1SAMUEL 16:1B, 6-7, 10-13A | EPHESIANS 5:8-14 | JOHN 9:1-41
What a wonderful and powerful message Paul gives us today. “You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of the light.” Let’s keep this tucked in our minds as we reflect on the story of the man born blind.
John’s account of the cure of the blind man is a story about faith, the ability to see the truth, and a meditation on the cost of discipleship. This man was literally born blind, but, like all of us, he was born spiritually blind, too. What spiritual sight he may have had probably came from his parents who raised him in their Jewish tradition. For his parents it was difficult enough to raise a blind child. But they carried an even heavier burden. It was the popular belief that a child’s chronic illness was a punishment for sins committed by the parents.
In addition, when Jesus cured this man, it was a tense time. The threat had come out from the religious authorities that those who followed Jesus could be excommunicated from the synagogue. This was frightening in two ways. It meant the they would be excluded from Jewish life and, this is very important to note, they would forfeit the Jewish indult that freed them from the yearly civic act of worshiping the Roman Emperor, an indult gained after much suffering. Refusal to perform this act was considered treason by Rome.
As the account attests, when this man gained his sight and believed in Jesus he forfeited his ties to his Jewish community. Even his parents abandoned him for fear of repercussions from the authorities.
In this account John is warning us that faith in Jesus does not come without cost. To follow him means to be different, even countercultural. True, committed faith in Jesus, can exclude us from family, friends and even nation. John may be teaching us that suffering is part of discipleship. Imagine what it costs to be a Christian in China, Russia, India, Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Unites Arab Emirates, Syria, North Korea, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria……
“You were once darkness,
but now you are light in the Lord.
Live as children of light.”
Lord, I believe in you.
Give me the strength and courage
to let your light of truth shine in me and through me.”