A man is healed by Jesus who was born blind. It was not only the Sabbath day, but since the man was blind from birth, the Jewish people believed that he was blind because of sin. At some point, his parents must have sinned to cause such a great handicap in their son’s life – right? This miracle was astounding to say the least, and it caused quite the controversy. I have to wonder, would we respond today the way this man’s friends and family responded? Would we doubt and question what really happened or would we be able to see the truth through spiritual eyes?
This story, found in John 9, is one of my favorite stories of healing in the New Testament. Jesus encounters a man who was born blind. After creating mud with His own saliva and dirt from the ground, Jesus places the mud on the man’s eyes and tells him to go wash it off in the Pool of Siloam.
I can’t help but wonder what was going through this man’s head when a man he didn’t know put dirt and spit in his eyes. He could have easily just wiped it off and walked away thinking the entire thing was a hoax. But instead, he did what Jesus told him to do. And I think it’s safe to say that he was glad he made that choice.
He could see for the first time in his life!
To say that this event stirred controversy is an extreme understatement. Everyone put in their two-cents. As I was reading the dialogue that took place, I couldn’t help but notice that every argument made is still being made today.
- The neighbors… They denied it was even the same man. It couldn’t be. This man was obviously making up lies and claiming to be someone he wasn’t.
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.” – John 9:8-9 (NIV)
- The Pharisees… They went straight to the source and attacked the character of Jesus. He couldn’t be from God if He chose to heal a man on the Sabbath day – right? They accused Him of being a sinner. And they too (like the neighbors) questioned whether or not the man was making the whole thing up.
Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others asked, “How can a sinner perform such signs?” So they were divided….They still did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they sent for the man’s parents. – John 9:16, 18 (NIV)
- The parents… They were afraid. They were so scared of the Pharisees and losing their status in the synagogue that they placed all of the questioning back on their son. And in the end, they refused to acknowledge the truth.
“We know he is our son,” the parents answered, “and we know he was born blind. But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don’t know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself.” His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who already had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. – John 9:20-22 (NIV)
The neighbors, in their lack of faith, doubted the truth.
The Pharisees, in their pride, lashed out in anger and accusations.
The parents, in their fear, refused to give Jesus the glory for what had happened.
The man born blind… He saw the truth.
It wasn’t simply his physical sight that was restored that day; Jesus gave sight to his spiritual eyes as well.
So how do we see truth with our spiritual eyes?
We live by faith even when the circumstances seem impossible.
We choose humility and grace over pride and legalism.
And we refuse to live in fear of man and choose instead to fear God alone.