Note: The Gospel reading for the 4th Sunday is long, John 9:1-41. I’ve chosen two shorter paragraphs for our reflection over two days. For context, you may choose to read the whole chapter.
Prepare to Listen. Take time to still your heart and mind then prayer with the psalmist: Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have crushed rejoice. (Psalm 51:8)
Prayerfully Read John 9:13-17
13They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. 14Now it was a sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. 15Then the Pharisees also began to ask him how he had received his sight. He said to them, ‘He put mud on my eyes. Then I washed, and now I see.’ 16Some of the Pharisees said, ‘This man is not from God, for he does not observe the sabbath.’ But others said, ‘How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?’ And they were divided. 17So they said again to the blind man, ‘What do you say about him? It was your eyes he opened.’ He said, ‘He is a prophet.’
No one knew who Jesus was, not even the man born blind who’d experienced Jesus’ miraculous power. When the Pharisees, the religious authorities listened to his story of healing, they too were divided about Jesus’ identity. The miracle didn’t shock them; the fact that Jesus healed on the sabbath did. Not only that, Jesus’ method of healing involved much work—making mud, pasting it the man’s eyes, sending him to wash. It’s as though Jesus wanted to goad the authorities. And he did! They were divided about what to think of Jesus. Some thought his power to heal was from God. Others said, ‘This man is not from God, for he does not observe the sabbath.’ In their books, compassionate behavior should never take precedence over sabbath observance. They didn’t know who Jesus was and couldn’t accept him no matter what he did. They asked the formerly blind man for his opinion. At this stage in his journey, neither did he know and so responded, ‘He is a prophet.’ That’s all he could understand then.
As I sit at home, restricting my outdoor activities and personal contacts to absolute necessities, I’m forced to think and rethink who I believe Jesus is. In the reality of a pandemic that has changed just about everything we know who and where is Jesus, I ask myself? How can I live his way of compassion and disregard for worn-out traditions in a reality that is now so unknown and unfamiliar? That’s my question for today. What’s yours?
It seems the people (neighbors and those who’d seen him begging) were upset that a man born blind could now see. The change was so miraculous it bothered them. The religious authorities were upset because Jesus broke the Law. What upsets or delights you in this story?
Respond to Jesus
Lord Jesus, many of us are as blind as the people and the Pharisees in this story. We need your healing action so that we can see clearly and follow you more nearly. Amen.
Go live obediently in the world where Jesus heals our blindness.
Because I believe that Scripture is food for our soul (our entire being) I seek to read it and encourage others to read it in ways that nourish and transform our beings. I invite you to read the Bible with me during Lent and into Easter. I am a Bible teacher, spiritual companion and retreat director. I know the Bile and how to read it for spiritual formation.