Posted on: 2014-04-02

God’s time is the best
The Bible story of the man who was born blind is replete with lessons for contemporary Christian living. Too often we see only the miracle of the episode. Yet there are lessons of greater importance all around that miracle of Jesus opening the eyes of the blind man. (Jn 9:1-41). It begins: “As Jesus passed by he saw a man, blind from his birth…” This phrase poses a real challenge to the faith of many modern-day Christians who believe that all who have serious problems or heavy crosses to bear have to run around for miracles. Jesus was not sought out, he simply came passing by. So where is the God of “now-now” “immediately” which is much vaunted these days? Where was God all this blind man’s life? God simply does not play according to the rules set by anyone. What is put in crisis here is not genuine faith. It is the watered-down Christianity which claims to procure all sorts of miracles according to the time-table of self-serving “witchdoctors” claiming to have spoken to God at breakfast. Was this man foolish, having been blind from birth and found sitting there? It flies in the face of the inordinate restiveness of today’s world in the face of sickness or adversity. God simply works his own timetable and it is preposterous to think that man has the power or the tricks to make him change his plans. Faith is not a deadline-inducing devise for God. It is meant to make us comply with and conform to the will of the Almighty God.
As the heavens are above the earth
Then the disciples raise another issue with Jesus. “Why has this man been born blind?” they asked the Master. “Is it as a result of sin?” Jesus then taught another lesson which today’s world generally refuses to imbibe. We must be able, sometimes, to think of higher things. “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be made manifest in him” (Jn. 9:3).God can use sickness for his purpose. Besides, the prophet Ezekiel gave us the gift of God’s promise. No one will be punished for the sins of another. “Why are you applying this proverb to the land of Israel: ‘The parents have eaten sour grapes and the children’s teeth are set on edge’? As I live, word of Yahweh, this proverb will no longer be quoted in Israel. All life is in my hands, the life of the parent and the life of the child are mine. The lives of both are in my hands, so the one who sins will die” (Ezek. 18: 2-4). The prophecy from Ezekiel cancels out the previous vicious assertion that God will exact payment for sin up to the fourth generation. Prophets and pastors of today who still live in that odd moment of history have a lesson to learn. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts…says Yahweh. For as the heavens are above the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts above your thoughts” (Is. 55: 8-9).
You must play your part
God can do everything but he will not do for us what we can do for ourselves. Contemporary tendency to turn God into a private handyman who attends to every issue no matter how small or personal is well trashed in this story. Jesus healed the blind man but thereafter, the man who could now see, had to play a lot of his game himself, facing much opposition as he did. He had to go and wash in the pool of Siloam. No one else, least of all Jesus, did that for him. He had to defend himself coming under immediate attack from the Pharisees and the Jews. He staunchly declared his conviction that Jesus was from God such that they eventually cast him out. Even his parents had to stand to speak. A good question to ask is why and how would Jesus have disappeared during that period of tribulation? Should he not have stood by to protect the man he healed on the Sabbath? It would seem that this man became worse off after he got healed than when he was blind. He lost his welcome in the community, having been cast out by the Pharisees.
Through trial to triumph
The Bible showed us however that it was precisely after the man born blind had been cast out that he knew Jesus in his full capacity as the savior. “Jesus heard that they had expelled him. He found him and said, ‘Do you believe in the Son of Man?’ He answered: ‘Who is he that I might believe in him?’ Jesus said, ‘You have seen him and he is speaking to you.’ He said, ‘Lord, I believe’; and he worshiped him” (Jn 9:35-38). The real healing of this blind man occurred actually at this very last part of this Gospel. He asked to be shown who the Son of Man is. When this favor was granted him, the Bible tells us, “He worshiped him”. This then is the ultimate miracle as well as the end of all miracles; that we come into relationship with God. That right relationship has the power to heal all ailments and bring eternal life. Union with God is the apex of all human hearts’ desires. As St. Augustine said: “Our hearts are restless until they rest in thee, Oh God”.