...he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him.
Jesus is the light of the world. It's not just the drug addict, the crimelord boss, the prostitute and the teenage destructive force who live in darkness. Without Jesus, we all do. Without Jesus, we are incapable of seeing things the way they really are.
While we are living in darkness, we do what all of us do as we walk through this life in ignorance. We stumble. We clumsily feel our way around. We guess. And very often, we make a wrong guess.
The disciples guessed on this occasion of meeting a beggar who was born blind. How did they know he was born blind? It's not far-fetched, especially if anyone has had a brief conversation with a beggar, that the beggar was telling them why he was a beggar in the first place. Because Jesus had not taught them yet and because they were walking through life in the dark, like everyone else in the world, they stumble around and guess that the reason the man was born blind was because of sin. In fact, they don't even ask Jesus whether sin is the problem. Rather, they ask Jesus who's sin is the problem.
It's easy to understand why the disciples would have this wrong spiritual presumption. After all, the Scriptures do speak about a person's sin or a person's parents causing sickness. But, it certainly is a warning to all of us who are spiritual teachers that it is quite easy to make wrong spiritual presumptions.
And, what makes this a serious issue is that wrong spiritual presumptions lead to wrong relational decisions. In this case, if it was presumed wrongly that sin caused the man to be born blind, then there were certainly many in the community who would have thought that giving real help or recognising his human dignity was not just inconvenient but against God's will. This not only condemns the man to a lonely, desperate existence. It also condemns anyone who would have righteously helped the man out of his lonely, desperate existence. We, therefore, need to be very careful about not making wrong spiritual presumptions.
And so, the light of the world reveals this wrong spiritual presumption with his answer. No one's sin caused this man to be born blind. Rather, this man was born blind so that God's works might be revealed in him. Telling his disciples that while it is still day, we must do the works of our Father in heaven. And, he illustrates exactly what he means by healing the man after exclaming, "While I am in the world, I am the light of the world."
For me, today, the question springs to mind, is the time now night because Jesus is no longer in the world? He died, was raised and ascended to His Father in heaven. The answer is no. Before returning to His Father, He told his disciples to wait until they had received the promised gift from God. Without going into much more detail in this particular post, it leads me to the conclusion that just as during the day Jesus was doing the works of the One who sent Him, a Spirit-filled church is to do the works of the One who sent Jesus and His Holy Spirit.
And, the church has been doing just that. The church has always done the works of our Father in heaven by being a champion of the people the rest of the world disregards. No one has done more to reveal the dignity and worth of every human being than the church.
I'm not much for political correctness, but in some instances the PC brigade gets it right. It is wrong to call anyone disabled. The term presumes they are not able to do the things on their own to live. Rightly, they and I prefer the term challenged. Yes, they need help, but who doesn't? None of us were meant to live alone. We all need each other. And, believe me if it were not for the help I receive from others, I would find it much more challenging to live.
I know a one-armed man who is a better bow hunter than I will ever be. I know a blind man who is a better musician than I will ever be. I know deaf parents who are strongly raising godly, faithful children that I would want my own children to grow up like. I know not so intelligent people who have a better faith in Jesus that I hope to emulate.
Today, the "best and brightest" from the halls of Princeton and Oxford frame bio-ethics debates in terms of "quality of life". In other words, who is and is not worthy of our community's resources is determined by who has the best chance at a quality life. These rules and condemnations are made by people living in the dark, because they do not know Jesus. Therefore, these "quality of life" arguments are wrong spiritual presumptions with horrendous consequences.
Father, thank you for giving us the light of the world, your son Jesus. Thank you for showing us how things are so that we do not stumble in the dark or so that when we do fall, we can see how we can get up and keep living. Help me, through your son Jesus, to see people how you see people. Thank you for giving your church the power and the responsibility to do your works. And help us to be very careful with your teachings and forgive us and help us to grow in your grace whenever we have wrong spiritual presumptions. Amen.