In John Chapter 9 Jesus and the disciples passed a man born blind. In very politically incorrect fashion the disciples asked Jesus whether the man was blind due to his own sin or his parent’s. But Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” (Verses 3-5).
Jesus didn’t answer their question in the way they expected. Knowing the cause of the man’s blindness and the source of suffering, pain or difficulty in life is fruitless. Suffering gives us an opportunity to display the greatness of God. The time to do the good works the Father provides for us to do is now. We can only demonstrate the Father’s deep love and the beauty and power of the Spirit while we are living. As long as Jesus was in the world, He was the light of the world. He is still in the world through you and me, Believer. He partnered with His disciples while He walked in the flesh, and He partners with us now as we reveal Him to the world through the Holy Spirit.
Then Jesus, without asking the man if he wanted to be healed, made mud, anointed the man’s eyes, and told him to go wash in the pool of Siloam. The man did as he was told and came back seeing. This was wonderful. He was happy and one would have thought everyone would be praising God for this great grace and miracle. But people quickly found out that it was Jesus who had healed the man. Jesus was now a wanted man. The Pharisees had said that anyone claiming He was the Christ would be put out of the synagogue. So making a decision to follow Jesus meant giving up a very important part of life for the people. Even simply claiming something good about Him could cause them to lose fellowship with their friends and neighbors. To complicate matters it was the Sabbath.
Instead of celebrating, praising God, and rejoicing with him, his neighbors and friends brought the man to the Pharisees. The Pharisees themselves were still split about whether Jesus could be from God or not. He had clearly broken their rabbinic (not Mosaic) law by making mud on the Sabbath. But some said that in order to do the great things He did, He had to be from God. The Pharisees questioned the man in order to find a reason to arrest Jesus. Then they questioned his parents thinking perhaps the man had not been blind.
The man’s parents were afraid of getting excommunicated and threw their son under the bus. “Ask him, he’s old enough to answer you!” They had no problem with letting their son be expelled from the synagogue, even though it meant they wouldn’t be able to be with him any longer.
So the Pharisees questioned the man again. He was over it. He said, listen, I don’t know if He’s a sinner, I know that I was blind and now I’m not.” Then the Pharisees wanted to know again how Jesus had done it. They didn’t ask because they had forgotten, they wanted the man to say Jesus was a sinner. They wanted him to proclaim Jesus was not the Christ so that more people would not follow Him. But the witty man had quite the answer for the hearted-hearted Pharisees. Verse 27 reads,
“He answered them, “I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?”
Suddenly, it was the Pharisees on the defensive. They said, “We follow Moses. We just want to know where this man comes from!” But the clever man answered them in verses 31-33.
“The man answered, “Why, this is an amazing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him. 32 Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”
The Pharisees couldn’t respond, because this man had spoken truth that couldn’t be disputed. So they did what any spoiled 3 year old having a tantrum would do. They called him a sinner and expelled the man from the synagogue.
But Jesus found the anathematized man. Verses 35-37 read,
“Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 36 He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” 37 Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.” 38 He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.”
The man sacrificed his family and his faith community in order to uphold the truth. Jesus invited him to a new family and a new faith. The man believed. Not everyone that Jesus healed responded by believing. Faced with the same situation, the lame man at the pool of Bethesda chose not to believe that Jesus was Christ.
Verses 39-41 read,
“Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” 40 Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?” 41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.”
The Pharisees knew the law and the scriptures. They couldn’t claim ignorance of their own sin. They chose to overlook ignore their sin and refused to acknowledge their need of God, His forgiveness, and ultimately Jesus.
Jesus, the light of the world came to show us that we need Him. While once we could walk blind to our iniquity, He shined His light into our souls and let us see. We can respond by acknowledging Him, repenting and calling Him Lord like the man born blind. Or we can respond like the Pharisees and refuse to see our need of forgiveness because we can’t admit our sin.