Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Today's passage:  John 9
     I don't think it was by accident that Jesus decided to work another miracle on the Sabbath.  I think Jesus purposely did this--not out of spite but because He wanted people to see these rules the Pharisees enforced were their own, not God's.  Also, maybe Jesus was trying to set a precedent.  When we meet with Him on the Lord's day (then on Saturday, today on Sunday) He is going to show us a blessing.
Jesus Anoints the Blind Man's Eyes with Clay--taken from Standard Bible Story Readers, Book Two
by Lillie A. Faris, Illustrated by O.A. Stemler and Bess Bruce Cleaveland
The Standard Publishing Company, 1925
     A family has a child who is born blind. In this culture, the automatic assumption is that this is God's punishment, either for sin on the parent's part or on the child's part.  I wonder what life would have been like for this blind child.  People with disabilities have come a long way since the first century.  What kind of stigma had this man carried with him all his life?  Was he shunned because people were certain that this terrible malady must have been brought on by sin?  Were his parents shunned because they must have done something to cause this blindness?  After Jesus heals him, the Pharisees want proof the man had been blind to begin with.  Was Jerusalem that big a town?  I mean I realize they would not have known everybody, but I'm guessing since they were so particular about who to invite into their elite group, and who to avoid, they would have recognized this man.  Also, usually the only source of income for someone with an infirmity as this would be begging.  I doubt the Pharisees would have ever thrown a coin into his cap, but would he not have jogged their memory?  The Pharisees call the man's parents to testify that this son had been blind from birth.  They distance themselves from their own child.  They had become accustomed to being judged for their son's blindness, maybe they resented him for it, maybe they resented God a little too.  Jesus probably had a particular reason for choosing this blind man.  Jesus tells His disciples that this blindness is not the result of sin, it is in him so that years later, He could work a miracle.
     What things in my life might I resent?  What things do I assume have been brought on by other people as a result of sin in their life?  Maybe its not that at all--maybe its something God has put in place to bring glory to Himself someday.
     The blind man starts to preach.  He is incredulous that these "holy" leaders who have relegated him to a life of rebuke and disdain (even in his own family) because they taught his infirmity was the result of sin, do not recognize this Jesus.  He scoffs at them as they have so often scoffed at him.  He bought into this belief that he must be no good, that he had done something to cause this, because they have told him so all his life.  I imagine that everyday he woke up, he tried to discover what sin he had committed to bring on this blindness.  How much had he probably tried to overcome this stigma?  What good works had he attempted to make up for the bad that had brought this on.  In verses 30-33, the man makes it clear that Jesus must be from God, because (according to their rules) God would not heal someone living in sin, therefore, he must not be sin-cursed if God healed him.       Let me be clear, we are all born sinners.  We are sinners not because of a particular sin we have committed, but because of the nature we have inherited through Adam and Eve.  But because of that nature, we do commit particular sins.  Many of us are susceptible to some sins over others.  What I struggle with, may not be what someone else struggles with, and their temptations are not always mine.  I don't want anyone reading this to take away that this man had been good all his life, and that is why Jesus saves and heals him.  No, this blind man is a sinner as well, but that doesn't mean that the blindness that took place from his birth was a result of his own or his family's sin.  He still needed to be saved from his sins, just not anything in particular that would take away his blindness.  Is it hard to see why this blind man believes immediately in Jesus when He reveals He is God's Son?  He accepted him, just as he was.

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