Peter Misselbrook's Blog
May 17 2013 - John 9:1-41 – Once I was blind but now I see

The sight of a blind beggar by the roadside prompted the disciples to ask Jesus whose fault it was that he had been born blind, was it due to his own sins or was it the result of his parents’ sin? Jesus replied, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, 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” (John 9:3-5).

Jesus refuses to link a person’s sickness or disability with particular sins committed by that person or by his parents. Such sickness or impairment is symptomatic of a broken world and afflicts good and bad alike. But Jesus came into the world to do the works of the one who sent him; he has come to mend a broken world and to create it anew. He has come as the light of the world and the power of God is about to be displayed as light is brought into the darkness of this man’s life. Genesis tells the story of how God created a man from the ground and breathed into him the breath of life. This man’s eyes are restored as Jesus adds his own spittle to dirt from the ground and pastes the mud onto his blind eyes.

But the day on which this took place was the Sabbath day.

Those who had known the man born blind were amazed that he could now see. They could not understand how this could have happened so they took him off to the religious authorities for their verdict. The Pharisees, having listened to the man’s testimony, were offended that Jesus made mud and opened the eyes of a blind man on the Sabbath. To them it seemed quite obvious that Jesus was a sinner since he did not obey the law of Moses.

To the man once blind the case was equally obvious. Nothing like this had ever happened before. No one could give sight to someone born blind unless God enabled him to do so – and God would not do such things through a sinner. The man born blind has a clear testimony, “One thing I know, once I was blind but now I see.” Unlike the Pharisees, he sees things clearly. They are blind to what is going on right in front of their eyes.

The Sabbath marked the completion of God’s work of creation. Sabbath was God’s invitation to all that he had made to join him in the enjoyment of a perfected creation. What could be a more fitting act for the Sabbath day than to make this man whole? As my grandmother used to say, “There’s none so blind as those who will not see.”

But what of me? In what ways am I blind to the work of God because I am locked into my own way of looking at the world? Do I sometimes fail to see the things that God is doing around me as he continues to work in his broken world, working for its healing and restoration?

Lord Jesus, open my eyes that I may see the wonder of all that you are doing now in your world through your Word and your Spirit. Make me your agent in bringing your light into the dark places around me and your healing to those whose lives are disabled by sin or injustice. Help me to do your work in each new day you give me.

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Peter Misselbrook