1As Jesus walked along, he saw a man who had been blind since birth. 2Jesus' disciples asked, “Teacher, why was this man born blind? Was it because he or his parents sinned?”
3“No, it wasn't!” Jesus answered. “But because of his blindness, you will see God work a miracle for him. 4As long as it is day, we must do what the one who sent me wants me to do. When night comes, no one can work. 5 While I am in the world, I am the light for the world.”
6After Jesus said this, he spit on the ground. He made some mud and smeared it on the man's eyes. 7Then he said, “Go wash off the mud in Siloam Pool.” The man went and washed in Siloam, which means “One Who Is Sent.” When he had washed off the mud, he could see.
8The man's neighbors and the people who had seen him begging wondered if he really could be the same man. 9Some of them said he was the same beggar, while others said he only looked like him. But he told them, “I am that man.”
10“Then how can you see?” they asked.
11He answered, “Someone named Jesus made some mud and smeared it on my eyes. He told me to go and wash it off in Siloam Pool. When I did, I could see.”
12“Where is he now?” they asked.
“I don't know,” he answered.
For anyone who has suffered, or for anyone whose loved one has suffered, this passage has implications.
The disciples make an assumption (v 2) based on scripture. They know God is sovereign. They have been taught he punishes sin into the third and fourth generation (Exodus 20:5; 34:7, Deuteronomy 5:9). They know being blind in their world not only deprives a person of sight but also condemns them to a life of poverty (v 8). So, they conclude God has passed judgment on this man, and it’s because of his sin or his parents’ sin. They’re curious … whose sin was it?
Jesus’ answer is comforting, but it can also be unsettling: “No … But because of his blindness, you will see God work a miracle for him” (v 3b). God allowed the suffering. Why? So that his power and mighty works would be displayed. This is not always why God allows suffering, but it is here. Which means we can understand it is part of God’s character.
This can be a hard truth.
But consider how powerful and life-changing his mighty works are. How good they are.
Jesus saw this man, who could never have seen him; the man was physically and spiritually blind, not even understanding the nature of God even after receiving sight (“someone named Jesus” v 11). Jesus gives the gift of sight, an amazing gift, not because the man deserved it. But because God is sovereign and he is good. Jesus is not a light in the world; he is the light in the world (v. 5). He shows he is capable of anything, and he wants us to know it.
Heavenly Father, You are good. Always, you are good. Please help us when we suffer or endure the suffering of others, to look for your goodness. Give us sight to see. In Jesus’ name, Amen.