In this story of a miracle, Jesus encounters a man born blind. The disciples wanted to know the cause of this suffering. What causes such sickness and who is responsible for such meaningless suffering?. They could only come with two options, the personal sin of the man or the sin of his parents. Jesus discredited both and came with a third reason. This kind of situation happens and God uses this as an opportunity for showing kindness so that the person can experience God’s work in his life! His life can become a testimony to God’s grace. What a strange answer when everybody else is trying to find the cause and whom to blame. Jesus says that when an opportunity is given to us to show God’s heart for the suffering, take that opportunity and do not miss it. Such opportunities may not come all the time.
The blind man in this story does not ask for healing. He is too blind to know what was going on. He is just a victim and had no voice. The blindness made him to be a beggar. This is what happens to many in our country. Birth defects and handicaps make children beggars. They are a burden to families and they become social out-casts living without the dignity of a human being. They stretch out their hands and raise their voices to draw attention to get some coins for their food or eat from the rubbish bin. They hope for some one to show compassion. They are pushed around and scolded and seen as a nuisance to the social structure. They are the unwanted scum of the society living out their karma. They live in the dark and have no bright tomorrow.
Jesus encounters such a person and decides to do the work of God. He took soil and mixed it with his saliva and made mud and applied it on the blind man’s eyes and told him to go and wash. A Strange act. The blind man could not see what was put on his eyes! He was a beggar any way and it did not matter. The man also needed to do some thing, to go and wash. It was not just a one sided miracle. He had to co-operate. He became a partner in this act of God. He got healed.
He faced all sorts of questions and threats. He was ridiculed and eventually labeled as a sinner steeped in sin by the religious authorities. But in spite of all these, he developed courage and conviction to speak of his experience. He was willing to undergo rejection for the sake of his faith. His own parents did not give him the needed support. Now he could see but nobody wanted him. He faced a greater dilemma. When he was blind he could not see people, now he could see them and experience their hatred. He could see the blindness of the religion and its keepers. His own faith matured slowly. Initially his opinion about Jesus was that he was just a man called Jesus who healed him, then to a prophet, then some one sent from God. When Jesus heard about what happened to him, he used that opportunity to reveal himself as the Son of Man and bring him to a real faith.
What is the work of God?
In this story, it was to give dignity to a broken blind beggar and elevate him to a position where he could develop courage and conviction to face the world. His eyes were opened to see the wonder and beauty of God all around Him. Another aspect of the work of God is to help this man to recognize the one who healed him as the Son of Man, the Messiah and put his trust in Him. Jesus was able to accomplish both and challenges us to be involved in the work of God as the opportunity presents itself to us. Everyday we have enough opportunities to show compassion and kindness. We have people all around us whose dignity can be restored. Many of them may not even ask for it, but in the process of being given that dignity, they may open their minds and hearts to faith and see the Son of Man. Various problems that may arise as a result of restoring some one, but these are not that important. That’s how evil works. But God’s work is in spite of all that is negative. He redeems and restores. He gives hope and courage. He reclaims and sends us out to be His witnesses.
My calling is to be involved with God in His work. I do not have to waste my time trying to find the cause and effect of so many problems. They happen. I am given an opportunity to give dignity to people and elevate them to a position as children of God. All that de humanizes people and diminishes them do not come from God. Many times people are just victims of something unseen. Any thing that devalues the worth of a person and disfigures the image of God needs to be restored. My concern ought to be the person who is suffering and what can be done to help. This may provoke anger and rejection from others but this is how God works. The suffering of others becomes a mirror to reveal my own need for healing at a deeper level. The Pharisee in me is in need of a greater conversion. I am also faced with the opportunity to reveal Christ who is the Son of Man. Faith and trust may take time to develop in an individual’s life but when that opportunity comes, I ought to be there to seize the moment and share the true healer and dignity giver!