John 9:1-3, “And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.”
Sufferings, afflictions and troubles are part of this world. It would be an unrealistic expectation to believe that a person could live life without facing some type of trouble. Often when individuals see someone going through physical issues, their mind will race to a place of judgement, trying to discern what the man/woman had done to deserve such an affliction.
The man Job had three friends who did this very thing.
- In Job 4:8, it was Eliphaz the Temanite that spoke from his own personal experience when he said, “Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same”. Eliphaz used his limited experience to pass his misplaced judgement on Job by saying, “I’ve never seen anyone suffer who was living right” (my words).
- In Job 8:6, “If thou wert pure and upright; surely now he would awake for thee, and make the habitation of thy righteousness prosperous”, it was Bildad the Shuhite who passed his misplaced judgement on Job by saying, “if you were doing right, God would come and fix things for you” (my words).
- In Job 11:6, “Know therefore that God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity deserveth”, it was Zophar the Naamathite who told poor Job, “You are not getting half of what you deserve for the wrongs you will not confess that you’ve done” (my words). In each of these cases, the three were saying to Job, the problems you are suffering are because you have personally committed a transgression against God.
These three completely missed the mark altogether concerning Job. The truth is, people suffer for different reasons. I’ll agree that sometimes sufferings are because of the chastisement of God (Hebrews 12:6), but that’s not the only reason people suffer. Often, we suffer because of the consequence of bad decision making. But even if we make good decisions and live to the best to our abilities, we still live in a marred world of sin and sorrow. And because of this fact, according to Jesus in John 16:33, “ye shall have tribulation:…”
In our study verses, I would like to point out that when the disciples began to question who sinned, Jesus spoke words that would deter the mind from this thinking to a more profitable area of meditation. Jesus, by His words and perfect example, called on the student to think less about the why or the how, but to labor in the opportunity to glorify the Father and help the one in need. Rather than ponder in the questions of who did sin?; what sin was committed?; or how the sin was committed?; Jesus said “that the works of God should be manifest in him.”
What an amazing lesson for us all and may we all take heed. The next time we cross paths with a suffering brother or sister, may we look for a way to serve God and help the person in need rather than to judge and condemn. Amen!