The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home
March 22, 2020 – Fourth Sunday of Lent - John 9:1-41
Download this simple process to Prepare for Sunday using the Observe, Judge, Act Method.
Today we hear again a familiar biblical story. A man was born blind. People wondered why this had happened. The narrowness of the time suggested that blindness, and other misfortunes, were caused by evil and sin. Bod things happened to bad people. At least, that was the general opinion.
In the gospels there are more than one cure of blindness, although the one read for this Sunday is the most striking because of its details. First, there’s the contrast. A man who never saw anything during his whole life suddenly can see. Next, there is the way Jesus performed it. He covered the man’s eyes with clay that he had moistened with his own spit. Then the man was directed to wash his eyes in a nearby pool. Suddenly he can see for the first time in his life. We are not told what he looked at, but that’s another interesting feature of the story. It makes us wonder what it would have been like for us if we had been blind and then we could see. What would be our reaction? More about that later.
Woven throughout this story are arguments about what had happened. Many theological positions are mentioned about blindness, miracles and miracle-workers like Jesus. One I find interesting concerns the fact that Jesus did this good work on the Sabbath. The Bible at that time forbad work on the Sabbath. Jesus obviously believed that there were exceptions. It’s always timely to do something good. His “enemies” did not agree. Make note of this, they said. We might be able to use this against him. (Later they did at his trial.) They also judged the blind man as a sinner. They believed that anyone born defective was a bad person. More narrow-mindedness. Jesus called them to re-evaluate their religious positions. They seemed much too narrow.
Let’s here think about the man who was given his sight. Imagine the rest of his life. When he opened his eyes each morning, perhaps he saw his wife and children gathered in their small home. He might have looked outside and noticed trees and bushes laden with leaves and perhaps ripening oranges or lemons. He would gaze up to the sky and be astounded by its fierce blueness or the clouds of many hues that slowly passed overhead. He would see everything! And be amazed.
We who have been gifted with sight from birth would not likely experience near the delight of this fortunate man who had spent so many of his days in the dark. But we could if we realized the countless miracles that flow through us each day. If we notice!
©David M. Thomas, PhD