John 9

Today’s reading is John 9:1–41.
Open your Bible or journal to mark some observations.

+ Note/record the questions asked about the blind man.
+ Note/record what Jesus said about and to the blind man.
Mom slammed the door after Dad’s visitors left. ‘Those men aren’t welcome here ever again.’
Dad shrugged. ‘They meant well.’
Her eyes flashed. ‘Strangers who say that the cause of your multiple sclerosis is sin don’t mean well. Don’t let them in the house again.’

‘Now, Dorothy––‘
‘Don’t you ‘Now, Dorothy’ me!'

The argument I heard my parents having in the 1960s comes to mind whenever I read John 9. The accusations against the blind man are no different than those leveled against my dad.

‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents that he should be born blind?’ the disciples asked.
“You were born entirely in sins and are you teaching us?” the Pharisees asked.

Such cruelties uttered by Jesus’ closest friends and the Jewish leaders of the day had the power to shut the eyes of the blind man’s heart to religion for eternity. But the powerful words of Jesus, who took on human flesh and valued every human life, were far greater than human insults. The truth of what Jesus told the blind man changed the ending of the story.

‘It was neither that the man sinned, nor his parents, but it was in order that the works of God might be displayed in him,’ Jesus said. This affirmation of worth had to be balm for the soul of a man who daily endured false accusations and insults. But his words were only the beginning of the blind man’s healing.

Next, Jesus applied clay to his eyes and said, ‘Go, wash in the pool of Siloam.’ The Savior invited the blind man to partner with him in the healing yet to be done instead of doing everything for him. At the end of the chapter, the blind man also receives the spiritual healing that comes through faith in the one who had first restored his soul and body.

The actions of Jesus should be our guide for interacting with the disability community–whether a person’s condition is physical, developmental, emotional, or behavioral. First, we are to value every human life as a worthy vessel God can use to display his good works. Second, we are to further dignify them by ministering with people who have disabilities rather than always ministering to them. Finally, as relationships of mutual respect grows, God will reveal more of himself so those who don’t yet know him may come to faith.

Just for today–

•  Jesus treated the blind man, marginalized by his society, with the dignity due to him. Who among the marginalized in today’s society does God want you to treat with similar dignity?
•  Instead of ministering to or for someone you know, how could you invite that person to partner with you?
Jolene Philo | Author

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