It’s bad enough being a kid and having your mother give you a spit bath, but to be an adult, and have some complete stranger wipe their spit on your face, well, that’s just going a bit too far! And it wasn’t just spit, but spit mixed with dirt to make mud! What was Jesus thinking! And the man hadn’t even asked for help, or asked to be healed!
This story today is especially intriguing. In so many ways, it is a hilarious depiction of what happens to a community when change is introduced. And it is a story of no one acting as we would expect. (Deborah J. Kapp, Feasting on the Word, Year A, Volume 2, p. 118) Jesus and his disciples notice the man and have a conversation about the cause of this man’s blindness—it is not because of sin. This is important, because there was the prevailing belief that if someone was blind, or sick, or there was something else “wrong”, it was due to sin, either the parents’ sin, or the person’s sin, perhaps sin committed in utero, if they were born with it. Verses 3-4, while making it clear that sin was not the cause of his blindness, also seem to indicate that the man was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him. However, the phrase, “he was born blind” is actually not in the Greek text at all. A better translation of these 2 verses is: “Neither this man not his parents sinned. But so that God’s works might be revealed in him, we must work the works of God who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work.” The man is blind. God’s work is to bring healing, so that is what Jesus is going to do.
- John 9:1 - 41