Some American Christian leaders have gained notoriety for interpreting every global tragedy or disaster to a specific sin of the people affected. Scripture informs us that tragedy, sorrow, and disaster might have many causes, and it’s often not obvious what that reason is. Certainly not every tragic event is a call to repentance. Sometimes God uses suffering as a showcase for His compassion and His glory.
Today’s passage begins simply enough, but it includes a variety of audiences who see the events very differently. In many of the other instances of healing we’ve studied, Jesus responds to the faith of the individual or their request to be healed, but this was different. This time, the blind man didn’t know who Jesus was, but Jesus saw that the occasion had been ordained by God as an opportunity to do His work (v. 3).
The Pharisees did all they could to deny that this was a miracle. They were willfully blind to what Jesus had done and wanted to focus only on their perceived violation of the rules of the Sabbath (v. 16). Some struggled with the evidence that a true miracle occurred. The man’s parents could see that a miracle of this nature could only be done by the Christ, but they could also see that the Pharisees would punish them if they admitted as much (v. 22).
The healed man still had difficulty seeing the spiritual battle playing out before him. He didn’t understand who Jesus was, which meant he didn’t understand why the Pharisees were so agitated by the miracle he had experienced (v. 27). With his limited understanding and newfound sight, he understood enough: only a godly man could have performed such a powerful miracle (v. 33).
When he reunited with Christ, he finally had the truth of Jesus’ identity spelled out for him. With his spiritual sight awakened and his physical sight restored, the man declared, "Lord, I believe!" and worshiped His Healer and Savior (v. 38).