I want you to notice the different ways people in this story viewed the "man born blind" that you find in your Bibles (John 9:1-41)
- My disciples looked at him as a religious question — was he born blind because of his sins or his parents' sins?
- The people viewed him as a label — to them, he was just a blind beggar.
- The Pharisees saw the man as a problem — I had healed him on the Sabbath, something that broke their regulations, but they couldn't use the man to get Me into trouble.
- The man's parents treated him as little more than their biological product and not as a son — their fear of being put out of the synagogue prevented them from speaking up for their own son.
Each of these was a way that the people around the man born blind viewed him. The people's view of him was, in fact, their blindness — a willful blindness to the man's needs. These are also ways you can view people, ways that will keep you blind to their needs and to your opportunity to help those people in My name.
Which one of the following are you most likely to use to be willfully blind toward people in need? Is it...
- Viewing them as nothing more than a religious question?
- Assigning a label so you don't have to personally deal with them?
- Treating them as a problem that needs to be solved or overcome?
- Viewing them as nothing more than biological products rather than people to be protected and loved?
I call you to open your eyes to the people in need around you. I call you to treat each of these people as someone in whom "the deeds of God may be put on display" (John 9:3)
and with whom God's love can be shared. To do less is simply... Pharisaical!
After fielding My disciples' religious question about the man born blind, I healed him. This miracle made the Pharisees angry because I violated their regulations about the Sabbath. Instead of rejoicing that a blind man could now see, these religious leaders tried to bully him into condemning Me for healing him. They weren't ready for what they were about to get from him — a simple theology of faith and truth that trumped their entrenched traditions and embarrassed them into banishing him and demeaning him.
Townspeople to the man born blind:
Where is this man Who healed you?Formerly Blind Man:
I don't know.The townspeople brought the formerly blind beggar to appear before the Pharisees the same day Jesus healed him, which happened to be on the Sabbath Day. The Pharisees began questioning him, looking for some explanation for how he could now see.
Formerly Blind Man:
He smeared mud on my eyes, and I washed; now I see.Some Pharisees:
God can't possibly be behind this man because He is breaking the rules of the Sabbath.Other Pharisees:
How can such a lawbreaking scoundrel do something like this?The Pharisees were at odds with one another about Jesus and could not agree whether His power came from God or the devil.
Pharisees (to the formerly blind man):
What do you say about this man, about the fact He opened your eyes so you could see?Formerly Blind Man:
I have no doubt — this man is a prophet.Some of the Jews suspected the whole situation was a charade, that this man was never blind. So they summoned the man's parents to testify about his condition.
Is this man your son? Do you testify that he has been blind from birth? How therefore does he now see?Parents:
We can tell you this much: he is our son, and he was born blind. But his new sight is a complete mystery to us! We do not know the man Who opened his eyes. Why don't you ask our son? He is old enough to speak for himself.The man's parents were a bit evasive because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. It had been rumored that anyone who spoke of Jesus as the Anointed One would be expelled from the synagogue. So they deferred the thorny question to their son, and the Pharisees called on him a second time.
Give God the credit. He's the One Who healed you. All glory belongs to God. We are persuaded this man you speak of is a sinner who defies God.Formerly Blind Man:
If this man is a sinner, I don't know. I am not qualified to say. I only know one thing: I was blind, and now I see.Pharisees:
What did He do to you? How did He give you sight?Formerly Blind Man:
Listen, I've already answered all these questions, and you don't like my answers. Do you really need me to say it all over again? Are you thinking about joining up with Him and becoming His followers?Pharisees (berating him):
You're one of His followers, but we follow Moses. We have confidence that God spoke to Moses, but this man you speak of is a mystery; we don't even know where He comes from.Formerly Blind Man:
Isn't it ironic that you, our religious leaders, don't even know where He comes from; yet He gave me sight! We know that God does not listen to sinners, but He does respond and work through those who worship Him and do His will. No one has ever heard of someone opening the eyes of any person blind from birth. This man must come from God; otherwise, this miracle would not be possible. Only God can do such things.Pharisees:
You were born under a cloud of sin. How can you, of all people, lecture us?The religious leaders banished him from their presence.
O Father, please forgive me. Forgive me for blindly looking past people in need. Open my eyes and my heart to see each person as someone in whom "the deeds of God may be put on display". Please use me to be a person through whom Your deeds of grace and mercy flow. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.