Experience to believe

 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. John 9:3

Sometimes we need a personal experience to believe.  It is not enough to hear or see or read about ideas.  It appears that all of these leave us with some doubt, but when we experience, we believe.

There was once a man who had been blind from birth. (John 9) The disciples asked Jesus who had sinned, the man or his parents.  The assumption was that since something bad had happened in this case sickness, someone must have deserved it.  Turns out the man was not being punished at all. God had a profound plan that would impact this man for the rest of his life. It would also impact all those that knew the blind man.

Jesus took an interesting approach with this blind man and I always wondered why.  In so many occasions Jesus simply spoke and the person was healed.  On some occasions an entire group was healed like in the case of the 10 lepers. On other occasions Jesus did not even see or know the person.  From a distance of perhaps several towns away he could just say they were healed and it was so. But Jesus really went all out with this blind man.  He wanted to increase the experience. Jesus goes through this whole process where he spits on the ground and creates some mud.  He then takes the mud and rubs it in the man’s eye.  Definitely not a modern prescribed medical procedure. He then tells the man to wash his eyes.  It’s as if Jesus just wants to make this experience as long as he can, long enough for the man to never forget.  When the man finally washes out his eyes he is healed.

The Pharisees torture the man with their questioning on several occasions, arguing that Jesus was not of God.  It would have made most men doubt. But later when Jesus reveals to the former blind man his true identity, the man immediately confesses belief in Jesus.  He accepts Jesus as his Messiah.

Often in our life our faith is tested and we need more than to be just told what to believe or not believe.  Sometimes we need personal experiences that strengthen our faith so that when we are tested we do not waver in our convictions.  These experiences can be long and painful.  Such was the case with the bind man who had suffered blindness from birth.  But his blindness led to a salvation and a faith that he would not so easily relinquish. Perhaps a difficult time we are passing through will end in a miracle that will help us to never lose faith. God knows that sometimes we need the experience to believe!

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