A New Identity

His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked,  “Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?”  Some claimed that he was.

Others said,  “No, he only looks like him.”

But he himself insisted,  “I am the man.”  John 9:6-9.

There is a subtle difference in the face of a person who can see and one who cannot.  The expressions of a blind person are completely different, for one thing, because the face takes on the communication role of saying what the eyes see and the words cannot express.  This isn’t to say a blind person doesn’t have facial expression but that the eyes being able to see change how those expressions are in reaction to the world they know.  Now a person who grew up seeing then loses their sight remains somewhat engaged with the world around them and reacts to other people with some sense of sight awareness.  The expressions on a person’s face in this case might not be so drastically affected as for one who was born blind with no reference points for what expressions mean. 

The man born blind came home with this problem.  For the first time in his life he was able to respond to the sight of what sounds meant and that changed everything in the way he acted.  The very stance of his body language would be different, not to mention the wonder of seeing colors for the first time, shapes in all their array and host of shades unavailable to him before.  I can only imagine what this revelation must have been like for him because I’ve never really experienced blindness besides putting a blindfold on for fun.  Yet what I’ve seen of blind people’s body language and facial expressions versus those who have their sight restored tells me enough to know this was a completely new man.

It’s no wonder his neighbors were stunned and confused by his appearance.  If we take in all we’ve discussed on the opinions of the day about disease and misfortune then roll it into one situation, we have the makings of a first-rate rock-your-world local story.  These people were amazed not just by the miracle itself but that it would happen to one deemed unworthy by God according all the religious teachers they knew.  Here was not only a miracle but hope that God wasn’t as hard-hearted as they had been taught.  At the same time, some of these must have resented the healing and feared the foundation of all they believed was being threatened.

The mystery deepened and the dichotomy grew more pronounced when his neighbors heard that Jesus was his benefactor.  What?!!  Wasn’t this the man the priests and Pharisees were fighting against and plotting to kill?  Here He was healing a man born blind and basically sticking it to their leadership.

“How then were your eyes opened?”  they demanded.

They were understandably stressed now because the evidence standing before them was someone they knew to be a great sinner…or else he was the product of great sin.  His healing suggested some pleasant thoughts of grace, for sure, but we humans hate it when our pet opinions get challenged.  At the same his healing offered hope for all.

Here is an example of being light in a dark place.  The man born blind didn’t need to perform miracles or challenge the authorities because he was a walking miracle.  There is nothing more pronounced a witness for God than a life radically changed for the better.  A person given over to wholeness who has been trapped by addictions and bad habits in the past offers hope for the world around him or her.  That is light, folks, pure and simple.

We don’t need great shows or programs to be powerful for our Master.  All we need to do is belong to Him and allow that miracle to shine.  The witness will take care of itself.

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One Response to “A New Identity”

  1. tlc4women Says:

    And how many times have we seen the countenance of a new believer change? It’s an amazing thing to see light.

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