Updated: Apr 17, 2022
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INTRODUCTION. As Jesus left the temple in Jerusalem one Sabbath day, He passed by a man who had been blind since birth. The disciples asked Jesus who had sinned, the man or his parents, that the man should be born blind. The Jews assumed that all calamities including disease and suffering were the result of one's own sins or those of his parents. They even believed that certain sins caused certain calamities or diseases. For example, Samson was blinded because his eyes lusted after Delilah; Absalom was hanged when his hair got caught in the tree because he was proud of his hair. It is true that disease and suffering are the result of sin introduced into the world in the Garden of Eden; however, the commission of a sin is not always followed by a disease, and a specific sin does not necessarily produce a specific affliction.
Some Jews believed it was possible to sin before birth. For example, an unborn child would be guilty of idolatry if his mother worshipped in a heathen temple. An- other basic belief was that the sins of the fathers (parents) are visited upon the children. It is certain that children may suffer as the result of their parents' sins, but Ezekiel plainly states, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him" (Ezek. 18:20). Each person is alone responsible for his own sins.
Jesus told his disciples that neither the man nor his parents had sinned, but because of the man's disability, the power and glory of God would be manifested. Jesus being moved with love and compassion healed many afflicted people, but every miracle He performed was a demonstration of his power as the Son of God.