1150 Hancock Street, Lower Level
Quincy MA 02169
Week 5, Day 5
John 9:1-7, 13-16, 24-25, 28-34
As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.
…They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind. Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man’s eyes was a Sabbath.Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. “He put mud on my eyes,” the man replied, “and I washed, and now I see.”
Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others asked, “How can a sinner perform such signs?” So they were divided.
…A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. “Give glory to God by telling the truth,” they said. “We know this man is a sinner.”
He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”
…Then they hurled insults at him and said, “You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses! We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.”
The man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will. Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”
To this they replied, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out.
Points of Interest
- “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
The mindset at the time was that a physical defect like blindness meant there was sin involved. We don’t think this way anymore, partly because of Jesus’ teaching here. But back then, this was an unquestioned assumption. That’s why the question is “who sinned” rather than “how did this happen?” We all have unexamined assumptions that can trap us. Developing our faith helps us when the need to question these assumptions comes up.
- “He spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes.”
Jesus blows up His disciples’ assumptions, and then He uses spit to heal this man. How weird is that?! God is not predictable or formulaic. We should not settle into assumptions about what works and what doesn’t work because faith will forever respond to us by saying, “Anything is possible.”
- ‘Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others asked, “How can a sinner perform such signs?” So they were divided.’
Some of the Pharisees assume that Jesus cannot be from God, because He breaks a rule from the Bible. But, others point out that a wonderful miracle has occurred. When faced with this sort of situation, which way do we lean? Do we go with reality or do we go with the doctrine we have understood to be true? Unexamined, blind loyalty to doctrine acts as an enemy of faith in these circumstances.
- “We are disciples of Moses! We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.”
Moses is the author of Biblical laws. The Bible is God-breathed, transformative, and powerful! But as Galatians points out, when it becomes the “guardian of faith,” it becomes a curse. We cannot forget that Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.” The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus in the world today. Connecting with the Holy Spirit puts us in connection with faith.
Taking it Home
Ask God to free you from any assumptions that keep you from experiencing the wonders of God. Unexamined assumptions keep us from life in all its fullness. Dare to hope for and try for more.
For your “at least one”
Ask God to reveal to you any unexamined assumptions that may be getting in the way of your relationships with your “at least one.” Ask God to free you from these assumptions so that your relationships can be all they can be.
For our church
Pray for our church to be a place where assumptions are challenged so that faith can grow. Ask God to free us from unquestioned doctrines and unexamined loyalties so that we can worship God in truth and in Spirit.