John 9:1-7 (the message)
Walking down the street, Jesus saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked, “Rabbi, who sinned: this man or his parents, causing him to be born blind?”
Jesus said, “You’re asking the wrong question. You’re looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do. We need to be energetically at work for the One who sent me here, working while the sun shines. When night falls, the workday is over. For as long as I am in the world, there is plenty of light. I am the world’s light.”
He said this and then spit in the dust, made a clay paste with saliva, rubbed the paste on the blind man’s eyes, and said, “Go, wash at the Pool of Siloam (Siloam means “sent”). The man went and washed–and saw.
In attempts to find a napping schedule that will help Leighton in the after-school hours, we are trying a short morning nap and hopefully a longer afternoon nap. Third grade math and tired, crying baby don’t go hand in hand. Smile…
For these few moments I sit and open up to John. As I’m reading chapter nine and this story of Jesus healing the blind man by spitting in the dirt and rubbing the paste on his eyes, I pause. Instead of reading over it and just chalking it up to something I don’t get I ask from my heart, Why Lord? Why did you spit into the dirt and rub it over this man’s eyes?
This entire chapter and story reaches my heart today on different levels. I know I can’t write all of my thoughts in the next twenty-five minutes! Nor would you like to read a post that long! But as for the first seven verses and the way Jesus healed this man, I see something of my life here.
I can picture in my mind’s eye the disciples walking along with Jesus and as they come across this man born blind (obviously this was a well-known fact), they take this opportunity to pontificate. It makes me laugh aloud as I write. Picture it…Peter the fisherman so brash, Matthew the hated tax collector, Nathaniel the “genuine Israelite” so blunt and bold…quite a cast of characters and not a philosophical bunch! I wonder were they trying to impress Jesus with their question about who sinned. Were they trying to appear “deep” and “spiritual” by looking for the why and how of this man’s plight. Maybe not. Maybe they truly wanted to understand what they saw as the cause and effect of sin. Either way, Jesus answers by correcting their question. He tells them, you guys are looking at this all wrong. The right question isn’t why or how or who is to blame…the right question, the only answer that matters, is what God can do.
Now, this is just my heart today. You know I always say I’m no Bible Scholar! But let’s just take a minute to really consider what Jesus did next. He spit, spit!, into the dirt and made a paste. Then he rubbed said paste onto this blind man’s eyes! First off, I bet when the disciples…these men who witnessed the fish and loaves feed five thousand and huge pots of water be served as wedding wine…imagined God doing something for this blind man it did not involve spit. You know what I’m saying? Maybe their desire to analyze his life rather than actually help this man prompted Jesus. Because just when you think you have Jesus figured out He is going to surprise you. These same men, along with many others, were waiting for Messiah to overthrow the Roman government, to take His seat on the throne of Israel. Instead they would watch Jesus stretch wide His arms and open His palms. Receive every blow of hammer and nail. Every bloody lash of a beating that left Him unrecognizable. The very crown they anticipated was made of thorns. And Jesus surrendered willingly. It was God’s perfect plan for redemption. For rebuilding His people and revealing Himself to mankind in a brand new way. It did not make sense, but for those of us who believe, it is the difference between life and death. Blindness and Sight.
I consider this blind man as I give myself eight more minutes to write! Can you imagine? He couldn’t see what Jesus was doing. I don’t know if he overheard the discussion they were having. I wonder did he hear the sound of Jesus spitting in the dirt. What did he think as this man began spreading this saliva-paste over his eyes? Were people watching? Were they laughing? Or was the crowd silent…waiting to see what this Jesus was up to now? Was there anticipation or mocking confusion?
Did it matter?
This man did not slap the hands of God away as they redeemed his sight. He did not buck and kick against what he couldn’t understand. He did not stop Jesus with questions or a need for explanations. He let Jesus do His thing. He let God have His way. He did not insist on answers and understanding. Jesus had the power to give him sight and redeem his circumstance. God was glorified in this man’s life as he, without speaking any words, said the one thing that matters most:
Have Your way, Messiah. Do it Your way. I trust You, even when I don’t understand.
I’m prone to pontificate, as well (in case you couldn’t guess). I analyze and ponder. I always have. I guess it’s part of how God made me for a reason. But so often I live like the disciples. Asking the wrong questions. Asking too many questions! Needing so deeply to understand. This morning I sense in my heart an encouragement to take on the childlike faith of this man born blind.
Jesus, we don’t need to understand everything. And obviously You don’t intend for us to and will not give every answer we want. Maybe like the twelve, we’ve been intent on cause and effect. Slapping away the hands of healing trying their best to restore our vision because it doesn’t make sense to us. Maybe it’s past time we let You rub the paste of incomprehensible surrender onto our eyes. In the end we will see Your glory and the answers and reasons why won’t matter anymore.
At Your Word and in Your time, this particular season of not understanding Your ways will be washed away in the Pool of Siloam. I’ll see Your face more clearly than before and that will be all that matters to me. In the mean time I’ll listen for Your voice. Wait for the touch of Your mud-caked fingers. Ask only that You do what You want to do in and with me.