February 28, 2019- Who is this Man?, Affliction and the Works of God- John 9:1-23

Jesus and a blind man

As he (Jesus) passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”  Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.

The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar were saying, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” Some said, “It is he.” Others said, “No, but he is like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.”  So they said to him, “Then how were your eyes opened?”  He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed and received my sight.”  They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.”

They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. Now it was a Sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes.  So the Pharisees again asked him how he had received his sight. And he said to them, “He put mud on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.” Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” And there was a division among them. So they said again to the blind man, “What do you say about him, since he has opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.”

The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight, until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight and asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” His parents answered, “We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. But how he now sees we do not know, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.” (His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone should confess Jesus to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue.) Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.” John 9:1-23 (ESV)

Is it possible that some of the conditions and challenges that we find ourselves in are not punishments or even the direct consequences of our sins, but trials in which the glory and power of God can be made known?

Jesus tells the disciples that the man who was born blind was not blind because he sinned or his parents sinned but so that the glory of God could be displayed through him. By God’s grace He gives us power in the places in which we are weak, as God said to the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9 –“My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.”

The Jews and the Pharisees would not believe Jesus even when He gave them signs and wonders. He gives them the miracle of restoring a man’s sight, and they accuse Him of having a demon and breaking the Sabbath.

Even after the man’s parents verified that the man had been born blind, and that now he could see, the Jews still refused to believe who Jesus is.

It’s telling that the parents refused to admit who had healed their son. They were more worried about their standing in the community than telling the truth.

The man’s parents’ fear of the Jews and the leader of the synagogue prevented them from telling the truth about Jesus. They knew full well who had healed their son, but they were afraid that they would be kicked out of their community for speaking up.

Confessing Jesus has consequences. We open ourselves up to exclusion, ridicule and humiliation from those who don’t see who Jesus is. The world thinks we’re silly or backward or unscientific when we confess Christ.  In some places in the world, confessing Christ can cause one to be imprisoned, beaten or even killed.

If we believe Jesus, we can’t help but admit that He is who He says He is- God in human flesh, our Savior, the Lamb of God who has covered us in His blood, who was pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities. (Isaiah 53:5) Jesus, the one who causes the blind to see and the lame to walk is the one who is our strength in our weakness and brokenness. Jesus is the one who works through our circumstances and shines through as the Light of the world.

He forgives all of our sins and brings us to eternal life with Him. How can we fail to tell others about Jesus?

 

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