I love that sassy man born blind in John 9. He is one of the smartest, funniest people we meet in the Bible. I wrote in an earlier post about this story. I wrote about how inspired I am to realize that my “blindness” (low vision), like that of the man born blind, could be used to reveal the glory of God. While I am inspired by the story in its entirety, I am also intrigued by this amazing man.
Think about this man’s life before this fateful day. He was blind, which made him an outcast and a beggar. He had spent life in rags, being reviled, ignored, beaten, spit on, yelled at, pitied. He was blind, so he was also voiceless and powerless and hopeless.
Still, when this wild event occurs, he takes it in stride. When questioned by the authorities about what happened, he speaks right up. This is a man who would have every reason to tremble in the presence of these powerful men. But he simply tells the truth Then, he is called back and questioned a second time. When they tell him that Jesus is a sinner, the man shows that he is both brilliant and witty.
- He replied, “If he is a sinner, I do not know. One thing I do know is that I was blind and now I see.”
- So they said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?”
- He answered them, “I told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples, too?”
He actually takes on the power people and mocks them. He has such a light touch Do you want to become his disciples, too? I imagine him asking it in a perfectly innocent voice. They must have been livid. But he’s not finished with them yet.
- They ridiculed him and said, “You are that man’s disciple; we are disciples of Moses! We know that God spoke to Moses, but we do not know where this one is from.”
- The man answered and said to them, “This is what is so amazing, that you do not know where he is from, yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if one is devout and does his will, he listens to him. It is unheard of that anyone ever opened the eyes of a person born blind. If this man were not from God, he would not be able to do anything.”
He has put them in their place. His argument is sound. I imagine that their horror at being stood up to, and humiliated by, this BLIND MAN, this BEGGAR, this SINNER is now at a fever pitch. They cannot refute his argument. He has won. And so, they respond from their power position.
- They answered and said to him, “You were born totally in sin, and are you trying to teach us?” Then they threw him out.
The man born blind is a heroic figure to me. Even though he comes from a position of powerlessness, he stands up, bold and honest, and defeats those in power at their own game of logic and reasoning. And he does it with humor and style.
I love this sassy man born blind. He teaches me that, even if my deteriorating vision lowers my value (my “power”) in the eyes of society, I can hang onto my dignity, my humor, my intelligence. I can speak up against those who would abuse their authority, the way this man rebuked the Pharisees. No matter what happens, I can continue to believe in myself and in the truth. This man was not a nobody. No person with any disability is a nobody. And neither am I.