In today’s passage, we see something that should bring us to reflection and humility. Jesus’ disciples are trying to understand sin and its consequences—it was a theological question and argument of the day. “Lord, this man is broken, disabled, blind even from before his birth. Why did that happen? It must have been sin. Was his blindness because of his sin in the womb or some sin of his parents that happened before or during conception?”
We get into those today, right? “When something bad happens to people, is that God punishing them?” “I live a good life, God. Why so much suffering?” We even get into the whole birth question: “Can someone be born a sinner?”
It is very important to notice Jesus’ response. Jesus says that his blindness is not a result of his or his parents’ sin. Focusing on the sinfulness misses the point. Instead, Jesus says that this man’s brokenness is an opportunity to see God love at work. Focus on how God reveals himself through this man’s life.
Blindness is not a matter of being able to see or not see. Blindness is focusing on the sinfulness of yourself or others and the inability or unwillingness to see the healing love of grace and redemption found in Jesus.
The Pharisees were blind because they could only focus on the unworthiness of the sinner. The blind sinner was full of spiritual sight (and later physical sight) because he could see Jesus for who he was, the redeemer of sinners.
The struggle before us is this: will I choose to see myself as just a sinner or will I see myself as a someone who God is revealing Himself through? The struggle before us is this: will I choose to see those I love, friends and family, as just a bunch of sinners or will I see them as those who God is revealing Himself through? The struggle before us is this: will I choose to see those I dislike, strangers, enemies, and the like, as just a bunch of sinners or will I see them as people who God is revealing Himself through?
It makes all the difference in the world! It is the difference between Heaven and Hell, honestly. I want you to envision in your mind and hearts someone from your past who was just mean and rotten in their hearts. What if I brought out, today, that person and they had come to know Jesus and God had totally worked a miracle in their life? Would you believe it?
What if I told you that you are the person someone was thinking about? You are or were the rotten one…is it possible that Jesus healed you…and continues to heal you? Yes…yes!
That is what today’s passage is about. Do you believe that God is in the business of radically healing people inside and out? If there is ever a time when you say, “Impossible,” that is when you are blind and lost.
Impossible is what the Pharisees were saying. At the end of the passage when the Pharisees say, “Surely you do not think we are blind” to Jesus, they genuinely expected him to answer, “No, you’re not blind!” Instead, Jesus says to them, “Because you claim to see, you are sinners.”
The Church is a collection of those who see what is possible with Jesus’ redemptive work—because we are examples of Jesus’ redemptive work. If the Church ever loses sight of that truth, we are no longer the Church.
When you are out and about this week, when you eat with friends and family, when you work alongside colleagues, when you encounter strangers…do you see what is possible with God or do you see with impossible eyes?