SERMON OF THE WEEK
March 17, 2013
Next Sunday is the 6th Sunday of the Great Lent. On this day Jesus heals a blind man. Gospel reading is from St. John 9:1-41.
Gospel of St. John 9:1-41
Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind
1 As he went 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 Neither this man nor his parents sinned,� said Jesus, but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.
4 As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.
5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.�
6 After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man's eyes.
7 Go,� he told him, wash in the Pool of Siloam� (this word means Sent�). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.
8 His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, Isn't this the same man who used to sit and beg?�
9 Some claimed that he was.
Others said, No, he only looks like him.�
But he himself insisted, I am the man.�
10 How then were your eyes opened?� they asked.
11 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.�
12 Where is this man?� they asked him.
I don't know,� he said.
The Pharisees Investigate the Healing
13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind.
14 Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man's eyes was a Sabbath.
15 Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. He put mud on my eyes,� the man replied, and I washed, and now I see.�
16 Some of the Pharisees said, This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.�
But others asked, How can a sinner perform such signs?� So they were divided.
17 Then they turned again to the blind man, What have you to say about him? It was your eyes he opened.�
The man replied, He is a prophet.�
18 They still did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they sent for the man's parents.
19 Is this your son?� they asked. Is this the one you say was born blind? How is it that now he can see?�
20 We know he is our son,� the parents answered, and we know he was born blind.
21 But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don't know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself.�
22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who already had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue.
23 That was why his parents said, He is of age; ask him.�
24 A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. Give glory to God by telling the truth,� they said. We know this man is a sinner.�
25 He replied, Whether he is a sinner or not, I don't know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!�
26 Then they asked him, What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?
27 He answered, I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?�
28 Then they hurled insults at him and said, You are this fellow's disciple! We are disciples of Moses!
29 We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don't even know where he comes from.�
30 The man answered, Now that is remarkable! You don't know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes.
31 We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will.
32 Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind.
33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.�
34 To this they replied, You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!� And they threw him out.
35 Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, Do you believe in the Son of Man?�
36 Who is he, sir?� the man asked. Tell me so that I may believe in him.�
37 Jesus said, You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.�
38 Then the man said, Lord, I believe,� and he worshiped him.
39 Jesus said,[a] For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.�
40 Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, What? Are we blind too?�
41 Jesus said, If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.
As Jesus taught and performed miracles, many people started putting their trust in him. This made the Pharisees very angry. Jesus did not fit into their idea of who the Messiah would be like. They believed that when the Messiah came, he would admire the Pharisees and tell them that God would be very pleased with them. Instead, Jesus said to them that God was not pleased with them.
The proud Pharisees did not believe in Jesus and did not want anyone else to believe in him either. The more Jesus spoke, the angrier the Pharisees became. They were looking for proof that Jesus was not God.
One day Jesus and his disciples came across a man who had been born blind. The disciples asked Jesus, "Rabbi, who sinned? Was this man born blind because he sinned or did his parents sin?
The disciples were mistaken to think that all suffering was caused by sin. Jesus said, "It is not because this man sinned or because his parents sinned, this happened so that God's work could be shown in his life."
Jesus then spit on the ground, made some mud with the spit, sprinkled a few drops of water, and then put the mud on the man's eyes and told him to go and wash in the pool of Siloam. The man went there and washed off. After the man had washed off the mud, he could see for the first time in his life. He came home with blindness cured. His neighbors could hardly believe that he could see. They asked him what had happened. He told them what Jesus had done for him. They asked where Jesus was but by then the man did not know where Jesus was.
It was a Sabbath day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man's eyes. Some of the Pharisees said, "This man is not from God for he does not keep the Sabbath."
Some others wondered how can a sinner do such miraculous signs? So they were divided. Then they asked the blind man and he replied, "He is a prophet."
The religious leaders who were so knowledgeable about Scripture should have recognized the divinity in Jesus but they chose not to believe even when they had the answers in the Scripture. They had made up their mind.They would have nothing to do with Jesus. They were all agreed to cast out those who believed in Jesus. Consequently the blind man who reasoned on the proof of his recovery was cast out by the Pharisees. For the man's part, he simply followed Jesus' instructions to get the dirt out of his eyes as he was healed.
The healed man responded in faith and worshiped Jesus. He was healed and had already recognized Jesus as God.
There are times when we also look like the 1st century Pharisees. We make judgments about others without knowing the circumstance of their lives. We are the Pharisees when the rules become more important to us than the people. When human performance carries more weight than grace and love, we become blind to witness the sufferings of others. That is the story of the blind man.
----------------------------------------------------------------------Prepared by Rev. Dr. V Kurian Thomas, Valiyaparambil