August 10, 2020
As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.
Our passage this week is Jesus’ healing of a man born blind. When they first encounter him, the disciples ask Jesus an unexpected and revealing question: “Who sinned to cause this blindness to happen? Was it his parents’ fault, or his own?” I’m intrigued by their perspective! The disciples don’t seem particularly focused on the man’s suffering, nor on Jesus’ ability to do something about it. No, what they really want to know is: Hey, who’s to blame here? Where should the judgment fall? Who deserves at least a little bit of scorn for this?
We usually don’t notice it in ourselves, but as humans we are exceptionally good at judging everyone around us. We do it all the time, comparing ourselves, seeing how others match up to our talents, our looks, our successes, our failures. There’s something deep inside us quietly but constantly trying to justify ourselves, striving to convince us we are somehow better than those around us. (And yes, on the flip side we’re quick to humbly proclaim, “Hey, I know I’m no Mother Teresa…” but inside we think we’re not that far behind her, right?)
Note that Jesus essentially waves off that question. As usual, He’d rather get right to the real point: This is not about who sinned! This is another opportunity for God’s love, abilities and glory to be proclaimed to the world, for brokenness to be restored to fullness. Jesus came to heal, to redeem, to seek and save the lost, because that is who He is: Healer, Redeemer, Savior! And the world desperately needs to know it.
When you look at the challenges in your and others’ lives, what comes to mind for you? Do you see the mistakes made, the moral failings, the blame and judgment you may or may not deserve? Do you ponder who or what is responsible for the suffering you and others endure? Or do you see, in our blind and broken world, yet another opportunity for God to be glorified, for His goodness and unending love to be proclaimed?
How might today’s passage help you reconsider your own perspective on today’s challenges?