The neighbors therefore, and those who previously saw him as a beggar, were saying, “Is this not the one who used to sit and beg?”
What changed when you met Christ? Here was a man who had been blind from birth. He was known to everyone as the dirty beggar who daily sat by the gate asking for money. Through the words of the Lord’s disciples we can assume that there existed many theories as to why this man couldn’t see. When Jesus was asked the question, He simply replied, “It was in order that the works of God might be displayed in him.” While I was neither physically blind nor monetarily poor as this gentleman, I believe that my relationship with Christ should also loudly proclaim the works of God. Everyone who truly meets the Lord should “display” His works for the world to see.
Verse eight reveals to us that this gentleman was changed to such an extent that even his neighbors had a difficult time recognizing him. He was only given back his sight…how much more should our lives change after receiving eternal salvation from the Lord? He was freed from the bondage of darkness that had held him captive for so long. His outlook on the most familiar of surroundings was forever changed. Because he could see it was no longer necessary for him to sit by the gate and beg for money or food; he was able to walk around on his own and converse with those around him. Everything about his life had changed and this made it difficult for others to recognize who he was.
In the same manner, we also have been freed from our spiritual blindness. We have been given a new life and everything surrounding us should look completely different. We should be overjoyed by our salvation and our lives should daily display our joy as a work of God. It would have been foolish for a man who just received his sight to return to a life of begging for money and food. None the less, this is exactly what thousands of so called Christian are doing every day of their lives. They have been purchased with a price and no longer must live the life they were rescued from, yet they insist on returning to the comfort of their “gate”.
I wonder what your “gate” is. Have you returned to it since accepting Christ or do others still have a hard time recognizing you as the same person you previously were? Has the Lord’s influence on your life been merely superficial or do you truly believe He has saved you from your sin. As ridiculous as it sounds, many of us long for the life we lived before meeting Christ. I have to ask myself, is this because we simply don’t want others to recognize the change? If so, what a poor decision we make. Which person will you be today, the familiar old self sitting comfortably by your gate, or a new and alive individual, hardly recognizable as the same person?