Reading: John 9
Chapter 9 gives us an amazing, yet slightly bizarre account of Jesus healing a beggar who was blind from birth, with a concoction of spit and mud!
You may have heard of laser eye surgery but mud in the eye? That’s a new one.
I’m guessing for most of us this isn’t a medical practice that we see everyday, not where I’m from anyway. It’s not something that you can walk into Boots and get over the counter!
I believe that within John 9 there is something else that we don’t see everyday and that’s compassion. As much as John 9 is an account of a blind man gaining sight, it’s equally an account of the lasting effect, an act of compassion can have on a person. Compassion means to show love, mercy, understanding, pity, sympathy, concern and care for the misfortune and suffering of others.
I think largely we live in a world that is selfish and inward looking, often looking out for our own needs and wants and rarely thinking about our neighbour down the road who has lost his job and is struggling to feed his family. Or the widow on our street who is struggling to manage her big garden since her husband has died. Or someone who is ill and is struggling to cope, or someone with a crippling addiction.
We often make up excuses such as we don’t have enough time. We talk about helping but never quite get round to it, or we hope someone else will do it for us. Perhaps we don’t think we are qualified enough to deal with a certain situation.
The beggar in John 9 had been blind from birth and as far as he was and everyone who knew him were concerned, he would always be that way. It was only because of the compassion that Jesus showed that his situation changed.
When you read the story in context you realise just how much Jesus firstly loved people and secondly how much he loved and obeyed God. Right before he meets the beggar, Jesus, as we read at the end of John 8, is literally on the run from the Jews who want to kill Him. Most of us at this point would be running as far away as possible and not even giving anyone else a thought. But not Jesus. Instead of walking on by, instead of being selfish and thinking about His own safety, He risks his life to shows compassion to a complete stranger and heals this man.
I wonder how many times in our own lives we have seen someone in need and decided to walk on by because we had to be somewhere or we weren’t feeling in the mood, or we didn’t feel that we were the best person for the job. Perhaps like Jesus’ disciples at the start of John 9, we are too busy making our own judgment of the person in need and pulling apart their situation, instead of actually trying to help. We can very easily pre-judge a person’s response, a person’s character, why they are in this situation and all the while do absolutely nothing to make any difference.
I love how Jesus responds to his disciples who are far too busy trying to work out what this beggar or his family have done to be born blind.
John 9:3 (NIV)
“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”
I don’t know whether sometimes you stand on the sidelines watching and giving your opinion, instead of showing compassion? I don’t know whether you get caught up with excuses, laziness or selfishness? Today I really feel God is calling us to up our game and begin to reach out to people and to get involved in their lives, regardless of how messy they may look from the outside. Every encounter you have with every person you know is an amazing opportunity to show the love, compassion, grace and acceptance of Jesus Christ and for His work to be displayed for all to see.
Imagine the impact we could make in our towns, our streets, our schools, our work places, in our neighbours, family and friends lives if we all took this challenge on board and really started to show that selfless compassion and love that Jesus showed the blind beggar.
Think about who God has put in your world that he wants YOU to care for?
Who can you show compassion to today?
Think about what you are going to do to show love to someone today and do it!
(Don’t think for too long or you may end up doing nothing).
Contributed by Ps Eddie