WHO HAS SINNED? (JOHN 9:1-41)
I sat by the side of the road and held out my hands for alms whenever I could. I heard that Jesus was passing and He had stopped in front of me. Then, one of his followers, asked Him, “Who had sinned, my parents or I?” Jesus stunned them by saying that I was born to demonstrate that God was still at work and that this work was to bring light into a blind world. While Jesus was speaking, He spat on the ground, made some mud with the help of His saliva, smeared it on my eyes and ordered me to go and wash in the pool of Siloam in Jerusalem. I obeyed without questioning and returned seeing the light for the first time in my life. I felt I was flying on a cloud in a wonderful world and tried to share my feelings with others. But my fellowmen were not as delighted as I was. Somehow, I had received my sight contrary to their belief. In their minds, my folks and I had sinned and that was why I was born blind. It was inconceivable that a sinner, like me, could receive sight.
Thus, instead of rejoicing with me in my miracle, my own neighbors and acquaintances began to question my sincerity. They were surprised that I was no longer begging. Some behaved towards me as if I was a stranger that looked like the blind beggar by the road. Only the beggar, by the road, was no longer there. Some insisted that I prove to them that it was I that had received sight. When I told my neighbors that it was I, they wanted to know how my eyes were opened. I explained, that a man they called Jesus put mud on my eyes and told me to go and wash in the Pool of Siloam. I did what He told me and came back seeing. Then they wanted to know where the man was. I could not tell them that I did not know where He was because I had not seen him, but only felt His fingers and heard His voice. But no one took me serious. Before I realized what was happening to me, they had brought me to our religious leaders. Now my ordeal began.
These men were not concerned with my eyes but with the mud Jesus had made on the Sabbath. He had to be a sinner and not of God because He had violated their precious Day of Rest. Some were more courteous and questioned whether a sinner could open the eyes of a blind man? Then they wanted me to resolve their differences and tell them what I thought of Jesus. I told them that He was a prophet. That angered them and they did not believe me that I was blind. They called my parents and asked them, “Is this your son?” My folks were scared out of their minds for fear that they might be excommunicated from the Synagogue and therefore from heaven, especially if it had anything to do with Jesus. Hence, they managed to identify me and confirm that I was blind, but I knew nothing as to how I had received sight and that I was of age and could speak for myself. In simple terms, they absolved themselves of all responsibility. That is the kind of fear these powerful men had instilled in the people over whom they dangled the keys to the kingdom of God.
The leaders summoned me a second time and ordered me to glorify God and denounce Jesus as a sinner. I replied that I knew not whether He was a sinner; only, that I was sure He opened my eyes. I kind of wondered out loud whether they were interested in becoming His followers. That really enraged them. They told me that they were Moses’ disciples and had no knowledge where Jesus came from. I reminded them that it was rather strange because only godly men could do what Jesus had done for me. That was more than they could take from me. They told me that I was not only born in sin, but also raised in it since birth and was unfit to lecture them. Then they kicked me out. Jesus heard about my encounter with the self-made saints and was looking for me. He asked me whether I believed in the “One” they called the “Son of man.” I wanted to know who He was and He told me that He was the “One.” Immediately, I bowed before Him in reverence and declared that I did believe. Jesus then stated that He had come to give sight to the blind and make those that saw blind. The leaders overheard Him and announced that they were not blind. Jesus told them, that precisely was their problem. If they were blind, He could free them from their guilt of sin. But since they insisted that they could see, they would have to live with their guilt and sin. They, not my parents or I, were the actual sinners and did not realize it.
That day I learned that physical blindness was not the worst in the world. There was another kind that blinded the mind and the heart. I had it when I sat by the road begging. I was bitter for being blind and actually believed that my parents must have been at fault. But when I heard Jesus say that God had a purpose in my physical blindness to teach us all a lesson on the real problem of blindness, I felt as if scales fell of my internal eyes. The eyes of my heart were opened and I became grateful to everyone that had put up with me all these years, especially my parents. I began to feel sorry for people that kept on in their sinful pride; particularly, those that regarded the physically impaired as sinners suffering the punishment of God. What greater blindness can there be than to belief that a loving heavenly Father would inflict His own children? Yet, our spiritual leaders believed it and insisted that we too accept their blindness. I praise Jesus for setting me free! It was a lesson on blindness.