By Gary Amirault
The very fact that God has chosen to devote an entire chapter of the Bible to the story below shows the importance He places on its message. If you are a Christian, you are in this story. Read it carefully. Hopefully your eyes will be opened to reveal which character you presently play.
John 9:1 (NCV) As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been born blind.
2 His followers asked him, "Teacher, whose sin caused this man to be born blind--his own sin or his parents' sin?"
3 Jesus answered, "It is not this man's sin or his parents' sin that made him be blind. This man was born blind so that God's power could be shown in him.
4 While it is daytime, we must continue doing the work of the One who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.
5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world."
6 After Jesus said this, he spit on the ground and made some mud with it and put the mud on the man's eyes.
7 Then he told the man, "Go and wash in the Pool of Siloam." (Siloam means Sent.) So the man went, washed, and came back seeing.
8 The neighbors and some people who had earlier seen this man begging said, "Isn't this the same man who used to sit and beg?"
9 Some said, "He is the one," but others said, "No, he only looks like him." The man himself said, "I am the man."
10 They asked, "How did you get your sight?"
11 He answered, "The man named Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. Then he told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see."
12 They asked him, "Where is this man?" "I don't know," he answered.
13 Then the people took to the Pharisees the man who had been blind.
14 The day Jesus had made mud and healed his eyes was a Sabbath day.
15 So now the Pharisees asked the man, "How did you get your sight?" He answered, "He put mud on my eyes, I washed, and now I see."
16 So some of the Pharisees were saying, "This man does not keep the Sabbath day, so he is not from God." But others said, "A man who is a sinner can't do miracles like these." So they could not agree with each other.
17 They asked the man again, "What do you say about him since it was your eyes he opened?" The man answered, "He is a prophet."
18 The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and could now see again. So they sent for the man's parents
19 and asked them, "Is this your son who you say was born blind? Then how does he now see?"
20 His parents answered, "We know that this is our son and that he was born blind.
21 But we don't know how he can now see. We don't know who opened his eyes. Ask him. He is old enough to speak for himself."
22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews, who had already decided that anyone who said Jesus was the Christ would be put out of the synagogue.
23 That is why his parents said, "He is old enough. Ask him."
24 So for the second time, they called the man who had been blind. They said, "You should give God the glory by telling the truth. We know that this man is a sinner."
25 He answered, "I don't know if he is a sinner. One thing I do know: I was blind, and now I see."
26 They asked, "What did he do to you? How did he make you see again?"
27 He answered, "I already told you, and you didn't listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his followers, too?"
28 Then they insulted him and said, "You are his follower, but we are followers of Moses.
29 We know that God spoke to Moses, but we don't even know where this man comes from."
30 The man answered, "This is a very strange thing. You don't know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes.
31 We all know that God does not listen to sinners, but he listens to anyone who worships and obeys him.
32 Nobody has ever heard of anyone giving sight to a man born blind.
33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing."
34 They answered, "You were born full of sin! Are you trying to teach us?" And they threw him out.
35 When Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, Jesus found him and said, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?"
36 He asked, "Who is the Son of Man, sir, so that I can believe in him?"
37 Jesus said to him, "You have seen him. The Son of Man is the one talking with you."
38 He said, "Lord, I believe!" Then the man worshiped Jesus.
39 Jesus said, "I came into this world so that the world could be judged. I came so that the blind would see and so that those who see will become blind."
40 Some of the Pharisees who were nearby heard Jesus say this and asked, "Are you saying we are blind, too?"
41 Jesus said, "If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin. But since you keep saying you see, your guilt remains."
Well, have you discovered yourself in this story yet? If not, perhaps the rest of this article will help open your eyes.
There is much we could say about this true story. But I want to focus on "giving glory to God."
When the blind man was telling the truth, the religious men did not believe him because they already made up their minds that Jesus was a sinner. The religious men heard the story twice and it was confirmed by the blind man's parents, yet they wanted this man to call Jesus a sinner. "You should give God the glory. We know this man is a sinner."
The religious men had a preconceived idea of what the Messiah should be like. They had preconceived ideas about sin and sinners and God's response to them. What happened to the blind man did not conform to their preconceived ideas or traditions. (We must be careful of this ourselves.) From the religious man's point of view, to glorify God meant to call Jesus a sinner, something the man Jesus healed from blindness could not say.
