Who Sinned?

As he walked 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?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him. -John 9:1-3 NRSV

This question plagues humanity yet today. Something bad happens and people want someone to blame. Earthquakes destroy villages, tsunamis flood coastal regions and people want to blame somebody. What is it in us that seeks to cast judgment in times when mercy is needed? Is it theology gone bad or something deeper that causes us to ask such questions? Have some embraced a weird form of karma or do we make up answers to unanswerable questions?

I love the way that Jesus answers the question. First he hits at the heart of the question ... no one sinned ... there is no one to blame. Secondly he teaches us that the works of God are not limited to the sinless. In saying that he does not say that sin is okay or that God makes people blind. He transcends a black/white cause/effect perspective and challenges us to go beyond our fleshly limitations. In both aspects of his answer he communicates a divine mercy and grace.

Help us Lord to fix our eyes on you instead of our failings and sins.

... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the Gospel of John.

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