A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. “Give glory to God,” they said. “We know this man is a sinner.”
He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” (verse 24-25)
Way back when, an older friend encouraged me to share the good news of Jesus directly from my own experience. “No one can argue with your own story,” he said. I’ve since discovered that if people want to argue, they can argue with anything! Nonetheless, my friend’s basic point is well taken – a story from personal experience is powerful.
Which is the baseline position for this formerly blind man. As the Pharisees seek to draw him into their skeptical arguments about Jesus, he reverts to the simplicity of his own experience. “I was blind but now I see!”
His statement is compelling. The Pharisees’ only hope of sidestepping its power had been to cast doubt on the certainty of the man’s previous condition. They’d put his parents on the spot, hoping they would either deny the man was their son altogether, or deny his former disability. But they didn’t. They couldn’t. They’d lived with his blindness all these years, grieving his affliction. Now they stood amazed at his healing, just like everyone else.
That’s the power of testimony. And think of its ripple effects in the community surrounding the man himself. They’d seen him begging day after day, week after week. They knew his blindness. They knew his need. True, some of them didn’t fully recognize him, now that his eyes focused with understanding and recognition – now that they communicated his being and personality. But the man himself spoke out, absolutely affirming his identity and thereby confirming his healing. Wonderment was the result.
That’s the power of testimony. This formerly blind man is a compelling example. There will be times we will find it necessary to enter into theological debate, marshalling arguments and talking-points, establishing the authenticity and authority of our Lord Jesus Christ. But sometimes we will find ourselves overwhelmed by the debating skills of others, or lost in arguments that rise up over our heads, or beaten down by unflinching skepticism. That’s the time for testimony. “I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”
So, rehearse for yourself the sightings of the Lord’s workings in your own life. Remind yourself of those moments, big and small, when he clearly answered your prayers, bringing rescue and deliverance that you could not have received otherwise. Marvel again at the work he has done in your own soul, changing your outlook and perspectives, giving you renewed strength in areas you so desperately needed it. Remember, so that you yourself might be strengthened in renewed faith. Remember, so that you, too, might give testimony to others.
And be ready, so that it can spill forth. “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15).
Or, to put it differently, be poised to sing it out, just like the hymn-writer: “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found; was bind, but now I see.”
Lord Jesus, thank you for this blindman’s testimony. I am strengthened by its sheer simplicity and power. Thank you, too, for your ongoing work in my own life. Give me eyes to see all that you have done, and all that you are doing. May gratitude well up. May testimony be ready. Use me, please, to help others see your glory.
Take time: Reflect on the Lord’s work in your own life, times he has brought deliverance and healing, new sight and new beginnings. Give him thanks. Share one of those experiences with someone today.