JOHN 9:1-5: “As Jesus walked along, he saw a man who had been born blind. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, why was this man born blind? Did he or his parents sin?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned. Instead, he was born blind so that God could show what he can do for him. We must do what the one who sent me wants us to do while it is day. The night when no one can do anything is coming. As long as I’m in the world, I’m light for the world.” (GW)
OBSERVATION: Is all sickness the result of sin? This is an important question to ask. It was a question that was common to the Jews of Jesus’ day, and one his disciples asked Jesus when they came upon a beggar, a man who was blind from his birth. There are those today who would link every sickness that someone is facing to their sin. While others, would take all sin and make it the cause of their sickness (eg., alcoholism, drug abuse, etc.). What is the answer?
The answer is both Yes and No. This is not dodging the importance of the question. Rather, this is answering it from a truly Biblical perspective.
In reference to the “Yes” of our question – all sickness is the result of sin in a general sense. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden they allowed sin and brokenness to enter into their perfect world. They also allowed satan’s influence to enter into to everything they did. Since that time the perfect world that God had given them has been made subject to death and decay, just like we are. In fact, Paul speaks of the creation awaiting its’ redemption along with the redeemed of the Lord.
- “All creation is eagerly waiting for God to reveal who his children are. Creation was subjected to frustration but not by its own choice. The one who subjected it to frustration did so in the hope that it would also be set free from slavery to decay in order to share the glorious freedom that the children of God will have. We know that all creation has been groaning with the pains of childbirth up to the present time.”. (Romans 8:19-22 GW)
And God’s Word makes it clear that sin and satan are the author of all sickness, not God!
- “Satan left the LORD’s presence and struck Job with painful boils from the soles of his feet to the top of his head.” (Job 2:7 GW)
However, we now come to the “No” of our question. All sickness is not a result of sin in the overt sense. The Book of Job, and Jesus’ answer to the disciples makes this very clear. The man who was born blind was not blind because of a specific overt sin that he, or his parents, or anyone else committed. The man was born blind for two reasons. First – he lived in a fallen world that is touched by sin, decay, and death on every level. Second – God, although not the author of his condition, would use his condition in a redeeming way to bring Himself glory, and to proclaim a powerful message to all. What was this message?
- “Then Jesus said, “I have come into this world to judge: Blind people will be given sight, and those who can see will become blind.” Some Pharisees who were with Jesus heard this. So they asked him, “Do you think we’re blind?” Jesus told them, “If you were blind, you wouldn’t be sinners. But now you say, ‘We see,’ so you continue to be sinners.”. (John 9:39-41 GW)
So what can we take away from this important lesson? We must resist the temptation to quickly diagnose a person’s condition and link it to some specific overt sin in their life. There are so many doing this today, and it is simply wrong and does not reflect the heart of God. If there is sin involved in their sickness, God will reveal it to them. Our position is not to be the one who diagnoses sin. We will then be found trying to remove the speck in everyone else’s eye, while we have a beam in our own eye.
Then what should we do. We should bring the sick person to Jesus! We should pray the prayer of faith. We should trust the ministry and gifts of the Holy Spirit to work through our lives in both power and compassion. As James instructs us in the fifth chapter of his epistle,
- “If you are sick, call for the church leaders. Have them pray for you and anoint you with olive oil in the name of the Lord. (Prayers offered in faith will save those who are sick, and the Lord will cure them.) If you have sinned, you will be forgiven. So admit your sins to each other, and pray for each other so that you will be healed. Prayers offered by those who have God’s approval are effective.” (James 5:14-16 GW)
If we did less judging and more confessing to one another and praying – what wonderful results would we see?
Lord, forgive me for the times I have been like the disciples and tried to take on the role of the Holy Spirit. He alone can convict one of sin, righteousness, and judgment. And He alone is the one who releases gifts of healings through those who believe to those in need. May I be an instrument of the Holy Spirit’s healing power, and leave the judging up to You!
In Jesus Name!
Such a balanced explanation.