NOTES ON The Healing of the Blind Man John 9:1-41
This story could easily be included in a series on Great Chapters of the Bible.
This man having been born blind, seems to bring up the question of who caused it. Was it the parents fault because of sin or the man himself while he was still in the womb?
While determining a cause may be good, is finding fault by looking for a sin good? Why or why not?
Jesus doesn’t get caught up in determining a fault, but rather in exploring possibilities of what God might do.
How might tragic events look different if we followed Jesus’ example?
Why the mud?
An ancient church father in the 2nd century, Ireneaus, gave the best explanation. Think of the creation account when God formed the humans from the mud. Jesus as the creator incarnate applies mud to that part of this man where the full creation process had not been completed.
In these verses people get all in a dither over trying to explain the “How” of what happened but eventually move to the “Who.” Jesus is not available, so the man is alone in his simple retelling of what happened. He cannot give an answer to “How” neither can he answer the “Who,” except to give the name Jesus. The religious experts are caught up with the “Who,” and determine Jesus a sinner, because he did it on the Sabbath. But as the man who was formerly blind, simply sticks to his story of what happened, he begins to “see” the manipulations and poor logic of the experts who are opposed to Jesus. Note how this man in the face of the pressure against him, is eventually able to bring some clarity to questions about sin, God’s will, and where Jesus came from. So clear is his logic, that the experts cannot tolerate him and throw him out of the synagogue.
While the man and his parents are continually saying, “we don’t know,” the religious experts say “We know…”
How do we arrive at our “knowing” and “believing” the works of God?
What do we learn from the negative example of the religious experts in this story?
Jesus finds the man back on the street where all this began and asks him if he believes. It is as Jesus identifies himself to the man that the man professes his faith.
What difference does it make for the man to see Jesus?
Had he already in a sense “seen” Jesus?
Jesus will summarize the meaning of this episode by redefining what it is to be blind and what it means to see.
The Pharisees so confident of their views and their assigning of guilt ask if Jesus implies that they are blind.
Jesus challenges their confidence that “(They) see” and says “…your sin remains.”
An assumption which seems to run through this story is the opinion is that “God doesn’t listen to sinners…”
What would you say to that?