Bible stories of hope: a blind man - by James Archer
Bible stories of hope is a series comprising a reading about someone's encounter with God, some notes about how they may have seen it, and a prayer.
Reading – John 9:24-38
So for the second time, they called the man who had been blind. They said, “You should give God the glory by telling the truth. We know that this man is a sinner.”
He answered, “I don’t know if he is a sinner. One thing I do know: I was blind, and now I see.”
They asked, “What did he do to you? How did he make you see again?”
He answered, “I have already told you, and you didn’t listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his followers, too?”
Then they insulted him and said, “You are his follower, but we are followers of Moses. We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this man we don’t even know where he comes from.”
The man answered, “This is a very strange thing. You don’t know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. We all know that God does not listen to simmers, but he listens to anyone who worships and obeys him. Nobody has ever heard of anyone giving sight to a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”
The answered, “You were born full of sin! Are you trying to teach us?” And they threw him out.
When Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, Jesus found him and said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
He asked, “Who is the Son of Man, sir, so that I can believe in him?!
Jesus said to him, “You have seen him. The Son of Man is the one talking with you.”
He said, “Lord, I believe!” Then the man worshipped Jesus.
He’d been begging at the temple gate for as long as most people could remember. Everyone was amazed at how cheerful he normally was, seeing how hopeless being blind made his situation – he couldn’t work, couldn’t get around without help, couldn’t help himself – except by being such good value to talk to that he had lots of friends. So when news got around that Jesus had healed him, everyone was delighted.
Well, not quite everyone. The religious authorities were worried and furious. Jesus was a threat to their authority and was playing to the crowds, who were too stupid to challenge him. They needed to undermine him. They couldn’t care less about the beggar – his evidence could help to nail Jesus.
The case wasn’t going well. The beggar told his story, but there was nothing incriminating. They summoned his parents, who were obviously terrified and ducked the questions. They decided to get heavy with the beggar and teach him who knew best about religion.
How dare he? Had he no respect? An uneducated beggar lecturing them about God’s views and making them look stupid in front of everyone. He’d even asked them why they were so fascinated by Jesus – did they want to become his disciples? Flipping cheek! They threw him out and banished him from God’s family. He could rot in hell!
A spy knocked on the door. Jesus had searched out the beggar and welcomed him – a most affecting sight. When challenged, he had been scathing in reply – saying God was pleased with the beggar while they were blind guides leading others astray. Insufferable! Ridiculous! How could God accept such riff-raff into heaven?
Lord Jesus, teach me to see others as you see them and to bring them your hope and your truth. Amen
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