God's Unseen Glory
by Ryan Duncan
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. – John 1:14
If I had to choose a favorite moment in the life of Christ, it would probably be the story of the blind man in John 9. Most Christians are familiar with the passage, it begins with Jesus walking through the temple with his disciples when they come across a man born blind.
“As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?’ Jesus answered, ‘It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” – John 9:1-3
For a long time I believed the “works” Jesus talked about meant healing the man’s blindness. That’s what the story was all about, wasn’t it? Jesus performing a miracle to prove he was the Son of God? Actually, no. In fact, the real message of John 9 turned out to be something much different.
After receiving his sight, the man is brought before the Pharisees to be questioned. The religious leaders are torn: this Jesus performed a miracle, so he must be some kind of prophet, but he did so on the Sabbath, a true man of God wouldn’t break the Sabbath. Eventually they just decide to pull rank (We are the Pharisees, We decide who gets credit for this miracle!) Listen to how the once-blind man responds,
“The man answered and said to them, ‘Well, here is an amazing thing, that you do not know where He is from, and yet He opened my eyes. We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears him. Since the beginning of time it has never been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. If this man were not from God, He could do nothing.’ They answered him, ‘You were born entirely in sins, and are you teaching us?’ So they put him out.”
If Jesus had wanted to be recognized for his power he would have ridden into Jerusalem as the conquering hero the Jews expected him to be. Instead he came quietly, touching the lives of the lost and overlooked. His “works” were the restoring of hearts and souls, not just physical bodies. By doing so, he gave a blind man the ability to see truth, where the Pharisees became blind to it. Let us make sure the Church doesn’t become blind as well.
Intersecting Faith and Life: Ask questions. Don’t be like the Pharisees, who were so wrapped up in their legalism they failed to recognize God. Seek to grow your faith at every opportunity.
The Characters of Christmas is a podcast created to help you take a fresh look at the Christmas story by getting to know the minor characters that played a part in Jesus’ birth. It is the companion to Dan Darling's book "The Characters of Christmas: The Unlikely People Caught Up in the Story of Jesus."