Yesterday, my pastor taught on “Finding God in Relationships.” One of the things he hit on was the one-to-one correlation that first century Jews had regarding sin and sickness. This is what Jesus is being questioned about in John 9:1-12. His disciples, faced with the same perplexing questions about suffering we still seek answers to today, asked Jesus why a beggar, blind from birth, had been born blind. Whose fault was it, his or his parents? The underlying assumption is that his blindness was directly related to someones sin. Jesus answer is “neither.”
It’s not always as cut and dry as that. Sickness isn’t always the result of specific sin. Instead, it is more often the result of Sin being in the world at all. Just like innocent people can be caught up in the poor choices of others, sickness can come upon someone without it behind directly related to their sin or choices they’ve made. Jesus uses this opportunity to show his disciples his entire ministry in miniature.
He spits on the ground, makes some mud, puts it on the man’s eyes and tells him to go wash it off. The man does and he is healed. He can see. Now, that man still ended up dying. He grew older and died. We don’t know how many years he got to walk around on this earth seeing. What Jesus wanted his disciples to see, I think, was two things. First, that his ministry is all about taking away the sin, brokenness and their effects on God’s creation. Though this man’s blindness wasn’t linked directly into his sin, it was linked into the fallen condition of the world. Jesus took those effects away and made the man physically whole.
Second, it takes some faith and action on our part to receive that wholeness. The mud Jesus made wasn’t magic. He doesn’t have super spit. It was the man’s faith in Jesus that healed him. Jesus put goop on his eyes and told him that if he went and washed it off, he would see again (anyone remember Naaman?). In the same way, Jesus asks us today to put faith in him for us to be made whole.
As I go to Servants Quarters tonight to talk about Heaven, I am realizing that my faith in what Jesus has in store for us after this life really does have an impact on how I live now. Do I really believe that Jesus has “sight” in store for me? Am I living my life like the blind man, running to the pool because of what Jesus promised, or like Naaman, who didn’t really believe that washing in a nasty river would really heal him?