That the works of God might be displayed
John 9 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. 2 And His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work. 5 While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.” 6 When He had said this, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and applied the clay to his eyes, 7 and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went away and washed, and came back seeing. 8 Therefore the neighbors, and those who previously saw him as a beggar, were saying, “Is not this the one who used to sit and beg?” 9 Others were saying, “This is he,” still others were saying, “No, but he is like him.” He kept saying, “I am the one.” 10 So they were saying to him, “How then were your eyes opened?” 11 He answered, “The man who is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes, and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash’; so I went away and washed, and I received sight.” 12 They said to him, “Where is He?” He said, “I do not know.”
13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who was formerly blind. 14 Now it was a Sabbath on the day when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. 15 Then the Pharisees also were asking him again how he received his sight. And he said to them, “He applied clay to my eyes, and I washed, and I see.” 16 Therefore some of the Pharisees were saying, “This man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath.” But others were saying, “How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?” And there was a division among them. 17 So they said to the blind man again, “What do you say about Him, since He opened your eyes?” And he said, “He is a prophet.”
18 The Jews then did not believe it of him, that he had been blind and had received sight, until they called the parents of the very one who had received his sight, 19 and questioned them, saying, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? Then how does he now see?” 20 His parents answered them and said, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; 21 but how he now sees, we do not know; or who opened his eyes, we do not know. Ask him; he is of age, he will speak for himself.” 22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone confessed Him to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue. 23 For this reason his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”
24 So a second time they called the man who had been blind, and said to him, “Give glory to God; we know that this man is a sinner.” 25 He then answered, “Whether He is a sinner, I do not know; one thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” 26 So they said to him, “What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?” 27 He answered them, “I told you already and you did not listen; why do you want to hear it again? You do not want to become His disciples too, do you?” 28 They reviled him and said, “You are His disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. 29 We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where He is from.” 30 The man answered and said to them, “Well, here is an amazing thing, that you do not know where He is from, and yet He opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears him. 32 Since the beginning of time it has never been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, He could do nothing.” 34 They answered him, “You were born entirely in sins, and are you teaching us?” So they put him out.
35 Jesus heard that they had put him out, and finding him, He said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 36 He answered, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?” 37 Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him, and He is the one who is talking with you.” 38 And he said, “Lord, I believe.” And he worshiped Him. 39 And Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.” 40 Those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things and said to Him, “We are not blind too, are we?” 41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.
Today’s text begins saying: As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” I am not one who believes that God causes suffering. I don’t believe that He gives sickness, disease or deformity because of sin. If we read carefully, we see that Jesus also says that the blindness was not a result of sin, but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him. In Romans 8:28-29 it says: And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren. God doesn’t cause all the things that happen in our lives. He has given us freewill. In the beginning, God created man in His own image, to have dominion over the earth. In Psalm 115:15-16 the psalmist says: May you be blessed of the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth. The heavens are the heavens of the Lord, But the earth He has given to the sons of men. Many of the things that happen to people are not the result of God’s punishment for sin. Rather they are the result of the consequences of man’s freewill, causing us to live in a fallen world. But look what Romans says God does. He causes all things, all the good things and all the bad things which happen, to work together. The desired outcome is that we would be conformed to the image of Christ, His Son. So as Jesus says in today’s text, it is so the works of God might be displayed.
We need also to look at the other part of what Jesus says: “We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.” We, as believers, as followers of Christ, are the part of the we Jesus is speaking about, which remains today. When we see troubles and difficulties, when we see sickness, deformity and disease, we should not focus on either the cause or on the problem itself. We should do as Jesus says we must. We should do the works of the Him who sent Jesus. Jesus says that while He was in the world, He was the light of the world. In Matthew 5:14-16 Jesus says: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” We are what remains of the we that Jesus said must do the works of God. The reason and the result is the same as it was for the man born blind in today’s text, that the world would see the good works, the works of God displayed in those we encounter, and so would glorify the Father in heaven. When we see people with needs, whether physical or spiritual, we need not to look for the reason, but rather we need to be those who bring the restoration. We need to see the difficulties of the people we encounter as opportunities for the glory of God.
Today’s text ends saying: Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.” Those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things and said to Him, “We are not blind too, are we?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.” Jesus did not come to judge, but He did come for judgment. We need to understand the difference. John 3:16-22 says: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” Jesus says: “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.” With revelation comes responsibility and accountability. We are to be those who carry the light of Christ in and to the world. We are to be those who bring the power of restoration through Christ for their physical needs and we are to be those who bring the revelation of the power of the redemption for their spiritual needs. All that we say and do are that: the works of God might be displayed; that blind eyes would see.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit; thank You that I was created to be like You, in Your image and likeness. All that happens in my life is for the purpose of restoring me to Your image. I desire to work while it is still day, that Your light would be seen and that the world would know the power of Your restoration and the power of redemption, so that they might be judged in Your light. Amen.