A narrative story based on the blind man of John chapter 9
He was blind from birth
Black darkness is all he ever knew. From birth he had no capacity to see. Light had never penetrated the man’s perception. Nothing but black darkness. Blind.
Worse than that, he existed. … That’s all. He simply existed. There was no joy in begging. And he was a beggar. And begging led only to more existing. He had no understanding of why he suffered such a condition as blindness, … or why he existed. He just did.
What had he done to deserve this kind of life? To him it didn’t matter anymore – if it ever did. Things would be as things always were. If he ever in his life thought about it, he came up with no answer. How could he? He was blind.
As blind as he was, though, his condition was far worse than it seemed. For, as hard as he thought, he couldn’t see anything beyond his simple existence. He existed. What else mattered? When a famous healer named Jesus came near, he didn’t think to ask for his sight. He never considered he could. After all, everyone knew it was impossible for someone born blind to ever have sight. His understanding was as blind as his eyes.
And he was born that way.
They were blind from birth
He was religious, or at least his family was, but still, he was blind … and so were his parents. And so were the religious leaders. It turns out they couldn’t see any more than he could. The difference was, the blind man knew he couldn’t see.
“But why?” asked the disciples, “who did sin, that this man was born blind?” No man sinned that the man was born blind, of course. What a strange question to ask anyway. Everyone is born blind; hadn’t they understood that yet?
No one can understand the things of God. No one left to themselves will ever even think to try. Sure, religion tries to convince men that men can see if they just try hard enough, but the evidence is before their eyes. … They just can’t see it.
A blind man can’t see no matter how hard he tries. And everyone is blind, and that from their birth. No one can see or understand God – without God’s intervention, that is.
Though the man was blind, he did have other senses. He could hear, for example. People condescendingly spoke to him all the time as he begged and existed. He understood that he was nothing but a dependent beggar. That, he could see clearly enough. But he had no choice. Everyone blind has no choice but to beg.
He also heard the religious leaders speak about some radical named Jesus who claimed to be the Christ, the Messiah for whom the Jews are all supposed to be waiting. He understood those religious leaders perfectly. They said to confess this Jesus as Christ meant being ejected from the synagogue.
For a blind man who simply exists and that’s all, this was a frightening prospect. To be banned from the synagogue meant being banned from the community. He was a beggar, a blind beggar, a beggar blind from his birth. He was completely dependent on the community. How could he continue existing without the support of the community? … Not to worry, though. What point would there be to confess anyone as Christ? He would still be blind.
After all, he was born that way.
And after he finished existing, he would die that way. There really was no hope for a beggar, blind from his birth.
He heard the light
But, one day while begging, he heard that man named Jesus claim to be “the light of the world.” … And then there was another sense which worked in the man: he felt Jesus smear mud on his eyes and heard Him say, “Go to the pool of Siloam and wash.” What nonsense was this healer doing? Could He be … ? No, that’s impossible. But, well, maybe… It’s hard to say. This Jesus did have quite a reputation for amazing things.
The blind man certainly had heard all about the reputation of this Jesus. Everyone had. But still, who ever heard of anyone being healed who had been born blind? Should he obey this voice and go to the pool? What is the reasonable thing for a blind man to do?
Something in him made him respond to Jesus’ command. He knew he was blind, blind from his birth. … But what could it hurt to investigate a little?
As he felt his way through the noisy streets, slowly working toward the pool of Siloam, perhaps he began to realize that maybe it was possible for him to see. Imagine that, a man born blind with sight. No. Don’t get your hopes up. But what if…. He finally reached the pool in which Jesus told him to wash. He felt the water, cool on his face, and he heard the soft splashes as he washed. Precious light! Precious sight!
He came away seeing!
But still, … somehow he was still blind.
He had been that way from his birth as all men are. Yes, now he could see, but still, he didn’t understand. He still didn’t see and he still felt blind.
If there is a light in the world that can penetrate even the impermeable dark, that a man born blind comes away seeing, can that light be a man? The man Jesus? What does that even mean?
It has never been heard that a man born spiritually blind could come away understanding God, has it? And that simply based on the spoken word of a man!
And can it be?
They heard the light
“How were your eyes opened?” asked the people of the blind man, dumbfounded.
In ecstatic excitement the man answered, “I know not. A man named Jesus put mud on my eyes, I washed where He told me, at the Pool of Siloam and I received sight.” Who must this man be? Who is this Jesus? What has happened today? I’m not blind. My eyes work. I see perfectly, … yet I’m so confused. This man named Jesus opened my eyes with dust from the ground and spittle. Can He be the Christ He claims to be? Would the Christ care for me? I’m really not blind.
“How have you received your sight?” asked then the religious leaders.
The man answered, “He put clay upon my eyes, and I washed and do see.” …. He can’t simply be a man, at least not a regular man. He must be more. No man could do this. Why me? Why was I born blind, and more to the point, why did this man named Jesus give me sight? Why can these religious leaders not see what has happened? How can they be against the man who gave me sight?
“What do you say of Him who has opened your eyes?” probed these suspicious leaders of the blind.
“He is a prophet,” the man answered with some confidence.
