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I Quit Devotion Day Forty Nine

John 9:31

"We know that God doesn't listen to sinners, but he is ready to hear those who worship him and do his will."

John chapter 9 tells the story of a blind man who, thanks to Jesus, can now see. As it turns out, though, this chapter is full of blind people, if you, uh, know where to look…
“Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?” (‭John‬ ‭9‬:‭2‬ NLT)
When Jesus’ band of merry men came upon the blind man, they assumed that his condition was the result of sin, as if he or his family had done something wrong and God had rendered punishment in the form of disability. Jesus corrected his disciples of their cultural blindness by focusing them on what they were meant to do, which was to save lives, not judge them.
Others said, “It’s him all right!” But others objected, “It’s not the same man at all. It just looks like him.” He said, “It’s me, the very one.” (‭John‬ ‭9‬:‭8-9‬ NLT)
The man’s eyesight was miraculously restored, but when he went to tell his neighbors about it, most people didn’t even recognize him. Thanks to their prejudicial blindness, they only thought of him as “that blind beggar.” They’d never bothered to know him on a deeper level, and now that his superficial characteristics had changed, they had nothing else to identify him by.
Some of the Pharisees said, “This man Jesus is not from God, for he is working on the Sabbath.” Others said, “But how could an ordinary sinner do such miraculous signs?” So there was a deep division of opinion among them. (‭John‬ ‭9‬:‭16‬ NLT)
If the New Testament was a cowboy film, the Pharisees would be wearing black hats for sure. Everywhere Jesus went, this elitist clique skulked in the shadows, grumbling about how he was violating their legalistic worldview. Because of their obsessive devotion to the law of man, they had become blind to the presence of the Messiah, and refused to open their eyes to his light. Even those Pharisees who knew that Jesus had performed wonders couldn’t bear to admit that he was the son of God.
His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who had announced that anyone saying Jesus was the Messiah would be expelled from the synagogue. That’s why they said, “He is old enough. Ask him.”  (‭John‬ ‭9‬:‭22-23‬ NLT)
When brought before the Pharisees for questioning, the blind man’s mother and father were too afraid of losing their status to acknowledge the miracle that their son had received. Their self-imposed blindness kept them from celebrating his healed body.
“Look!” the man exclaimed. “I told you once. Didn’t you listen? Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples, too?”  (‭John‬ ‭9‬:‭27‬ NLT)
The Pharisees were so stubborn in their opposition to Jesus that they interrogated the blind man twice. With his new eyes, he not only noticed their spiritual blindness, but their spiritual deafness too.
When Jesus heard what had happened, he found the man and asked, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” The man answered, “Who is he, sir? I want to believe in him.” “You have seen him,” Jesus said, “and he is speaking to you!” (‭John‬ ‭9‬:‭35-37‬ NLT)
Even after standing up for Jesus in front of the Pharisees, the man showed that he was still blind in one crucial way. He failed to recognize the Messiah for what he truly was. But to his credit, he was ready to believe, and as soon as Jesus pointed out the truth to him, the man’s inner blindness was wiped out as quickly as his outer blindness had been.
“If you were blind, you wouldn’t be guilty,” Jesus replied. “But you remain guilty because you claim you can see.” (‭John‬ ‭9‬:‭41‬ NLT)
At the end of the chapter, Jesus trapped his adversaries with their own twisted logic. The Pharisees held themselves above everyone else as the paragons of wisdom and holiness, leaving no room for humility. Because of this, they weren’t able to hide from their mistakes. In their quest to be perfect, they were primed to fall.
The lessons presented in this chapter helped keep me focused on my own blindness, both the willful kind (when I want to go my own way and ignore God’s direction for my life) and the instinctual kind (when I overreact to stressful situations without seeking God’s wisdom and peace). My eyes were opened up to Jesus’ saving power years ago, but being the fallible human I am, I still close those eyes occasionally when God presents me with something I don’t feel like seeing. Luckily for me, God is patient and understanding, and is constantly giving me the time and opportunity to correct myself. And thanks to what Jesus did in his years of ministry, I don’t have to look far to find a good role model.

Vinny Bove lives in Queens with his wife and four-month-old son, who is constantly opening his eyes to little miracles like rolling over, chewing on one’s own feet and sleeping for more than five hours at a time.