Day 10

Audacious Grace

from the Audacious Grace reading plan

John 9:1-41

BY Diana Stone

Text: John 9:1-41 

He answered, “Whether he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.”
– John 9:25, ESV

It’s been a hard two and a half years in our home. There are times I’ve wondered, “What did I do to deserve this? Why me? Did I not pray hard enough, do the right things?”

As I read this familiar passage in John, I am struck by the same attitude in Jesus’ disciples as they encounter a man who is blind. They don’t ask how he is, if he is suffering—they don’t even ask Jesus to heal him. Instead, their only question is if he or his parents had sinned to make him blind.

Jesus gives a perfect answer: “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him” (John 9:3, emphasis mine).

In a world where we are constantly trying to get it right—to please others, to appease our inner voice, to obey God—we can feel like giant failures when things go wrong. “If only I had…” Jesus’ radical statement shifts our gaze off of our “shoulds” and onto His grace.

Imagine how often this man, born blind and spending his life as an outcast, must have had those same thoughts. If everyone around him assumed he or his family were in sin, who would care? It’s easy to justify a casual attitude about pain and suffering when we equate it as something that was deserved.

Jesus crushes the assumptions of both his disciples and the Pharisees, who were always watching and following him. He doesn’t urge the man to repent first. He isn’t even interested in hearing from his family or what kind of lifestyle they have. Jesus simply bends down, spits in the dust we were created from, and uses the mud to restore the blind man’s sight. How astounding the moment must have been when the man walked out of the pool of Siloam, looking at—and seeing!—the stunned faces of those around him!

But the Pharisees, they are incensed instead of amazed. They can’t even muster a congratulations before they pounce on him with questions and accusations, which the newly-sighted man promptly deflects back onto them. It’s very simple to him. “One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see” (John 9:25).

Jesus healed him, and the man didn’t do anything to make it happen. It was grace through and through. Even the Pharisees, master manipulators though they were, could not make this into something it wasn’t. There was nothing they could do or say to undo the mercy and grace Jesus imparted to the man—grace wholly undeserved yet lavishly given.

Are we so intent on turning the Gospel into a rational equation that we miss out on the wonder of God’s audacious grace being given right before our very eyes?

Grace for the sinner.
Grace on the Sabbath.
Grace for the broken and the blind.
Grace for everyone who will receive it.

Like the man healed by the pool that day, may we be a canvas for displaying God’s powerful works of grace.

Post Comments (128)

128 thoughts on "Audacious Grace"

  1. Kelcie says:

    I think John 9:25 may be one of the most powerful verses in the Bible. We spend a lot of time questioning and debating suffering instead of heeding Jesus' words here. He has the answers and He is worth listening to! Thank you for this beautiful commentary, as always.

  2. carolekeegan says:

    What does verse 41 mean…Jesus said to them, "if you were blind you would have no sin; but now you say, 'We see.' Therefore your sin remains.? I am confused by it.

    1. Linda says:

      Hi, I think my understanding if this verse is this: The Pharisees were blinded by their spiritual pride. They had The Lord all figured out and in their blindness they could not “see” Jesus as the Christ. God was contained in their legalistic box so to speak. Jesus did not follow their preconceived ideas of what the Christ would look like. Notice, the blind man is not even named. It is all about Jesus, and the blind man was humble and thankful and graciously accepted his new sight! This is a picture of being made new in Christ. Everything becomes clearer once we die to ourself and receive the gift of a new life from Jesus. The Pharisees were not looking for a new life, they were seeking a Messiah that would validate their self-righteousness, so their sin remains in them. This is a picture so to speak in the physical so that we can better understand what happens to us when we receive Christ in the spiritual. This unnamed blind man knew he was blind and understood he needed sight, therefore willingly and humbly accepted and received his new sight. The Pharisees remained blind in their self righteous, self seeking sin. Thank you Lord for seeking and saving those you are lost!

    2. Jessie A. says:

      That one tripped me up too!

    3. Kara says:

      In the previous verse 39: “Then Jesus told him “I have come to judge the world. “I have come to GIVE SIGHT TO THE BLIND AND TO SHOW THOSE WHO THINK THEY CAN SEE THAT THEY ARE BLIND.” 40: “the Pharisees who were standing there heard him and asked, “are you saying we are blind?”
      V 41:”If you were blind, you wouldn’t be guilty,” Jesus replied. “But you remain guilty because you claim you can see.”

      Verse 39 correlates to verse 41 in that they think they can see but they are truly blind. So Jesus is saying you remain guilty because you are fooled by yourself.

    4. Connie Tramel says:

      I take this as once The Lord gives us sight and we know him he says to us, ” sin no more”. As saints in Christ we are held at a higher standard, although we are forgiven.

    5. Ifi says:

      Hi Carol, the Message bible puts it this way: Jesus said, “If you were really blind, you would be blameless, but since you claim to see everything so well, you’re accountable for every fault and failure.” (‭John‬ ‭9‬:‭41‬ MSG).
      So I think He meant that they were pretending to have spiritual sight and felt like they ‘knew it all’…and because of that they were, of their own will, blind to the fact that The Messiah was right there with them the whole time!

