Our story this week is about the blind young man. The story begins by the disciples asking Jesus who had sinned for this young man to be blind? Immediately it must be the parents fault. We look at this conversation often as though this was so primitive they blame what physical ailments their children suffering on the parents sin. Ironically now we know that sometimes it can be due to the genetics that we pass onto our children or because something happened to the mother or the child whilst it was in the womb.. The point I think Jesus is trying to make is that blaming the parents is more like scapegoating and it doesn’t help to play these blame games. It is interesting too that this terrible suffering was in place so that God’s glory could be shown..
I’m not overly keen on suffering like most of us I try to avoid it at all costs, but it is a part of life and my experience of sufferring is that sometimes and more times than I would like to admit, through that sufferring I have become a better human being and often it is in those moments that I see God’s presence and work most clearly.
Our young man was born blind and Jesus healed him by spitting in dirt to make mud then sending him off to the waters to wash.. and of course in true Jesus style he was healed. You would think this should be the most interesting and exciting part of this story but actually it goes on for ages about what happens after Jesus leaves.. The community is a bit shocked that this man at this time is healed and I think are a bit threaten by this Jesus. He had flipped their thinking on its head.
I wonder how often when something crazy happens in front of us we try to justify or explain it away so that we can fit our lives all back in their boxes. The movement of God for me is often quite powerful at the moment, but when I look back on it can understand how others who look at that scenario say it just looks like coincidences, dumb luck or chance. In my moments of doubt I start to wonder myself, I have to work hard to connect back into that moment to remember the power that was within it.
I have made the blind man’s eyes blank because evidently he was the one who could not see. Yet it is he, who saw who Jesus was and got how important and powerful he was.. His parents and all the leaders around them whilst they had eyes and could see, were blindfolded and not willing to see things as they really were.. It seems their fear of being rejected by the community was more powerful than facing the joyous miraculous moment in front of them.. I get it, none of us want to be alone and to go against the community, it would have left them outcasts with nowhere else to go.. Blaming the victim when it should have been a great celebration of God.
I wonder how often we can get caught in the same place, our world gets thrown into chaos and there is much to celebrate but we are so afraid of the change we can’t let go. So week 4 of lent, how does this passage challenge me? It makes me think of the times I am blinded to what God is doing because I like things the way things are. or when I miss the times when amazing God things happen to my friends and I can’t see it cause I am caught up in all the other things happening.. So this week I am going to look out for the cool stuff God has done or is doing. I might even lift my blindfold a little!!