As He went along, He 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. As long as it is day, we must do the works of Him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” After saying this, He spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” He told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing. His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, “Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?” Some claimed that he was. Others said, “No, he only looks like him.” But he himself insisted, “I am the man.” “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.” “Where is this man?” they asked him. “I don’t know,” he said. (John 9:1-12, NIV)
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Jesus is a reality changer.He is the maker of transformation. He can make the day, night and the night, day. What we know to be true about our lives completely changes when we meet Jesus.
Take this man. He was born not seeing. He walked his entire life in darkness. I’m sure he wished for a different reality. I’m sure he was questioned before like the disciples questioned him. What had happened to make him deserve this? But sometimes, we are selected, set apart, and chosen, to demonstrate the powerful transformation only Jesus can bring. It can feel like a heavy burden to bear. It can cause sorrow upon sorrow. Death of a loved one. Loss of a job. Homelessness. War. Disease. Persecution. Abandonment. Abuse. Depression. It’s a humbling position.
That’s where the blind man was. He was a beggar. He depended on others for care and money. He was ridiculed. He was questioned. He was overlooked. He had no idea that The One Who Sees would give him sight. I just can’t get over it. Here in the depths, never believing that reality can be any other way, Jesus saw him.
As He went along, He saw a man blind from birth.
Jesus saw this man as his own. He saw him passing by. He knew him, knew that he was born blind. He knew the man couldn’t see him. He knew he could keep walking - he was being chased out of the city after all. But when He looked at this man, born blind, born into darkness, He saw light. He saw someone capable of being transformed. What we are born into is never too strong for Jesus to overcome.
His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
What a question to ask. We love to play the blame game. We want to know the ins and outs, usually to feel better about ourselves. This can lead us to see others as too far gone. We aren’t “moved” to help certain people so we make excuses. I don’t know how to help. They just want attention. They just want handouts. They will never be happy. I can’t relate. I don’t want to get involved. They aren’t deserving.
And just like the disciples, instead of action we question, we hesitate.
Being born blind was a sign in that culture that you or your parents had sinned so badly that you were punished by God. It meant people wondered what you could have done so badly that God hated you enough to give you such an affliction. We too, have these thoughts about those we come into contact with.
“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of Him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” After saying this, He spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” He told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”).
Jesus is making a statement here: He is the ONLY one who can can bring light. And He calls us to work with Him. To work steadily and with compassion. To see as He sees and act as He acts. We are sent to recover light to those who cannot see.
So the man went and washed, and came home seeing. His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, “Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?” Some claimed that he was. Others said, “No, he only looks like him.” It’s hard to come home after a drastic change.
Some may overlook our transformation. Our desire of wanting to be seen can become a hindrance to us when people we value don’t care that we’ve changed.
Some won’t want to believe it. It can be hard to trust change. Seeing someone in a new light can be difficult, and we often feel like we have to prove ourselves because many think we either can’t change or that it won’t last.
Some can’t believe it. It’s easy to think that some people have always been good. We think they could have never struggled with something from the way their lives look on the outside. We can think so highly of someone that we completely overlook their journey and place them on a pedestal and others can do the same to us.
But he himself insisted, “I am the man.”
Jesus did not set us as examples of His transformation to sit back and not acknowledge it, or to become prideful of who we are now and dismiss where He has brought us from. Our stories are so important.
Sometimes we want to forget where we came from. We don’t want people to know. We don’t want to be judged or embarrassed. It’s easy to claim our new selves. New and clean. But if we forget the work of His transformation in us, then we diminish His death for us.
HE changes our reality. HE makes true the things we never could have even imagined possible. HE creates life in us. HE brings us out of darkness and into light.
The blind man insisted it was Him. He even had to convince people that he indeed had been blind and now wasn’t. He didn’t shrink back from his new responsibility. For his reality had been completely changed. Everything he knew about life became different because Jesus redeemed him.
He could not be silent about his story. He had been chosen by God to show others that even the most desperate of cases can be transformed through Christ.
So how does this apply to us?We need to see the possibility of change in others. We need to work toward that change through the authority given to us by Jesus Christ. We need to be vocal about how Jesus has redeemed our lives from the darkest of places.
Jesus is the only one who can make things untrue, and we have the responsibility to share this transformative power with others. Let us do so today.
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Kate, Declare Glory