Daily Readings in John – Day Thirty
November 8, 2017
John 9:1-12 (NRSV)
9 As he walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him. 4 We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6 When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man’s eyes, 7 saying to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). Then he went and washed and came back able to see. 8 The 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?” 9 Some were saying, “It is he.” Others were saying, “No, but it is someone like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.” 10 But they kept asking him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” 11 He 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.” 12 They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.”
I have a really optimistic friend who likes to remind people of the old adage, “Every problem is an opportunity in disguise.”
Jesus seems to have this attitude about life.
I used to be a little uncomfortable with the set up of this passage. How in the world would people blame the blind man or his parents for his blindness? That used to seem like a horrible first century attitude. Until I realized that I think this way all the time. I see someone down on their luck and wonder what they or their parents did to put them in that position.
Jesus thinks this way of blaming and explaining and analysis isn’t helpful when people are in front of us.
I also don’t think Jesus is saying God curses people with problems so that God can fix them and show how great God is. That seems like a perverse way to read Jesus’ line about God’s works being revealed.
Jesus just sees an opportunity. Someone’s going to be healed today, and people will see the goodness of God.
What would it be like to see our problems today, and see the problems of the people we encounter with this attitude, asking what would love look like here? How can this be an opportunity for someone to see the goodness of God?