A Spiritual Journey
Today's devotional is somewhat different in style. I want to focus on the story of Jesus healing the man born blind, which we find in John 9. You can read it here: Bible Gateway
Or, below is my creative re-telling of the account. My aim being to help us look at it with fresh eyes (particularly if it's a well-known story for you). Or you may find it helpful to imagine yourself as the blind man.
sat by the roadside as he did every day. A broken young man who was blind from birth and drowning in guilt. He knew this was God’s punishment for some sin of his parents or some sin he had committed in the womb. This was what he’d been told by the religious leaders and others for as long as he could remember, and why should he doubt them? God didn’t love him. He was insignificant, of no use to anyone. And he was without hope.
He was used to people noticing him as they walked by – well, noticing his disability, but not him, not who he really was. He was used to them discussing the cause of his blindness. What he never got used to was the inner pain he experienced every time they spoke with judgement and condemnation, and the reminder that God must be punishing him.
So, it didn’t surprise him when he heard a group of men talking about him with one he imagined must be their rabbi, their teacher. But, then, unlike the usual discussion, their teacher said something he had never, ever expected to hear.
“This man’s blindness is not because of his own sin or that of his parents. It was so that God would be glorified when I do the work God sent me to do. While I’m here I am the light of the world.”
This man spoke with such kindness and compassion, but with a tone of authority too. felt that he really noticed him and cared about who he was. And for the first time, a sense of hope began to dawn from deep within him.
The man explained to that he was going to make some mud from his saliva and dust from the ground to rub over Tobiah's eyes. Then Tobiah would need to go and wash it off in the pool of Siloam.
Now this was no everyday occurrence but because this man was so kind and caring in his manner, and because he could sense there was something different about him, he agreed for this to happen. After all, what had he got to lose? With faith beginning to stir and hope rising allowed the man to touch his eyes.
hesitantly but obediently did as the man said, and oh was he glad he did so! It was a miracle – to receive sight having never known what it was like even once in his life, to have light enter his world where once there had been only darkness. What a transformation! There was no wiping the wide smile spread across his face. He realised now that it was Jesus who had done this for him. He’d heard reports of a man called Jesus who was going around healing people, but he’d never expected this – it was unheard of that a man born blind should be made to see!
Tobiah felt like a new person, he walked in confidence and joy and hope. The encounter with Jesus had totally changed his life. Nothing would be the same again.
His neighbours couldn’t believe their eyes; this couldn’t be . But yes, he insisted, it was he who had once been blind.
“But how did this happen? Who healed you?” They asked.
And gladly he told them exactly what had happened – what the man called Jesus had done and how he had obeyed and received his sight.
“You need to come and tell our religious leaders. They need to know what has happened.”
The religious leaders questioned him and again he gave his answer with the same conviction. “Jesus put mud over my eyes, I washed them as he told me to, and now I can see!”
Now the leaders were divided in their opinion. “This man Jesus can’t be from God, he’s broken the law by working on our day of rest.” But others said “No ordinary man could do such a miracle.”
The leaders continued their questioning and demanded for an answer on what was his opinion of Jesus.
Tobiah told them he thought Jesus must be a prophet.
But the leaders refused to believe. He’d not given them the answers they wanted so they sent for his parents, hoping they would give the answer they wanted. But his parents only confirmed that was indeed their son, and he had been blind from birth. But as for how he could now see they didn’t know, so ask him, he’s old enough now to speak for himself.
They wouldn’t commit to an answer; they were afraid of the consequences. They knew that the leaders had made it clear that anyone who said Jesus was the Messiah, the one sent from God, would be thrown out of the synagogue, which would also mean being cast out of society. They were not willing to risk this.
Again, was brought before the leaders, they became more insistent on getting an answer from him. Not the truth but the answer they wanted to hear. “We know this man, Jesus, is a sinner. Tell us the truth now.” They demanded.
“I don’t know if he’s a sinner” answered Tobiah, “But I do know this, I was blind, and now I see!”
The leaders persisted in questioning him over and over again. They were relentless. Asking him the same thing again and again.
was fed up with this, whereas before he would have been in awe of them, afraid of their authority, now he spoke with confidence, and just a little sarcasm.
“I’ve told you already. Why do you want me to tell you again? Are you thinking of becoming his disciples too?”
This infuriated them and they cursed him. “We are Moses’ disciples, we know God spoke to him, we don’t even know where Jesus comes from.”
“Really?” said Tobiah, “Jesus gave me sight and you say you don’t even know where he comes from. We know God only listens to those who worship him and obey him. Never has anyone been able to give sight to someone born blind, yet Jesus did this. There’s no way he could have done so if he weren’t from God.”
They were furious with Tobiah, how dare he speak to them, the religious leaders in such a way.
In anger they threw him out of the synagogue, banning him from worshipping there. “You were born a sinner; how dare you talk to us in such a way!”
Now Jesus, hearing what had happened to , went to find him. “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” Jesus asked him.
“I want to believe in him. Would you show me who he is?” Tobiah asked.
“He’s speaking to you right now!” said Jesus.
Tobiah realised then that the one who was talking to him was Jesus who had given him eyes to see.
With growing faith, exclaimed “Lord, I do believe!” And he worshipped him.
We have seen how was on a spiritual journey. Gradually, his spiritual eyes were opened to understand who Jesus really is. showed faith and was open to receiving the truth of who Jesus really is. By the end of this account he knew that Jesus is Lord and worthy of his worship. When told Jesus he believed, he was actually saying far more than just belief. He was saying that he trusted him, that he relied on him and that he was committing himself to Jesus.
He learned that faith in Jesus was all about having a relationship with him and not about religion and rules, trying to please God, as the religious leaders wanted people to believe.
Jesus longs for a relationship with me and you too.
To Think About:
The blind man’s experience of journeying in faith is something we all can experience. At the beginning of our journey of faith we don’t fully understand who Jesus is. But as we grow in our faith, we get to know him better and better. What is the journey of faith that you have been on? How has your understanding of Jesus grown over time?
The blind man was able to accept Jesus as Lord of his life. Is Jesus Lord of your life? Of all of your life or are you holding back areas of your life because you want to be in control of them? What difference would it make if you surrendered your whole life to Jesus?
Jesus said in John 9:5 that he is the light of the world. His light shines the way for us to see how to live our lives. Do you allow Jesus’ light to shine into your life? His light reveals attitudes, motives, actions etc. When he shines his light, do we ignore what it reveals or do we do something about it?
If what you read was of interest to you, then you may like to know that my book "Dear Friend...52 Weekly Devotions to Encourage, Challenge and Inspire" is available to buy from Amazon. (Its content is material adapted from previous blog posts.) To learn more, click on the link below:Dear Friend...