As you recall, in John 9 there is an account of a man born blind who was healed (returned to sight) by Jesus. The disciples asked about the man’s condition, whether his blindness was due to the man’s own sins, or the sins of his parents. But Jesus answered them by revealing that it is for the power of God to be revealed through him that he was born blind.
Let’s examine this passage a bit more: the disciples are walking along. They see a man born blind and begin to ask Jesus about him. Jesus does the unexpected: he spits in the ground, makes clay with his spit, and then puts it in the man’s eyes. Then Jesus sends the man to the pool called “Sent” in order to wash off the clay and receive his sight. Clay from spit is an interesting cure. How many would accept it? (Thoughts about Naaman being cleansed in the Jordan come to mind) This man was born blind, so he couldn’t see what Jesus was doing – in a sense, it didn’t matter to him as long as the results were good. What did it look like to the disciples? I’m sure it was strange to them. Have you ever had mud or clay in you eye? Blind or not, I’m sure it was irritating. What comes next? A wash in the pool, followed by people who have seen him on a regular basis no longer recognizing him.
What is the intercession of asking a question?
For those of you who study the bible, and specifically Jesus’ ministry on earth, what get’s your attention here? The first thing that gets my attention is the conversation between Jesus and his disciples. They bring the man to Jesus’ attention with their question about “who sinned”. This challenges my idea of intercession. I thought intercession involved petitioning God on behalf of someone… I didn’t think merely asking about someone qualified as intercession. Jesus is showing me an expanded view of intercession – the act of bring someone to God’s attention.
At this point in John’s gospel, Jesus isn’t fully revealed to the disciples, so the next intriguing thing here is Jesus’ response to the disciples question: “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Jesus knew this man and his parents so why don’t the disciples wonder a little more about him? More on the idea of Jesus’ divinity comes from the rest of the quote and the statement of being the light of the world. (I’ll save the discussion about the second half of Jesus’ answer for another post)
Obedience to Jesus was not optional
Then after discussing with the disciples, Jesus spits on the ground and makes mud/clay (depending on translation), and puts it on the blind mans eyes and tells him to go and wash in the pool called “sent”, (Siloam), after which he receives his sight. Another eye-opener, so to speak, Jesus is healing a person here in a different fashion then laying on of hands, and in fact, the second part of the cure is to be sent by Jesus to the pool “sent”, wash in the pool and be fully healed – not a return to the old condition, but instead to be fully made whole and new (as far as sight goes). After being healed (fully made new), the people who knew the man barely recognized him and had to ask if he was the same man who had been born blind. It looks like sometimes God still requires us to make an effort to be fully healed. Not that our effort produces the result – God produces the result, but the fact remains, God still required obedience to His voice for the healing to be made complete. I wonder if the healing would have occurred if the man went to another pool, or not gone to a pool at all?
Further into this scripture, there is the accusations of the religious leaders who make the claim that Jesus isn’t healing using the power of God, and also the boldness that the formerly blind man has in declaring the truth to the religious leaders – who basically ask him who he thinks he is to be preaching to them. We also have some parents who are afraid to get kicked out of church in responding to the accusations of the religious leaders. The human drama we face every day is ever-present in the bible.
..I once was lost, but now I’m found, was blind but now I see…
The end result of all this is we see a man born blind, who after being asked about by the disciples has Jesus put something in his eyes. The man is told to wash in a pool, he is obedient, people no longer recognize him, religious leaders try to convince him he has not had a true miracle from God. God gives the man grace and speaks through the man to the teachers who will not listen to him because they are prideful and arrogant, thinking they have all the answers. The formerly blind man leaves their presence to find Jesus again and falls down and worships Jesus as God.
A return to true sight – From unseeing to seeing
We are spiritually blind (from birth) until made spiritually seeing by Jesus. Once we have seen, we worship Jesus for who He is. What do you suppose happened to the man born blind? Now that he could see, he wasn’t sitting around and begging anymore, instead he could work and have a better life. His life would have likely become harder, not easier. The responsibilities he would now have were likely far greater than the responsibilities of his past. In all, he was one who worshipped God while he walked the earth. He was able to have testimony of what God did for him, and how his life was forever changed. My prayer is that we all have testimony like that, from blind to receiving new sight, and that we don’t forget to ask Jesus about those we encounter on our journey with Him.