Written by Joney Caudill
For the past year and a half I’ve participated in a Bible-reading plan. Most mornings, my motive for reading is the commitment I’ve made to the Lord and to the other members of the reading group. I read with the hope that the Holy Spirit will speak to me through his Word. Some mornings I wonder how the Scripture selection applies to me, but other days, like today, the Word shines a spotlight on a particular need.
Today’s reading in the New Testament was particularly enlightening. It was from John 9:1-41. It’s the story of the young man who had been blind from birth. Jesus restored his sight! That’s pretty remarkable in itself, but hidden in the story is an application to our lives in 2018. To discover the hidden treasures in Scripture, we must dig deeper. The Bible must be mined for the hidden nuggets that can change our lives.
Why did our Lord bother to heal this particular blind man? What was it that drew his attention to the man? I’m sure he had met other blind men. Medical doctors were rare in those days and medicine or surgery was usually reserved for the wealthy. The common man who was in need of healing was most often stuck with their particular malady.
The disciples were only focused on why the man was born blind. Unlike Jesus, they didn’t see the man, they judged his predicament. Did his parents do something wrong? Was this a punishment for sin?
Those same questions have entered my mind. I have two grandchildren who were born with special needs, both physical and mental. There are four children in this family! Two are “normal,” and the other two have special needs. I do not presume to understand why these two precious children are different from the other two. But I do know that Jesus’ explanation to the disciples in this passage directly applies to my grandchildren. Jesus explained it this way: “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him (in them)!” If time and space allowed, I could give you multiple stories about how the power of God has been demonstrated through my grandchildren. The apostle Paul said, “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9b King James Version). As a family, we have learned to glory in the power of God to work miracles through this circumstance.
Jesus noticed the man. Why did he notice him? What made Jesus single the man out when so many were following him? Verse eight tells us that he was a beggar. In other words, he would spend his days pleading with others for support because he could not support himself. This day was no different. He begged for a handout, but Jesus wanted to give him a deeper, more permanent blessing. It was a blessing that the man didn’t expect.
We have begged God for a miracle of healing for my grandchildren, especially for the one who cannot speak, but instead we have witnessed the power of God to sustain us and him.
This poor man could not see Christ, but Christ saw him. Does begging get God’s attention? If so, what would you beg for today? I have physical vision, but I would beg for greater spiritual vision! If Jesus would notice a physically blind man as he sat beside the road, does he not even more pay heed to his children? To me? Or you?
God often requires our participation in an answered prayer. He does his part as is demonstrated by the fact that Jesus spat on the ground, made mud with the wet dirt, and put the plaster on the man’s eyes. Why? He moves toward us, but we must also move toward him. He told the man “to go and wash in the pool of Siloam.” There was something required of him before healing could take place. There was an act of obedience necessary to complete the healing process. Do your petitions go unanswered? Perhaps God requires something of you, too.
In the crowd that day there were mixed recipients, mixed ideas, and mixed motives. The religious were skeptical and angry. The blind man’s parents were humbled and grateful. The disciples, however, were in training. Jesus said that the miracle occurred to show God’s power! He demonstrated to the disciples that God is not limited by time, space, or circumstances.
Did the disciples learn from this training session? What did they learn?
For the answer we must fast forward to the book of Acts 3:1-9. In this example, we see another man who was born with a malady. He also begged for support in his need. Peter and John, well trained by Jesus’ example with the blind beggar and filled with the Holy Spirit, followed suit and gave the man no money, but something far more valuable. They also required that the man do something to demonstrate his faith, and they, too, gave a demonstration of God’s power.
The mystery revealed herein is this: The supplied need is the goal of our prayer, but glory to God is the goal of the Holy Spirit. When our goal comes into agreement with God’s, then we become a partner in His will.