What do you do when you walk into a dark room? Reach for a light switch, right? Turn the lights on! Without light, we are unsure, unsteady, unable to see! We need the light; we crave the light. What if you were blind and living in total darkness?
Jesus encountered a man who had been blind since birth. John captures the narrative in John 9:1-41. Take a moment to read it. This narrative helps answer some very important questions: What is spiritual blindness? Why does suffering exist in this world? How can I shine light in a dark world? What is the cure for spiritual blindness?
What is spiritual blindness?
Spiritual blindness can be defined as a rejection of Jesus Christ and the choice to live in darkness over light; it is “willful unbelief.” (Acts 28:26). In this story, we get a vivid picture of spiritual blindness. No doubt it is in the Bible to help people trapped in spiritual darkness to see the light; to have their blindness cured; to inspire them to believe!
When Jesus and his disciples meet this blind man, the disciples ask him who sinned to cause his blindness? In their time, Rabbis taught that all physical ailment was the result of sin. But Jesus made clear that this man’s blindness was for another reason, which helps us answer a vital theological question:
Why does suffering exist in life?
Suffering may exist so that God’s work can be seen! 3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. John 9:3. Understanding this truth, can encourage us and offer us peace when we are going through a difficult season in life. God is always at work, even when life doesn’t seem to make sense!
Joseph’s story, captured in Genesis 39ff, helps us understand this vital truth. His very own brothers sold him into slavery. Can you imagine how he must have felt? But God was at work, even in his brothers’ vindictive act. Years later, after living through a series of highs and lows, Joseph would face his repentant brothers: 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. Genesis 50:20
God put his power on display in Joseph’s life! He was about to put his power on display in this blind man’s life. God wants to put His power on display in your life!
Your life may not make much sense right now. Maybe you think you are enduring more than your share of heartache and suffering. Maybe you think God has abandoned you. But don’t doubt that God is at work in your life, ready to display His work!
How can I shine the light of Christ in this dark world?
4 As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.
5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” John 9:4-5. Believers are called to do the works of God in this world! How can we do that? Shine Christ’s light by doing good deeds for God’s glory! 14 “You are the light of the world… 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16
What good deeds can you do to glorify God? What would that look like in your life? Bringing light into darkness may require getting your hands dirty! 6 After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. John 9:6
Jesus could have healed this man with a word, but instead, He got His hands dirty. Why did He do that? Maybe Jesus wanted us to see that to bring light to a dark world, to do good deeds, we may need to get our hands dirty. It may involve some effort, some energy, some sacrifice to shine light in a dark world. Are you willing to do that? What will you do for Christ’s sake to shine His light into darkness?
What is the cure for spiritual darkness?
7 “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing. John 9:7. Why did Jesus tell him to go and wash in this pool? Because he had mud in his eyes! But more than that, Jesus wanted the man to show faith, to trust in Him. For this man to see light, he had to show faith, to believe!
If you want to see the light, wash the mud out of your eyes and believe! (John 1:12). Belief is the cure for spiritual blindness! The Pharisees who later questioned this man refused to believe, no matter how much evidence they found. Refusal to believe despite overwhelming evidence is a primary characteristic of “willful unbelief.” (John 9:8-34)
But this blind man believed and he worshipped Jesus! He was blind, but now he sees! Will you see the light? Will you lead others to believe? Will you shine the light of Christ to those living in darkness? For much more, click here to listen to The Jesus Experience - Part 8 - The Blind.