“The man answered, ‘Here is an astonishing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes.’” (v. 30)

John 9:24-41 Monday 4 August 2014


Throughout John's Gospel, the writer uses metaphors of light anddarkness, and of seeing and not seeing, which symboliseunderstanding and not understanding, knowing and not knowing. Inthe prologue (John 1:1-18), we read that the light shines inthe darkness, but the darkness has not understood it or overcome it(John 1:5). In John3:1-21 Nicodemus the Pharisee comes to Jesus by night (ie notunderstanding) seeking understanding. In today's passage, we seethe Pharisees - the religious authorities - seeking to understandthe fact that a man who was born blind now has sight. A common view(see verse 24), then as now, was that sin prevented someone fromknowing God. The Pharisees, believing themselves to be less sinfulthan either Jesus or the man who was healed, thought they knew Godbetter.

In Methodist approaches to understanding the Bible, we haveoften sought to bring our experience into dialogue with Scripture.In a way, this story is a profound example of that. Through hisexperience, the man who now physically sees comes to believe andtrust in Jesus and to worship him. The man used his experience tochallenge the understanding held by the authorities of the day.Jesus' concluding remarks to the Pharisees suggest that in thewhole story far from having the greatest understanding, they havethe least. In this sense, the story might be understood as anexample of the gospel principle of the first becoming last and thelast first (Matthew 20:16). It calls us to remember that weknow only in part (1 Corinthians 13:9) and to be attentive toothers' experience of God.

To Ponder

  • Who do you think knows God best? Individually? As asociety?
  • Whose experience do you heed? Whose do you not?
  • What might God be calling you to see and understand?
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