The entire ninth chapter of John is devoted to the story of Jesus healing a man who had been blind from birth. As I listened to my pastor preach from this text on Sunday, I was particularly impressed by the first few verses in which the disciples assumed that the man’s blindness was the result of sin, either by the blind man himself or his parents.
Jesus responds to their question in verse 3, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.”
What a powerful statement. This was a grown man who had spent his childhood and some portion of his adult life blind, in order that Jesus could heal him on this particular day and reveal to the world that He had the power to forgive sins and to heal infirmities.
This struck a personal chord with me. When I was 5, my mother gave birth to my brother John. In the weeks after his birth, we came to realize that John could neither see nor hear. The doctors said that John’s birth defects were due to my mother having contracted German measles while pregnant. When John was 3, however, it became clear that he was born as he was in order that God might reveal Himself to our family.
My mother casually asked the wife of my father’s commanding officer to pray for John, as he was to undergo surgery in an attempt to provide him with some limited sight. The woman responding by coming over to our house immediately and sharing Jesus with my mother and encouraging her to read the Gospel of John. My mother read John that very night and accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior.
Over the next four years, all the members of our immediately family accepted Jesus as their Savior. Soon after my father’s salvation, God called John home to Heaven. John did not receive his sight or hearing while on Earth. He never learned to speak and never shared the Gospel with anyone, yet we know that the salvation of our family and many others is credited to his account in Heaven.
This Thanksgiving, I am thankful to God for revealing Himself to our family by sending us John.