Daily Word

Who dunnit? (For God’s glory) | John 9:1-5

1 As Jesus passed by, He saw a man who had been blind from birth. 2 And His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 We must carry out the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. 5 While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.” 

John 9:1-5 (NASB)

The theological question

After the stoning attempt, Jesus encounters this man who was born blind. The disciples ask a theological question related to the source of suffering. It was common then (and even today) to assume that all suffering is the result of sin – of the person. While that can often be true, e.g., a criminal who is in jail or an alcoholic who has liver disease, it is not always the case.

“Yet far more often – and in the case Jesus spoke of here – it is due simply to sin and our fallen condition in general, not due to any specific sin. The sin of Adam set the principle of death and its associated destruction in the world and we have had to deal with it ever since.” (enduringword.com)


How could it have been the man’s sin since he was blind from birth? In those days, some believed that babies in the womb could sin. I think we can rule that out. But how about the parents? Maybe the mom was an alcoholic. 

I like what Spurgon says here: “It is ours, not to speculate, but to perform acts of mercy and love, according to the tenor of the gospel. Let us then be less inquisitive and more practical, less for cracking doctrinal nuts, and more for bringing forth the bread of life to the starving multitudes.” (Spurgeon)

For God’s glory

Jesus gives us the reason which provides us with depth of insight into God’s character and working in the world. It would be in line with scripture (c.f., Exodus 4:11) to say God caused the blindness – which puts the burden on us to make sure we understand who God is …and who we are not. God used this display of power and grace to bring himself glory through his Son, Jesus. 

Light of the World

Jesus knew his remaining time on earth (“while I am in the world”) was short and challenged his disciples to do the works of God (as Spurgeon said, above) while there was time. He would no longer be able to do these works. Yet his disciples would, in His name.

<- Reflection ->
  • Are you suffering? Have you experienced a disability? Can you trust God that He has a purpose for it? As Rom 8:28 says, he can make good, his good, out of it. Praise him and thank him, in Jesus’s name. It’s so hard, but it’s right and good.
Little boy detective. Image from Pxfuel.com

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