Easter - 2018

Monday, November 15, 2010

"So that you might believe!"

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.

His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, “Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?” Some claimed that he was.

Others said, “No, he only looks like him.” But he himself insisted, “I am the man.” “How then were your eyes opened?” they asked.

He replied, “The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.”

“Where is this man?” they asked him. “I don’t know,” he said.

As Jesus is passing by we see an interruption in the journey. The interruption is recorded in John 9:1-12. Jesus had been in at the temple and had a heated exchange with the Pharisees. They were celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles and a connection with Isaiah has proven to become a negative debate. In fact, John reports at the end of chapter 8, Jesus slips away from the temple grounds in order to avoid stoning.

The cultural milieu of John 9:1-12 is Jewish. That is to say the text has a combination of individual awareness of politics as well as community perceptions of politics, language, and religious influences of the Hebrew nation. “The author was acquainted with Jewish religion. He mentions the Passover, the Fest of Tabernacles, and the Feast of Dedication. He was familiar with weddings, Sabbath-keeping, methods of burial, and the methods of observing the feasts.”[1] There were some Greco-Roman influences, but in this text we only see evidences of the Jewish culture and its traditions.

John’s placement of this story reveals how Jesus was aware of his surroundings and seized opportunities to teach and give direction to his followers. “John has chosen to record some of the signs that Jesus did in the presence of his disciples, that his readers may be encouraged to hold fast their belief that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.”[2] The fourth Gospel gives emphasis to prophecy and the work of Jesus to fulfill prophecy to give sight to the blind. In chapter 8, John reveals the spiritual blindness of the Jews.[3] There are several theories as to why John wrote this gospel. Some of those are that John was combating false teachings, he might have been writing to convince John the Baptist followers to become followers of Jesus, he could have been trying to present the world with a “Hellenized” view of Christianity, or there could even be another reason we are not even aware of.[4] John’s aim is without a doubt to convince men of the deity of Jesus because of John’s many uses of the “so that you may believe” statements through out John’s gospel such as in 20:31. The desire of John is to demonstrate through eyewitness testimony that Jesus is the Son of God and has come so the world will know the truth and be set free from bondage to sin. Thus, we see the placement of chapter 9 after a rather striking revelation of how truly blind the religious leaders of the period were. Jesus seizes the opportunity to demonstrate light and God’s work and once again testify to the reality of Jesus as God’s Son and so that the reader might believe.

This is an excerpt from my exegesis paper. More to come....take the time to live in the light, I am. You know I love ya, Don

[1] Merrill Tenny. The Gospel of John. (EBC 9: Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Press., 1981). 3

[2] R.V.G Tasker, The Gospel According to St. John an Introduction and Commentary (TNTC 4; Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans. 1994), 28

[3] Ibid, 122.

[4] Leon Morris, The Gospel According to John (NINCT; Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1995) 30-34.

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