Healing, Persecution and Faith
The disciples ask a typical question about a man born blind: whose fault is it? Is it on account of the man’s sin, or because of his parents? Jesus puts aside the question of why he was born blind, and focuses on what God is about to do. The Story of this man’s life is not about sin, but about the grace of God healing him, and giving him a new start.
This healing story takes the whole chapter; an ‘ordinary’ healing, except that man, who was born blind, had to go and was his eyes in a nearby pool. By the time he had his sight again, Jesus was gone, so he never saw the Lord.
Typically, the Pharisees take offense, because the healing happened on the Sabbath. They are unable to refute the argument that a sinner could not do these miracles, so they attempt to disprove the miracle.
His parents affirm that this man is their son who was born blind, but they carefully avoid commenting on how he was cured: “we weren’t there, ask him,” they say.
The Pharisees don’t want the truth, it just makes them angrier: they throw the man, declaring that he was steeped in sin from birth- the very viewpoint that Jesus had dismissed at the start of the chapter.
Jesus isn’t done with this fortunate man: he seeks him out, and reveals himself to him. The man believes that Jesus is the Son of Man, and worships him.
Jesus declares the irony that while his job is to give sight to the blind, yet many who have perfectly good eyes have become blind to the truth.
The Pharisees know he’s judging them, and protest that they are not blind. Jesus’ response is very important here: he is saying that the fact that they say they can see means they have no excuse for not seeing who Jesus is. If they would admit that they are blind and needed help, Jesus could help them.