Week 3: Preparing Your Mind


John 9:1-3

1As 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.”  (NIV)


Monday: “As he walked along”

     I wonder if Jesus enjoyed walking for this reason. He was on his feet and he was always exposed to the natural elements. Anybody could reach him and Jesus could reach anybody by simply walking towards the person. There was no need to get off the horse or missing somebody in need because you were going too fast. Sometimes, being on the road is tiresome and all I think about is getting to the destination, but no, Jesus did quite a lot of his miracles on the road to some place. Perhaps, Jesus wasn’t even trying to go somewhere each day, but simply to walk among his people. Whom will I see today as I walk through the streets of New York City? If I walk intentionally, if I walk with a mission, if I walk with a compassionate heart, may be I will see the people I come across as my brothers and sisters rather than assuming falsely as Jesus disciples did.


Tuesday: “blind from birth”

     When I am born a certain way, I define myself by that trait. If I am born with dark hair, I accept it as a fact. If I am born with twelve toes, I won’t like it, but still accept it as a fact. If I am born an introvert or shy, I would accept that as part of my design. But these are relatively easy cards to accept than the card this man was dealt with: blindness from birth. Something like that was impossible to cure in Jesus’ time. I don’t even know if they had glasses.

     When we are struck with something like this, it is clear to us that our lives will depend on the grace and mercy of strangers and family. When we are hit with something like this from birth, it should be clear to us that we were never meant to live by our own strength, merit, and inheritance. Blind or not, we are not defined by our weaknesses nor are we defined by our strengths. We are defined by the grace and mercy of God who is not a stranger to us. Don’t let your “blindness”–even if it’s from your birth– define you. Let God’s redemption and grace be your rightful pride and joy today.


Wednesday: “His disciples asked him, “Rabbi,…”

     To be a disciple in Jesus’ time meant following a rabbi wherever he went. To be a rabbi in Jesus’ time meant having the disciples follow you wherever you went. Disciples were their rabbi’s shadow and lesser versions of the rabbi. Notice how Jesus does not mind his disciples calling him rabbi. Elsewhere in the Gospels, we see Jesus forbidding his disciples to share their belief publicly that Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus came to the disciples in their own cultural environment and blended in whenever possible. 

     Jesus’ message, of course, was not always in agreement with his community’s Jewish practices. Still, Jesus came to his people and met them where they are. Jesus was willing to take on many roles and names–in addition to Messiah– so that the people around him can relate to and understand the good news most effectively. Jesus was a healer to those whose Messiah would heal. Jesus was a religious revolutionary to those whose Messiah would turn the Temple upside down. Jesus was a rabbi to those who did not deserve a teacher by their own intellectual merit (see ‘Talmidim‘ for more on this). What are we willing to become for the sake of others so that people can see God’s good news in their troubled world?


Thursday: “…who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

     The very first thought that came to the disciple’s mind was who is at fault? Something bad happened, now who did something wrong? The assumption here is that all bad things that happen to us happened because that person sinned. The blind man lived in such a society–a society that had no compassion for the disabled. To them, it was clear as day that the blind man or his parents did something wrong. How else can such a bad thing happen to someone? The blind man was deemed unworthy to serve God, let alone live among his neighbors. We all know the story Even after he was healed, his parents were reluctant to embrace him because they were afraid of the religious leaders who hated Jesus. When we see someone who clearly “does not belong in church,” aren’t we doing the same thing?


Friday: “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus..

O, can you imagine the blind man looking up to the voice that uttered these words? Can you picture this downcast and outcast man finding a glimmer of hope in the invisible voice of Jesus? In Jesus’ eyes, the blind man’s blindness was not a condition to look down on. Jesus makes that very clear here. Of course, everyone has sinned and fallen short of God’s design for us. Of course, his parents sinned at some point. Of course, the blind man sinned at least once in his life time. Yet, Jesus is not even thinking about that, it seems. “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” is an affirmation that perceived sinners are welcome in God’s presence (Jesus’ presence) and that once we recognize ourselves as sinners too, we cannot dare say “somebody sinned, so they got what they deserved.” In this short phrase, Jesus redeemed the blind man and convicted the rest.


Saturday “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” 

The word “this” could mean many different things for each of us. “This” for some of us means fear of public speaking. “This” for others could mean some physical disability or emotional insecurity. Whatever “this” is for you today, let God work through you so that the world may know it is Jesus who works through your weaknesses.