April 1, 2011

April 1: Like the blind man

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By Nate Manning, a junior interdisciplinary major from Middleville, Mich.
SCRIPTURE: John 9:1-41 (NRSV)
Scroll down for complete Scripture.

DEVOTIONAL:
When I read today’s passage, I think of the beautiful song written by John Newton. Amazing Grace has been sung in churches all over the world since it was penned in the 1760s. The particular line that stands out is “how precious did that grace appear, the hour I first believed.” Do you remember the hour that you first believed? Do you remember when you first understood the need for a savior and found hope and love in Jesus Christ? I know when I first believed I could not handle it. I couldn’t hold it in. I wanted everyone to know. Why does it seem so easy to share what Christ has done for us when we first believe, but as we grow “closer” to God, we seem to lose that fire that we had to share what Christ has done?

The blind man in this story had this boldness. He knew how precious this love was from Christ. He understood that he may not be the most popular man because of his decision to believe Christ. He had to take a risk. The blind man’s parents would not even tell the Pharisees that he was healed by Jesus. They knew they could be ridiculed. The blind man did not care about this. He knew he was blind, and then he could see.

Jesus says in Matthew 10:24 that he did not come to bring peace to the world but a sword. This story of the blind man is an example of this claim. A miracle was performed on the man but many people were so confident that he could not be the messiah. This caused great conflict that eventually led to his death. When Jesus touches us, we need to be bold like the blind man, even if this means stirring up some conflict, because this world is a world of sin. We should be the salt in the world as Jesus teaches in the Sermon on the Mount.

SCRIPTURE: John 9:1-41 (NRSV)
1As he walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him. 4We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. 5As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man’s eyes, 7saying to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). Then he went and washed and came back able to see. 8The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar began to ask, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” 9Some were saying, “It is he.” Others were saying, “No, but it is someone like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.” 10But they kept asking him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” 11He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud, spread it on my eyes, and said to me, “Go to Siloam and wash.’ Then I went and washed and received my sight.” 12They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.” 13They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. 14Now it was a sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. 15Then the Pharisees also began to ask him how he had received his sight. He said to them, “He put mud on my eyes. Then I washed, and now I see.” 16Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not observe the sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?” And they were divided. 17So they said again to the blind man, “What do you say about him? It was your eyes he opened.” He said, “He is a prophet.” 18The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight 19and asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” 20His parents answered, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; 21but we do not know how it is that now he sees, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.” 22His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that anyone who confessed Jesus to be the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. 23Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.” 24So for the second time they called the man who had been blind, and they said to him, “Give glory to God! We know that this man is a sinner.” 25He answered, “I do not know whether he is a sinner. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” 26They said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” 27He answered them, “I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?” 28Then they reviled him, saying, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. 29We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.” 30The man answered, “Here is an astonishing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. 31We know that God does not listen to sinners, but he does listen to one who worships him and obeys his will. 32Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. 33If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” 34They answered him, “You were born entirely in sins, and are you trying to teach us?” And they drove him out. 35Jesus heard that they had driven him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 36He answered, “And who is he, sir? Tell me, so that I may believe in him.” 37Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and the one speaking with you is he.” 38He said, “Lord, I believe.” And he worshiped him. 39Jesus said, “I came into this world for judgment so that those who do not see may see, and those who do see may become blind.” 40Some of the Pharisees near him heard this and said to him, “Surely we are not blind, are we?” 41Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would not have sin. But now that you say, “We see,’ your sin remains.

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Comments (5)

  1. Nate, Amazing scripture….and good meditation. Thanks!

    Ora April 1, 2011 |
  2. Thanks Nate! Our church is reading the John 9 everyday for Lent. There are amazing messages in this passage. Thanks for your reflections!

    Vicky Kirkton April 1, 2011 |
  3. Great questions! I want to be bold in sharing Christ with others. He continues to do amazing work every day and I don’t want to take that for granted or to be smug in the benefits I enjoy. Thanks for reminding me of this today!

    Ruth April 1, 2011 |
  4. My heart is blessed beyond words, Nate, that your passion in this life is to share what Jesus Christ has done for you!! I love you, son<3

    Mom April 2, 2011 |
  5. Dear Nate, Thank you for your profound reflection. When we humbly confess our blindness, we express our need for the light of Christ which makes us bold to witness to him.
    Love you, dear Nate,.
    Mervyn Carapiet

    Mervyn Carapiet April 2, 2011 |