As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” - John 9:1-3
In the ancient Jewish world, it was believed that any sort of misfortune that befell a person was a direct result of that person’s sin. When Jesus and the disciples passed by a man who was blind from birth, they asked the obvious question: How could this man have sinned to deserve this? Or was it is his parents who sinned?
Jesus answered this difficult question, not by a simple yes or no, but by reframing they question entirely. In other words, the question could not be answered, because it was the wrong question. The truth, Jesus said, was that this man’s blindness was not a result of either his or his parents’ sin. He was born blind so that “the works of God might be displayed in him.”
Jesus displayed the works of God by healing the blind man. Had the man not been blind, Jesus would not have had the opportunity to demonstrate God’s healing power. In our own lives, it is easy to question why bad things are happening to us. We’ve all asked “What did I do to deserve this?” The answer, Jesus tells us, is to reframe the question. Instead of asking “What did I do to deserve this setback?”, ask “How can this setback be used to display the works of God?”
By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness, O God of our salvation, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas - Psalm 65:5