And where do we feel this hurt and disappointment and sadness caused by sin? In our body, of course. In these humble, but most marvelous physical vessels the Lord gave us, that carry us everywhere, that we do not always care for, that make life and carry life: It is where we first feel the effects of sin, such as, sadness, low self-esteem, or uncontrollable anger. And any sin that goes unchecked, un-named, unrecognized or not accepted, does often make us sick, physically ill. Why? Because our bodies are not made to carry the stress of sin.
So, when the disciples ask Jesus, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind,” it should not come as a surprise. In the minds of the disciples, in the minds of most Jewish people of that time, un-wellness, any manifestation of illness of any kind, like blindness at birth, was attributed to sin, to unrighteousness, to being a sinner. They were not far off in their understanding of the root causes of illness. But Jesus right away deflects the disciples’ question. Jesus says, “Neither he nor his parents sinned.” The disciples must have wondered, “But how can that be? Everyone knows illness comes from sin. Everyone knows that spiritual un-wellness, sin, causes physical un-wellness.”
And then Jesus adds, “it is so that the works of God may be made visible through him.” Jesus does not see the man’s blindness as connected in some way to sin. Jesus sees only the blind man, and feels the man’s desire to see. So, Jesus does what his heart tells him to do: Jesus manifests the Lord God’s compassion for this man by freeing him from the darkness he has been in all his life; in this way, God’s work, God’s love, is “made visible through him.”
And then the drama begins. The Pharisees get wind that Jesus has healed the blind man; but worse, that Jesus has dared “work” on the Sabbath. How? By making clay with saliva and smearing it on the blind man. According to their interpretation of the Law, Jesus has not honored the Sabbath day; Jesus has desecrated it by “working.” It is not as if Jesus was unaware that it was the Sabbath—Jesus certainly was aware, as he was an observant Jew. And certainly, Jesus did not want to break the Sabbath. Rather, Jesus could not deny this man his sight, because, for Jesus, as with God, every living, breathing, human being is a gift of love on the part of the Father, the creator and redeemer of all; and as such, every human creature of God deserves to be well, to live and to thrive. Jesus knew, as he knows now, and saw, as he sees now, that every human life is worth the sacrifice of Love.
So, do not think for a minute that Jesus has stopped healing. Jesus, having offered himself as sacrifice, having been raised from the dead and ascended into heaven, now stands before the Father as our great High Priest and in the fullness of the Holy Spirit pleads our cause: “Father, give them light, your wisdom that they may see and love and forgive one another. Father, heal them of their willfulness which blinds them to one another, to your Love, to You. Father, may they surrender all things that separate, hurt, and alienate them from themselves and from one another, and from your light. Father, that they may see you as I see You.”
May Christ, the light of God in our hearts, bring us the wellness of the Holy Spirit, heal us of the effects of sin, and free us of what blinds us from peace with one another.