by April Kyle

John 9:1-7 (ESV) – The Man Born Blind

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. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.

jesus20and20a20blind20manThis story has been a fascination of mine for some time… well, for almost nine years now.

Watch the beginning, how the Holy Spirit chooses to lead you into this story…

The disciples ask Jesus whose sin has caused this man’s blindness, his disability. Were his parents diehard trespassers who were punished by a physically hindered son, as opposed to a healthy, seeing son?

Did he do some wrong to bring this predicament upon himself?

“Who sinned…?”

Reminds me of Job’s friends… Job knew he was clean and guiltless before his God; but his buddies couldn’t comprehend such tragedy coming by any other vehicle than that of the consequences of sin. The Bible says that Job held to his integrity. Pretty intense.

“Who sinned…?”

I said this passage has fascinated me for some years now…

I have a niece who was born with some hindrances, some restraints. She was diagnosed in the womb with Down syndrome, as well as esophageal atresia – that’s a fancy word for when the esophagus and stomach do not meet. Pretty intense.

“Who sinned…?”

I remember praying for that sassy girl with such intensity, such fervor, pleading, crying out for God to work a miracle.

“Who sinned…?”

…reminding God how as a family, we stood blameless – not perfect mind you – but faithful to all God had called us to. We were trusting Him to do what He does for good people. At least, that’s what I was trusting Him to do.

You see where I’m going with this…

Good things happen to good people. Bad things happen to bad sinners. God works miracles for us good kids. He saves the tragedy, the heartache, the disabilities and birth defects for the wicked.

That’s how we think, isn’t it?

Oh my, we wouldn’t dare say it aloud, but deep down in our heart of hearts, that’s exactly what we think.

“Who sinned…?”

It’s shocking really. Jesus’ answer is really rather earth-shattering, life-altering. It rocks traditional thinking to its very foundation. Typical Jesus.

Much to the dismay of Job’s friends, Job stands blameless before them. In the end, they get the real scolding.

Much to the astonishment of the disciples, nobody’s sin has caused this blindness; nobody’s sin has deserved this punishment.

Then why?

Why is this man blind?

Why was he born blind?

Why does Job lose everything?

Why does he sit in a garbage heap, scraping his sores?

Why does my niece have Down’s syndrome?

Why does she wear scars from too many surgeries?

“Who sinned…?”

“No, guys,” says Jesus. “This one isn’t about sin. This one isn’t about punishment. This isn’t a public display of judgment.”

Then what? … and why!?

“This is about glory, God’s glory. His mighty acts and deeds. His glory. No one will miss God’s glory today.”

I’m not sure if I picture Jesus with a slight smile, a glimmer in His eye, and a “watch-this” glow on His face; or if He’s wearing that determined-to-praise-my-Father-on-the-Sabbath-rebel’s jut in his jaw. (Jesus is totally awesome.)

At this point, Jesus does something very spiritual…NOT.

He totally spits in the mud! I cannot even imagine what the blind guy is thinking. I mean seriously. Ewww.

(You know Jesus couldn’t have done it this way if this had been a blind GIRL. We would have been like, “No thanks, Jesus. I’ll pass on the spit/mud remedy.”)

Hilarious. (You know Jesus thought it was funny.)

Jesus heals him. To God be the glory. No other explanation.

You know, Job got possessions bestowed upon him a double portion. He even had more children and then grandchildren… and more. The Bible even says that his daughters were the prettiest in the land. But, nonetheless, he suffered like no other…outside of the perfect Lamb of God upon that rugged cross; no one knew unwarranted suffering like Job.

God used the wonderful doctors at Vanderbilt to repair my niece’s esophagus. She can put away some chips and salsa, and she loves pretzels. Oh that girl. But, she still wakes up every morning with Down’s syndrome.


I’ve asked that question a bazillion times…

The Answer is always the same…

Glory. God will get His glory today, and everyone will see it.

Praise be to His name!


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