Open your eyes
John 9:1-7, 13-17, 34-39
Why? Why is that happening right now? I’ve heard that question multiple times this past week about Covid 19. Why is this happening? Why is it going on? Why did it start? Do you ever ask God, “Why?” We wrestle with this as sometimes he sits in confident silence. We ask the tough questions and get hardly an answer. We can search the Bible but we won’t find the Covid 19 spelled out. We would find multitude of answers for reasons why God allows hardship to come: sometimes discipline, sometimes refining, sometimes testing. God says he loves us. He says he controls all things. We ask “Why?” when we don’t think things are being run fairly.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could ask and he would answer? The followers of Jesus could do that. They would ask him, who is God, and Jesus would answer. Jesus would tell them exactly what God was thinking and planning. Today we have a few reasons from the Word of God, Jesus himself.
In Jerusalem at that time, people would sit at the temple. Those who went in and out would recognize the regulars. Just like you know certain people on specific corners who ask for assistance. There was a blind man many would see and the disciples were curious. They asked “Why?”
1 As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” This is their way of asking “Why?” With the question, they already had an answer that they thought was correct. “Someone did something bad. Someone is getting payback.” They were so intoxicated on their idea of morality that God must repay good for good and evil for evil. So it appears this person must have sinned. It could have been the parents or was the child. Who was to blame?
Here is an interesting reply. Jesus responds in an unexpected way. 3“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. 4 As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6Having said this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. 7 “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means Sent). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing. The pool was a regular gathering place where many would wash.
Why was the man born blind? All those years he was left out, left begging instead of working like the rest. Why? So that the work of God might be displayed. Does that seem fair? Does it seem right that this man’s life was filled with pain at the cost of Jesus showing off?
Here’s a truth. You don’t get the right to question God sometimes. My sinful nature wants me to think it is all about me and receiving satisfying answers. You want to see the glory. You want to know the answers. You want an explanation. But God owes you nothing. You can still hold on to something. God might hold out on deliverance so that his glory may be shown to more than just you.
God loves to display his glory. He does it through suffering. Later, John records Jesus saying, “Now the time has come me to be glorified” (12:23). Jesus spoke those words right before suffering on the cross for all of your sins. There is glory in that because that is your redemption. Things happen in your and my life so that God may display his glory for all people so that we know there is a God, so that we learn to depend on him and not ourselves. Jesus is God. He comes to be the Savior.
But he includes us in the process. Notice Jesus say, “4 As long as it is day, we must do the work.” We get to work. He includes us. It is not him alone. Why does someone have a car accident right in front of you Christian? You get to be part of the solution. Don’t pass up these opportunities. Don’t pass by a marriage that is falling apart. Don’t pass by someone who needs help over the hump. Don’t pass by someone who is fired. Don’t pass by the one straying from church. Don’t pass up the conversation with your child. Don’t pass by the opportunity to encourage and comfort the anxious and afraid.
You are the mud. You are the pool of Siloam. You are the healing that God chooses to do work through because you can remind that person of the Savior. You can still work while it is day. Don’t sit and ask “Why?” Let God take care of that and you be part of the solution that God placed you here for.
There is one more answer Jesus provides to the “Why?” question. God told the people to look ahead for someone who would perform miracles so that they would know the Messiah has come. Some people have trouble seeing it. The man went home and the crowds had trouble thinking this was true. 13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind. 14 Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man’s eyes was a Sabbath. 15 Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. “He put mud on my eyes,” the man replied, “and I washed, and now I see.” 16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others asked, “How can a sinner do such miraculous signs?” So they were divided.
The Pharisees had trouble seeing that Jesus was from God. Jews were not supposed to work on the Sabbath and so the Pharisees invented many rules and laws spelling out exact scenarios. According to their own custom, even doctors were unable to help people because that would be considered working.
17 Finally they turned again to the blind man, “What have you to say about him? It was your eyes he opened.” The man replied, “He is a prophet.” The blind man saw and they didn’t. They tried to pick it apart. The blind Jews contended that no miracle had been performed and continued their investigation with the man’s parents. Intimidated by their cross-examination and afraid of being excommunicated, the parents pleaded ignorance. They questioned the blind man one more time. He doesn’t try to explain why but he does conclude that Jesus must be from God. 34 To this they replied, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out. They turned to abusing him with words and they threw him out.
Often God does his signs to challenge the skeptic and atheist with these unexplainable signs. Do you know why God delivers you? So that the people who know you might be challenged in their unbelief.
There is one bigger reason here. This is a huge event for the blind man to be thrown out. This was out of support religiously and socially. He already was an outcast and now he is even more. All his community life and support is gone. Why? That sounds sad. No, it’s wonderful. When they threw him out, they threw him off a sinking ship into a lifeboat.
Jesus found him. 35 Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 36 “Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.” 37 Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.” 38 Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him. 39 Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” Jesus used the miracle to teach this man’s ability to spiritual see.
Everything rises and falls on Jesus Christ who dies for the whole world to take away sin. Jesus looked this man right in the eyes and tells him, “I am your Savior.” If you were to ask the man about his life after looking back on his suffering, he might admit that his life was hard but he wouldn’t regret any of it if it were all for that.
I am fighting for you. You try to think about each event. If you think that your success or failure is God repaying you, you are shallow. Your life and everything that happens is all a beautiful symphony of salvation. You will be tempted to look at everything out there as a singular event and God is trying to teach you it is about the great grand picture. You might endure the hard circumstances but people who suffer well become great, shining, glorious examples of God’s redemption.
I want you to go and open your eyes to everything going on in your life through the filter of redemption rather than your worldly, passing away goals, through the short-sighted little events. God will open your eyes to what he is really doing. It is to save your soul for all eternity.