Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” John 9:1-2
From personal experience, I remember being cursed. Back when Jesus walked the earth, people who were blind or diseased were considered unclean; they were thought to be cursed because of their sin or cursed because of “the sins of their fathers”. First of all, we are all born under the curse of sin according to the Scriptures, according to the sin of Adam. We are all born into the battle, whether we like it or believe it. Before we were even born, the table had already been set. Secondly, my father was an alcoholic as was his father. Thirdly, my mother suffered from depression, bi-polar disorder, and other mental issues. Her father was abusive as was her father’s father. So, you see, I was certainly born under curse: the curse of Adam, the curse of the “sins of my fathers”, the curse of mental problems, and the curse of addiction. But then I took the curse to the next level. I, under my own free will, turned from what I knew to be right and sinned with the best of them. I fully embraced my curses. I was an alcoholic, I was a drug addict, I was bi-polar, and I used to suffer from depression and anxiety. I have caused much pain and suffering to the ones I love and I have been selfish and self-pitying. So I wandered around life hurting myself and hurting others…just carrying on a family tradition!
So I was under the curse of mankind first, a family curse second, and a personal curse to seal the deal. I was a blind man: blind to grace, blind to God, blind to what love really meant, blind to truth with eyes wide open. I stewed in my own misery and found no comfort but temporary “fixes” along the way. I was addicted to alcohol, addicted to drugs, addicted to sin, and most of all addicted to pain and suffering (sometimes we enjoy being the martyr of suffering). The result was bitterness towards my family, bitterness towards life, and most importantly bitterness towards God. By my late 30’s, I had made a complete mess of my life; and to be honest, I really didn’t give a damn one way or the other. I mean, I loved my children as much as a selfish person could anyway. I loved my family despite my bitterness towards them. But it was not true love, it was not a healing love, it was a definitive selfish love: I loved others in the vain attempt to make them love me back. So even what I thought was love was simply self-centered need. Sounds horrible doesn’t it? But listen to me, my friends, the story is not over…
Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.” John 9:3
Notice that Jesus had already declared the remission of sins before He gave Himself up to be crucified for our sins. He does this often throughout His life. He clearly states that He can forgive sin, and “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” So why would He state something that sounds counter-intuitive? He states that the man had not sinned? We know all have sinned! He states that his parents had not sinned. Like I said, we know that all have sinned. How does that work?
Here is the beauty of this brief, but powerful excerpt from the Book of John: Christ Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega, He is the beginning and the end, and He transcends time! He is telling us that we are sinners for the express purpose of God doing a work in us. Ponder that for a minute. Am I telling you that you are a sinner (addict, alcoholic, mentally ill, abused, _______) so that God can do a work in you? YES! That is exactly what Jesus says…not me. This gives us a glimpse into the divine, this lets us touch the infinite, and this allows us to receive the awesome power of grace.
When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. And He said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went and washed, and came back seeing. John 9:6-7
Jesus had the power to not only forgive, but also to restore sight. But the miracle hasn’t been completed yet. We have to do our small part as well. He commands and we obey. Then we receive our miracle. What do you think the significance of the name “Siloam” means? It is translated “Sent”. Hmmmm.
Who among us is living under a curse? Who is blind and hurting? Who can be healed?
The glorious truth is that you and I are the ones who are blind, we are the ones cursed, and we are the ones living in sin of all shapes and sizes. But this does not have to be the case. If we acknowledge Jesus, if we listen to His words, if we obey His commands then all we have to do is wash. We must wash in His blood; we must bathe ourselves in what was “Sent”! He was sent by our loving God to do a work in me and to do a work in you! Oh, how magnificent is our God!
The Lord has delivered me from my sins, He has set me free, and He has cleansed me and makes me to see. I don’t even desire alcohol any longer, I don’t even consider for a second any opportunity to use drugs, I am the farthest thing you could imagine from depressed or anxious or bi-polar. The Lord has taught me love by loving me…in a real way. It is not a notion of love or an acknowledgement of love or an intellectual concept of love. It is straight-up, “Oh my God”, “I can’t believe He is here with me”, in your face, in your soul kind of love: A love that cannot be adequately expressed in words kind of love. Christ Jesus reached out to me in my darkness and offered me a loving hand. At first I would not believe, I didn’t feel worthy, I could not comprehend the “why”, I shrank away from such compassion; but He insisted and persisted and called me to come to Him. And so after fighting the feelings of guilt and shame and unworthiness, I finally took His hand and He healed me. Oh, sweet Lord, I will never ever understand why you love us so very much. I’m not sure I even want to know…I don’t care…I’m just so blessed that you do love us and could do a work in me. Thank you my Savior.
Now I call out to the hurting ones; I call out to the addicts, to the alcoholics, to the abused, to the depressed and the oppressed, and to the unworthy. I call out His name for me and for you. Won’t you hear His voice? Can’t you hear my voice? I am real and a living testimony of His grace and love. This is no fairy-tale my friend; this is not a false sense of hope; this is not a religious “experience”…this is real. The gift sits on the table with Jesus pushing it towards you, inviting you, imploring you. He looks at you and sees only a sweet child. He looks at you in compassion, waiting for you to lift your head and meet His loving gaze. Stare into His eyes and find the meaning of your life: that He may do a work in you. All you have to do is stop and listen and accept the free gift of Himself. He asks us to go and wash ourselves in His blood of compassion so that we may see, that we might know the love of God, and that we might know of His personal longing for each of us personally. God isn’t just some being way up in the sky, He isn’t some universal notion of power, He isn’t angry at you; He is real, tangible, and standing at the door of your heart knocking. Won’t you let Him in?
Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!..For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. John 1:29, 3:17