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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

"I Was Blind"

Photo by: imagerymagestic

When I was twelve or thirteen, I became blind. I woke up one morning unable to open my eyes. I could see light, but I couldn’t see. The pain was terrible. I had sunburned my eyes.

I was very afraid, because I thought I might never see again. I even thought my blindness might be God’s will, since my mother had taught in a school for the blind, and she would be able to help me to learn Braille.

Two days later, my sight was coming back, and the pain lessened. I was relieved and very happy.

In John 9, we read of a man who had never seen, blind from birth. In an effort to understand, the disciples asked Jesus, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?

Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him (verses 2-3). The disciples showed their faith that Jesus would know the answer, and He did. There are two very important truths here: that physical handicaps and congenital defects are not necessarily results of sin, and that God will be glorified through weakness. He has a purpose in every life. In this case, Jesus would do something amazing.

Jesus then makes mud from saliva and dust and puts it on the blind man’s eyes. (Have you ever had mud in your eye? It hurts. It irritates. With Jesus’ touch, it heals!)

Jesus told the man, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing (verse 7). Jesus asked the man to do something. Jesus could have healed him outright—with a touch or with a word. But Jesus wanted the man to respond.

So it is with salvation. Jesus provides salvation for all people through His death on the cross for sins, His burial, and resurrection. But, no one is saved unless he personally does something. He has to receive the gift. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name (John 1:12). We are cleansed by His blood, but we must accept that cleansing.

The blind man obeyed. And the neighbors started talking. “Isn’t this our neighbor? Isn’t this the blind man who always sat over there, begging? It sure looks like him.” The healed man wiped away any doubt. He said, I am he (verse 9).

And so, the questions start coming. The most important was, How were thine eyes opened? I absolutely love his simple testimony: A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash: and I went and washed, and I received sight (verses 10b-11).

The way it was. Simple. Uncomplicated. This is what happened.

Sometimes, I think we complicate our own testimonies. The gospel, though, is so simple—the death of Jesus for our sins, His burial, and resurrection. (1 Corinthians 15:3-4) What did Jesus do for me? What did Jesus do for you? Tell it.

The healed man told his story.

They carted him off to the Pharisees, who asked him the same question. They got the same simple answer. But, they had a problem. Jesus had healed the blind man on the Sabbath day. They were not happy. According to their law, making mud was “work.” So the Pharisees made a judgment: This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them (verse 16). These men judged the Son of God not to be of God because He did a miracle!

Some blindness isn’t physical; it’s worse. This was spiritual blindness.

So they went back to the man and asked him what he thought of Jesus. He said, He is a prophet (verse 17b). They decided to call his parents.

The Pharisees asked if he was their son. His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind: But by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself (verses 20-21). The Bible tells us they answered this way because they were afraid of the Jews.

Don’t you find it strange that the Pharisees called a man’s parents? They didn’t believe an adult. They had to see if his parents said he was born blind.

Notice how his parents let him act like an adult. They had prepared him to be a man and to take responsibility for himself. Maybe this is a good lesson for us.

The Pharisees talk to the man again, and they say that Jesus is a sinner. I love what happens next. He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see. Then said they to him again, What did he to thee? how opened he thine eyes? He answered them, I have told you already, and ye did not hear: wherefore would ye hear it again? will ye also be his disciples? (verses 25-27) The formerly blind man was so exasperated with the Jewish leaders that, after telling them a second time how Jesus healed him, he asks them if they also are interested in being Jesus’ followers. (Is he implying that he is already a disciple?)

Then they reviled him, and said, Thou art his disciple; but we are Moses’ disciples. We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is (verses 28-29). They chose Moses over Jesus Christ, the Law over the Messiah! They were into religion but not receptive to grace.

The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes. Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth. Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. If this man were not of God, he could do nothing (verse 30-33). The man who had been blind was convinced.

But, the Pharisees didn’t see it that way. They said to him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out (of the synagogue).

Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God?

He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?

And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee (verses 34-36).

Look at the man’s response. And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him. The blind man believed Jesus’ word. He also knew from experience that Jesus could do miracles. He worshipped God.

And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.

Hearing that, some of the Pharisees asked Jesus, Are we blind also? (They asked the right question. They understood that Jesus was talking about something bigger than physical blindness.)

Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth (verses 38-41).

The blind man was blind two ways: physically and spiritually. He ended up seeing.

The Pharisees were blind spiritually, and at least at this time, they were still blind—because they hadn’t put their faith in Jesus.

One thing I know . . . . I was blind, now I see.


  1. How frightening that must have been to wake up unable to see! I'm glad it was just temporary.

    Love the connections and analogies here.

    I had always puzzled about why Jesus healed the blind man in that way - your answer makes sense.

    1. I was sharing this passage with a new believer. She was so amazed that the Pharisees didn't understand (see) what Jesus had done for that man! It was so cool to see the blessing it was for her--and for me!

      And yes, it was terrifying when I thought I couldn't see. I am an artist. I am very thankful not to have lost my sight.


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