'Why, this is a marvelous thing, that you do not know where He is from; yet He has opened my eyes! Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him. Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind. If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing.'
They answered and said to him, 'You were completely born in sins, and are you teaching us?' And they cast him out.
This blind man's story is so crucial that God gives it an entire Bible Chapter.* Why? Consider one critical reason: Readers gain new insights on suffering. Because before this key revelation, believers thought suffering came from sin: not just looking back to Adam and Eve, but sins more immediate to themselves--like the famous book, Crime and Punishment.**
'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 would be born blind?' Jesus answered, 'It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him' ' (John 9:1-3).
But after the blind man regained his sight, his distress took a new form: rejection. The Pharisees interrogated him again and again--even his parents. Their hammering caused a strange reaction. Instead of weakening, his faith was forged.
Although the Pharisees rejected him, the Savior of the world accepted him. Although religious kin ejected him, a new family in Christ welcomed him.
Actors, models and talent for Christ: Jesus said you would be rejected, and it hurts the most from people we love--but Jesus said to expect that, too: 'Brother will betray brother to death' (Matthew 10:21). So if your church brethren reject you, love them anyway, but move forward.
If iron and steel are forged, if diamonds are hard pressed, if gold is mined from ore, if silver is refined, if pearls coat irritants, if muscles grow from stress, then strength and beauty are being formed. Another plus from man's rejection? An increase of alone-time with God.
To Be Continued...
* John 9, an entire Chapter about the man born blind: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+9&version=NKJV
* Thorough commentary, Jesus, the Light of the World, Opens the Eyes of a Man Born Blind: https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/commentaries/IVP-NT/John/Jesus-Light-World-Opens-Eyes
** Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
** Job's three friends (who loved God and knew His Word) were under the same religious misimpression. Their judgmental contemplations increased Job's misery, as they tried to pin Job's dire circumstances upon sins they believed he must have committed. Yes, sinners will suffer, but we are not nearly wise enough to judge in such matters. God's mercy, purpose and time tables are His alone. Yes, He gives us wisdom and understanding, but never to His degree. He is God. Our time is better spent in confessing our own sins and recommitting ourselves every day to a closer walk with God.
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Suffering series.