Jesus heals the man born blind.
Who is Jesus? We learn more about Jesus from the story of the man born blind. Let me tell you the story and make some comments as we go through the story. ( To find the words of the Gospel, click here.)
One day Jesus was in Jerusalem and he and his disciples walked past a man who was blind from his birth. He was sitting on the ground asking people for money. His disciples asked Jesus, “Who sinned to cause this blindness?”
Remember, it was a common idea. Very wrong! But an idea many people had that people were disabled because God wanted to punish someone for sin. The disciples asked if the parents of the man were guilty of sin or the blind man himself was guilty of sin.
Jesus explained that no one was guilty of any sin. The man is here with us so that people can come to know that Jesus is the light of the world.
Then Jesus took some dust, spit in it and made mud and put it on the man’s eyes and told the man to go and wash in a pool of water.
This is almost like a sacrament. A sacrament uses some thing, in this case mud, and an action, in this case washing it off, and usually words, Jesus told the man to go and wash. But the most important thing about a sacrament is that it is Jesus doing it. Jesus makes some thing, touches the man, tells the man to go and wash. The wonder of any sacrament is that the person doing the sacrament is always Jesus. You and I see a priest using water or oil or bread in the sacraments, but we know that the person with the power to make something wonderful happen is always Jesus. In a sacrament it is always Jesus who gives life or healing or forgiveness, Jesus is always the one who touches the person with his love.
Maybe when you next pray, imagine you are the blind man and Jesus comes and gently touches you. Feel Jesus’s strong, loving hands touching you. How do you feel?
The man probably feels a little annoyed. He wonders why this stranger is putting mud on him and telling him to go and wash his face. He really wants money, not a dirty face. But he goes and washes his face and suddenly now he can see. He never saw anything before and now he is flooded with light. He begins to understand what other people have been experiencing all along. Now he understands what they are talking about. His whole life is changed and it is because of Jesus.
I imagine he begins to wander around trying to understand everything he is seeing for the first time.
People ask him what happened. He tells them that a man named Jesus gave him sight.
Notice the man thinks of Jesus only as “a man.”
The problem is that this happened on a Sabbath and the rules in Jerusalem were that you could not do any work on the Sabbath. Jesus made mud and the man washed his face, both actions were work. The strict religious people said Jesus broke the law; he is a sinner. The man asks how a sinner can do such a wonderful work. Then he begins to understand Jesus more and he says Jesus is a prophet. A prophet is someone who comes from God and does the work of God and speaks for God.
The enemies of Jesus ask the parents of the man and they honestly say their son was born blind and they do not know how he can see now. The leaders are angry at the man because he still honestly says that Jesus is not a sinner and is doing God’s will. So the leaders they refuse to believe his story and they throw him out.
Notice, sometimes the same thing can happen to us. We know we are saying the right thing or doing the right thing, but people still reject us. This is never easy, but sometimes we have to accept it because we know we are doing what God wants.
The man wanders in the city very confused. He can see everything clearly, but now people reject him. He is alone and lonely. Jesus hears what happened to the man and looks for him and finds him. Then he asks the man, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” The man answers, “Yes, I want to believe in him; who is he?” Jesus answers, “I am.”
“Son of Man” is another title of a person come from God who will be a source of strength, hope, freedom for God’s people. The man now knows Jesus in a more deep way. Jesus is the heavenly person come from God to save the people.
Then the man says, “I do believe, Lord,” and worshiped Jesus.
Notice, he calls Jesus “Lord.” “Lord” is the Jewish name for God. The word was so holy that many times Jewish people did not want to use it. The man calls Jesus God. And to show his deep faith he worships Jesus. We only worship God. The man now knows that Jesus is God.
The man meets Jesus in something like a sacrament, the mud put on his eyes. Then he understands Jesus more and more deeply, as a prophet, then as the Son of Man, then as the Lord. He grows in his faith. So also do we grow in faith. We understand Jesus more and more. Sometimes we suffer because of our faith in Jesus, but we still know that the truth is with Jesus and following Jesus is the only way to see things clearly.