Wednesday, October 22, 2014

John 9:35—41

Broken-hearted, rejected by his family, and betrayed by the religion he had idolized for decades, the once-blind man stumbled down the roads of Jerusalem sobbing with shame and confusion. The events of the day would have left anyone feeling emotionally exhausted. The day started with excitement as someone stopped to talk to him that morning. The excitement turned to hope when this gentle voice offered healing from a life of darkness. After washing in the pool of Siloam, the formerly blind man was filled with elation as he danced back to the temple drinking in the realities of God’s beautiful creation. He celebrated with all and shared the joy of the miracle that God had chosen for him.
But the celebration was cut short. Word had spread of this miracle, and he soon received a summons to stand before the Sanhedrin. The excitement melted and soon turned to frustration when stern, old faces scowled in disbelief as he recounted the details of his story. With nearly satanic skepticism they picked at every word he spoke. In gruff grunts they muttered inquisitive phrases like, “So, you say he used clay?” or “Where was he from?” or “How do we know you were really blind and this isn’t just a ruse?” Confidently, the young man had answered every probing question. But it didn’t matter what this young man said, every phrase seemed to meet more skepticism than the last. Exasperated by their disbelief, he finally exclaimed, “If this man were not of God, he could do nothing!”
That had been the final straw. In a cursing rage, they bit back with “You were born in sin, and you are going to lecture us?” They, like the disciples, assumed that people were born blind because of sin and not for the glory of God. In that instant, this man’s entire world came crashing down. All of his hopes and dreams of worshipping God were dashed. He had finally earned the right to enter the temple and in less than a day, a group of angry, self-righteous mobsters had robbed him of that right.
Shell-shocked and devastated, he staggered out of town, ignoring the beauty that had gripped him hours earlier. As evening set in, the long shadows began swallowing the white, sun-bleached stone and the darkness of sorrow poured down over him. In one day, he had gained everything and lost everything. He had gone from a darkness of the eyes to a darkness of the soul. His mind swirled. Why had Jesus left him? What good was healing his blinded eyes if this was going to be the outcome?
It was in this broken, emotionally-drained, post-traumatic hangover that he heard a gentle voice, “Do you believe on the Son of God?” The man turned and looked at the unfamiliar face of Jesus, “Certainly, I want to believe on him, but who is he?” When Jesus anointed the man’s eyes with clay, he had sent him away before allowing the man to see Him. The man knew that the one who had healed him was named Jesus, but beyond that, he had no idea what Jesus looked like. The words of Jesus poured out like a cool, refreshing fountain of cleansing water over the man’s broken and thirsty soul, “You have seen Him, and you are talking to Him right now.”
Although the reality of the day had been lost on bitter, old men, Jesus had never lost sight of the monumental thing that had occurred in this young man’s life. For this man it was a day to be celebrated, but it seemed that the religious leaders were not interested in celebration. As Jesus spoke, he laced his words with the one reality that was so dear to this man, “You have seen Him.” Jesus was truly the one who cared and loved. He could empathize with the outcast and rejected, and He could share in the joy of a changed life. And on this day, this life would change forever. He had begun the day with physical darkness that was changed to physical light. Now the spiritual darkness was banished as the man responded, “I believe.” He would not remain in darkness forever, rather, by the power of Jesus he had been set free.

Food For Thought: Compare what Jesus says in John 9:41 with what the disciples say in John 9:2, and the Pharisees say in John 9:34.