As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 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 works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the 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.”
But he himself insisted, “I am the man.”
“How then were your eyes opened?” they asked.
He replied, “The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.” (John 9:1-11)
This morning I shared with my eight-year-old son, Noah, what I read in John 9 during my devotional time. It was the account of Jesus healing the blind man by spitting on the ground, making mud with his saliva, and putting it on the blind man’s eyes. I wondered aloud why Jesus would have to make a mud concoction out of his spit and put it on the eyes of the blind man in order for the man to regain his sight. Why didn’t Jesus just touch the man’s eyes and enable him to see? Noah’s wise response to my question blew me away! He explained, “Jesus always did something weird so that people would have to trust him”.
After considering Noah’s insightful comment, I realized he was spot on. The blind man demonstrated faith first by allowing Jesus to rub mud made with spit on his eyes, and then by obeying Jesus’s command to go and wash in the Pool of Siloam. How ridiculous the blind man must have felt going to the pool with mud covering his eyes! Yet he was rewarded for his faith by the restoration of his vision.
My son’s observation brought to mind other instances in the Bible when Jesus required a demonstration of faith for healing. In Luke 17, Jesus encountered ten lepers as he was going into a village on his way to Jerusalem. The lepers “stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, ‘Jesus, Master, have pity on us!’” (Luke 17:12b-13). Before they were even healed, Jesus instructed them to show themselves to the priests. The lepers were cleansed as they went. Imagine the tremendous faith the lepers must have had to make their way to the priests to be declared clean before Jesus healed them! When one of the healed lepers came back to thank and praise Jesus, Jesus told the man, “…your faith has made you well” (Luke 17:19; emphasis mine).
In another Bible account, when the Roman centurion’s highly valued servant was at death’s door, Jesus went to the centurion’s house. Before Jesus reached the house, the centurion’s friends met Jesus and passed along the centurion’s message to him:
“Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed. For I too am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me: and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” (Luke 7:6b-8).
The Bible says that Jesus marveled at the things the centurion said because not even in Israel had Jesus found such faith. The centurion’s friends returned to the house to find the servant well.
So why does Jesus do “weird” things (no irreverence intended) that require us to demonstrate our faith? It’s simple: Faith pleases Jesus.
“Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29; emphasis mine)
Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy (1 Peter 1:8).
The Lord speaks to me in so many ways. Today I was reminded of an important spiritual truth from one of my favorite people – my amazing second grade son.