John 9: The Miracle

April 13, 2011

(Part two of a four part series on John 9.)

Part 1

John 9:4-12

This is a miracle that is fun to act out with children. Especially children who are boys. Basically, Jesus heals with spit. It’s gross and glorious at the same time.

I always thought this was funny–Jesus, why are you going out of your way to make mud with your spit? Obviously Jesus could have simply touched the man to restore his site. He could have just spoken the words.

Jesus is making a point. It’s the Sabbath and he’s kneading spit into dirt–that’s not allowed.

“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.” (v. 4-5) For Jesus to heal on the Sabbath is just and necessary.

This is, of course, what is going to get the Pharisees involved in this whole situation. Who is Jesus, this Jewish Rabbi with a dirty band of followers, to break Sabbath law?

Here’s what I love about this whole story: The blind man in question? The one who’s at the center of this discussion? I imagine that he’s just minding his own business, going about his regular day. All of a sudden, he finds himself in the middle of an object lesson.

And then this Rabbi? He puts spitty mud on his eyes and sends him to wash in the pool that is called “Sent.” (Sent like the man…sent like Jesus). And the man is healed.

HEALED! At the most unexpected time!

I mean, the man had been blind his whole life. I realize that to consider much about the man’s background and attitude, we have to read a little bit between the lines and apply basic human nature principles to the situation (which is common in the Bible–authors weren’t really concerned about whether or not the 21st Century Reader understood what the subjects were thinking), but I imagine the last thing the man expected was that he would be able to see at the end of the day.

His whole life, he’s been blind.

It is the Sabbath.

Unexpected.

A miracle, for sure.

I consider the number of times I’ve sat or stood by a friend going through an unspeakable heartache, cried with someone so frustrated by life’s curveballs, hurt with someone dealing with something he or she is sure is terminal. I have a line that I use a lot: “Just hang on. Things can change when you least expect it.”

A couple of weeks ago, a friend asked for prayer because he was finding himself suddenly homeless. He was distraught. There was no way out. Nothing good would ever be again. This was it.

“Just hang on. Things can change when you least expect it.”

The next day, an update: a friend had asked him to make the trip to her hometown and stay with her family while he gets back on his feet. All was not over. Help came from the most unexpected place.

I believe it because time and again, I’ve been the recipient of such wonderful, miraculous, unexpected grace. I understand the blind man’s joy and surprise.

If you’re in a dark place and it seems hopeless, hang on! Miracles are usually surprises.

Tomorrow: John 9: The Interrogation