With the death of Jesus upon the cross, it appears as though blame has won. Satanic blame appears triumphant. But – on the third day, the Son rose again! And you and I are to live in the light. Not in the darkness of assigning blame. We are to live in the light of extending grace and mercy to those in need. Because the Son has risen, it’s a new day, and the light is shining. And the darkness will nor overcome it…
The question is Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus initially answers by saying that nobody sinned, that’s not what’s going on, that’s not the point. Those are he works of darkness, we’ve got to work the works of the day. I’m the light of the world, we’re not playing that dark game anymore.
But then Jesus goes into action. He’s not only going to heal the man, and show us how to care for and help people, but he does it with a bit of theater. He starts spitting in the dirt, this is an earthy miracle. He’s spitting, spitting in the dirt because he’s got to make mud. He takes the mud made from his own spit, and smears it on this guys eyes. So we have a man born blind, but now he really can’t see. He’s got mud over his eyes, and even if he weren’t born blind he wouldn’t be able to see. Jesus tells him Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). This is actually quite a distance he is sending the man, they are up in the northern part of the city, the pool of Siloam is in the southern part. The man goes to the pool of Siloam, washes, and comes back seeing. He’s been healed.
This is the sixth sign in John’s Gospel. It is a miracle of Jesus healing a blind man, but it’s also a sign. What’s it pointing to? How is our faith to be informed? It points us to Jesus, but what we supposed to see in Jesus through this sign? John, as always, gives us a clue. John’s gospel is subtle, but it’s all there. He gives us a clue when he tells us that Siloam means “sent”.
Jesus is the sent one. Jesus is the one the Father has sent. We are in our darkness, in the night, and the Father has sent his son to be the light of the world. Jesus is the sent one, and when we wash in the water of the sent one (baptism), we get the mud out of our eyes and we begin to see. The placing of the mud on this mans eyes wasn’t part of the miracle of healing, but it was part of the theater. Jesus is in effect saying, “Ok, disciples, watch this. This is what the whole world is like.” We are walking around with mud in our eyes. He tells the man to go to the pool called sent, and be baptized in the name of the sent one.
So the man goes to the pool, then he comes back so the disciples could see “He’s seeing now.” And likewise, if we will be washed in the pool of the sent one, if we will be baptized, we will begin to look at the world with brand news eyes. To be baptized is to be immersed into Christ, and it enables us to get the mud out of our eyes, because we haven’t been able to look at the world right.
When we get baptized, we get new eyes and we begin to see things in the light of Christ. For example, we begin to see that suffering people are not to be blamed, but to be shown mercy. We see that we are not to blame their suffering on “bad Karma”. And no this is not just a Hindu thing, plenty of Christians fully believe in karma. What do you think it is when there’s an earthquake, a tornado, a hurricane, a tsunami, and you have Christians on television explaining how “200 years ago, their ancestors made a pact with Satan, and this is why this happened…?” It’s just bad karma, is all they’re saying. Well, they’ve got mud in their eyes. They are Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar with their Christian TV programs, explaining to the suffering why it’s their fault that they’re suffering. But when we get baptized eyes, we look at the world in the light of Christ, and we see that those who are suffering are not to be blamed but shown mercy. We see that people who blame suffering on “bad karma” still have mud in their eyes, they are still blind, because only the blind blame the suffering. If you are blaming the suffering for their suffering, you have mud in your eyes. You need to go to the pool of Siloam, the pool of the sent one, and in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit get that washed out of your eyes so that you can come back seeing. The seeing, those who have been washed, those who have been baptized and are looking at the world informed by the light of grace, see that grace travels outside of karma.
The Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that the Kingdom of God is not like the kingdoms of the earth. Not every sin against us must be remembered until the fourth generation. We don’t all get what we deserve. We don’t have make sure everyone else gets what they deserve. Because the friend of sinners, who gave himself for his enemies, praying for his enemies as they were torturing, mocking, crucifying, and killing him, as he hung from that cross, does not return to make sure that what goes around comes around. He returns with a word of peace. He returns with the Grace of God.
So, on this day in which we await his arrival once more, I can simply say Peace be with you.
“As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. 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.” Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.”
John 9:1-7 ESV