March 20, 2017

Christ Heals a Man Blind From Birth: John 9:1-41

Christ Heals a Man Blind From Birth

On the 4th Sunday of Lent, we read in John’s Gospel about Christ healing a man blind from birth. We identify with the man who came to see and believe in Jesus as the Son of God. The Lord has anointed our eyes with His own divine hands and washed them with the waters of our baptism. Jesus used mud made with his own saliva, and told the man to wash in the waters of Siloam. Jesus did this because it was the Sabbath, the day, when it was strictly forbidden to make mud, spit, and wash. By breaking these Jewish ritual laws, Jesus proved that He is indeed the Lord of the Sabbath. As such, He is co-equal to God the Father, the One who works even on the Sabbath, the holiest of days, directing the world He created.

The scandal totally transcends the fact that Jesus has healed the blind man, who is expelled from the synagogue because of his faith in Christ. The whole Church follows this man in his destiny, knowing that the truly blind are those who do not recognize Jesus as the Lord and persist in their sins. Others have the light of life and can see and know the Son of God, because "you have seen him, and he who speaks with you, he is." It is invariably the meek and humble who see with faith.

Many in the time of Christ refused to see the truth that Jesus was the Messiah. The blind man’s neighbors, parents and friends, like the Pharisees themselves, refuse to acknowledge the blind man or his testimony about Jesus’ divinity. The disciples are blind as well. They witness the blind man’s affliction and assume all such disability is caused by sin. They even deem it possible to determine whose sin is responsible for the physical blindness. They conclude it must be the blind man’s sins or the sins of his parents (or ancestors) that led to his sightlessness.

Jesus tells them that the blind man’s illness is not a consequence of sin, either of the man’s or his parents', or his ancestors’. Indeed, the illness is not about sin. The man’s blindness will testify to the glory of God, from age to age across time.

The earliest Patristic writers saw Christ’s spitting on the ground to make mud as paralleling the creation account found in Genesis 2:7, in which God (the Second Person of the Trinity) fashioned the man out of the dust of the ground. In the Gospel passage, Jesus restores the blind man’s sight, much like He will restore humanity by defeating sin and death in the culmination of His salvific ministry on Calvary. Hence, this Sunday’s miracle story is not just about the Fall, but about the restoration of creation. O God, who through your Word reconciled the human race to yourself in a wonderful way, grant, we pray, that with prompt devotion and eager faith the Christian people may hasten toward the solemn celebrations to come. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and who reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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