And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.…
Wherever help was most needed thither His merciful heart drew Him, and whoever craved pity and succour gravitated to Him as streams to the sea. Others, who are immersed in their own satisfactions, may find this a very comfortable and happy world. They do not see the sorrows for which they have no sympathy, and pass by the griefs which they do not feel. In their presence the wounded instinctively hide themselves away, and the eloquence of want is suppressed and silent. While the gardener is bending over the prone and helpless plant, seeking how he may lift it up and restore it to bloom and beauty, wise botanists begin to botanize — "Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?"
I. THE PROBLEM. Here is a problem, old as man is old, and wide as the world is wide, the vast problem of evil — the existence of pain in the universe of a good God. Jesus does not say that this man or his parents had never sinned. All pain is not penal. Pain may be remedial, medicinal — a means of grace, a surgery of soul — a crucible of character, a revelation of the Divine goodness, an ultimate disclosure of the Divine glory. His blindness is an infirmity, not a punishment. It is something given, and not something inflicted.
II. THE MIRACLE. The works of God are at last to be made manifest. The method of the miracle here as everywhere is a method which keeps the miraculous as close as possible to ordinary means and agencies. He always sought some fulcrum in nature on which to rest the leverage of supernatural power. He startles with results, never with processes. He honours nature even when He would transcend nature. But the works of God are made manifest in no startling and spectacular way. As the dawn widens into the day, so this child of darkness is led into the marvellous light. Having anointed the blind man's eyes, Jesus said, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam." He sends him away from Himself, away from His own ministry, to the ministry of nature, to the recuperative energies which are beating in every pulse of creation. There is a human as well as a Divine side in all this great mystery of human healing and human redemption. The man is a small but necessary factor in the redemptive process, in the ultimate result. When Jesus would test our faith He gives us not merely something to believe but something to do. Action is the ultimate speech of conviction, the measure of its strength, the test of its sincerity. The faith that worketh is a faith which may be counted on. The test of a locomotive is not the noise in the whistle, but the pull in the cylinders. Every escape from ignorance into intelligence, from weakness into power, from savagery into civilization, from darkness into the light, is by way of the Pool of Siloam — is a salvation by faith.
III. THE TESTIMONY. The return of this man, radiant in the joy of vision, was the sensation of the hour. He was not overawed by their authority, nor deceived by their sophistry. He could not be coerced into suppression nor corrupted into a lie. Against all blandishment and all abuse that indomitable man was loyal to his benefactor and true to himself.
IV. THE RECOGNITION. Such fidelity was too rare and too precious to fail of its reward.
Parallel VersesKJV: And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.