close search
Jul 22nd, 2022
By: Matthew Sink
The Gospel of John-Day 35

John 9:4-15 We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man's eyes with the mud and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing. The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar were saying, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” Some said, “It is he.” Others said, “No, but he is like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.” So they said to him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed and received my sight.” They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.” They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. Now it was a Sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. So the Pharisees again asked him how he had received his sight. And he said to them, “He put mud on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.”

How does the mortal explain the immortal? How can the simple make known the ways of the divine? We worry so much with HOW God does what He does that we often lose sight of WHAT He is doing. That’s the more pertinent question.

In John 9, Jesus opens the eyes of this blind man by the pool at Siloam. John adds the detail that Jesus spat in the dirt and made mud, which He caked over the man’s eyes. John doesn’t explain the significance of the mud – after all, Jesus healed with just a word or a touch at other times. John just tells us that Jesus did it this way, and the man goes to the pool to rinse his eyes. When his eyes open, presumably Jesus is gone.

And then the questions: “How were your eyes opened?” “How did this happen?” “Why did Jesus do it with mud? Why on the Sabbath?” The questions all revolve around the mystery of the moment, and they all miss the miracle: here is a man who was blind, and now he can see! It’s incredible! This man was in the darkness. He had never glimpsed so much as a second of sunlight. He had never seen fall colors. He had never seen the faces of the people he loved. And now, he could see. The people were so caught up in the “hows” and “whys” that they lost the “what” – and that was the miracle.

Christians are often guilty of debating the gift God gave us to death. We argue about how it happened, and exactly why it happened. He fixate on which Bible versions best capture the stories and which theological terms best categorize them. We get so caught up in the “hows” and the “whys” that we completely miss the “what” – the miracle. God came down to us in human flesh. He lived among us; He ate our tables; He laughed at our jokes; He wept at our struggles; He died at the hands of our courts, carrying our sins on His innocent shoulders, and burst from the tomb victorious over death and sin. Soak it in. God did THAT for you and me. Don’t lose the miracle in the details.