Fourth Sunday in Lent (Mar 26th)

Pastor's Summary of John 9:1-41`

Perhaps Jesus encounters the blind man in the precincts of the Temple, where beggars habitually gathered. Illness and physical disability were attributed to sin: in this case, either of the man( prenatally) or of "his parents". Jesus dismisses the link between sin and illness, at least in this case; rather he says that this man's impairment provides him with opportunities to do (and show) the works of God. Jesus and his followers ("we) must do his mission while they can. A time is coming (from his crucifixion to his resurrection when he, "the light of the world" will not be in the world, so he be unable to "work" (and the disciples will desert him). Jesus takes earth (the substance from which human, Adam, was made, makes a "mud" poultice, and applies it to the man's eyes. If he has trust enough to go to the "pool" and wash it off, he will have sight. He does; thus Jesus completes one of "God's works". John draws attention to "Siloam" as meaning "Sent", thereby alluding to Jesus as sent for the salvation of humankind--so washing symbolizes baptism.

Despite the man's claim to be the one who was a beggar, those who know him are divided: some say "it is he" but others doubt: he only looks like the beggar.  The man confirms his cure as genuine. The Pharisees consider making mud on the sabbath as breaking the Law so they examine the man. They too are divided between those who say Jesus can't be from God (for he breaks the Law) and those who wonder how a sabbath-breaker can perform miracles (which only one approved by God can do). So they question the man further, hoping that the dilemma can be resolved by discredint the cure.  The man's parents swear that their son was blind from birth but say no more, for fear of being cast out of the community. The Pharisees invite the man to confess that he has deceived them inc laiming to be cured. "Give glory to God" is an Old Testament formula inviting confession.The man boldly asserts the fact of the cure and adds, ironically: if you listen to my story you may admit that Jesus is right! They queation Jesus' authority: "we know" that the Law is from God, but Jesus is an upstart! The man ridicules their expert opinion. God only listens to sinners who are penitent. Jesus must be "from God" for no one has even before performed such a cure. For trying to teach the Pharisees a lesson, the man is evicted from the synagogue. Jesus invites him to express his faith shown by his conduct. He says he took on human form for two purposes: to give understanding, sight, of ultimate reality, and to punish those who think they "see" but don't.  The Pharisees are incredulous. Jesus says: if you were ignorant of God's ways ("blind") you would be considered sinless, but you make the unfounded assumption that you do "see", so you are liable to be punished.