Cloudy, blue-gray corneas surrounded by yellow sclerae darted left and right as the yelling and turmoil on the temple grounds echoed through the temple entrance. For his whole life, this young man had sat at the entrance of the temple, barred from entry because of his hazy eyes. “No blind people in the temple,” he had been warned. So day after day, week after week, year after year, he sat at the entrance of the temple begging mercy of those he could not see, the extra religious, many of whom shuffled quietly by to avoid any mental accountability to this blind beggar.
Any successful street urchin would sit as close to the entrance as possible so that he could plead with those entering for alms without inconveniencing them to walk out of their way. On any other day, his entrepreneurial location close to the center of the path would have been a positive mark of good planning, but today the turmoil in the temple was beginning to unsettle this helpless stumbler. His useless eyes glanced without purpose as the enraged mob gasped and roared at the claim of Jesus, “Before Abraham was, I am.” The shouts and cries of “Blasphemer! Liar! Son of Satan!” were followed by, “Kill Him! Stone Him!”
It was moments like these that everyone would gather around to watch. But when you were a blind beggar, strictly forbidden from entering the temple, there was no watching to be had, instead, you had more desperate concerns. If the enraged mob furiously dragged someone out of the temple, in the blindness of their rage they might not even notice a beggar seated on the ground. With several tons of blind hatred they could easily, accidentally trample a poor, helpless beggar. Hurrying to his feet, the blind man began moving away from the temple.
“And Jesus passed by.” The disciples were with Jesus as they exited the temple ground quickly. Coming across this blind man frantically stumbling and hurrying in darkness must have been quite the sight for the disciples to see. Their question revealed their lack of compassion, “So, Jesus, who sinned and made that guy blind, him or his parents?”
Exodus 4:11, “And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man's mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD?” Who made this man blind? God did. Before healing the man, Jesus explained to His disciples that God had made this man blind from birth for one purpose - that in this moment, God’s power would be revealed in Jesus through his healing.
The swirling clouds melted away from sightless eyes; the shroud of darkness lifted; and the piercing white sunlight reflected off of the bleached soil and stone of Jerusalem. For the first time, nerve impulses shuttered the unused pupils to filter the bright midday sun. Squinting and turning his head this way and that, the helpless beggar was no longer bound in darkness. Jesus truly had healed him. While it is God who causes blindness, we also see that it is only God who gives sight. As Jesus opened this man's eyes, he was revealing one undeniable truth - He was exactly Who He claimed to be.
Hurrying back to his place, the man began engaging everyone he could. He knew their voices, but now he could see their faces. I imagine that there were friends and gentle spirits that he rushed to see for the first time. Like family members only dreamt about, he now was seeing them all. The crowd’s response was understandable. Never before in the history of the world had a blind man been healed. But today, this young man was rejoicing and affirming that even though he had been blind, now he could see.
Food For Thought: Contrast the causes for the man’s physical blindness, and the Pharisees’ spiritual blindness.