John 9 – Blindness

Read John 9

John continues with the theme of testimony which he started in chapter 8 and weaves it into to ongoing theme of darkness and light that is present throughout his Gospel.  Here it takes on a deeper meaning as he relates light to the ability to see.  But as we read, we are presented with the question of what exactly “true sight” is.

At face value, we see Jesus healing a blind man.  This is, by itself, miraculous.  The teaching that comes with it, that his blindness is not a result of the sin of him or his parents is important for that culture because the prevailing notion was that debilitating conditions like this were the result of sin.  Sometimes we still think along these lines: “what did they do to deserve that?”  Jesus corrects this cultural assumption and directs their focus away from the idea that God caused this and toward the beauty of how God is working in the midst of it.

In doing so, Jesus helps His disciples to make the transition from thinking about physical sight to having a greater vision of what God is doing.  He also talks about being the light of the world while illuminating their vision of God’s work and the expansion of the Kingdom.

This reaches its climax when the discussion turns to the Pharisees, the religious leaders who claim to have “sight.”  By the end of the chapter it is clear that this man has received so much more than physical sight while the religious leaders themselves don’t even recognize their own blindness, so worried about the Law that they cannot see God at work.  It is interesting that this lack of ability to recognize their blindness, their claim that they have “true sight,” it what ultimately causes their guilt.



Luke 18 – Receive Your Sight

Read Luke 18

At this point in His ministry, Jesus is moving toward Jerusalem for the Passover celebration and His eventual arrest, conviction, and death.  On this journey, Jesus continues to teach His disciples and those around them, seeking to help them reframe their way of thinking and seeing the world.  As He has been teaching about the Kingdom of Heaven, Jesus gives practical examples about what it looks like to see things from that perspective.

In everyday culture, justice, humility, and the innocence of a child are not readily rewardable qualities.  Yet Jesus speaks parables that point to how God’s economy works, that in the Kingdom of Heaven, these things will be the norm, not the exception.  In the same way, the reception of and entrance into God’s Kingdom comes in the form of childlike faith and innocence.

This is illustrated in the parable of the rich man that follows.  He has great wealth and finds himself unable to part with it when push comes to shove.  And while it seems impossible for the very wealthy to be able to give that up for the Kingdom, Jesus also affirms this: “What is impossible for man is possible with God.”

Perhaps Jesus is making a statement here about all of what He has just taught them.  The rich man can follow the commandments to the letter, but that still does not imply faith.  Only through the work of the Holy Spirit can someone come to the saving faith in Jesus Christ.  When the Holy Spirit works in our hearts we receive a new kind of sight, seeing the world differently, through God’s eyes instead of our misguided human perception.

Maybe this is what Jesus is alluding to when He tells the blind man that his faith has made him well.