As he went along, he saw a man who was blind from birth…
How many times have I read this story? Numerous. But this time, oh, this time, the words seem to burst from the page with a soul-deep strength.
Most of the healings that are recorded in the gospels start with someone asking to be healed. Except this one. This story starts with a question about sin.
Rabbi, who sinned…?
Whose sin caused this man to be born blind? Is it his fault? His parents fault?
What must the man have been thinking? I know what I would have been thinking. I have enough sin to be forced into a thousand lifetimes of blindness. Even that wouldn’t begin to pay the debt I owe. I don’t know who these people are that are asking but I know this: I am a sinner.
But this Rabbi begins to speak of something different. Not the ugliness of sin but the beauty of God working. Not un-payable debts owed but the gift of light shining in darkness.
Then spit and dust. Reminds me of the beginning, at Eden, as the dust of the earth was formed into a man and the breath of God brought life.
Just like then, life comes. This time in the form of sight.
So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.
He came home seeing!
And he stood before the Pharisees and testified to truth. In the face of the men who had always been above him, who had judged him and his parents for his blindness, who had written him off as a worthless beggar.
One thing I do know, I was blind but now I see!
He stood fast and put the Pharisees in their place. (I want to meet this guy)
I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?
In the face of the question that shames them, they scorn him. He is labeled a sinner, again. Thrown out. Back to being the worthless beggar unworthy of being near the righteous.
But Jesus comes back and asks the question. “Do you believe?” It’s the question every person in the world has to answer. And this man answers right.
Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.
And the worthless beggar becomes a son of God. The sinner is washed clean and made righteous. The lost are found and the blind can see.
And Jesus says,
…I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.
The feeling runs through my fingers as I type, makes my feet tap the floor in a silent dance, makes my heart patter with a heady in-love feeling. This is the God I serve. My God. The one who makes blind eyes see.
My eyes. The ones that get trapped in darkness and hidden in sin and covered in pain. The eyes that try so desperately to see for themselves. The ones that, to my horror and shame, have so often been standing in the place of the Pharisees.
He makes them see.
And those who claim to see without Jesus will remain lost in blindness, guilty. But those who acknowledge their blindness and admit their need for him will be healed.