Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem with his disciples fully aware of the suffering that awaits. What spurs him on is his realization that Resurrection also awaits, an event that will change the world forever.
On the way he meets a blind man and in that most unusual scene he cures the man’s blindness with a mixture of spit and dirt, placing the mud mixture on his eyes.
The story then becomes a rather comical play between the Pharisees, Jesus, the man and his parents. When they question the man, now living in the newness of a life of sight and fearing no one, he takes the opportunity to give the Pharisees some lip. The Pharisees claim Jesus is a sinner because he broke the law in healing the man on the Sabbath. The man wonders how a sinner can do such wonderful works. When the Pharisees keep on questioning him the former blind man wonders if they are asking all of these questions because they too want to be Jesus’ disciples. At which point the only retort of the law makers is to insult the man.
Then it’s time to hear from the parents who show their serious anxiety about getting into a verbal joust with the powerful. When asked how this happened all they can think to say is “don’t ask us, ask him, he’s old enough to speak for himself”.
Interesting to note that the Pharisees never confront Jesus directly. Those confrontations have never gone well for them and by now they know better.
There is an interesting and somewhat controversial comment by Jesus when his disciples ask why this man is blind to begin with. Is it because he sinned, or his parents sinned? Begs the question of how someone could sin before birth and suffer such a consequence.
Some translations seem to suggest that this man was burdened with blindness for this specific moment. It afforded Jesus the opportunity to heal him and make it a teaching moment for his disciples.
Some newer translations however put a different slant on Jesus’ answer. Jesus said, “You’re asking the wrong question. You’re looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do. For as long as I am in the world, there is plenty of light. I am the world’s Light.” (The Message)
It’s about what God can do for us in any situation.
Like the blind man in the story, we too are living in a sort of blindness as we struggle through this Covid-19 uncertainty. We can struggle with a multitude of questions and work ourselves into a state of fear and anxiety or we can hear the words of Jesus.
“Look instead for what God can do. For as long as I am in the world, there is plenty of light. I am the world’s Light.”The Message