He had no idea he would be an integral part of the Jesus Come to Earth Tour. That when the “planning committee” was working out the details for the Son of God’s three years of flesh-caped, earthly ministry, they thought of him and said, “Yeah, that guy! Let him be born blind.” How come? So that people would see what God could do.
He didn’t know. His parents certainly didn’t. Those who watched him grow up and pitied him didn’t. Those who for years looked past him didn’t. In fact, some, perhaps many, when they did take notice of him naturally thought, “Wonder what generational sin is in his past? Bad break for that guy!”
But Jesus knew.
As [Jesus] passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
(John 9:1-5 ESV)
Jesus, and those He called to follow Him, had work to do. Time was limited. While it was day, the signs and wonders which been foreordained needed to be enacted. The message of the good news of the kingdom come needed to be seeded. That’s why they had encountered this man born blind.
Not born blind because of God’s foreknowledge of some sin he would commit. Not born blind as some divine consequence for his parent’s less than righteous lives. But born blind simply, and only, because God determined it would be so. And had determined it so that works of God might be displayed in him.
Jesus disciples naturally asked the why question. But Jesus re-directed them to the what question. What is God going to do with this guy?
And I’m chewing on what difference it would have made if this guy’s parents had known he had been born blind because one day, through an encounter of the divine kind, the power of God would fall on him. What difference it would have made if, since he was little boy, his parents would have told him again and again, “Be patient. God has allowed this. Trust Him. He has a purpose. Your darkness will somehow be a powerful signpost pointing to the Light of the World. Your weakness, an opportunity for the Almighty to display His might. Your seemingly lost potential, an eventual avenue leading to the opportunity to testify for all the ages, ‘This is what I know. I once was blind but now I see!'”
But he didn’t know. He grew up asking, as those around him would periodically do, “Why? Why this? Why me?”
He didn’t know. He wasn’t privy to the secret counsels of God. Wasn’t sent the itinerary showing the plan since the foundation of the world that the Son of God, veiled in flesh, would one day make some spit mud, rub it on his eyes, and he would see things he never thought or imagined he would see.
He didn’t know the plans God had for his blindness. Didn’t know the divine purpose for his infirmity. Didn’t know the heavenly permitted point of years of darkness and loneliness. Nor could he have ever conceived of the power that would eventually be displayed in and through his life.
But Jesus knew.
Knew that his blindness wasn’t a cause-and-effect thing. Knew that the works of God would be accomplished while it was still day. Knew that the power of God would be manifest in him in a mighty way. Knew that a seeing blind man would be an eternal trophy of God’s eternal purposes and power and unmerited favor.
All because of grace. All for God’s glory.