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Seeking to equip people to live as Christian disciples wherever God has placed them.

Monday, June 11, 2018

“True Love, False Love”

John 9: 1-11

This passage begins with the disciples asking a familiar but pointless question.  Jesus and the disciples are walking along and they encounter a man who had been blind from birth.  We’re not told how they knew he had been blind his whole life but apparently this was common knowledge.  Trying to find an explanation for the man’s infirmity, they ask Jesus, “Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”  This question is filled with so many problems it takes time to list them.  Yet because this type of question has been asked throughout history it bears consideration.

The first problem is the disciples are speaking about the man in the third person, “this man.”  The person is blind but he’s not deaf.  If he is along the road he is presumably within hearing distance.  When people are spoken about in the third person they are in effect being treated as objects.  Even in a hospital room with a non-responsive person who may be in a coma that person still may be able to hear.  This has been confirmed buy people who have come out of comas.

Next the disciples assume that the man’s blindness is some kind of punishment on either him or his parents.  This is further complicated by the question, what could someone have done before they were born that could result in a punishment?  Jesus dispels all this by saying that the disciples’ assumptions are all wrong.  The purpose of all this is that God’s works may be revealed in this person. This miracle is a sign of the fact that Jesus is the light of the world.

Jesus proceeds to heal the man using mud made from his own saliva.  Why Jesus uses this method we are not told.  Other people also have lots of questions.  They’re not sure this is the same person that was blind.  They want him to give them information about Jesus.  All the man says is, “I do not know.”

We want to make sense of sickness and suffering.  Why does Jesus heal some people, even people who are not specifically asking for healing (John 5:6-8)?  The fact is we are confronted here with mystery.  Sorrow and sickness are signs of sin.  Yet they cannot by seen as specific punishments for specific sins (This was the error of Job’s friends).

Jesus heals whenever and however he chooses.  The fact that he heals at all is a sign of God’s grace.  We live in hope of the day when suffering, mourning and pain will be no more (Rev. 21:1-4).  In the meantime suffering teaches us both patience and obedience (Rom. 8:25; Heb. 5:8).

Eternal and gracious God teach me patience and obedience as I face suffering.  Build up my hope in you.  I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.