Day 11: John 9
Today we turn to Chapter 9 of John’s gospel where a man, blind from birth, encounters Jesus. Let’s take a look at each of the characters in this account and what they ‘see’ and how they respond.
The disciples see the blind man and they ask Jesus ‘Who sinned?’ (v2) or in other words ‘Who is to blame?’ When we observe or experience suffering in our world, as we are now, we can also have questions of confusion and anger. Throughout the gospels we see that Jesus does not rebuke those who have these questions. As we have already seen in the book of John, however, he rarely, answered as expected. The disciples here were seeking a straightforward ‘cause and effect’ response to hang their theology on. They sought a neat answer to help them grapple with the larger question of suffering, the cry of ‘God, why do you let this happen?’ within their hearts. Jesus states that neither the man nor his parents sinned but this happened so that ‘the works of God might be displayed” (v3). Jesus challenges them – and us – are we asking the right question? He says that the first question should not be ‘What caused this?’ but ‘What are the purposes of God?’. What are the opportunities for His glory to be seen, for His name to be magnified? What are you asking in relation to the pain in your life? Are you stuck in the ‘blame game’, blaming yourself, others or God or are you looking to God and seeking how he can display his love and power in and through your situation?
Jesus sees the blind man, his physical, emotional and spiritual needs, the restrictions, the hopelessness. He sees you and I. He sees the disability, the sickness, the pain or circumstances of our past or present lives that would hinder us from living ‘life in all its fullness‘(John 10 v10). Jesus doesn’t leave the man in this situation but declares that He is “the light of the world’ (v5) and intervenes. Let us follow his example today and bring light into the lives of those around us by prayer and action.
The man sees Jesus in front of him full of compassion. God is present to heal but will he believe? Like this man we have sometimes lived a long time with the circumstances, pain or spiritual blindness that hold us back. We are familiar with it and we lack hope that God can bring change. Will we, like the blind man, allow God to touch us and to shine His light into our darkness? Is Jesus inviting you during lockdown to allow Him to do just that. The blind man took up Jesus’ invitation to trust and be involved in the miracle. Are we willing to do the same?
The world sees the change as the man goes out into his community; they see the power of God. When we encounter Jesus we are changed. We can be healed physically, as the blind man was, but we can also find the peace, strength and joy to sustain us in our circumstances. Both proclaim the power and love of God.
The Pharisees see but don’t believe.
What do YOU see today? Do you doubt that God can do the miracle needed in your life? Take your doubts to God and ask him to help you see afresh his love for you and His sovereignty. Let’s allow Him to bring glory through the very things that we feel restrict us.
Connect Group Leader