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Last time we met, we talked about the stubbornness and anger in the Pharisees. Today we look at Jesus healing a blind man in John 9. I figured I would just link up a reading of this chapter.
Jesus left the temple to avoid being stoned. I don’t know if this next event happens directly after or if it happened at another time. All I really know is that Jesus was passing by a place and he saw a man blind from birth. This passage frustrates me and yet helps me understand the attitude of some folks.
You see, I used to work with differently abled folks. I heard from more than one mom the pain of people asking her what she did wrong to get a disabled child. The first time I heard such a thing, I was stunned. How can someone BLAME a mom for her child’s disability? It’s one thing if you are drinking alcohol and you know better because of fetal alcohol, but you still don’t BLAME THE MOM. You don’t ask them about what sin they’ve committed that they ended up with a child with needs outside the ordinary.
Jesus is very clear here when he’s talking to the disciples, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
The man’s disability was so the works of God might be displayed in him. God’s work on display. Jesus goes on to say that we need to work while we can. Jesus is the light of the world, work hard then while it’s light. Then Jesus matched action to words and set about healing the man of his blindness.
He made a mud paste with saliva, then told the fellow to wash in the pool of Siloam. The fellow needed to take the next step and actually follow through.
The questions and uncertainties followed. Makes sense right? You don’t expect a blind fellow to start to see again, but the fellow convinced them that it was true and told them the story of how it all happened. “The man called Jesus made mud and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed and received my sight.”
You might think that everyone would rejoice that the healing received, but it is not to be so. The Pharisees found out what happened and made this note “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” Not everyone agreed, some noted: “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” I can almost see the argument happening eh? The yes he is, the no he isn’t.
It’s so hard sometimes to look past the present isn’t it? To know there is a certain order and routine to something and then have that order broken. Makes you only want to see the negative, to think that nothing good can come of having your good order broken. The Pharisees had built up a good system (for a good reason even though it had become more important than it should have). But they had this good system, DON”T WORK ON THE SABBATH. Jesus had broken it. God said don’t work on the sabbath so… Jesus couldn’t be from God. Yet others saw the deeper layers right? The doing what was good and right came before keeping the law.
The divisions among them had them turning back to the healed fellow “What do you say about him, since he opened your eyes?” Makes sense to ask the eye witness eh?
The response: The fellow healed said, “He is a prophet.”
I read verses 18-23 and I can just see the Pharisees eh? This can’t be possible, and so grasping at straws they call in the fellow’s parents. Imagine them eh? Called before the Pharisees, being asked questions about their boy now grown, the fear that would have filled their hearts. All they knew was this: their boy was born blind, had lived blind, and now he could see. How it happened? I DUNNO I wasn’t there, ask him! Their fear was palpable eh? They had a life and a community, they didn’t want that to end.
It’s so hard to change, they got no where with the folks, they tried to question the fellow again (who, by this time I’m guessing was a bit fed up with it all). I say that based on this comment “I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again?“
Things deteriorated from there and the fellow ended up being cast out by the Jewish leadership. Jesus found him afterwards and asked him this “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” After learning it was Jesus, the man responded in faith and worshiped him. Amazing isn’t it?
Jesus healed him. Helped a blind man see. A working of God it was. Jesus turned this event into a teaching. Showing how the blind can see, and those who see…won’t be able to. Faith matters. The knowing matters. Once we know were are blind, even if we thought we could see, once we know it… it shows our guilt. This is part of Jesus being a person of Judgement. He sees these things, he shows and teaches, giving us a life of guilt or freedom by how we see.
See Christ eh? Just see him, don’t be blind to the truth of who he is. SEE Him.