Thursday, March 27, 2014

Lent 4 A - John 9:1-41

John 9:1-41
The disciples ask Jesus to name the blame for the man’s blindness even though the way they understand it the burden fell fully on the man’s parents. Bad things happen to people who do bad things and Psalm 51 notwithstanding “Behold, I was sinner from my birth” it is difficult to find a sin that can be done in utero. Jesus chooses the third way and blames God. I mean if we push his response to its cynical conclusion the man’s blindness affords Jesus the opportunity to heal him so that God’s work might be revealed in him; though I bet the man would have preferred God gifted sight a little earlier in life. But maybe Jesus’ response rejects sin as cause and effect for the way the world works without making it a show and tell for God either. It is what it is. People are born blind and no one can clearly see a connection. So while it appears as if the physical healing is the place where “God’s works are revealed in him” it is actually in the transformation of the man who had endured years of condemning comments whispered within earshot that the real miracle of sight takes place. For the first time the question, “whose fault was it?” doesn’t matter to him and he sees God up close and personal in “the man Jesus”. The respectable rabbis revile him because the way he received his sight doesn’t fit their view of the world even though they know “if this man was not from God he could do nothing.” The more tragic "sin" in the story is that the man's parents having endured the blame for his blindness all these years cannot give thanks for the miracle in front of their very eyes and in their response “he is of age ask him” shut their eyes to their son for fear of losing even their back seat in the synagogue. The seeing man born blind with nowhere else to go finds the only one who will welcome him and in his confession “Lord, I believe” God’s work is revealed within him.

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