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Suffering? So that God may be glorified

Text: John 9: 1-12

Text verse: John 9:3

The question the disciples ask is important because it is an incorrect implication that believers make today too. Of course, there are diseases that are the direct result of sin, like someone who gets HIV because of an extramarital affair, or a car accident caused by someone who is drunk or driving too fast.

However, the Bible makes it clear that this is not always the case. God’s sovereignty (He has the highest authority) and purpose in our lives plays a crucial role. Job is a good example of this (Job 1). Paul also says that the thorn in his flesh helped keep him humble (2 Cor. 12: 7). In Galatians 4:13 he speaks of an illness that caused him to preach the gospel to that congregation for the first time.

Yet every time we fall back into this kind of thinking. Consider your own life. When something bad happens to you, do you also tend to think that there may be something in your life that the Lord is punishing you for?

We look at other people with the same attitude. When something bad happens to them, we tend to think that it is his or her sin that is causing the problems.

The reason for this is that we know deep down that we are not worthy and therefore deserve God’s punishment. We know that we deserve nothing less than eternal apostasy.

Also, this type of reasoning testifies to our pride. If we think that the Lord punishes us for our sins; it implies that we think a person deserves to be punished for their sin. As if our own sins don’t need to be punished.

Therefore, through this miracle, Jesus reveals something special to every believer. We must realise that Jesus is the light of the world. In John 8:12 Jesus already said that He is the light for the world, but in this passage, He shows that He is the light by healing a blind man so that his eyes can also see the light.

Jesus shows us that He is coming to change the focus. Through Him it is no longer about who committed what sin, but rather about the fact that God also uses our suffering and bad circumstances to make His glory shine. That focus shifts with Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. After all, this was Jesus’ mission on earth.

That is why He says in verse 4: “As long as it is day, we must do the works of Him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.”

In other words, the end of this mission (night) is at hand. The night came when the God of the universe, the Creator of Light, was captured by the Jews. Jesus was humiliated, spat upon, beaten and killed. It was not about his own sin, but he died for the sins of the whole world and with that he glorified his Father (John 17:4).

Therefore, everyone who believes in Him can now also follow in his footsteps. We can know that our sin has already been paid for by Christ. Trials and tribulations are not payment for sin but must serve to glorify God. We glorify the Almighty by being faithful to Him while we are strangers in this world.

His light and healing power must shine through us. It shines through the hope we radiate in difficult times and through the love we show others who, just like us, do not deserve it.

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