John 9:1 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 was born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6 Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud 7 and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.
You need to meditate on this verse a little more if it does not stun you what Jesus said. This grown man has been blind all his life – how old is he? Twenty? Thirty? Sixty? We do not know. He is a man. He has been blind all his life. He never saw his mother, a tree, clouds rolling in over the hills. He has been blind all his life. And why does Jesus say that it is the case?
This man was born poor – that the works of God might be displayed in his life – and we walk right by. This woman born disabled, this boy left to die, this child a botched abortion, this girl abandoned because she was a girl, this street beggar, this liar, this con artist – it doesn’t matter who – they enter our lives so that the glory of God might be displayed in us, for Him, and for the good of the one who is in the world for the purpose of displaying the glory of our great God. Do you see the people you encounter as being in the world so that the glory of God might be displayed? Do you understand that while you are not Jesus, able to make their misery end miraculously, you can still be the hands and feet and heart of Jesus to the people God allows you to encounter this week?
Is the man Jesus healed that day in heaven? I can hardly think that he did not become a follower of Jesus willing to give up his life, take up his cross for the glory of His Saviour. Does he today regret that he spent the first thirty years of his life as a blind little boy at the brunt end of jaunts and ridicule and cruel jokes, and then as a man begging on the street corners of Jerusalem? Does he now wish that God had brought him to Jesus in some other way instead of letting him spend his first thirty years like he did? Does this man grumble? Well such questions are silly. But could not God have done something to reduce this man’s sufferings until Jesus came and saved him? Could He not have brought glory to His name and gotten this man to heaven without a life of blindness? Of course He could. But He didn’t. He knows better than we do and He is not obligated to answer our questions.
Why are we told this story? To show who Jesus is – yes. That we might believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the living God and come to faith in Him – certainly – that is why John wrote everything he wrote in his Gospel account (John 20:31). But the point here is that God is doing something big in the ordinary events of our everyday lives. We do not know why this man must suffer for so long in order for God to be glorified through his healing. We do not know why God had this man blind all those years. But we also do not know how many people that day became genuine followers of Jesus and who have now been with the blind man in heaven for two thousand years. We do not know how it is that this little event in the history of the world is still accomplishing things planned out before the world began. We do not know anything. We know that God was glorified that day. We know He is still being glorified through it. We can be fairly ceratin that there are still people coming to faith because this account is in the Bible. And we know that such faith could not have been accomplished any better and for eternity if this man had not been born blind and caused to sit where Jesus was walking that day. The events of your life and the people you meet this week will not be recorded in Holy Scripture. But they can be used for God’s glory just as much.