Summary: The Father's will is to heal and bless his children. Some are satisfied with bodily healing; we must go a step further and receive spiritual healing.
Today’s story from John’s gospel is about a solitary human being who was born blind. He had never seen a sunrise or the beauty of a flower. He hadn’t seen the face of his parents or another human being and yet…….. he never complained. He was alive but his world was darkened without sight. He never chose to be born blind but his blindness left him with no choice but to beg. But the good news is his situation was about to change forever.
Friends, I wonder if there is anyone here this morning who has been going through a rough time in life? We don’t choose problems but they come to us. Some of them are heavy and unbearable and humanly speaking there may not seem to be a way out; but I want to encourage you because with God all things are possible. Just like Jesus came to the blind man, I want you to believe that he is coming and on his way to you! All you need is faith in the one who is able to bless you above and beyond what you can think or imagine.
If you listened carefully to the reading, you might have noticed that everybody seemed to know this solitary man. They knew he was blind from birth and that he begged every day but they did nothing to help him. The Pharisees who were really “church folk” of that time were more concerned about who healed the man rather than celebrating the fact that he was blind but now able to see!
Friends, if you take time to look around you will see a lot of suffering in the world – perhaps even in your own community. We can walk right past and do nothing or we can choose to make a difference. How we respond to the less fortunate of the world is directly related to our relationship with the Lord. We can sow love, compassion and blessings or choose to be blind even though we’ve been blessed with 20/20 vision. God gave us a heart of flesh but some have turned it into a heart of stone. God found this hardness among his own chosen people and said:
“I need to cleanse you and give you a new heart. I will also put a new spirit within you and I will remove the heart of stone from your body and give you a heart of flesh.” (Eze. 36:25-26).
It is easy to ignore or be indifferent to human suffering but there is coming a time when the goats will be separated from the sheep. Many will be cast into an everlasting fire because they did not help the hungry, thirsty, naked or sick of this world. We read about this in Matt ch 25 where Jesus says “as much as you did it to the least of these, you did it to me.” I believe Jesus sends the blind, the weak and sick and the hungry to us to see how we treat them. It is an opportunity to honor God and his word and show that we love him. God is counting on folk like you and me to share his love and help alleviate suffering.
At the same time, the evil one plants a different message in our hearts. For example, in the eastern world (especially in countries like Iran) when someone sees a beggar, they stop not to give him money but to kick him. The reasoning is that if God did not show him mercy and caused him to be blind and beg, then why should they do any better?
It is interesting that most Asians believe in the doctrine of transmigration which is rebirth into another human body. So, if someone was bad in a prior life, they would be paying for it in this life which is why the disciples asked “who sinned, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind.” Humanity is about retribution whereas God is about grace and forgiveness.
Notice, Jesus refused to associate suffering to sin when he said neither this man nor his parents sinned to cause this. Friend, I wonder if you are associating a problem in your life to sin? Perhaps there is someone who keeps reminding you that such and such has come to you because of what you might have done in the past. From today’s story, we know that is not true. It is also not true because when you received Christ into your heart your sins were washed away. We stand blameless and spotless before the throne of God because of what Jesus did for us. You don’t have to beat yourself up because Jesus was already beaten and bruised for you.
That is why even if I am bad in this life I do not have to pay for it because my Lord already did. The children of the world believe in transmigration but children of God believe in transformation. One leads to misery while the other leads to a glorious forgiven and blessed life through Jesus Christ. I cannot tell you why some people suffer and others don’t but I can tell you that where there is sorrow, sickness or pain, there you will surely find the Savior.