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John30 – sight to the blind

And going past, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, stating, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he might be born blind?” (John 9: 1)
This record of what happened in AD 30 Jerusalem was written by John, an eye-witness, in his biography of Jesus. Immediately before seeing this blind-from-birth man, Jesus had been attempting to enable the Jerusalem leaders to see - metaphorically. To see, in particular, who it was who was saying to them, “Truly, truly I state to you, before Abraham ever came to be, I am!” 

The burning issue for the disciples was to identify the cause of blindness in the born-blind-man. Sin (including falling short of God’s standards) was presumed to be the cause. In that case, was this man not suffering unjustly? He couldn’t have sinned in the womb; his parents must be to blame.

Jesus answered, “Neither this man sinned nor his parents, but in order that the works of God may be revealed in him.”

Have you noticed that Jesus didn’t deal with the cause of his blindness? Instead, he discloses the reason why the man, in his present condition, was there in front of them. He was there, blind from birth, both physically and metaphorically, “in order that the works of God might be revealed in” – that is, both inside of and outside of – “him”.
“It is imperative for us to work the works of the one who appointed me until it is day; night is coming, when not even one is able to work. Whenever I am in the world, I am light to the world.”

It seems, reading this, that Jesus was totally committed to the work he was doing and about to do. And knew how urgent it was, not for him, but for others. All need his light.

‘Light, even though it passes through pollution, is not polluted.’ (Augustine of Hippo, theologian, 354-430)
Having said these things, he spat groundward and made clay out of the spittle, and spread the clay upon his eyes. And he said to him, “Go! Be cleansed in the bathing-pool of Siloam” (which is translated “Sent-out”). 

“Sent-out” bathing-pool? In the immediately preceding confrontation Jesus had quietly said to the Jerusalem authorities, “I have come forth from God and have arrived … I have not come from myself, but that one sent me out.” Was he “sent out” by God to give sight to the blind? Above all, the blind man needs to cleansed in the real Siloam.

So he came away and was cleansed and came seeing. 

This dear man’s physical, life-long blindness was removed by cleansing in the “Sent-one” bathing-pool. What about his metaphorical blindness? Wait for it.

So the neighbours and those observing him previously (in that he was a beggar) were stating, “Is not this the one sitting and begging?” Others were stating that, “It is this man”. Others were stating, “Not so, but he is like him.” That one was stating that, “I am.” 

So unbelievable was this cure of congenital blindness that various explanations were “stated”. Folk often express their opinions with that complete conviction. But the blind-from-birth man knew it was he, formerly the seated-blind-beggar. He had been totally useless to himself and everyone else – except to Jesus.

‘The reason why God is so great a lover of humility is because he is the great lover of truth. Humility is nothing but truth, pride is nothing but lying.’ (Vincent de Paul, chaplain to galley slaves, 1581-1660)
So they were stating to him, “How were your eyes opened?” He himself answered, “The man stated “Jesus” made clay and spread it on my eyes and said to me that, ‘Go into Siloam and be cleansed.’ So I came away, and, cleansed, I received sight.”

Such is the unprecedented nature of this event that investigatory powers now take notice and diligently pursue their research. The seeing man knows that it is the man “Jesus” who “made clay” and told him to go away and be cleansed. So, he went to “Sent-out” bathing pool and was cleansed. Then, he saw.

And they said to him, “Where is that man?” He states, “I do not discern.” 

He is cleansed; his physical blindness gone. What about his metaphorical blindness? He says, “I do not discern.” We shall see. Shall we?

Sinner Syvret

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