From today’s reading of John 9-10:21
Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.” He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him. Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains. – John 9:35-41 (ESV)
There are so many things to love about the events recorded in John 9. The chapter begins with the disciples engaging Jesus in a theological debate about a man born blind; was it the man’s sin, or his parents’ sin, that caused the blindness?
This is a picture of us: they were more interested in the theological ramifications of another man’s misfortune than in the other man. They were also, by the way, completely wrong in their theological conclusions. Good theology is, of course, very important. Their theology of sin and cause/effect wasn’t good theology. It was very bad theology. And as Erwin McManus has pointed out, the man was born blind not deaf, so he had to endure their detached theological musings.
Jesus heals him, and a scandal is born. The man was healed on the Sabbath! In a fascinating exchange that exposes both the religious leader’s arrogant obtuseness and the healed man’s growing sense of frustration leading to justifiable sarcasm and near mockery of them, he is cast out.
This brings us to the passage quoted above. It is interesting to note that most likely the man has not yet seen Jesus, who healed him. Jesus anointed his eyes and told him to go wash in the pool and when he washed he was healed but probably no longer in Jesus’ vicinity.
This adds special poignancy to Jesus encounter with the now-seeing man:
“Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?”
Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.”
You have seen him! I picture the smile playing on Jesus lips as he says these words. The man had never before in his life heard the words “you have seen” directed at him.
Jesus has come into the world to bring the low high and the high low, to bring sight to the blind and blindness to those who think they see just fine.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. – Matthew 5:8