After saying this, [Jesus] spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the [blind] man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing. His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, “Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?” Some claimed that he was. Others said, “No, he only looks like him.”
- John 9:6-9a
Throughout John 9 a pattern emerges.
People encountered the man who was born blind (and then healed by Jesus) and responded to him by asking abstract questions. The disciples asked a question about suffering. The man’s neighbors asked questions about the man’s identity and the mechanics of the healing. The Pharisees asked questions about the propriety of the healing. While asking these questions, they also maintained their emotional and relational distance from the man.
In contrast to the rest of the crowd, Jesus offered the man healing and connection. He saw the man, responded to his demonstrated need, and, finally, found the man later so they could make a personal connection (v. 35).
We wish the disciples had asked Jesus to heal the blind man. We wish his neighbors had celebrated with him and gone with him in search of Jesus. We wish the Pharisees had listened to the formerly blind man when he testified about Jesus.
All too often we find ourselves keeping hurting and suffering people at an arms’ distance and wishing in some corner of our hearts that we had the resources or skills to help them. In these moments, it makes all the difference in the world how we answer: “Who is this Jesus?”
The compassionate, connected Jesus we see in the Gospels invites us to do the works of God as long as God is with us. Filled with the Holy Spirit, each and every one of us who are in Christ have the opportunity to be agents of his healing and hope. We draw on his resources, not on our own.
This raises the question: How can we know whether we are drawing on Jesus’ resources or on our own? What disciplines do you think can help you draw on Jesus’ resources to be an agent of healing and hope?