A Cycle – 4th Sunday of Lent 20
Jn. 9 1. 6-9. 13 – 17, 34 -38
It is not unusual for us to have a desire to do something which will challenge us or bring us some sense of satisfaction or accomplishment. Some people want to run the New York or Boston Marathon, others would rather see the ancient ruins, or go to the Holy Land. A man I visited last week would like God to heal him of his cancer.
Did you ever wonder if the man born blind since birth ever prayed for sight? The scriptures do not indicate that was his desire. In fact, unlike Bartimaeus who loudly cried out for sight as Jesus passed by, this man was not even aware that Jesus was passing by.
If you pay attention to the scriptures it seems the question by the disciples was the catalyst prompting Jesus to give him sight. We spend so much time thinking about his healing we can easily miss other lessons in this story. God’s reaction to sin is certainly one of the lessons we are to reflect upon and take to heart. The underlying question of the disciples abut why he was blind was based on the belief that sickness and hardships were the direct result of God inflicting punishment on us because of sin.
The response of Jesus was a resounding rejection of that belief because He knew God’s desire is to give us all that is good instead of all that is bad (Jer. 29:11). To demonstrate that desire of God, Jesus gives the man born blind sight. Notice one thing about this parable beyond understanding God’s desire is to restore each of us. The man never asks Jesus to give him sight. Since he never had any vision at all, did he even know what he was missing by not having sight. He never saw a sunrise or a sunset’ he never saw the colors of a rainbow or the beauty of a newborn baby. He would have felt the warmth of the sun on his face, but he never saw the sun or the light of the moon.
All he knew was how to survive each day. In many ways he and others in this story represent us and our own approach to how we respond to the life God offers us.
How many times has Jesus passed by us and we miss the opportunity to cry out to him for that great desire in our heart to be satisfied? How many times are we like the Pharisees whose understanding of God, faith and law prevented them from even considering they were missing the promise of the life God promises all of us. How many times are we like the parents of the man born blind and are afraid to publicly acknowledge Jesus as our Lord and Savior?
If you think about it, everything in this story challenges our concept of how faith should be lived and at the same time offers us the means to satisfy our deepest desires to know God and to feel his presence.
But beyond the characters in the story it is telling us a simple spiritual truth about Jesus, He is constantly coming to us and is willing to change how we see sin and restoration. It is obvious or should be obvious that forgiveness and restoration is a gift of God’s grace and love of us.
It is also obvious in this parable that we, like the blind man, often need to have more than one encounter with Christ before we are willing to say, show me yourself that I might believe.
It is also obvious in this parable Jesus is challenging what we believe by telling us we can be so closed off because of rigid dependence on the law we miss out experiencing the wonder and awe of a miracle working God. A God who transforms hearts and minds; a God who desires to touch our hearts and open our eyes to see His presence in the world and in our lives.