The story of the man born blind in chapter 9 in one of the longest single narratives in the whole book, and I encourage you to eat it up. It is launched by a question from Jesus’ disciples, “Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” There are rich details here: the back-and-forth dialogue; the divisions among the Pharisees; the hopes of the blind man and the fears of his parents. The exposition, though sparse, is piercing.
This is followed in chapter 10 with a sermon, as we’ve come to expect, this time about shepherds and thieves. This message could stand on its own, but in sequence with chapter 9 it seems to answer the question of the Pharisees: “Are we also blind?” Jesus’ answer leads to even more division among the Jews – who simply can’t believe any man in his right mind would speak this way.
Near the end of today’s reading the standoff between Jesus and the Jews seems to reach a breaking point. Envision Jesus, walking in the Temple colonnade. Feel the press of people, of tension, as it says, “…the Jews gathered around Him and said to Him, ‘How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly!” Jesus’ answer will only infuriate them further, yet He manages to escape.
One additional note: when Jesus meets the blind man a second time, He asks, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” This term “Son of Man” is a favorite of Jesus when referring to Himself. It has a cryptic meaning, because it could be either an obvious generality (such that I am a son of man), or a reference to an apocalyptic figure in the Old Testament book of Daniel. Even though this term is used often in all four gospels, the writers never directly explain it, so it is best left to rest, as are many things in John, in its ambiguous state.
Our verse for this week is John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”
John chapters 9 and 10. Now let’s read it!
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.