JESUS, I HAVE A QUESTION
In this devotional series, I am focusing on questions posed to Jesus. The first question came from a rich young ruler. He asked Jesus, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” He followed the rules, but he did not have relationship. In that question answer session, we learned we can be saved. Trust and follow Jesus. He must be first, the priority in our lives. Don’t allow anything, person, or behavior to take His place in your life. Trust Him to be the authority in your life. Don’t focus on rules, but focus on Him. You will find this question and Jesus’ response in Mark 10:17-31.
Now, I’m going to the second question in this devotional series. This next question is actually asked by the disciples in John 9. Their question focused on the connection between sin and suffering. The story is long. Hence, I will only provide a few verses. I do encourage you to read the entire passage, John 9:1-38.
In the following passage, we get the disciples question. Remember, this is a question they asked Jesus. It is a wonderful privilege given to Jesus’ followers to be able to bring our questions to Him. The disciples take advantage of this favor.
As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed (manifested) in him.
First, let me establish where Jesus and the disciples are in this text. They are in Jerusalem. I believe the chronology is correct. In the previous chapter, chapter 8, Jesus was in the temple and there is this huge argument that takes place between Jesus and temple officials. The argument is centered around Jesus’ eternal existence. It got so bad that the Jews attempted to stone Jesus. They did not think about it or talk about it, they actually moved in this direction. They wanted to stone Jesus because He told them that before Abraham was I am. For some, it is so hard to accept the truth about Jesus. But our not accepting it does not stop Jesus from being who He is. Well, Jesus got out of this situation.
Immediately after this escape, we get the events in chapter 9. Jesus and His disciples are still in Jerusalem. In verse 1, we learn that Jesus saw this man who was blind from birth. Amazingly, Jesus did not allow Himself to get stuck on those who wanted to hurt and kill Him. Saw means Jesus paid attention to this man. He was concerned. With all that is happening in the world, Jesus sees us. He is paying attention to us and concerned about us. In other words, we are important to Jesus, even when we are in a troublesome situation. For me, this is good news.
What was life like for the blind during New Testament times? Typically, they were ignored. Remarkable, Jesus has a record of seeing the ignored, paying attention to the ignored, and being concerned about the ignored. In addition, blind people could make a living only by public charity. They lived by begging. They were at the mercy of people. It is better to depend on the Lord’s mercy than on the mercy of people. Finally, the blind were restricted from worship. That is, they were not allowed to enter the temple and could never serve in the temple. Clearly, life for the blind was not a cake walk. However, in this story, Jesus intervenes and gives hope and salvation to one who needed it most, but was considered the least.
Before salvation is realized, the disciples ask Jesus a probing question in John 9:2.
2 And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
I love the way they addressed Jesus, calling Him Rabbi. It was a title of respect for a teacher. They showed Him great honor and respect, unlike those in the temple who wanted to stone Him. Now, I don’t think their question was designed to insult or to belittle. They were simply displaying the common thoughts of their time. “Jewish teachers believed that suffering, including blindness, was often due to sin; one could suffer for one’s parents’ sins or even for a sin committed by mother or fetus during the pregnancy.” “The disciples assume, like most Palestinian Jews of their day, that sin and suffering are intimately connected.” The problem is they are taking a general rule and general truth and applying it to a specific case. We live in a fallen sinful world. Sin has negatively impacted all of us and all of us are guilty of sin, as we see in the following passage.
Romans 3:23 (SLIDE 10)
23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
What is sin? Sin is to violate God’s divine law, missed the mark, engaged in wrong doing, act contrary to the will of God, do wrong, and do evil. The heart of their question is what’s the connection between sin and sickness, trouble, and misfortune. Is sin always the cause of life’s pains? Now, there is a penalty for sin, as we see in the following verse.
23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The big result of sin is death! Sickness and calamities are secondary, but death is the primary result and impact of sin. Most importantly, to both of the answers proposed by the disciples, Jesus answered, no!
I love Jesus’ answer found in John 9:3.
3 Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.
Jesus spoke. He responded. He will speak and respond to you and your question. Jesus brings clarity. This is not about the blind man, his parents, or their sins. Jesus affirms that this is not about sin, but it is about God’s deeds and actions. This is a God work moment. For me, it is refreshing and strengthening to view life challenges as a God work moment in my life. Are you willing to allow the Lord to work in life’s challenging moment? I encourage you to pray and ask the Lord Jesus to work, working in your life and your situations.
While others are looking at sin and cause, Jesus transforms this man’s life both naturally and spiritually.
He used His saliva to make mud, took the mud and used it to anoint the man’s eyes. Jesus told the man to go wash. The man came back seeing. People questioned if he was the blind man who begged. He assured them that he was the same man. The man who had his own God work moment repeatedly told his testimony, never changing his story. No one could make him develop a negative image of Jesus. By the end of the story, he put his faith in Jesus, believing Jesus was the promised Messiah and Savior.
In addition to receiving physical sight, the man’s spiritual eyes were open. He came to know Jesus for himself. None of us have to remain spiritually blind. We can receive Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. The Lord’s greatest work in our lives is our spiritual transformation, our becoming followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. Surrender to Him and allow Him to work in your life.
By: Bishop Arthur F. Mosley