As I sat to read this morning I found myself back in a familiar story. It's one that sounds as familiar as the voice of an old friend. The story is one of Jesus healing a man that was born blind.
But that's not how the chapter starts (John 9). It starts simple. It starts the same way that most of you will have started today. It started normal. Jesus wasn't headed to any great event. In the eyes of all He was around this would have been just another day. We find out that this story took place on the Sabbath, but I'm sure that for the disciples the Sabbath often turned into routine just the same way that Sunday does for us.
In the first verse we're told that this story takes place as Jesus "passed by". And from reading it, it seems as though it wasn't Jesus who brought attention to this man who was in need of a miracle, though that is often the case. And it was not that this blind man called out for Christ to heal is, though that is also often the case. Jesus simply walked by and one of the disciples asked Jesus a question.
I'm not sure if you've ever walked anywhere, and to the mailbox doesn't count. I have spent a number of day just walking.
Left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot, left foot, repeat, repeat, repeat.
If you have ever had a day like that then you know you have a lot of time to think. And if you have a number of those days in a row you begin to search out things to think about. And it seems as though this was the case with the disciples. Jesus was just passing by, and yet they had a question to ponder. I assume they though this might be the type of question that would take up a lot of their walking time. This was, after all, the days before podcasts and Spotify premium.
"Why is this man blind? Who sinned?"
But Jesus' answer was outside of what they expected. He answered that this man was blind so that he could be healed of more than his lack of sight. If you read the story you'll see that Jesus heals the man and then the man is dragged before the religious elite of the day. They try and force him to say anything bad about Jesus. They tell him all the things that they 'know' about Jesus. But this man is not swayed. For he didn't know a lot, but what he did know what that something had happened.
"One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see." (John 9:25b)
This man wasn't quiet until he had all the answers, he was't silent until he had read all the proper books on how to answer Pharisees in response to being question about being healed, he didn't hid when asked what had happened. But he also didn't claim to know more than he knew. In the answer of this man once blind we see courageous humility. And I have to assume that we would be keen to follow his lead.
Often in the church world today we have, as the people of God, a royal priesthood of people (1 Peter 2:9) have abdicated our work to a professional on a stage on on a screen. For some the reason is that they don't know enough, although for many with this excuse they never reach the place where they know anything more than that. Some do this because they feel their words are not as eloquent as others they know. Some do this because their natural tendency is to be on the sidelines or in the margins. But to each of us we are called to respond as this once blind man.
When push came to shove this man did not try to fake answers he didn't know either. Which is something I know I can take a lesson from. And I think that a lot of us in the Church can. Sometimes our words carry more weight when they are a tied to an honest simplicity (though I am not advocating for not answering a question you may know). I believe that we in the Church may be able to see more people come to trust us and ask us more questions is our response to a a question we don't know is to admit such.
But we must once more follow this man, for he didn't simply say he had no answer for the hard question that was given to him. He admitted what he didn't know, and yet still proclaimed that which he did. This man had met Jesus only earlier that day. All that he knew was that for his whole life he had been blind. He was destined to be blind. Darkness would have ever been his fate...
Those are the most amazing words we could ever utter.
I was destined for Hell, and I deserved to go there....but God.
I had a beating heart and breathing lungs, yet I was dead in my sin...but God.
I was spiritually blind and unable to see the truth...but God
So though I may have a few more answers than this man had only mere minuets after first meeting Jesus, and so should you unless you became a Christian while reading this, but I have way more questions than I have answers. Often my pride causes me to try and talk out of my ass and sound good. Often I lack the courage to be humble and simply respond as this once blind man, "One thing I do know...I was blind, now I see."