Monday, November 29, 2021

Cortez: Reflections on the healing of the man born blind

THE Sunday gospel in John 9:1-41 talks of two kinds of blindness – physical and spiritual. Physical blindness was exhibited by the man born blind, while spiritual blindness was shown by the Jewish religious leaders of Jesus’ day, the Pharisees.

Jesus and his disciples met a man who was blind since birth. His disciples asked him whose sin it was? Whether the parent’s or the man’s? that caused this poor fellow to be born that way. Jesus answered that it was neither this man nor his father or mother who has sinned, but that this happened so that God’s works may be displayed in him. He then spat on the ground, made some mud and put it in the man’s eyes. After this, he commanded him to go and was himself in the Pool of Siloam. The man did, and at that instant, he came home seeing.

Just like the disciples we oftentimes associate negative conditions in people’s lives as punishment for sin. Mr. X got sick because he was bad. Miss Y lost her job because she was sinful. Mrs. Z is poor because she is disobedient to the will of God. Yet today, in the gospel, Jesus tells us that sin is not always the reason for human misfortune. The man was born blind, not because of his or his parents’ wrongdoings.

Certainly, God as a loving Father does not take delight in seeing his children suffer. It is the devil who wants to rob people of their joy and make their lives miserable. Why God allows this to happen is something that our limited human minds can never explain. Nevertheless, we are comforted by this truth: God will always work for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28).

God is more powerful than our misery. Just as he healed the man of physical blindness, so too can he heal any sickness or disease. He can heal the broken hearted. He can turn poverty into sufficiency. He can meet any human need, for in him, nothing is impossible.

One sad note, though, was that that the Pharisees were not happy with the healing. They were consumed by their legalism and blind obedience to the Law. “Why would somebody heal on a Sabbath?” they asked. They were absorbed by their dead theology.

And so they called for the man and interrogated him. They even summoned the man’s parents. For what intention? To pressure them to deny the healing and the healer.

Yet the man stood his ground. He was firm on his testimony. Against all odds he declared that he was born blind but that Jesus gave him his sight. Irritated, the Pharisees expelled him from the synagogue.

Jesus then comes again into the picture, in the same way that he never leaves us nor forsakes us. Jesus asked the healed man, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” Who is he sir?” the man asked. Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.” Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him. What a revelation and what a powerful way to be saved!

Jesus cured the man of his physical blindness, but he did more than that. He opened his spiritual eyes that he may see and believe who he is? The Son of Living God.

The Pharisees, on the other hand, were born with no physical visual defect, whatsoever. Their eyes were clear, but only on the natural. Spiritually, they were blind. Although they studied the Scriptures religiously, they really never came to know the central message of the written word ? the Living Word who is no other than Jesus Christ, our Lord. Although they fanatically tried to follow everything that the Law required, they failed to see that no one other than the Son of God himself could ever keep this whole Law and be free from any sin or transgression. Thus, salvation can come only through faith in him. Sanctification and the bearing of fruits of good works then follow.

The man who was once blind saw this reality. Like him, may we also see with our spiritual eyes and receive the free gift of salvation by grace through faith, that we may do the good works that God has prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:8).

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