When the religious men continued to press the healed blind man, he began to use their own words against them. They said God does not hear sinners. God obviously heard Jesus because "no one could open the eyes of the blind unless God's favor was on him." At this point, they ridiculed the blind man being insulted that a man born "completely in sin" had the nerve to try to teach them something. They threw him out. This was far more serious than it appears in the text. It was like excommunication in the Roman Catholic church. To be thrown out by them was to be cut off from God, from His promises, covenants, and blessings. In modern christendom terms, he was declared a heretic and consigned to the flames of hell.
While this story happened almost 2 millenniums ago, it is a story which happens every day all over the world. Two thousand years ago, the players were Jews. Today, the players are Christians. The ones thrown out are often those who have had their eyes opened to God's love for all mankind.
To the religious Jew, to give glory to God meant calling Jesus a sinner. The word "to sin" in the Hebrew is the word "chata" which literally means "to miss," as in missing a target with a bow or sling. The Greek word is "hamartano" which means "to miss the mark (and so not share in the prize), to err." It means to fall short of a goal or a purpose. The religious Jews' target or goal was their interpretation of the Law of Moses. "Sin is transgression of the Law." The Jews said they had Moses. They knew who he was, but they did not know who Jesus was. Jesus told them if they knew Moses, they would have recognized Him because Moses pointed to Jesus.
Because Jesus did not conform to the image the religious Jews expected in the Messiah, they declared Jesus a false Messiah, a false Christ. They killed the Christ, and turned the ex-blind man into a heretic.
In today's average church, the "concept of Jesus Christ" states that He in the role of Savior, will save a portion of mankind from eternal torment or annihilation. He will not or cannot, depending upon whether one is a Calvinist or Arminianist, save all mankind. The image, mark, goal, law, standard of the Jesus Christ of christendom is one which sees great quantities of human being in hell, unredeemed, unforgiven, unreconciled, and doomed to an awful eternal existence, forever separated from God.
If Jesus came into the average church even declaring who He was, and said that He was going to save all mankind, he would immediately be declared a heretic, a sinner. Why? Because the image the church has of Jesus Christ is one which calls for a large portion of mankind to be tortured or annihilated. As the Jews say, "We have Moses and the Prophets," the church would say, "We have our Jesus and the Bible."
Jesus said He came to reveal the Father to us. "For the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God." (John 16:27) "For God so loved the world ..." (John 3:16) Jesus came to reveal the will of the Father. "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one Mediator between God an men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time." (1 Timothy 2:3-6, KJV) "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9)
Jesus declared He came to do the will of the Father: "All that the Father gives Me will come to me, and the one who come to Me I will by no means cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me, I should lose nothing but raise it up at the last day. (John 6:37-39) Can we know for certain all that the Father has given Jesus? "The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in His hands." (John 3:35. NIV)
Now if it is the will of the Father that all be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth, and Jesus came to do that will, if He saves everyone, He will have accomplished His goal; if He failed to save everyone, He will have missed the mark of His goal, He will have sinned. The average church clearly believes Jesus will miss the mark, fall short of the Father's desire or will and so fall short of His purpose.
If a person ran into a typical church service declaring he had been religiously blind for all the years he had spent in church, but now he sees that Jesus is going to save everyone, he will be declared a heretic and thrown out of the church just as the healed blind man was thrown out of the synagogue.
Now I say this from personal experience. I once was blind to the Truth and like most Christians, I declared Jesus a sinner like the religious people in Jerusalem did. I said He was not going to save everyone. Then one day He opened my eyes and I saw clearly that He had to save everyone in order to fulfill His mission of doing the Father's will. My eyes were opened to the Scriptures in a new and exciting way. I saw Jesus not "missing the mark," but perfectly completing everything He planned from the foundation of the world. "If I be lifted up from the earth will draw (drag in the Greek) all mankind unto Myself." (John 12:32)
So who are you in the story? The blind man before being healed, or after being healed, or the parents who knew, but were afraid to speak because they feared the religious leadership. Or are you a religious person who says he sees and therefore are still in your sins and as a result still blind? Or are you a blind leader leading the blind; still in your pit of darkness? Are you giving glory the way religious men tell you to do, by calling Jesus a sinner, one who will miss His calling? Or will you be like the healed blind man, cast out of the church, but received by Jesus? (John 9:41) Open our eyes, Lord, we want to see Jesus. And then "Give Glory!"