“When Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, He found the man and said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
“Who is He, Sir?” he replied. “Tell me so that I may believe in Him.”
“You have already seen Him,” Jesus answered. “He is the One speaking with you.”
“Lord, I believe,” he said. And he worshiped Jesus.” (John 9:35-38)
Jesus conducted a man hunt. He searched through the crowds of Jerusalem for the man he had healed of blindness, to ask him just one thing: “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
There was a big reason for the man to believe. He’d been without sight all of his life, and then, unexpectedly, a miracle took place, and he could see. It was an astounding, unprecedented event. No one had ever even heard before of a blind person being healed. (v. 36)
Because of this event, the blind man did have some belief. He believed that God was working through Jesus. He told the Pharisees, “If this man were not from God, He could do no such thing.” (John 9:36) Standing up for this belief got the blind man thrown out of the synagogue.
Yet Jesus asked the blind man to believe further, that he was the Son of Man, or, as some translations word it, the Son of God. Jesus didn’t just want the blind man to believe in the miracle, but in the miracle doer. If we take the translation of “Son of God” as accurate, then Jesus was asking the blind man to believe that he was the Messiah. And this certainly seems to be consistent with Jesus’s MO in the book of John. He told the Samaritan woman the same thing.
In a sense, this was an extreme request. The healed man had only had one encounter with Jesus, and he never actually saw him. When Jesus came up to him later, the man probably recognized his voice, and knew this was the guy who healed him. But to say that Jesus was the Messiah? Not everyone would have been able to have that faith, even if they’d experienced a pretty significant miracle.
I think we learn something here about Jesus, and what his expectations are. He would give people a reason to believe, and then watch to see if they would have faith in him. Think of the story of Peter in Luke 5. At Jesus’s request, Peter cast his net on the other side of the boat and got so many fish, he couldn’t haul them all in. It was because of this encounter that Peter left everything and became a disciple.
What reason has Jesus given you to believe? After studying this passage, I made a list of things that Jesus did at a time when I wasn’t even expecting him to work, and couldn’t claim that I had anything to do with them. He gave me a boyfriend who later showed me how to obey the scriptures. He gave me a house next to a wonderful church, that would shape my spiritual life. He gave me my dream job offer, out of the blue. He made me pregnant when there wasn’t a baby (blighted ovum), and then I knew I had to have children. He gave me lifelong friends, in the right place at the right time. He gave my husband a surprise job offer in Columbus, which led to us carrying out a mission in Auburn. He dropped great people into our church. I could go on and on.
I have many “miracles” that have been done in my life. I’ve been given many reasons to believe.
Do I believe, not only in the miracles, but in the miracle doer?
Do I even recognize the miracles, or do they get lost amongst the challenges?
The formerly blind man could have said, “Well, yes, something extraordinary happened with my sight. But I was blind all my life, and there were many hard times. And I just got thrown out of the synagogue, and now I’m a pariah. And my own parents didn’t stand up for me.” Even though the man could physically see, he could have been “blinded” by his troubles.
But Jesus searched high and low for this one man to ask him one question: now that he could physically see, would he choose to see spiritually? The answer to this question would change the man, inside and out. It would affect everything he did from then on.
And the man said, “Yes, absolutely!” He worshiped Jesus at that very moment.
Jesus is asking us this extreme question as well. He says, “You have already seen me. I’m the one who did unexpected, extraordinary things in your life. Will you attribute them to me and to who I am?”
If we do, it will change us.
Let’s worship Jesus at this moment, with wonder and joy . . .
for who he is
for what he’s done
and that he searched through all of humanity to find us and give us the opportunity to know him.