Why Was Our Child Born Blind?
Dear Reader, Please read John chapter 9
Our weekly studies, for the Quiche’ pastors, has been in the book of John. This year we have, so far, been in chapter 9. It records another providential meeting. Jesus has, in chapter 8, made one of His “I AM” statements. And the Jews took up stones to stone Him but He escapes through the crowd. And as He does He sees the man born blind.
Though this meeting appears to be accidental, it is obvious that it was planned by God.
The disciples know enough Scripture to know that sin and suffering are linked. Therefore they raise the 2 part question of verse 2. Who sinned the parents or the child?
(That is, are the parents being punished as David and Bathsheba were in the death of their first son? [2 Sam. 12:18]) Or more interestingly: “Had the Baby committed some prenatal sin?” This part of the question reflects on their understanding of the “personhood” of the baby in the womb. (Exodus 21:22-23) (Causing the death of the unborn is murder.) If causing the death of an unborn child is murder then the unborn must be a person.
One can imagine the parents speculated along similar lines as they raised a special needs child. They may have been hurt and hurt each other by these speculations.
But Jesus gives what must have been a surprising answer: Jn 9:3 Neither his sin nor his parents’ sin was responsible for his condition. Jesus is not saying they had no sin but that his sightlessness was not a direct result of their particular sin. Nor is He saying that sin can-not cause such birth “defects”.
The difficulties associated with special needs children will raise many questions and either draw families closer together or deepen divisions. “WhyQuestions” almost always needs a Theological answer. And our Theology we determine how we respond to the challenges of providence.
How eager are well meaning Christians to protect God from being “blamed” for special needs children. God however, is not shy to take responsibility.
[Exodus 4:11] And the Lord said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the Lord? [Isaiah 45:7 ] I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.
Jesus makes God’s purposes very plain in His answer, (Jn. 9:3b) “… that the works of God should be made manifest in him.”
God had trusted these parents with the responsibility to raise this child to adulthood for this very day. And in His providence planned when and where that the man born blind would meet the Light of the World and be given his sight. “God Who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will. (Eph 1:11) Is this not a primer on God’s sovereignty over all things? If He arranges for physical eyes to see the sun does He not also arrange to open spiritual eyes to see His Son?
The man born blind had no more to do with his healing than he did with his birth. It took an encounter with Christ to open his sightless eyes. The man born blind had no say over his blindness nor his healing these were totally under the control of God.
The blind man could not decide when, where, or how he would be healed. And if God had not chosen him to meet Christ and for Christ to heal him he would have continued in darkness and died having never seen.
God prepared the man to be born blind, for this very moment. God must have planned the meeting with Christ and the healing by Christ. And it was all planned by God before the man was born.
Are not we all born spiritually blind? And can we heal our own sightless eyes? Can we say, “I see” and thereby see?
Paul’s spiritual eyes were opened on the Damascus road when he too met the “Light of the World”.
Paul was not traveling that road seeking Christ but to destroy the Church.
Who then decided if, when, and where Paul would meet Christ? Was it not our Sovereign God and was it not so the works of God could be manifest in Paul? God said of Paul “I have chosen him.” And God made these choices in eternity to be played out in time.
The chapter closes with Christ pronouncing a judgement on the arrogance of the Pharisees. Their religion was a symptom of their spiritual blindness and Jesus seems to be saying; “You’re going to stay blind because your religious arrogance will not let you humble yourselves and acknowledge your need of salvation.
So why was this child born blind? That God’s Sovereign power may be manifest in him. As it is in every person whom He regenerates giving them new life and opening thier blind eyes. And as an illustration of the condition of the once born.
Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
The blind man changed so much after Jesus opened his eyes that even his neighbors were not sure it was the same man. This is the testimony of a Christian. (2 Corinthians 5:17) “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”