Excerpt from John 9:8–9
"The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar began to ask, 'Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?' Some were saying, 'It is he.' Others were saying, 'No, but it is someone like him.' He kept saying, 'I am the man.'"
Reflection by Anthony B. Robinson
What happens to someone who is touched and changed by Jesus?
When I watch a religious TV show or listen to some personal testimonies, it seems that after meeting Jesus everything is better. "Jesus came into my life and now business is great, my wife and I are super in love, and the kids, who were on drugs, are getting straight A's. Thank you, Jesus."
It may be that way for some people. But I'm struck by what happened to the blind beggar, in John 9, who was touched and healed by Jesus. He got healed and his neighbors no longer knew him. His parents disowned him. And he was kicked out of the church. If he'd given a testimony it might have been, "Yes, I was healed by Jesus and my life turned into a mess. People I'd known for a long time acted as if they didn't know me, my family didn't want anything to do with me, and the authorities threatened to arrest me."
I imagine his testimony might continue. "Yes, since meeting Jesus my life is harder in many ways. But, you know, I wouldn't have it any other way. Because now I see. I see how afraid many people are, how afraid I was. Afraid to tell the truth, afraid to live, afraid to take any risks. It's like we're blind. It makes me sad. But I don't want to go back."
Being touched and blessed by Jesus may not mean our lives are suddenly successful, as society defines success. Jesus may make life harder, but in ways that matter. He gives us problems worth having. And when we experience hard things on his account, that is when we come to really know him.
When you open my eyes to see by the light of your truth and grace, Lord, grant me the courage to keep 'em open. Amen.
Anthony B. Robinson, a United Church of Christ minister, is a speaker, teacher and writer. His newest book is Called to Lead: Paul's Letters to Timothy for a New Day, and he is also the author of the just-published Book of Exodus: A God is still speaking Bible Study. Read his weekly reflections on the current lectionary texts at www.anthonybrobinson.com by clicking on Weekly Reading.