Thursday, March 29, 2012

John 9:1-3

Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:30-31)

The Apostle John was very selective about what he included in his gospel. He acknowledged that he could have included much more, but he selected specific miracles to highlight, because his aim was that we would BELIEVE and have life in Jesus’ name.

So I find it interesting that this particular incident in chapter 9, the healing of the man born blind, so closely parallels the healing of the man who had been an invalid for 38 years in chapter 5. Both of these healing occurred on the Sabbath. Now, Jesus surely healed on every day of the week, but John seems to choose the ones done on the Sabbath, because he wants to contrast the belief of the people against the unbelief of the religious leaders. We'll look at that later, but this particular healing tells us so much more!

When the disciples saw this man, they asked Jesus a question that stemmed from a false notion:
As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. (John 9:1-3)

The disciples were under the impression that something so awful as being born blind must have been caused by someone’s sin. The flip side of this faulty thinking is that people are blessed because they are righteous. Some teach that people who do good will prosper because God will bless them for their goodness. But the Bible makes it clear that there is no one righteous - we are all sinners in need of a savior (Romans 3:22-24).

When Jesus healed the invalid in chapter 5, He told the man, “Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” (John 5:14) So, in that case, Jesus seems to make a link to illness and sin. However, here in chapter 9 he assures the disciples that no one’s sin caused the blindness. It was specifically allowed in this man’s life to display the glory of God at that particular time!

In Psalm 73, David stumbled over the fact that he saw the wicked prosper while those who served God struggled. But then he went into the sanctuary of God and understood the end result: the wicked die in their sin and are eternally separated from God. Those who love God sometimes face a lifetime of trials. Jesus said that the Father “causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matt 5:45)

When disaster strikes, we want to find the cause. Why did Megan die in childbirth? Why would God allow Tosh and Cadyn to be without a mother? Why was Royce born with a heart defect? Why is Valen suffering with OMS? Why would God allow Bridget to struggle with her vision? What possible good can come from these sufferings? But, regardless of whether we are talking about the invalid who sinned, or the man born blind, or these dear ones we have been praying for, Jesus would say the same thing to them and to us: “this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.”

How is that possible? We don’t know the end results yet. We can’t see what’s going on, but God has seen it all from beginning to end. Our job is to trust and praise Him through it all. And that alone gives Him glory. Sometimes the end result will be a miraculous healing, which is what we are praying for for the little ones on our prayer list. Sometimes God does not remove the problem, as with Paul and his thorn in the flesh.

I’m glad that God is not driven by a formula. I’m glad we don’t always know why things happen. This causes us to lean on Him. It’s normal for us to ask “Why?” God is not afraid of our questions. He just wants us to bring them to Him.


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