And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?…
At such a time it was very wonderful that He should see anything but the way out. His life was in peril. The plot was thickening, the pursuers were more than ever determined to murder Him. At such times men are likely to see only what concerns themselves and their own safety. It is a blessed proof of the way in which that most gracious heart lay open to all the sorrow and needs of men. Find out what people see, and you will know what they are. People mostly see what they look for; and they look for what they want. It is curious to listen to the account of what people have seen; how some saw a dress, and some a face, and some saw nothing. "He looked for the worms, I for the gods," was the complaint of a certain stager. Jesus saw a blind man. Some people are very blind to blind men. There is, you know, a colour blindness, that cannot discern certain colours. There is, too, an inner colour blindness, that never sees sorrow, need, sickness, or any other adversity. It looks on the bright side of things by looking away from all that is wretched. Ah, never was there such an eye for sad hearts as Jesus Christ's. Once seeing the blind man, He can go no further. Pharisees and perils are alike forgotten. Pity saw her opportunity, and she could not be denied. Oh, what a Christ is this! Well may His name be called wonderful. And the only Christianity that is worth the name is that which makes us like Him. So that however we be driven, harassed, threatened, there is within the soul a great atmosphere where love dwelleth. In this great London of ours, with its turmoil of the streets, the hurry of the thousands on its pavements, the roll and rumble of its traffic — yet you know how God's sky bends over it, and God's great sun shines upon it, and God's kindly stars do look down upon it. That is the very purpose of Christ's coming — to open up in our narrow, little, earthly, busy lives a whole heaven of pity, of love, of gracious help. The Master saw a blind man. What did the disciples see? His lace was full of pity only; theirs was full of a curious prying. With them is was a case for dissection, a poor body for their anatomy, and they began at once with the scalpel knife. "Master, who did sin," etc.? Alas! how full the world is of people who are ready to cast stones at those who are down — stones that may break no bones, but that do bruise spirits and break hearts! What a strange lack of feeling! And what an extraordinary notion! Bad enough to be blind, and bad enough to be poor; but to be both might well move our pity. But no; to be poor shows that he is bad; to be blind shows that he must be very bad. It is a horrible notion! Yet it lives and thrives today. Would not any stranger coming into our midst suppose that the rich people must be good — born good? It is the poor who are so bad — so very bad. Who are city missionaries for, and tract distributors, and district visitors, and Bible women? All for the poor; until one might think that the Scripture, which says that the poor have the gospel preached to them, implies that the rich do not need it. Has it not been said in scores of good books that the subject was born of "poor but pious parents"? Why, indeed, the but? "Of rich but pious parents" is a phrase I never heard, and yet it were the greater wonder. Cold-blooded discussion of great social problems that involve the lives of men and women and little children is bad enough, but ten thousand times worse is it when good people stand tip-toe and look down from their lofty superiority with cold, steel eyes and lips of scorn and talk of the poor as a "drunken, lazy lot." It is enough to provoke men and women to curse the very name of religion. Nothing could be more unlike that blessed Saviour who saved the world by loving it. What a gulf is there oftentimes between the Master and His followers! Very notable is the answer of Jesus. "This blindness has not come from sin, but for your sakes, that His blindness may open your eyes; for you are blind except this blind man give you sight." A Divine homoeopathy, like curing like. I constantly have my eyes opened by blind men. I never know, indeed, that I have any eyes until I see a blind man; then I go on my way thanking God for this wondrous gift of sight. That he may show forth the works of God. Who most enriched the world when Christ was upon earth — the rich man or the beggars? Think how infinitely poorer all the ages had been if, when Christ came, there had been no sick, no suffering, no need in the world. What depths of tenderness, what hope for all men, what mighty helpfulness, what revelations of Christ are ours today, because there sat of old blind beggars and such needy sufferers l Surely when men are rewarded according to their service, these shall have great recompense.
(M. G. Pearse.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?