John 9:1–41 (NRSV)
Chapter 9As he walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. Verse 2His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" Verse 3Jesus answered, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God's works might be revealed in him. Verse 4We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. Verse 5As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world." Verse 6When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man's eyes, Verse 7saying to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam" (which means Sent). Then he went and washed and came back able to see.
Verse 8The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar began to ask, "Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?" Verse 9Some were saying, "It is he." Others were saying, "No, but it is someone like him." He kept saying, "I am the man." Verse 10But they kept asking him, "Then how were your eyes opened?" Verse 11He answered, "The man called Jesus made mud, spread it on my eyes, and said to me, 'Go to Siloam and wash.' Then I went and washed and received my sight." Verse 12They said to him, "Where is he?" He said, "I do not know."
Verse 13They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. Verse 14Now it was a sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. Verse 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." Verse 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. Verse 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." Verse 18The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight Verse 19and asked them, "Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?" Verse 20His parents answered, "We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; Verse 21but we do not know how it is that now he sees, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself." Verse 22His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that anyone who confessed Jesus to be the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. Verse 23Therefore his parents said, "He is of age; ask him." Verse 24So for the second time they called the man who had been blind, and they said to him, "Give glory to God! We know that this man is a sinner." Verse 25He answered, "I do not know whether he is a sinner. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see." Verse 26They said to him, "What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?" Verse 27He answered them, "I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?" Verse 28Then they reviled him, saying, "You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. Verse 29We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from." Verse 30The man answered, "Here is an astonishing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. Verse 31We know that God does not listen to sinners, but he does listen to one who worships him and obeys his will. Verse 32Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. Verse 33If this man were not from God, he could do nothing." Verse 34They answered him, "You were born entirely in sins, and are you trying to teach us?" And they drove him out.
Verse 35Jesus heard that they had driven him out, and when he found him, he said, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?" Verse 36He answered, "And who is he, sir? Tell me, so that I may believe in him." Verse 37Jesus said to him, "You have seen him, and the one speaking with you is he." Verse 38He said, "Lord, I believe." And he worshiped him.
Verse 39Jesus said, "I came into this world for judgment so that those who do not see may see, and those who do see may become blind." Verse 40Some of the Pharisees near him heard this and said to him, "Surely we are not blind, are we?" Verse 41Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would not have sin. But now that you say, 'We see,' your sin remains.
During Lent, I contemplate my abilities and disabilities. We all have inabilities that we or other people recognize. Today’s verses explore sight: a man’s physical disability of blindness, and religious leaders’ spiritual disability of not recognizing Jesus as the Messiah. Have you noticed folks excluding people with disabilities? Perhaps they even imply sinfulness causes these conditions. Jesus said sin didn’t cause the man’s disability of blindness, and he used this circumstance to reveal God’s loving works. Jesus saw, included, touched, and gave sight to the man. Later, Jesus reconnected with him. The man now could see physically and spiritually—he proclaimed his belief and worshiped Jesus! In contrast, the leaders remained blind to Jesus’ Messiahship. During our Lenten journeys, let’s look for God’s love where inclusion and healing are needed, as well as where well-being and belief have grown. That’s where we can find God loving us and the world.
Healing God, we recognize that we and the world are broken and disabled in several ways that need your healing. Thank you for your abiding love, which includes us and heals us. Amen.