“He said, ‘Lord, I believe.’ And he worshipped him… Some of the Pharisees near him heard this and said to him, ‘Surely we are not blind, are we?’” John 9:38 and 40
In John 9:1-41, we read a lengthy story about Jesus giving sight to a man who has been blind from birth. After claiming to be the light of the world, Jesus heals the man of his blindness. While the healing aspect of this story is quite straightforward, the crowd struggles to make sense of what has just taken place and who Jesus is as the light of the world.
The word “light” is a common word in the Bible. It is used as a symbol of holiness, wisdom, grace, and God’s revelation. We have all been “blind,” that is, without light, at some point in our lives. As we were formed in our mother’s wombs we existed in a world of darkness. Then in an instant, when we are born, our world changed. We were exposed to the light of this world. It was so bright we couldn’t see it all. This new world was unfocused, confusing, and yet so very interesting. Eventually, the focus and color of this world entered our consciousness, our awareness.
Jesus’ physical healing of this man has a dual meaning, not only granting light to his eyes, but revealing the power of the light of the world. Jesus is the Light. This blind man was living in darkness, like the child in the womb; it was all he knew until his eyes were opened by Jesus. During this very public healing, Jesus disrupts a commonly held believe that differing abilities were the result of someone sinning. Indeed, the onlookers get caught up in this misinformed theology, and are stumbling themselves to make sense of what he is saying. The man born blind, on the other hand, literally and figuratively “sees the light.”
At first he is so overwhelmed, unfocused, confused, and yet so very interested in his Healer. By verse 17, things start coming into focus. He tells us, “He is a prophet”. Jesus becomes clear to him, entering his awareness. But others in his community do not believe him. They can’t make sense of this healing, to the point of denying he was ever blind in the first place. They continue to view this man as a sinner, someone in the dark. Yet now, they are the ones who remain in the dark. Verse 34 tells us the others drove the healed man away. Rather than incorporate this new expression of divine grace into their realities, they drive it out.
Jesus heard that he had been driven away and goes to find him. The one who is cast out, Jesus seeks and finds. The man listens again to Jesus and again his understanding grows until, when in verse 38, he says, “I believe”.
I suppose many of us have a similar faith journey. We may be in a spiritually dark place where sometimes we see the Light yet still have little focus and understanding. Maybe we don’t quite “get it.” Those around us may even try to keep us in the dark. However, Jesus does not give up on us. Jesus finds us and the true Light of our Lord and Savior brings clarity. WE BELIEVE!