Today and tomorrow we hear the story of the man born blind; it is the gospel reading for this coming Sunday. We will consider part of this fairly long reading today (John 9:1-17) and the second part (John 9:18-41) tomorrow. This chapter teaches by asking about events that happened in Jesus’ ministry and challenging the various Jewish groups to reflect on their meaning. Remember, Jesus and the disciples also were Jewish—but ones who had become followers of Jesus.
Scene 1 (John 9:1-5)—Seeing the man who has been blind since birth, the disciples think that he must have been born a sinner (and that his blindness is thus his divine punishment), but Jesus rejects that view. Instead, Jesus says he is blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him.
Scene 2 (John 9:6-7)—Jesus now sends the blind man to wash in a pool and the man is healed.
Scene 3 (John 9:8-12)—The many witnesses disagree about whether this is the (formerly) blind man or really someone else, despite the man’s insistence that he is the one.
Scene 4 (John 9:13-17)—Some witnesses bring the man to the Pharisees (a prominent Jewish party—leaders of keeping the law and presiding at the temple), so they can discover the “facts.”Next, someone suggests that since the healing took place on the Sabbath and therefore broke the law, Jesus also must have broken the law. There is much disagreement.
Gracious God, give us insight into difficult verses such as these, that we may be both careful in our study and open to God’s work in our lives. Amen.
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