“’Neither this man nor his parents sinned,’ said Jesus, ‘but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.’” - John 9:3
He groped around desperately in the dark for years. Having never seen the light, he didn’t even know what he was missing. In spite of that, though, he still yearned to open his eyes and see what went with the familiar sounds and smells. What did a laugh look like? What did his parents look like? What did he look like? So many questions unanswered…so many dreams unattained…so much need and so little hope. This was the life of the blind beggar in John 9.
He was the epitome of desperate. Being handicapped in any way in Jesus’ day was like a curse. Through no fault of his own, this man had been marginalized and mistreated for his entire life. And then Jesus walked into his life, literally, and everything changed. Christ’s own disciples questioned what the blind beggar’s parents had done wrong to end up with him for a son. His blindness was not a result of anyone’s sin, Jesus told them, but instead was a divinely designed backdrop for the magnificent display of His glory.
After all, without desperation, there is no room for hope. And without agony there is no need for comfort. If this man had not been blind, there would have been no miracle that day. This was a part of God’s sovereign and good plan for them all. For the blind man, his parents, the passers-by, disciples, and even the hard-hearted Pharisees – who were perhaps the blindest of all. Right there, in the middle of his darkness and despair, Jesus stoops low and sees him. He looks with compassion into the eyes that cannot look back.
Out of the darkness he hears Jesus say, “I am the light of the world.” Then, he hears the sound of spit as Christ mixes holy saliva with dirt. “Go and wash,” Jesus told him. The man did and he “came back seeing.” It is evident from the context of this passage that the blind man did not know Jesus as the Christ. Why, then, would he allow Him to rub spit on his eyes and obey His instructions to wash? Because he was desperate, and maybe just grateful that someone even bothered to try. When everyone else dismissed him, Jesus prioritized him.
It wasn’t the man’s physical blindness that Jesus was most concerned about; it was the darkness of his soul. Jesus met the man in his physical blindness so that He could open his eyes to the eternal light of His salvation. This is the light that we all so desperately need to see.
Dear God, I am grateful that suffering is never in vain in Your Kingdom. You work all things for Your glory. Please help me to remember this truth when my circumstances don’t make sense to me. Help me to trust You with my whole heart.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.