John 9: Against the Light
Thursday, May 19, 2016
Adapted from a May 14, 2010 favorite.
In the opening verses of this Chapter, Jesus begins to explain that misfortune or disability is not a sign of our sin; it is only misfortune or disability. Jesus cures a man of blindness as if to make a point. A miracle occurs yet in verses 8 through 12 we see how the people doubt that the cure has taken place: No, he just looks like him. In verse 13 the Pharisees become involved. The healing happened on a Sabbath; work has occurred. This is a transgression for which the temple leaders must have an accounting. This man is not from God. The healed man is called a second time and asked what has happened, to which he replies in verse 24. I told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? The Pharisees continue to question and he replies: This is what is so amazing, that you do not know where he is from, yet he opened my eyes . . . If this man were not from God he would not be able to do anything. This is a challenge to them. They cannot comprehend – or accept – the miracle before them and so . . . Then they threw him out.
In the final verses of this chapter Jesus speaks to the healed man to assure him that they have not broken God’s true law – the Law of Love. Explaining that he is the light that has come into this world of darkness, Jesus gives his listeners something to think about: I came into this world for judgment, so that those who do not see might see, and those who do see might become blind. This tweaks the Pharisees – who have refused to see and accept this cure as coming from God. Jesus says to them: If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you are saying, “We see”, so your sin remains. Jesus points out to these men that they have seen the truth and reject it . . . so that they might believe themselves to be in control. They irony is this: They were never in control as they have imagined themselves to be.
In this story we are again in the world of inversion where up is down and down is up, poor is good, disability is a plus. Jesus is the light and the Pharisees set themselves against this healing force. We have the opportunity to examine our reaction to miracles. Do we accept the gift of life which each of us is offered? Or do we put aside our petty haranguing with one another in order to unite in Christ? Are we stubborn Pharisees or are we blind people cured?
Do we flail against the light and insist that what we see is not really happening? Can we accept in confidence the gift of healing and give back to God our total trust?
If this man were not from God he would not be able to do anything . . . so when the light enters our lives as it so often does let us not thrash against the goodness and the warmth.