  3. ajschoch says:

    I've never intentionally read the bible. I've read it in bible school. I've listened to it in church. But I've never opened the book to really listen. Today's reading reminds me so much of a season in my life. My mom had recently passed away, I had two small babies and my dad was financially strained and not coping well. We needed to sell his house and get him on a path that would ease both his and our burden. He lived 5 hours away. I was working, tending to a new family and utterly exhausted. I tried so hard to keep it together, to get it all done, to have all the answers to all the problems and I was failing miserably. I was depleted of everything. I remember sitting in the car one day, in the grocery store parking lot, and just crying. Crying that I didn't know how to do it any more. That I didn't have all the answers. I couldn't do all of the things. And I remember just saying over and over again "please help, please help, please help." I don't even know who I was saying it to. My mom, lost to death. God? I don't know. I was struggling with faith (still am) so I wasn't intentionally praying. Here's what I know. I woke up the next day with a feeling of peace that I had not had before. A confidence that it was going to be OK. That all I needed to do was worry about the first next step. All the pieces didn't perfectly fall into place but where there was helplessness there was now hope. Something had shifted. I experienced grace. It was the first next step to rediscovering faith.

    1. GracenJoy says:

      Thank you for sharing your story. That is how I have felt it before too and yet I know even before I reach that point his grace is there. It always feels like a giant bear hug to me when I experience as you described.

    2. TammyR says:

      Beautiful! I had a similar experience of asking God to intervene in a situation that I could no longer handle. I had such a peace about it. The road want perfect after that but it led me back into church after many years. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Morgan B says:

    inconvinces/struggles/failures in our humanness are just and opportunity for God to be God. And to be glorified. And opportunity for him to give “grace upon grace”. “All things work together for GOOD”. I have a head knowledge of this and have EXPERIENCED it in my own life so many times, but I seem to drift back to my human way of thinking so often. My prayer today: Lord, give me your perception…spiritual eyes.

  5. Bethany says:

    So we don’t have to do anything “right” to receive grace from The Lord. He just wants to use us as examples for all the wonderful things he does.

  6. ClaireB says:

    Smacked me right between the eyes…I constantly ask, Lord, where did I fail that this or that happened knowing in my head it just WAS or IS. Let’s all pray for forgiveness in thinking we have that much control. That our eyes be open to seeing beyond ourselves to the message God is sending and be thankful for the abounding Grace he gives us that we surely don’t deserve. Once again this shows how “worldly” we are.

  7. DaughteroftheKing says:

    Hi, I was wondering if anyone can explain to me what exactly is grace and how are we too display it? Thanks!

    1. ClaireB says:

      I see Grace from God as we see in John 3:16 – He loved us through the ages and we failed to follow so He sent His Son to atone for our sins upon our acceptance of Him. His Grace surrounds us daily if we look around our goings and comings in His safety and guidance in our lives when we acknowledge Him and meditate on His working in our life.
      I am sure there are more scholarly versions. This is my little Methodist heart version. I could probably fill a book on the Grace in my life and that of my family.

      1. Melinda says:

        Grace is sufficient! It is our gift of life. It rescues us time after time and gives us the very best example to follow. It can be costly, but I can’t think of a better way to “spend” my time! It frees us from the bondage of fear, shame and self-centeredness and trying to figure it all out on our own. It needs no addition or deletion. Only trust! I thank God for grace every day! Blessings to you, sisters :-)

    2. It's easiest for me to understand grace in contrast to mercy and justice. Justice is receiving what (punishment) we deserve. Mercy is when we don't receive what (punishment) we deserve. And grace is when we receive what (forgiveness) we don't deserve. There is absolutely nothing we can do to earn grace – we will never ever deserve it. It's a free gift from God, saving us from ourselves. We best display it by recognizing it as the gift that it is, being grateful for it and offering it to others through everything we do by putting others ahead of ourselves.

      1. Jacey says:

        Good to see a talnet at work. I can’t match that.

    3. Kellye329 says:

      Grace is the undeserved gift that Jesus freely gives to all who trust in Him for their salvation. It is most marvelous because we could never earn it, so we dont have to try to. We just open our hands and say yes to whatever He sends our way….good
      Or bad….knowing that it is all grace. All things are purposed for our good and His glory. And that is grace….that He would think so much of us to purpose to save us and to keep us for His own for all eternity. And we cant explain it. Like the blind man, we only know that “I was blind but now I see.” What a great read this morning!!

    4. Carole says:

      Grace is not something you do, it is what God does for you when you least deserve it and least expect it. Just like salvation which we didn’t deserve and did nothing to earn it….all we could do was receive it ….so as His children now our Heavenly Father blesses us in unexpected ways all the time and our grateful hearts thank Him and cannot help but tell of all His wonderful works to others. When in gratitude for His grace extended to us, we bless others who do not deserve, we display His grace.

  8. Alnicia says:

    I loved this message! I’ve said this before…because it is a work in progress…that I struggle with doing things in my own strength. In particular, feeling like I’ve got to do A, B, and C to get my blessing and that if I somehow miss out on said blessing it must’ve been that I somehow missed a step in my plan. But I’ve learned that nothing great I’ve ever received or experienced was because I caused it to happen. My masters degree didn’t cause me to get my job or my great cooking bring my husband into my life…even though I’m sure it didn’t hurt lol…but it was God’s plan and His perfect timing that led to my life’s events. Then I started to wonder, was I actually disrespecting my Father by not giving him the credit and glory for all the wonderful things in my life, even credit for the obstacles I face because from those trials come triumph? Sure when amazing things happen in my life I thank God but by thinking I had something to do with it, I was diminishing His power. I even took the thought a step further and thought “had I been blocking my blessings by trying to obtain them in my own strength”? Like the blind man, he could never do enough of anything, say the right anything and gain sight if it wasn’t for the power and healing Jesus provided for him to see. Do we spend months of our lives trying to start a business, trying to mend relationships, or trying to break a bad habit ending up with no results when we could just trust God? Today I realized that if we indeed give our blindness to God, surely He would cause us to see. Going forward, I refuse to put hope in my accolades, in my network, even in myself but to trust the One who holds the world in the palm of His hands. I thank you Father that once I was blind but now I see!

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