John 9:1 As he passed by, he saw a man blind from his birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be made manifest in him. 4 We must work the works of him who sent me, while it is day; night comes, when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6 As he said this, he spat on the ground and made clay of the spittle and anointed the man’s eyes with the clay, 7 saying to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Silo′am” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing. 8 The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar, said, “Is not this the man who used to sit and beg?” 9 Some said, “It is he”; others said, “No, but he is like him.” He said, “I am the man.” 10 They said to him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” 11 He answered, “The man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to Silo′am and wash’; so I went and washed and received my sight.” 12 They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.” ESV
What is the general theme of the passage?
Jesus and His disciples spot a blind man, begging. Interesting that “in passing” turns into interaction that tells us so much more than the story of a man blind from birth. The next interesting thing is the natural response of the disciples; why? Why is he blind? Is it punishment for sin? Whose sin? Jesus uses the most basic example of God’s creative power to give sight to a man who has lived in darkness since birth and show us the basic creative power of God can still work miracles.
What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?)
“As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world…It was not that this man sinned, or his parents.” The reality is this man’s blindness is only a symptom of the effects of that long ago “original” sin. Jesus is going to remove that symptom using what seems like the same material of mankind’s creation. “Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being”…so “the works of God might be made manifest in him.”
What does it say about people?
The nature of sin’s hangover is right there in the disciples question to Jesus: “who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus gave this blind man physical evidence of the miracle to come, on his own body. “The man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to Silo′am and wash’; so I went and washed and received my sight.”
Is there truth here for me?
Jesus urges His disciples, “work the works of him who sent me, while it is day” …even if you don’t “see” the final outcome. This blind man’s first contact with Jesus is an odd anointing of clay and spit followed by being sent away to wash in the same pool of water used every day during the Feast of Tabernacles, the “living water” that represents the “pouring out of the Spirit” in relation to the coming of Messiah. The reality of the first “light” of faith for this blind man is that he goes. He goes even though he can’t see the one who is preparing him to be healed nor understand the method that is being used…and then He sees Jesus!
a Genesis 2:7