Friday

John 9:1-12 Friday 28 July 2017

Psalm: Psalm 43


Background

In Jesus' day many believed that illness or disability was apunishment from God. Of course, it is not a belief that is confinedto the past, even today if someone falls ill the question might beasked - what have I done to deserve this? Jesus denies that thereis a straightforward equation here and says the man's blindness isnot a result of sin, but an opportunity for God (verse 3). He goeson to heal the man with a method others used at the time, by makingmud using spittle and putting it on the man's eyes. (Even today wemight use a mud face pack or even take a mud bath!) There is,though, a more serious point being made here. John's Gospel recordsdetails, not in order for the reader to picture the event, but tounderstand its significance. God had formed Adam out of the mud(Genesis 2:7), and Jesus remakes the blind man also out of mud - hewas doing "the works of him who sent me" (v. 4).

The whole incident is recorded not for itself, but for what itteaches or shows us. John's Gospel contains seven events that areportrayed as signs - in other words events which point beyondthemselves to their deeper significance. This whole chapter isabout blindness and seeing, light and dark, belief and rejection.The questions start with the blind man himself - the crowd struggleto believe that it is the same person, and while the blind manknows his own story and identity, at this early stage he seems toknow or understand very little about Jesus. It seems unlikely thathe really understands at this point that Jesus is "the light of theworld" (John 8:12), but by the end of the chapter hehas come to faith "Lord, I believe" (v. 38). The story of the blindman is like an acted parable of conversion, step by step theformerly blind man comes to understanding and to faith.


To Ponder

  • Are there bad events or situations which could becomeopportunities for God? What are they, and how might they beopportunities?
  • How can our attitudes towards the sick or less-abled be morepositive?
  • How can you help others progress on their journey to (and of)faith?
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