2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.
4 I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.
6 When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay,
7 And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.
Here is a case of “predestinated” illness specifically said to be for the glory of God.
As I read this event I am reminded of the Old Testament story of Naaman. (2 Kings 5) A young captive girl from Israel tells of Elisha, and claims that he would be able to heal the commander. The commander of the army speaks to his king, the king of Aram, and the king writes a letter to the king of Israel. Elisha refuses to even see the commander, merely telling him to wash himself seven times in the Jordan River. The commander is indignant at the suggestion, but decides to humble himself and do as the prophet directed. Curiously, the healed commander decides to worship the one true God, and declares that to Elisha as well. I wonder how many people God has directed to himself over the years, and further wonder if this is faith unto salvation or not. The Bible simply does not tell us, but we know from Scripture that many people from other nations did believe in the God of Israel.
In any case, Jesus washes the man’s eyes with his own spit mixed with dirt, but then the man is told to wash in a pool of water. It is, of course, a Sabbath day. It seems to me like Jesus did healings very frequently on the Sabbath days, perhaps deliberately to provoke the Jewish leaders. I must keep in mind that in these passages it is Jesus who retains control of those around him. At the end of the last chapter, did not the Jewish leaders take up stones, and yet Jesus walked through them unhurt. “I lay down my life,” and “no man takes it from me.” Jesus foreknew the heart of Judas long before his betrayal, and Psalm 109 foretells of the one who is to betray his God.
I am the light of the world. In healing the blind man, Jesus is able to use the healing to point yet again to Himself as the light of the world. The night comes when no man can work. I wonder when this time is. I understand that many places in our world deny anyone even the possibility of speaking the name of Jesus. Is that the darkness? I might think the Lord was speaking of the time of Jacob’s trouble—the tribulation—but even in the tribulation, there are witnesses, and evidently a great multitude saved.
I find it really interesting that people today are still treating Jesus in the same manner. Many countries around the world routinely persecute Christians, sometimes even killing them. Our own country, famous around the world for allowing religious freedom, is not by any standard, as accommodating to Christianity as it formerly was. But the most ludicrous position Americans tend to take about Jesus is that He was a good teacher. If He was but a teacher, then passages like this one would be morally repugnant, and not from a “good teacher’ at all. Here He is teaching that He is the Light of the world, and the Lord of the Sabbath, claims that any American can decry as demented or inspired, but the third option of being a good teacher is simply not logical. Thus it is a fundamentally irrational position, and is frequently coupled with a works attitude for salvation.
I have heard many Americans allude to the balance scales of justice, where God weighs our good acts against our bad acts, and, if necessary, perhaps the person of Jesus might grant us a “fudge factor” where God can overlook our really bad stuff. Nothing is further from the truth. The Bible tells us that in God’s sight, all our righteousness is as filthy rags. It says: there is none good, no, not one. When I come to Jesus, I am coming to the great Light, out of a darkness so dark, so full of void, that I had no chance whatever of producing any act pleasing to God. Jesus is not just a “fudge factor”; He is everything to my salvation and without Him I am completely rejected in total darkness.
Someone might say that he needs the touch of the master physician’s hand; my own analogy is stronger, for I say that I am like unto the man with a severe heart attack. I am on the gurney, with my heart stopped, and only the most dire emergency procedures from the doctor has any hope of helping me. If I am under the Physician’s care, then I must realize my dire straits, know that I am dead, and hope is fading fast. You see, sin has completely and totally cut me off from the presence of God, and there is but one remedy—faith in Jesus Christ and what He has done for me as the Light of the World, the Bread of Life, the savior of mankind. Keep me away from the balance scales, for there is no way that I could ever pass muster as my bad acts have totally been behind all of my behavior. That is to say that even on my best days, doing my best acts, apart from the grace of God, I am found to be totally in rebellion to God. Only the Master Physician can save me, and only giving His own life was payment enough to satisfy the justice of God. Through His mercy I have life, and have it abundantly!
I Know Whom I Have Believed
1. I know not why God's wondrous grace
To me He hath made known,
Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love
Redeemed me for His own.
2. I know not how this saving faith
To me He did impart,
Nor how believing in His Word
Wrought peace within my heart.
3. I know not how the Spirit moves,
Convincing men of sin,
Revealing Jesus thro' the Word,
Creating faith in Him.
4. I know not when my Lord may come,
At night or noonday fair,
Nor if I'll walk the vale with Him,
Or meet Him in the air.
But 'I know whom I have believed,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I've committed
Unto Him against that day.'
Lyrics: Daniel Webster Whittle
Music: James McGranahan