Chapter 24.2 Light of the World
Tabernacles to Dedication A.D. 29 (about three months from autumn to winter)
Healing Touch, composite digital image by L. Lovett, 2005
Healing Touch, composite digital image by L. Lovett, 2005 (CLICK on the image above for a LARGER version)

Man Born Blind

It is no coincidence that after Jesus proclaimed he was the Light of the World, it was followed up in deed. The stubborn spiritual blindness of the Jewish leaders who refused to believe Jesus was the Light now got a lesson of that power from a blind man who could only see with inner vision.

Josiah the beggar had never seen daylight, for he had been blind from his birth. To him the world existed only in terms of touch, hear, or smell. Passing of the seasons revealed to him little of their beauty but only the sensation of warmth and cold upon his skin as he plodded about the city with the other beggars, pleading for alms. He dared to hope that some day God might give him sight, for help could come from no other source. His favorite place was outside the walls of Jerusalem near the Golden Gate, where he hoped to attract pilgrims who came to the city.

The next day Jesus with his disciples walked along the road from Bethany to the Holy City. He stopped beside Josiah. Since it was the Sabbath, the beggar would neither ask nor receive alms, though his presence would secure wider notice and perhaps lead to many private gifts. The blind were regarded as specially entitled to charity. Christ heard his unspoken cry, as he always heard the pleas of the afflicted, but the disciples had no thought of mercy, only a Jewish question, “Rabbi, whose sin caused this man to be born blind?”

The Master told them, “It is not a question of whether this man or his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s power might be displayed in curing him. We must perform works of him who sent me while the daylight lasts. As long as I am in the world I am the Light of the World.” This was another and higher reason for the man’s blindness. Messiah had come and was the healer of all disease and evil by being the remover of its ultimate moral cause.

Once again the Lord gave truth to his words that he could bring daylight and spiritual light to those who wished to see. First, he made a mud paste and smoothed it over the blind man’s eyes. Then he told him, “Go and wash in the pool of Siloam.”

Quiet confidence in the voice of Christ gave Josiah courage to head south along the Valley of Kedron to the pool of Siloam, which lay inside the Water Gate in the southeastern corner of the city. The pool had been built by King Hezekiah at the end of a tunnel dug beneath the city to bring waters from a spring in the Kedron Valley to this section so that women could more easily carry water for their families. More recently, Herod the Great had added a colonnaded building in the form of a hollow square around the pool, so that it was always cool and shady there.

At the edge of the pool, Josiah knelt and washed his eyes as the Nazarene had instructed him. Suddenly he saw water in the pool, and faces of the women who were filling their jars reflected in it. He cried out in wonder and got to his feet, stumbling about in the ecstasy of seeing—the beauty of the colonnade, the bright colored robes of the women, the green of the trees. He was like a man dying of thirst who suddenly finds water in the desert. “I can see! I can see!” he cried. Throwing away his stick, he started running through the streets to go tell his family, shouting as he ran to everyone he passed about the miracle which had given him his vision.

His neighbors and others who knew him as a blind beggar asked each other, “Is that beggar the same man?” Some said he was, and others said, “No, but he surely looks like him!”

Josiah kept saying, “I am the same man!”

“Who healed you? What happened?” they asked.

“The man they call Jesus made a mud paste and smoothed it over my eyes. Then he told me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash off the mud.’ I went and washed, and now I can see!” he exclaimed.

Someone inquired, “Where is he now?”

“I don’t know,” Josiah answered, wishing he did.

Spiritual Blindness

Not sure what to do, they took him to the Pharisees. Although the Sanhedrin could not hold any formal meeting on the Sabbath, in their minds there was abundant legal ground for a criminal charge against Christ, who had both made a mud paste and healed on the holy day. The Pharisees angrily questioned Josiah about it.

Innocently he repeated the miracle to them, “He smoothed the mud over my eyes, and when it was washed away, I could see!”

Some of them said, “This man Jesus is not from God, for he is working on the Sabbath.” Others said, “But how could an ordinary sinner do such miraculous signs?” There was a deep division of opinion among them.

Not satisfied with the report of those who had brought the man, they made him repeat it, “This man who opened your eyes—who do you say he is?”

Josiah boldly replied, “He must be a prophet.”

The rulers would not believe he had been blind, so they called in his parents and asked them, “Is this your son? Was he born blind? If so, how can he see?”

His parents responded with very little information, “We know this is our son and that he was born blind, but we don’t know how he can see or who healed him. He is old enough to speak for himself. Ask him.” They were afraid of the Sanhedrin who had announced that anyone saying Jesus was the Messiah would be expelled from the synagogue.

Again they called in the man who had been blind. Caiaphas was now present and told him, “Give glory to God by telling the truth, because we know Jesus is a sinner.”

“I don’t know whether he is a sinner,” he replied. “But I know this: I was blind, and now I can see!”

The simplicity of the man’s language left no room for evasion or subterfuge. The wondrous fact could neither be denied nor explained. Rabbinism was on trial, and the only means left was for Caiaphas to attack the character of the Healer with more questions, “But what did he do? How did he heal you?”

Josiah exclaimed, “I’ve already told you many times! Didn’t you listen? Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?”

They were indignant and cursed him, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. We know God spoke to Moses, but as for this man, we don’t know anything about him.”

He was astonished at their unbelief, “That’s very strange!” Jesus healed my eyes, and yet you don’t know anything about him! God doesn’t listen to sinners, but he is ready to hear those who worship him and do his will. Never since the world began has anyone been able to open the eyes of someone born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”

His answer enraged the high priest, “You were born in sin! How can you teach us?” And they threw him out of the synagogue. But the man would not be threatened into denunciation of the One who healed him.

That One watched and knew him, saw that Josiah dared to confess his faith and was content to suffer for him. Let the man now have his reward and know his Healer. Tenderly Jesus sought him out privately and asked this one question, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”

He had never seen his Savior and did not recognize him. He looked up expectantly. Like a well of living water, the words sprang from his innermost heart, “Who is he Sir, so that I may believe in him?”

To such readiness there could be only one answer. The Lord spoke in language as plain as he had used with the woman at the well, “You have seen him and he is speaking to you!”

Then the eyes of Josiah’s soul were also opened. With immediate confession of implicit faith, he lowly worshipped, “Yes, Lord, I believe!”

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