By Scott Armstrong
I was a squirrelly little seventh-grader when they broke me the news: the new youth pastor was going to be at church this Wednesday. Some guy named Ed Belzer. I had heard he was nice, funny, and really loved teens. But I wanted to see for myself.
That Wednesday I was talking with a friend in the lobby when somebody comes up behind me and wraps me in a suffocating bear hug. Who was it? What were they going to do? My defenses were up. I couldn’t move my arms so I quickly and forcefully swung my foot back and kicked the offender as hard as I could. He exhaled a loud groan and released his death grip on me. I wheeled around to see our new youth pastor doubled over on the ground. “Hi. I’m Ed,” he grimaced as he offered me his hand.
I quickly got to know this new guy through the next months and years. This stranger I had initiated so brutally soon became my pastor and the guy in charge. Before I knew it, this leader became my best listener while I was going through my hardest times. Now, after years of sharing and praying together, I count him as one of my closest friends.
I think that in part explains what is happening in our passage. Did you notice how the blind man refers to Jesus? In John 9:11, he tells the crowd basically that “some guy named Jesus” healed him (“He replied, ‘The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.’”). Later, he decides that Jesus is a prophet (v.17). As he receives threats and is forced to wrestle with what has happened to him, he boldly tells his critics that this Jesus is without a doubt from God (v.33 “If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”). Later, this same Jesus seeks out the man he healed and the entire encounter produces a remarkable transformation: “Then the man said, ‘Lord, I believe,’ and he worshiped him” (v.38). Wow! In one day, a man born blind was saved from his physical AND spiritual darkness! This stranger named Jesus had become his Lord!
Where are you on this journey of discovering who God is? Keep seeking him, because your relationship with him will grow more and more with each passing day!
*This reflection is part of a series of devotionals written for youth by Scott and Emily Armstrong.