“Give God the praise. We know this man is a sinner,” demanded the religious.
How is this possible? Are these religious men blind? They say He is a sinner because “He broke the Sabbath” and gave me sight. They think He sinned. Then they say, “give God the praise”? Do they want me to give God praise because of a sin they say this man committed? But how can sin bring glory to God? That can’t be possible! They’re calling Him a sinner for doing God’s work on God’s Sabbath day. Are they right? How can that be? The man replied, “Whether He be a sinner, I know not: one thing I know, that whereas I was blind, now I see.”
“How did He give you sight?” they demanded again, showing more anger.
“I told you already and you didn’t listen. Why do you want to hear my answer again? My answer hasn’t changed. Will you desire to become His disciple?”
Things are starting to make sense to me. How can they not see something so clear as this? Yes! That must be it. I’ve got to learn more about this Jesus. I must become His disciple. He is a prophet, … but He is more somehow. He does the work of God. Anyone can see that. He gave me my sight. I see and now I am really seeing. I didn’t ask Him to open my eyes, I never knew I could. I never knew there was anything more to see. I just existed and that was all there was. But He came to me and He opened my eyes. I must follow Him; it is the only reasonable thing for a blind man to do.
“You can follow Him,” answered the religious, “We follow Moses. We know that God spoke to Moses. As for this man, there is no way to tell.”
Blind! They are blind indeed because their eyes are closed. They refuse to look at the plain facts right in front of their faces. With boldness the man now spoke, “Why, here is a marvelous thing, that you can’t see where this man Jesus is from, and yet He has opened my eyes.”
The seeing man continued, “Now, we know that God does not hear sinners: but if any be a worshipper of God, and does His will, that one will God hear. Since the world began, it was never heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. If this man, Jesus, were not of God, He could do nothing.”
I see the truth now. I can see clearly what they refuse to see. My eyes were opened, and that opened my eyes to the truth!
These religious guides, with nothing left to say responded in contempt, “You who were born in sins are now teaching us?”
And they cast him out.
He saw the Light
Cast out of the religious system or not. Rejected by family or not. There is nothing more to fear! All sorrow has been cast out! The blind are given sight! Jesus is the Christ! He is the Savior! He is the Lord!
Up to this point in time, the blind man had yet to actually see Jesus. At the pool when he washed off the mud, Jesus was not there. Sure, he had heard Jesus speak. That’s how he got the instructions to wash in the pool. And he had felt the hands of Jesus on his eyes. But he hadn’t yet actually seen Him.
But really, he had seen Him.
The blind man responded to a small amount of spiritual light given to him: his physical eyes were opened. “The light of the world” had indeed opened his eyes. And then he could see the truth! As the formerly blind man understood more and more, he was given more and more. Though he had never seen Jesus physically, he was gaining an absolutely, crystal clear image of Him and who He actually was. He had indeed seen Jesus.
“Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said unto him, ‘Dost thou believe on the Son of God?’
He answered and said, ‘Who is He, Lord, that I might believe on Him?’
And Jesus said unto him, ‘Thou hast both seen Him, and it is He that talketh with thee.’
And he said, ‘Lord, I believe.’
And he worshipped Him.” (John 9:35-38)
They rejected the Light
Jesus, the Son of God, had come near to what religion had cast out. The man now stood in the presence of his Lord, worshipping Him unashamedly, while the leaders of religion stood by still looking, but still blind.
Jesus found him at precisely the crucial moment. Religion had rejected him for confessing Jesus as Lord, but God didn’t.
Jesus his Lord said to all who would listen, “For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.”
These blind leaders of the religious, still fighting what in their hearts they knew to be true replied in contrived sarcasm, “Are we blind also?”
“If ye were blind,” replied Jesus, “ye should have no sin: but now ye say, ‘We see’;
Therefore your sin remaineth.”
And they rejected Him.
The religious leaders had their eyes opened along with the blind man. They had no choice but to see the evidence that Jesus was the Christ. In their heart of hearts they knew the truth, only they rejected it. They rejected the light of the world. They chose to remain blind. They “loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).
They heard what the blind man heard. But, they wouldn’t listen. Though claiming to see, they rejected what they did see. They were happy enough simply existing, and that’s all. They thought they saw, but really, they were blind, and that from their birth. Left without excuse, there is for them but a “fearful looking for of judgment” (Heb 10:27) in a place called “outer darkness” (Matthew 8:12).
This formerly blind man now is and forever will be with the Son of God, that man named Jesus who made clay and opened his eyes. When he understood but a little, he responded and sought more. With each sentence he spoke, his spiritual eyes were opened further until the Son of God Himself appeared to him. He obeyed what he heard and Who he saw. And He was saved!
It is the blind man who now sees that will spend eternity in heaven, not simply existing, but living more abundantly with the Lord Jesus; for, “they shall see His face…and there shall be no night there…for the Lord God giveth them light….” (Rev 22:4-5).
It is he and not the religious leaders who received the truth. Though blind, he had felt his way through the discord of religion until he came to the source of living water, was washed of the dirt, and came away seeing. Jesus is the Christ. He is the Son of God.
And He alone is Lord!
“I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).
some pictures from http://www.bibleplaces.com