Obviously a lot has been said about the Coronavirus, especially the last few days as things have changed so quickly, but one question I have not yet heard about those who have contracted the virus is the question the disciples asked Jesus in our Lesson about the man born blind: “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” I think all of us would agree that would obviously be a foolish question – an unbelievably unloving question: “Who sinned, Jesus — these people or their parents – that they got the Coronavirus?”
Yet isn’t that the sort of question we often ask about all kinds of things in life? “Why is this bad thing happening to me, God? Are you getting even with me for some sin that I did?” “God, why is this bad thing happening to me? For goodness sake, it was caused by the sin of someone else against me – someone else who should be going through this instead of me.” Or maybe even when we are really upset – this kind of blasphemy: “Why is this bad thing happening to me? Are you, God, the cause of this sin? Did you yourself do something wrong, God, when you did this to me?”
There are many things in life – whether it’s trying to figure out what to do with all the Coronavirus questions or trying to make sense of some area of my life that just isn’t going the way I wish it would be or the way I had planned – there are many things in life where I may not be able to see the answers. I may in a certain sense feel just as blind to see an answer as that poor man was blind to see anything. But the only way to make sense of anything in life – whether good or bad – is to see what our Savior Jesus did to this man who could not see – this man born blind. And you know what? “I Wish I Could See What That Blind Man Saw!” I pray that as we see what the Light of the World did to this man born in darkness – and why he did it – all of us will want to say – and will be able to say — the very same thing: “I Wish I Could See What That Blind Man Saw!” That’s the only thing that will ever be able to help us have a calm and peaceful perspective toward anything that happens day by day.
Jesus tells us right away what the blind man was going to see. Right after the disciples asked Jesus who it was that sinned that resulted in the blind man not seeing, Jesus said in verse 3 of our Lesson, “This happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.” Let’s think about what’s involved in that answer of Jesus for a while. What work of God was displayed in the blind man’s life? Obviously the work of God that allowed him to see again. That is beyond amazing because that is a miracle that no one could do unless he was God. But what if Jesus had decided not to heal that man’s blindness? After all, the Bible tells us Jesus healed many diseases, but he didn’t heal every disease of every person in the land of Israel any more than he does so today. The one who could rid the world of the Coronavirus just by saying the word has not rid the world of the Coronavirus. If Jesus had not decided to heal the blind man, would the blind man still have seen the work of God?
Even if Jesus had decided not to give this man his sight, this man would have still seen the work of God displayed in his life, because by the end of this event, what happened? Jesus asked him if he believed in the Son of Man, and the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him. This man who just like us was born spiritually blind – steeped in sin as the Pharisees said, though for the wrong reason – this man was now able to see what most people in the world cannot see: “I need a Savior from sin and in Jesus Christ I have that Savior from sin, the Son of Man who came to seek and to save what was lost.” This man born blind could have sung the song long before it was written: “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found – was blind but now I see.” I wish I could see what that blind man saw!
Now it is true that the Lord did actually heal him, and it is true that that miracle showed that Jesus was sent from God, but seeing that miracle didn’t necessarily mean that the other miracle of coming to faith would take place. Sadly who is the perfect example of that? The Pharisees in our Lesson, right? The Pharisees would not accept that Jesus of Nazareth could do miracles like this, because they did not believe they needed the work of Jesus of Nazareth. They did not believe they needed someone to forgive their sins, because they believed that they were just fine before God the way they were. So the irony is that one man could not see Jesus, but he could see, while the other men could see Jesus, but they could not see. They could see this man could see who once could not see, but they were blind – so blind in fact that when the blind man said Jesus had made mud and put it on his eyes, they claimed that doing that on the Sabbath Day was working on the Sabbath Day, which no one was supposed to do, even though God never forbade people from doing works of love on that day, so great was their blindness – which was so blatant that even some of them had to themselves say, “How can a sinner do such miraculous signs.” So, we are told, they were divided. How I wish they could have seen what that blind man saw.
So why did Jesus heal the blind man? Verse 3, as we mentioned, tells us Jesus was going to do something that would display the work of God in his life, which it certainly did to say the least, but the next two verses – verses 4-5 – tell us there was more involved in all this. Look at verse 4: “As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Do you catch a bit of what Jesus is saying? This miracle that he was going to do was part of a much bigger picture. Jesus wasn’t going to be on the earth forever. Night was coming. He would be put to death by a whole group of spiritually blind people who could not see what they were doing to the Son of God. And while we know of course as children of God that he rose from the dead and returned to heaven, there was still a lot of work to do and a lot of words to say before then – work to do to show that he was the almighty, all powerful promised Messiah and Son of God through his awesome miracles – and words to say that made it clear that the reason he came to earth as the almighty, all powerful promised Messiah and Son of God was not just to wow people with miracles, but to show that he was the one in whom they could put their trust when he said, “Whoever believes in me will never die – he will live forever – because whoever believes in me believes that I came into the world to pay the penalty for every single sin they ever committed.” Jesus did miracles like taking someone out of the physical darkness of blindness so many other people in addition to this man born blind could join that blind man in being able to say, “Lord, I believe” – and also join that blind man in worshiping the one who is the Light of the World and therefore the light of our life – leading all of us to be able to sing as I trust we love to sing, “I want to walk as a child of the light. I want to follow Jesus.” I want to see what that blind man saw.
So what did that blind man see when he saw Jesus? What is interesting is that while we don’t know the amount of time between when Jesus healed the man and when Jesus asked if he believed in the Son of Man, there was a fair amount of time that must have elapsed. In fact, after Jesus told the blind man to wash off the mud that Jesus had placed on his eyes in the Pool of Siloam, we are not told the formerly blind man even saw Jesus. It is possible he didn’t know what the man who touched his eyes even looked like until Jesus later said, “You have now seen him; he is the one speaking with you.” What did that blind man see when he saw Jesus for the first time? Don’t you wish someone could have taken a picture of the way his eyes must have lit up when he saw the eyes of Jesus? Don’t you sometimes wish someone could have taken a picture of Jesus so we could really know what he looked like? Don’t you wish you could see what that blind man saw?
Well, I pray you know what I’m going to say. You have seen what the blind man saw in the exact same way that really counts. God has opened up your dark heart and mine that would otherwise have remained in the darkness of an eternity separate from God. God has placed into your dark heart and mine the love of the Light of the World so we can see Jesus. We can see Jesus as the one who has promised that we will someday see him just as he is in the light of heaven. And until that day comes we can see the works of God displayed in our lives every day, even when we wonder why so many other bad and sad things have come into our lives, because we can see every day in God’s Word the works of Jesus that God recorded for us. And that’s what we can help so many other people see, too, people who don’t know the answers to those honest, confusing questions about what’s going on now or at any time in their lives. Don’t you wish that many others could see what that blind man saw? Don’t you wish they could see what you see? The one who once spoke to that blind man now speaks to blind people through you and me. As long as it is day, let’s join Jesus in whatever way we can and do the work of him who has also sent us. Amen.