouldn’t need irrefutable proofs–seeing Jesus in the flesh–to believe in Him. As His followers, we experience His work in our lives–beginning with the greatest work of receiving forgiveness and His gift of the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives! That should be proof enough...it was for a man born blind.
~ Pastor Jane
First licensed for pastoral ministry in 1994, Pastor Jane Peck has served in camp and church ministries in three denominations, five provinces and in a variety of roles. Her most recent position is that of Pastor at Hope Chapel which she began in 2020. She is excited to see what God can and will do in the days to come!