When Jesus Smeared Mud on a Man’s Face

Disability,  Beggars and God’s Glory

Imagine that you are blind.  You’ve been blind all your life.  You want to see like everybody else,  but you cannot.

That was the life of the man born blind in John 9.  He had been blind from birth;  all he could do was sit outside the temple and beg.  Day after day,  living off the charity of others.  Never able to go into the temple.  Just waiting for someone to pity his miserable soul.

And sometimes that pity was not kind.

Children would taunt:  “Look at that guy.”  “I’m glad I’m not him.”  Adults would say,  “Don’t touch him,  he’s dirty.”  “Don’t get too close you might catch something.”

Day after day,  year after year,  how those words must have hurt.

But none hurt as much as those of Jesus’ disciples:  “Who sinned this man or his parents that he was born blind?” 

The blind man knew exactly what they were saying:  “This man or his family was so inherently wicked that God struck him with blindness from birth.”

Jesus retorts,  “Neither this man sinned nor his parents,  but this blindness happened so that the works of God might be evidenced in him” (John 9:3).  This man’s blindness is for God’s glory! 

Imagine you are the blind man at that moment.  You hear someone spit.  You have heard that before.  Did someone spit in disgust at you? 

Then you feel something slimy on your eyes.  Someone has taken spit and is smearing mud it all over your useless eyes! 

Now Jesus tells you to walk to the pool of Siloam about two football fields away.    


John tells us “Siloam” means “the one having been sent.”

The disciples had the mistaken view (a view fully shared by the scribes and Pharisees) that they were spiritually better than other people.  The disciples even argued about who was best.  They struggled with judging other people. 

So Jesus gave them something to think about.  He rubbed mud on this man’s eyes.  He put “Adam” on this man’s eyes and told him to wash in the “Sent One” so that he might see.

Perhaps what Jesus did was not so much for the man but for the disciples.

We all are born spiritually blind because of Adam.  We all are excluded from the holiness of God’s worship because of sin.  Yet God means our healing and forgiveness to show forth His glory;  “I once was blind,  but now I see!”

The world probably mocked that man as he walked to Siloam.  He may have even wondered,  “Will this really work?”

But Jesus had the power to heal him,  and Jesus has power to restore you,  for God’s glory.

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