ATP Blog #61
We often wonder why some people are born perfectly whole, while others are missing body parts or abilities. In Jesus’ day they wondered too! In fact they had some interesting theories about that, as comes out in todays passage. Now, you must know that we are not talking about someone who had an industrial accident, or came to their current condition through disease. The study for today is focused on deformity from birth.
Sit Rep ‘As Jesus passed by, He saw a man which was blind from his birth.’ Christ, and His disciples, are in or near Jerusalem. As they walk along the road, they encounter a blind man. Obviously they have inquired of him, or those who knew him, his story. In the process, they discover that the man had been blind right from birth. The disciples took the opportunity to ask Jesus His thoughts on the situation.
Tradition ‘His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”’ Jewish tradition explained physical deformities at birth by stating that sin must have been committed by the parents. I am not sure why they would insinuate that this man’s own sin was the cause of his birth with this affliction. We see this in the book of Job, where suffering is explained as a consequence for sin.
Scripture Is there president for this in the Scripture? Psalm 38:3 says, ‘There is no soundness in my flesh because of your indignation; there is no health in my bones because of my sin.’ We also know from Genesis 3 (original sin) that there are definitely serious consequences for sin, but we also see in Job that suffering is not always a consequence, in fact, it is not always ‘deserved.’
Purpose ‘Jesus answered, “Neither has this man sinned, nor his parents; but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.”’ Jesus is not saying that the man has never sinned, but is saying that the purpose of his blindness is definitely not a consequence for sin; rather it is an opportunity for God to be glorified. It is very interesting to note that Jesus did not heal every sick or deformed person in Jerusalem! This man was in the right place, at the right time, and with the right heart, for Jesus to heal him.
Opportunity Next session we will examine how Jesus healed him, and why. For today, let us understand that there is sickness and disease in this world. Our sin nature brings about some of it, but the rest is there so that God can get the glory, we just need to look for how that will happen; sometimes it could be through you and your prayers for that person! James reminds us (5:16b), ‘The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.’ Jesus often healed with just a touch. Miraculous healing has not ceased, but has changed in method. Most often, God wants us to lay hands on the person and pray for them. When we come to realize the opportunities, as the disciples did in today’s episode, then take those opportunities, then God gets the glory through the ‘works’ that He has prepared for us to do (Ephesians 2:10), which can include praying for the miraculous healing of a person.