The Works of God
Have you ever asked a dumb question?
The disciples didn't know it, but they did here. The question seems a good one, for our sense of justice tells us that no one is punished by God without reason. Surely someone was being punished here; the man was born blind. Was it possible for him to sin before birth (and what could he have done?) Perhaps it was his parents—but where is the justice in punishing the child?
We forget, of course, that the blind man was not entitled even to existence. Is it better to be born blind, or not at all? But in this instance, Jesus tells us, there was a great purpose at hand. God had prepared this man for a specific time. Why, then, did Jesus do this?
· First, so that we might know that God's purposes are high above ours—but that in all those purposes, his love for us is entirely sure.
· Next, so that we might see the visible signs of Christ's work, for we need more than words. If by this example one is saved, then what do those years of blindness count?
· Third, that the Pharisees once again be exposed—and silenced as the hypocrites they were.
And note, please, how Jesus does this. He heals the blind on several occasions, but here he uses a physical thing—clay—and tells the man to wash. The creator once again takes up the stuff of which man is made—the dust of the ground and the breath of God.
· This shows us (like Namaan the leper) the virtue of simple obedience. The blind man asks no questions, but obeys.
· It is also a sign for us; we see more clearly when something physical occurs.
Then, almost as if it were an incidental thought, Jesus tells us that He is the light of the world. It seems unrelated to the story, but it is not. The man is blind; therefore, whatever sins might be committed by sight are foreign to him—and he knows it. He cannot have the lust of the eyes; it is impossible. Turn the case around: those who say they can see are responsible for what they look at. A blind man flipping through the pages of a pornographic magazine is innocent. Those who can see bear the guilt. It is so with all sin: those who say they see (or understand) bear the guilt. Those who see and deny their guilt are hypocrites.