Lessons from John 9: Jesus Offered His Forgiveness
Do you remember when Jesus offered His forgiveness to the woman caught in adultery? He then declared Himself to be the Light of the World. And He promised that whoever follows Him will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.
Light is a symbol of spiritual truth.
The fact that Jesus came into the world and declared Himself to be the Light of the World reveals to us that Jesus is the universal answer for men’s and women’s need for spiritual truth.
Now John shares with us that Jesus, the Light of the World, imparted both physical and spiritual light to a man born in darkness. Not just spiritual darkness like we are all born in, this man was also born physically blind. This was in direct contrast to Pharisees, who were born with physical eyesight, but could not see spiritually.
The teachers of the law were spiritually blind to the truth about Jesus, though they claimed to see.
And so there is no coincidence that this lesson on physical and spiritual blindness came right after Jesus claimed to be the spiritual light of the world.
As I already mentioned in John 8, Jesus had already claimed to be the Light of the World. And as a result, the angry Jewish leaders and their followers picked up stones in an attempt to kill Jesus. But Jesus had quietly slipped away from the temple grounds. The time of His arrest and crucifixion had not yet come.
And it appears that as Jesus left the scene and went on His way, He focused His attention on a man who had been blind since birth. Jesus’ preoccupation with the man must have also caught the attention of His disciples. So they questioned Jesus about the sin and suffering of the man born blind.
It was a common belief in Judaism that human tragedy was the result of guilt–guilt due to sin. And the reason they possibly believed that to be true could be related to Exodus 34:7 where the scripture says, “Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.” Yet, Jesus answered their question by stating that this man was not blind due to his sin, nor the sin of his parents. Rather, it was that the work of God might be displayed in his life.
When something is put on display, it is for the purpose of calling attention to it so others might take notice. And so what we can say here is that God chose this man out of His loving kindness to display His compassion and grace (unmerited favor).
I think it is important to take note that there are several reasons for human difficulties found in Scripture:
- In 1 Peter 1:7 we read, “These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” In others words, sometimes troubles or hardship come to us not as a result of any wrongdoing on our part, but instead to test and prove our faith to be true and genuine.
- Sometimes troubles come to us for the purpose of promoting growth in grace. Hebrews 12:7 states that we are to endure hardship as discipline; God is treating us as His children. And it goes on to say in verses 10-11 that God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in His holiness. And though no discipline seems pleasant at the time, later on it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace.
- As we learned earlier in John 5:14, where Jesus healed the man who had been paralyzed for thirty-eight years, suffering can be the direct result of our sin. Sins such as overeating and developing health issues such as diabetes or heart disease. Or maybe we overwork and suffer from stress or other health issues because of it. These things can have a direct effect on our well-being.
- Or, as is the case here, this man’s human difficulty was to show God’s glory.
- Trials and hardship come to some in order that they might bear witness to Christ through their suffering. Such was the case in Job’s situation and suffering.
Therefore, we can learn that suffering is not always the result of a person’s sin.
So we must not assume this is so. Instead, we should be more concerned with the well-being of that person. We should try to win them over to Christ Jesus, rather than wrongfully judging or condemning them and pushing them away.
Are you suffering today? Maybe you are suffering because you did get out of the will of God? Confess it to Him and repent. To repent simply means to go the other way! To stop whatever it is that you are doing and turn toward the Lord and His will for your life!