I have a problem with names. The kids at church know my short-coming and I’m not sure what brought it up, but I heard someone recently say, “That’s okay. She can’t remember names.” I smiled and tried to explain it away by saying I was just getting old. One young girl immediately countered with “You’re not old!” “Oh,” I gushed. “Thank you. You’re my BBF!” The entire class went silent. The puzzled looks confirmed that if I really wasn’t old, I certainly didn’t have it all together. After about the third reference to my new BBF I realized I was supposed to be saying BFF (Best Friend Forever).
Ever had a day like that? Not only did I have trouble with a name, I even got my snappy comeback wrong. There is a man in the Bible who had some struggles as well. Don’t laugh, I honestly don’t know his name. The Bible tells us he was a beggar, blind from birth, and he had an encounter with Jesus who healed him. We read his story in John 9.
Some of the first people who saw the man after he was healed declared that this was the blind beggar, while others were just as adamant in saying that it was only someone who looked like him. Stepping into the argument, the man finally declared “I am the one.” He told them what had happened and he even knew Jesus’ name. They still weren’t satisfied. They wanted to know where this healer was. Perhaps he would perform a miracle for them. Jesus was gone and the man had no idea where He went.
His neighbors took him to the religious leaders and as astounding as it was to see a man who was blind from birth with his vision restored, the Bible tells us that this information was of secondary importance. Never mind the miracle that had just occurred, they wanted to know who did it and why he did it on the Sabbath, a day of rest. An argument ensued and some were declaring that this Sabbath-breaker couldn’t be from God while others were just as resolute in declaring that surely a sinner couldn’t perform such a miracle. The man told his story again and when asked who he thought Jesus was, he replied “a prophet.” Not exactly what they wanted to hear.
Finally the man’s parents were called in. When asked if this was their son who was born blind, they agreed that it was, but even they couldn’t explain how it happened. “He’s of age, let him speak for himself” was their final response. When asked again how he could see, the man who was healed retold his story ending with the firm assertion that “if this man were not from God, He could do nothing.” Exactly. He may not have known where Jesus was, but he certainly knew where He came from.
Later Jesus found the man and revealed Himself as the Son of God. The man who was blind believed and worshiped Him (v. 35-38). I wonder if the previous groups represent people we know: people who only want to know how to find God to get their needs met, people who are so sure they are right in their beliefs that they can’t see God’s grace and mercy right in front of them, or others who just don’t want to get involved. Jesus, God’s Son, asked his followers a life-changing question in Mark 8:29—“But who do you say that I am?” It’s a name you don’t ever want to forget.