By Brenda Black
“As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, 'Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?'
“'Neither this man nor his parents sinned,' said Jesus, 'But this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. As long as it is day, we must do the work 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.'
“Having said this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man's eyes. 'Go,' he told him, 'wash in the pool of Siloam' (this word means Sent). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.” (John 9:1-7)
We don't know exactly how old this man, but according to his parents' testimony before the Pharisees, “He is of age; he will speak for himself.” And boy howdy does he have a story to tell! But rather than debate those gnawing questions of right and wrong, fairness and hardship, disabilities at birth and miraculous healing like the contentious Pharisees, my thoughts are drawn to the details of this amazing encounter with Christ.
Notice, this man does not ask to be healed. He may have begged for money or mercy as Jesus and his disciples passed, but he did not ask for his eyes to be opened. The passage doesn't actually indicate that he spoke to the group at all. Still, Jesus, who speaks of him, then addresses him. He touches him and asks something of the beggar himself. He commissions him to go and wash in the pool of Siloam, at least a half mile's walk.
Rolling through my mind is the nagging question of why a grown man would let somebody spit in the mud and then wipe the nasty stuff on his face. Why did he obey this stranger he'd never seen or with whom he'd never conversed? My only conclusion is that the man heard sincerity in the voice and felt certainty in the Master's touch.
He made the journey to the water and came back seeing! Before he could search for the one who healed him, he was swept up in controversy and whisked away to tell and retell his story to the skeptics. The stark contrast between the loving kindness of Jesus and the sarcastic criticism of the Pharisees only solidified the man's child-like faith in this unseen stranger. He boldly answered their antagonistic accusations with resolve, “One thing I do know: I was blind, and now I can see!” (Jn. 9:25b)
And here's the part of the story I love the most. Jesus just shows up and introduces Himself!
“When Jesus heard that they had thrown the man out, He found him and asked, 'Do you believe in the “Son of Man?”'
“'Who is He, Sir, that I may believe in Him?' he asked.” (Jn. 9:35-36)
There you have it...now the blind beggar with eyes wide open is asking a clearly profound question. It's a query that won't just fix his eyes temporarily while he lives on earth. It's the beginning to eyes for eternity. And Jesus, the same Jesus who healed him without a request, now waits for the seeing seeker to search the heart of God.
“Jesus answered, 'You have seen Him; in fact, He is the One speaking with you.'
“'I believe, Lord!' he said, and he worshiped Him.
“Jesus said, 'I came into this world for judgment, in order that those who do not see will see and those who do see will become blind.'” (Jn. 9:37-39)
The moral of the story: “This came about so that God's works might be displayed in him.” May the blind man lead us to the sincere and certain “Light of the World” -- Jesus – so that others see His glory revealed in us. Remember, all you have to do is ask and Jesus shows up to touch your life eternally.