March 19, Thursday
Along the way they saw a blind man sitting beside the road. He had been there many times, having been born blind. The disciples, assuming that all handicaps were the direct result of some sin, asked Jesus, “Teacher, was it this man’s sins or his parents’ that caused him to be born blind?”
Jesus surprised them with His answer, “His blindness has nothing to do with sin, neither his own nor his parents’. This is an opportunity for Me to demonstrate how God works. A time is coming when it will be too late for miracles. While I am here, I bring light to this darkened world.”
Upon saying that, Jesus spat on the ground and made a clay compress with the saliva and dirt. After putting the mixture on the man’s eyes, Jesus sent him to wash it off in the pool of Siloam (a play on words since Siloam means “sent”). So the man went, washed, and came away seeing everything for the first time.
Everyone in town knew the man and couldn’t believe their eyes. “Is this really the same guy who’s been begging all these years?” they asked. Some decided it must be someone who just looked like the man.
“No,” the once-blind man said, “I am the very one!”
“No way!” the people replied. “How did you get your eyes healed?”
“Quite simply,” the happy man explained. “A man named Jesus made some clay and put it over my eyes. Then He sent me to Siloam to wash it off. I did and here I am —seeing you!”
“Where is He?” the people inquired.
“I couldn’t tell you,” he answered.
It wasn’t long before the man was taken to the Pharisees because this happened to be the Sabbath . . . again. They also asked the man for details, “How, exactly, did you get your sight?”
So the man said it again, “He put clay on my eyes, I washed it off, and now I can see.”
Some of the Pharisees were adamant, “Obviously this Man can’t be from God because He keeps on doing work on the Sabbath which is against God’s law.”
Others, though, queried, “How could a mere man who is a sinner do miracles like this?” They couldn’t agree on what to do so they asked the blind man his opinion. “What do you think about this Man who opened your eyes?”
“Seems to me He must be a prophet of some kind,” answered the man.
The “blinded” Pharisees decided this must be a hoax and that this fellow hadn’t really been blind and then healed. They asked someone to bring his parents to them for questioning. “Tell us,” they demanded, “is this your son and was he born blind? And if so, how do you account for the fact that his eyes are working just fine?”
The parents didn’t hesitate but said, “Yes, he is our son and he definitely has been blind since birth. As far as the healing goes, you’ll have to ask him. We weren’t there and he’s old enough to speak for himself.” You see, they knew that the Jewish leaders had threatened to excommunicate from the synagogue anyone who publicly aligned themselves with Jesus. That’s why they deferred to their son when it came to commenting on his healing.
Back to the son they went, saying, “Listen, fellow, give the credit to God, not this sinner whom you claimed healed you.”
The formerly blind man, the object of everyone’s attention, said, “I couldn’t tell you whether or not He’s a sinner. All I can say is once I was blind and now I can see!”
Trying to get him to change his story, they asked again how the healing had occurred. The man, a little put out at their interrogation, said, “I’ve been through this once and you wouldn’t listen. Why are you asking again? Are you thinking that maybe you’ll become His disciples now?”
“Humph,” they stormed, “you’re the one who is obviously His disciple. We’re Moses’ disciples because we know he heard directly from God. As for this man, we don’t know anything about Him.”
“Isn’t this amazing?” the man replied. “You don’t know where He is from but He has opened my eyes. Everyone knows that God doesn’t listen to sinners; but if someone serves God and wants to do His will, then God uses him. Never in the history of mankind have we heard of someone who was born blind being healed — until me. What I’m saying is that if this man weren’t from God there would be no way He could have done this miracle.”
The Pharisees had had enough. “You good-for-nothing low-life. What do you mean trying to teach us? We’re the teachers around here!” they barked. “Now, get out of here!” And they threw him out.
Jesus heard about this and went to find the man. “Do you believe in the Son of God?” Jesus asked.
“Who is He, Lord? I’d love to believe in Him.”
Jesus said, “You’re looking at Him. It’s Me.” The man believed and worshiped then and there.
Jesus said to those who were standing around, “Yes, I came to shake things up. I’m doing what I’m doing to help the blind see and to declare as blind those who think they see.”
Some Pharisees heard this comment and asked, “Are you calling us blind?”
To this Jesus replied, “If you realized how blind you are, I wouldn’t condemn you; but since you think you’re fine, I leave you in your sins.”