To listen to, go to: https://youtu.be/UGgYe67c-PY
Prepare to listen. Still your heart and mind with this prayer from Psalm 19: Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
Prayerfully Read John 9:1-7
As he walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ 3Jesus answered, ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him. 4We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. 5As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.’ 6When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man’s eyes, 7saying to him, ‘Go, wash in the pool of Siloam’ (which means Sent). Then he went and washed and came back able to see.
When the disciples saw the blind man, they asked Jesus, “Who sinned?” The man had been blind from birth. Unable to work for a living, he’d spent his life begging. And all the disciples can say is, “Who sinned?” Their question shows a remarkable obtuseness and unconcern for the man’s condition and suffering. They’d often seen Jesus’ compassion to heal, even when no one asked for healing. They knew he possessed unlimited grace and mercy but, instead of asking him to restore sight to a man born blind, they asked to engage in a theological conversation about suffering and sin.
Jesus answers with nonjudgmental patience. Neither this man nor his parents sinned. Suffering isn’t always directly related to sin. The solution, therefore, isn’t confession, as some have claimed. The man’s blindness meant that God’s works, his glory could be revealed. This response isn’t very satisfactory to us 21st century folk who expect instant healing. But it does affirm that God’s works can and will relieve suffering, as Jesus immediately demonstrated by giving sight to the blind man. It’s up to us to determine whether we’ll be agents of compassion who seek the health and wellbeing of the suffering, or be among those who want to engage in theological discussions instead, including discussions about God’s works being revealed in blindness from birth.
Put yourself in the story. Imagine walking with Jesus and seeing suffering. What would you ask Jesus to do?
Respond to Jesus
Forgive me, Lord, when I behave like your disciples of old and want a theological discussion instead of showing compassion to one who needs it. Help me be aware of my responses and quicker to offer help to those who are in need. Amen.
Go live obediently in the world. Offer compassion to the suffering.
Reflection on Scripture has been a constant in my life ever since I can remember. Reflecting on Jesus in the Gospels has become a necessity to get Jesus right. Join me in reading John to see Jesus more clearly this Lent.