READ : John 9:1-12
“Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” (v. 2)
Few of the people in our present series of readings are dealt with at such length as the man who was born blind. Nearly two chapters, 89 verses, center on him. Yet he is never named. Perhaps it’s because he represents Everyman—the Everyman to whom Christ comes as “the light of the world.” The disciples’ question is universal too. “Why this man’s affliction?” opens up the whole problem of evil.
Do you notice that whereas they asked the cause of the man’s blindness, Jesus redirected their thinking with an answer about the purpose of it?
Your suffering may be your own fault, or your parents’, or your enemy’s, or your neighbor’s, or your ancestors’, or, in the last analysis, the effect of what Milton called “Man’s First Disobedience” in the garden of Eden. But questions about the “why of cause“ can be academic and not very helpful. Think rather of the “why of purpose.” Jesus said the man had been born blind so that in due course “God’s works might be revealed in him.”
That purpose would still include things hard to bear; he was later thrown out of the fellowship of the synagogue. But that was more than compensated by his having found his sight, and his Savior.
Open our eyes, Lord, to your grand purposes for your people.