The Time Jesus Poked the Belly of the Beast

The Time Jesus Saw a Man Blind from Birth

Jesus saw and healed many blind people in His ministry, but John’s account in Chapter 9 of his Gospel is unique. Why? Because we get an inside peep into the disciples’ thinking—a glimpse into how easy it is to turn someone else’s pain into our latest debate.

Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’”

(John 9:1, 2)

Where Jesus saw a human being worthy of compassion and care, the disciples saw a theological debate. Worse, they assumed the man was somehow deserving of his affliction. Twisted by religious dogma, they played the blame game: who sinned, the man or his parents?

Jesus batted away the question before healing the man in a show of compassion and care (vv. 3-7).

The Message Version has an interesting way of translating Jesus’ response to the disciples’ flawed enquiry:

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.

(John 9:3, The Message)

“You’re asking the wrong question.”

That’s exactly what religion does. Not only does it turn opportunities to show God’s love into theological debates, but it settles on “right” answers to wrong questions. And it’s often done glibly. Without heart and void of empathy.

How often do I see doctrinal issues instead of people worthy of God’s love and care?

In twisted irony, how often am I blind to the hurt and pain of those ostracised and rejected from religious circles because I’m playing the blame game?

Jesus modelled a new way.

He saw the blind man. And He showed the man compassion and care.

Rather than asking wrong questions (or worse, proposing “right” answers to the wrong questions), Jesus says,

Look instead for what God can do.

(John 9:3, The Message)

In other words, see people as worthy of God’s compassion and care. And then seek to be a vessel of His self-giving love.

FURTHER READING

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