I was reading my Bible recently when I came across the account in John 9 about the blind man at the pool of Siloam. The first few verses hit me pretty hard. They read: “As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind?’ Jesus answered, ‘It was neither this man nor his parents, but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in Him’” (John 9:1-3). Wow. What an extreme sense of purpose there is behind that statement! God can take any circumstance, any hardship, any deformity, and use it to do His work.
Whether we can see physically or not, as imperfect people, we are blind alone. We cannot see spiritually without God. In Isaiah 59, the prophet writes about the iniquity of his people and the separation from God it caused. In verse 10, he writes, “We grope along the wall like blind men, we grope like those who have no eyes.” However, there is hope for us. Jesus tells us so in John 9:5: “While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.” How do we get rid of this deformity of spiritual blindness and allow God to display his work in us? Let’s see.
Obey. Take a look at verses 6 and 7. The text reads, “When He had said this, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and applied the clay to his eyes, and said to him, ‘Go and wash in the pool of Siloam.’” The blind man could have dismissed Jesus as a lunatic. He could have scorned this avenue of healing, much like Naaman in 2 Kings 5. However, he didn’t do either of these things. He saw the hopelessness of his situation, recognized Jesus as his only hope, and “went away and washed, and came back seeing.”
Much as Jesus’ instruction might not have made much sense to the blind man, we might not always understand God’s instructions for the way we live our lives, but if we will follow Him, He will perfect and complete our lives. As Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 1:18, “the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” Studying to understand God’s commandments is essential, of course, but they’re not up for debate if they don’t make sense to us. Like the blind man, we need to realize that we need help, and that only Jesus can give it. We need to obey His plan for salvation (hear, believe, repent, confess, be baptized, and live faithfully) in recognition that it is the only way to heaven (Acts 4:12).
In so doing, we allow God to make the needed change in our lives, and can begin walking in His Light (1 John 1:7).
Make the change visible. This healing did not only affect the blind man, but also the people around him. John 9:8 tells us that “the neighbors, and those who previously saw him as a beggar, were saying, ‘Is not this the one who used to sit and beg?’” What good is our salvation, our spiritual sight, if no one else even notices it’s there? Following Jesus’ example, we are to be “the light of the world” (Matthew 5:12). If we’re true Christians, others around us WILL notice—the change is as clear as a blind man receiving sight.
Defend your Lord at all costs. If you’ll read over John 9, you’ll see that the once-blind man is taken before the Pharisees because Jesus healed him on a Sabbath (this was an offense because Jews were not to work on the Sabbath day). At first the Pharisees try to pass it off as a hoax, but the testimony of the man’s parents crushes this theory. Even though his parents basically abandon him to fend for himself (John 9:21-23), the man continues to testify that Jesus’ power comes from God. He knows very little about who Jesus actually is, but to the Pharisees’ accusation, he replies, “One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see” (v. 25). He further reasons, “Since the beginning of time it has never been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. If this man were not from God, He could do nothing” (v. 32-33). The Pharisees proceed to throw him out of the synagogue.
This man’s faith amazes me. He hardly even knew who Jesus was, but he defended Him just the same, at the risk of being ousted from the religion he’d followed probably since birth. How much more should we, who have a good understanding of Christ and His gospel (and an amazing Book outlining everything we need to know) defend Him when He is scorned? 1 Peter 3:15 commands us always to be “ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you.” Through an accurate handling of His Word (2 Timothy 2:15), we will be prepared to defend Jesus when the time comes.
If we openly and visibly obey God’s commands, and defend our choice to do so, we display God’s work in us, just like the no-longer-blind man. What better way to end but with the lines of the old song? I once was lost, but now am found; was blind, but now I see.
By Melissa Hite
Melissa (age 16) attends Bear Valley church of Christ with her parents, Michael and Lynn, and her little brother, Matthew. Her goals include continually growing closer to God and eventually becoming a writer and a mom. On her blog, Christ Crossed My Heart, you can find other poignant, well-written posts.