John 9:1-41- He Who Has Eyes, Let Him See!
Explanation- The question that the disciples ask Christ concerning the blind man is rather revealing of their current theological understanding. ‘Who has sinned?’ they ask. This was a common thought of the day, namely that all suffering, illness, and trial were a result of some immediate sin. While there is a general truth that sin produces suffering, it is also true that not all suffering is a result of sin. This is the case when we look to the account of Job. Job was a righteous man who had found favor in God’s sight, yet for reasons unbeknownst to Job, he suffered tremendously. When Job’s friends come to him they speak to Job under the false pretense that Job had committed some heinous sin and that is why he is suffering under the discipline of the Almighty. As Job’s friends found out, this was not the case. In like manner, this blind man was suffering, but the cause of his suffering was not some sin that had he (or his parents for that matter) had committed; this man was suffering so that the glory of God may be put on full display.
As we become familiar with this account, there are five key characters of which we must take notice. First there are the disciples. These represent the common consensus when viewing those suffering under some infirmity. Often times the conclusions that are drawn as to how such a one has come to this place of suffering are drawn from the well of presumption, rather than the fountain of truth. Such is the case here with the disciples, as well as other examples that we can point out such as that of Job and his friends. Second, we have Christ. He is the healer, sustainer, comforter, and author of this (and all) occurrences of suffering. He knows its purpose and is ready to act in an instant to work for His Father’s glory and this man’s good. We must remember that this is His story and all the pieces are precisely in place the way He intended. He will always be the benefactor. Third, we have the blind man. He can be likened unto all men who are born in Adam. We are spiritually blind, destitute, and unable to produce any work to heal ourselves of our infirmities. It is not that this man (or we) committed some specific sin in the womb that caused us to be born with such an infirmity, but that we are born into sin. We are affected by the original sin of our first parents who traded their place with God for rags and death. This man had no more say concerning his blindness than you or I have in our fallen nature. As such, this man is the beneficiary of Christ’s goodness. In other words, he receives that which he did not earn and benefits from the goodness of Christ. Fourth, we have The Pharisees. These are likened unto those of the world whose father is the devil. They mock at those who find their healing (spiritual or physical) from Christ and deny His goodness unto men. They make crude accusations and seek to charge God with evil. If you look, such a ones like these are not hard to find. They are those who make hypocritical judgements on those seeking truth, they are wise in their own estimation and do not care for truth of any nature that does not fit into their erroneous worldview. The fifth and final group is that of the blind man’s parents. They knew intimately of their son’s infirmity as they had been with him since the time of his birth. Rather than glorifying God and rejoicing to see that their son had been healed of this lifelong impairment, they are struck with the fear of man. They know the view that the Pharisees hold toward Jesus and suppress the truth of their son’s healing in unrighteousness. They fear to be cast out of the temple, yet they deny the very power expressed by the temple. Many in the world today are of this sort. They suppress the truth of Christ in the name of business, stature, popularity, and prestige. They are utterly choked out by the cares of the world as soon as they are called to take a stand for truth and righteousness.
Application- As we ponder these five groups of people let us examine our own hearts. Could there be in us an evil root of unbelief that suppresses the truth when it is time to take a stand? Are we quick to assume the will and purpose of God when we witness the trials of others? Do we tend to be outright skeptical and quick to dismiss the testimonies of others because they do not line up with our own? Or, like the man once blind, are we quick to believe on the Son of Man and rejoice at His works? We are to be wise and practice discernment in our affairs but let us not become so wise in our own sight that we miss the work of God that is happening before our eyes. We are to be a people who rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn. How are we to put this into practice when our minds are consumed with skepticism, fear, and assumption? The Lord is at work all around us; in light of this truth let us pray that our eyes would be opened to see His handiwork!