“He saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ Jesus answered, ‘It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him…’ Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud and said to him, ‘Go, wash in the pool of Siloam.’ So he went and washed and came back seeing.
“The neighbors were saying, ‘Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?..’ So they said to him, ‘Then how were your eyes opened?’ 11 He answered, ‘The man called Jesus made mud and anointed my eyes and said to me, “Go to Siloam and wash.” So I went and washed and received my sight.’ 12 They said to him, “Where is he?”
“It was a Sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. 15 So the Pharisees asked him how he had received his sight… ‘He put mud on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.’ Some said, ‘This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.’ But others said, ‘How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?..’
“For the second time [the Jews] said to him, ‘We know that this man is a sinner.’ He answered, ‘Whether he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.’” John 9:1-3,6-8,10-12,14-16,24-25
Seeing the blind man, the disciples jumped to judgment and wanted to assign blame. They tripped over the why, and thought attributing cause would be resolving. Wouldn’t you think they’d have some compassion?
His neighbors stumbled over the impossibility of it all. How was the beggar healed? Was this really he? How and who and where? Who was this healer? Wouldn’t you think they’d marvel at the miracle, ask what it was like to see for the first time, and embrace him?
The self-righteous Pharisees consumed themselves with rules, castigating this ‘sinner’ who would do such an appalling thing as stir mud on the Sabbath. Their feet tripped on tradition, their fingers wagged, their fists shook. Wouldn’t you think they’d look beyond legalism to consider the marvelous transformation of this young man and his family?
What about us? When others fall, or are stuck in unfortunate life circumstances, do we blame, criticize, dismiss, or strut in superiority to avoid them? Shouldn’t we care enough to enter their pain, come alongside, and do what we can to assist and encourage? When someone chooses a different style or political view than we prefer, follows an unusual career path, or applies Scripture differently (but sincerely), do we nitpick and major on minors? Shouldn’t we could exercise the maturity and grace to value our fellow image-bearers, accept differences, look at the big picture, and do what we can to keep unity in the bond of peace? (Ephesians 4:1-3)
Wouldn’t you think we could be like Jesus? The key is rememberng the one thing: we were blind, and now we see. Jesus saves, and He in grace saved us, based on nothing we’ve done or deserved. And because of this we can shake off the tangle of flesh, freely rejoice, and love with genuine compassion.(Romans 12:15; Ephesians 2:8-10)
Lord, elevate my thinking and living to Your ways and ends.