And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.…
I. INFIRMITIES AND DISABILITIES MAY BE THE OCCASIONS FOR SHOWING THE DIVINE POWER AND GRACE. "But that the works of God should be made manifest in him" was the infallible solution of this trouble. The calamities and penalties under which multitudes lie are clearly of their own intelligent seeking. If the works of God are made manifest in them, it is but the stern and startling exhibition of the fact that "he is not mocked," and that "whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." Here we have illustration of how small and empty our measures and judgments are apt to be, when they would gauge the purposes and deeds of the Infinite. What confusion and rebuke when he stoops to offer the true explanation! In a flash, as it were, he solves much of the mystery of the existence of evil and sorrow in the world. He does not deny the means by which they have appeared. Adam or one's parents may have violated some beneficent rule of life and the child comes into being, having the marks of it, the curse of it. A remote or near offender may have doomed Byron to the clubfoot, and Cowper to melancholia, and the Emperor William to a withered arm. The keenest experts are often baffled in tracing the genesis of disease. All agree that "affliction cometh not forth of the dust, neither doth trouble spring out of the ground." Here God has prepared the ground on which to display the marvels of his power. Beautiful characters may appear, as the brilliant blossom on the ugly and thorny cactus. And not for the observers' sake simply, but chiefly for those subject to infirmity is it laid upon them. If patience and restfulness of spirit and self-forgetfulness can be thus developed, it is well. These are God's works. "Philosophy may infuse stubbornness," said Cecil, "but religion only can give patience." If correct estimates of worldly and unworldly treasures can be gained only in the white heats of furnace pains, then these are well. Every untoward condition of our human life has some beneficent and glorious possibility in it. God only knows what that is. He only can bring it out.
II. DILIGENCE IS IMPROVING OPPORTUNITIES.
III. OUTWARD MEANS THE TEST OF FAITH. Some ignore His Church, its ordinances and methods, as needless in the regeneration of society or of the individual. But some movement must be made to catch its message; some step toward its cleansing pools; some regard for its simplest rites there must be before any who have "closed their eyes lest haply they should perceive" can obtain the Christly healing.
IV. JESUS REVEALS HIMSELF TO THOSE WHO SUFFER FOR HIS SAKE AND CONFIRMS THEIR FAITH. They who escape the great fight of affliction because they are Christ's do it perhaps to their own loss. Not so real, so vivid, is He to those who have much beside. Fame and ease and abundance may dull that strong and saving sense of His presence which is the disciple's chief need.
(De Witt S. Clark.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.