2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.
One of my favorite scriptures
What is the scriptural or historical context of this scripture:
Jesus is with his disciples and they ask him about a man that is blind. It was and is common for people to see infirmities like blindness, or addictions as the consequence of sin. Some others see people with weaknesses or challenges as having been punished by God for some lack.
This question was asked of the savior, and he corrected it. Weakness and infirmities are not the product of sin or punishments from God. Instead, they are opportunities for the power of God to be manifest in our lives and the lives of others.
Thoughts about this scripture:
When I see someone with challenges in their life. Disabilities that were beyond their control or consequences of their own choices. Blindness or addictions to drugs. Or other challenges and trials, I strive to not place blame on the individual or to wonder why God could let this happen. Because that is not what this is about.
Instead, it is a chance for us and them to look past the challenge, the trial, the heartbreak, and the pain and see the chance to overcome it all. There is glory for a person to choose to live a good life when they have never been tempted or tested. But there is more glory for a person who chooses a good life after overcoming a disability or temptation.
Having never tried drugs or alcohol, I am living a good life. But I know people that inspire me because they have walked in the path of addiction and then overcome the trial and chosen to live clean and good lives. There is something majestic in a person with a disability that learns to work around it. There is something Godly in a person that starts out with disadvantages but rises above them.
"But that the works of God should be made manifest in him." is something that applies to all of us in some way. We are all put here with some trial or test. When we overcome it and choose to follow God, we make his work and his love manifest in the world.
How does this strengthen my testimony
I have been truly blessed in my life. I would not want anyone to think that I am putting myself up or in the place of this blind man. But I am still human with the imperfections that are common to all of us here on earth.
Because of this scripture, I see the efforts of my fellow humans to rise above their challenges and trials as manifesting God's love on earth and his work among us. In this way, everyone I meet and see is a testimony of God and a source of inspiration.