Who Sinned?

In the city of Jerusalem Jesus saw a man who had been blind from birth. The process by which He healed the man was uniquely different than other miracles of healing recorded in the Scriptures. We know Jesus could have spoken a word, or merely touched the man, but on this occasion He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva and anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. Then He gave the blind man something to do. He said to him, “Go wash in the pool of Siloam.”

We are not told in what part of the city they were when Jesus anointed the man’s eyes or how far they were from the pool, but the Pool of Siloam is perhaps the most ancient pool in Jerusalem.   In the days of King Hezekiah, for the sake of having a water supply in the city in case of enemy invasions, a 1,750 feet long underground tunnel was hewn through rock from the Gihon Spring outside the city wall to bring water to the Siloam Pool inside the wall.

It was to this pool the blind man went, but he came again seeing. Naturally those who knew him were impressed. It was the Sabbath and the man was taken to the Pharisees. After considerable interrogation and his respectful comments about Jesus, they cast him out. The story of this healing is recorded in the ninth chapter of the Book of John.

In the first part of the account, the disciples asked Jesus, “Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” It seems that there were some people who believed in reincarnation, the belief that after a person dies, they may be born again in a different body and the previous life could determine what kind of body they received. Jesus did not use the occasion to teach against the false doctrine of reincarnation, but simply answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.” He was not saying that the man or his parents had never sinned, but that it was not their sins that caused the man’s blindness. His blindness was just another opportunity for Jesus to show the mighty power of God.

Every person who has passed the age of childhood innocence is guilty of sin. “Man’s heart is evil from the days of his youth” (Genesis 8:21). “There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10). “All our righteousnesses are like filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). Who sinned? I did. You did. We have all sinned.   But thanks be to God and His Son, Jesus Christ, God’s grace and the sacrifice of Jesus on Calvary’s cross has made possible the forgiveness of our sins and the salvation of our souls if we will believe and obey the gospel!

But we would do well to realize that our life pattern not only determines our destiny, but does indeed affect people around us and even future generations, not by reincarnation, but by the influence and results of our behavior. For example, whether children are reared in a home where self-gratifying indulgences are the focus of the lifestyle, or in a home where the Scriptures are taught and faithful service to the Lord and the church are the focus. The pattern of life set by the parents may be the pattern for the children. Godly instruction and examples of morality, honesty, kindness, courtesy and love establishes a better foundation for life than homes where these things are lacking. Children that grow up in homes where alcohol is freely served, or smoking is the norm, experimenting with drugs is frequent, or even where there is laziness, indifference and profanity, these may be habits that are passed on from one generation to another. What people are taught definitely influences what they believe and how they live, whether they are taught the Holy Scriptures and truth, or taught false doctrines, superstitions and lies.

Sin has been with us since Adam, and all men have sinned, even those whom we generally consider good men. Noah is spoken of as “a preacher of righteousness” (2 Peter 2:5) but he became drunk after God had saved him and his family (Genesis 9:21). God Himself spoke of King David as “a man after My own heart” (Acts 13:22) but we also remember David’s awful sin of adultery with another man’s wife and then after learning of her pregnancy arranging the death of her husband (see 2 Samuel 11).   Peter, one of the twelve apostles, denied that he even knew Jesus. (Matthew 26:69-75).

All men sin, either by doing things we ought not to do, or by not doing the things we should. The only man who did not sin was Jesus Christ the Son of God (Hebrews 4:15). Therefore, God considered Him to be the only one qualified to be a sacrifice adequate to compensate for our sins and make possible our redemption and salvation. Christ is our only hope of eternal life. “There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). God has spoken and the Holy Scriptures reveal to mankind His conditions for our salvation. We can choose to believe and obey and have His promise of eternal life or we can disregard the Scriptures and burn in hell. Don’t take the decision lightly.