People alienated from God due to the curse of sin come up with some strange theological conclusions. People who claim to know God come up with some strange theological conclusions. The reason can be debated until the cows come home, but there is no denying that John 9 captures one such example and an opportunity for Jesus to debunk it as he progresses to the cross to deal with all such sin and misunderstanding and lies and hurt that comes from any of it.
John 9:1-5 (CSB) 1 As he was passing by, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” Jesus answered. “This came about so that God’s works might be displayed in him. 4 We must do the works of him who sent me while it is day. Night is coming when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
Jesus’ own disciples have been influenced by the strange idea that birth defects are a result of either the parents or the person has some sin issue that is covered up, and God has cursed them with this defect to punish them for the sin.
Jesus’ statement is astonishing and correcting and refreshing all at the same time. Jesus’ answer to the question about whose sin has caused this blindness is: “Neither”.
Make no mistake. The Bible is clear. The man and his parents are guilty of sin. The curse of sin has infected the whole human race and created order, and things are broken badly. But this man’s blindness from birth is not God’s punishment on the man or his parents for some sin they’ve tried to hide.
Our status as “sinner” because of the curse of sin is not the reason we have health challenges. Health challenges, no doubt, come about because of the curse of sin in all the created order, but it’s not God punishing people for hidden sin.
No, Jesus says something amazing. “This came about so that God’s works might be displayed in him”
Wow. This man was born blind so that God might show his glory in him!
Somehow, God has providentially woven history, people, circumstances, and even the curse of sin together and convened them all at this point in time so that Jesus can shed the Light of the Word on the situation and display God’s glory and power over the curse of sin.
You would think that Jesus healing this man, correcting their theology about sin and its effects, and showing God’s glory would bring about the worship of the doubters, but it does not. In fact, the religious leadership is upset that Jesus healed the man on a Sabbath, and we get this standoff between them, him, and his parents about Jesus and healing on the Sabbath.
The best part of this encounter? The formerly blind man rebukes the Pharisees for not recognizing that Jesus has to be special, and they can’t even locate him and don’t understand what’s going on, so they kick him out of the synagogue, but Jesus is not done healing.
Jesus heard the bad news, and finds the man, and asks him, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” The man responds, “I believe, Lord”, and he worshiped Jesus. The man received two healings: Physical blindness and spiritual blindness.
But, that last one received will have to be paid for and fully secured. How? The cross. Jesus will need to trample over death and the curse by dying and receiving the full fury of the curse on himself.
Let the tension build. Jesus is doing so much good, and yet we know what’s coming. Walk with him to that rugged cross on that old hill of a skull where he’ll purchase finally and fully everything he did for this man and what he has done and will do for us.