“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.”
(John 9:3 NIV)
The blind man in John 9 lived with a label all his life until Jesus came along, that is. Since his birth, he was known for his disability. But what is intriguing about his condition is that it made him the perfect candidate for a miracle. It’s clear from the story that this man was well known to others. John identified him as “a man blind from birth” (v. 1), he was seen and known by “his neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging” (v. 8), and by the Pharisees who eventually came to meet him (v. 13) or should I say, judge him? They added to his miserable condition by saying to him, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out” (v. 34).
But most importantly, this blind man, this outcast, was known by Jesus. He “saw” him (v. 1), but not like everyone else. Jesus saw his potential, “His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?””Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life” (vv. 2-3).
By giving sight to a man born blind, Jesus proved not only that He is “the Light of the world” (v. 5), but also that He is able to take away the wrong labels that we’ve been given by people. So much so that they’ll have a hard time accepting our new identity. When the man was no longer blind, people didn’t know what to call him anymore, a problem we often find in labels. They couldn’t recognize him, questioned if he was the same man and even wondered if he had been truly blind at all! (v. 9). His parents were brought in and questioned if the man truly was the son they claimed had been born blind (v. 19). To evade the possibility of being thrown out of the synagogue, the parents threw the question back at the son, “We know he is our son,” the parents answered, “and we know he was born blind. But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don’t know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself” (vv. 20-23).
I don’t know what labels you’ve been given all your life, but I know we’ve all have been labelled wrong at times. Jesus is coming to replace those labels. The man’s testimony became, “I was blind but now I see!” (v. 25). Your new identity is going to frustrate the ones who gave you a wrong identity, expecting you to live with it all your life. But like the man in the story, you can go on your way, enjoying your life and allowing God to use your testimony to bring Him glory.