This is the second in a series of essays on the healing recorded in John nine.
In the New King James and the King James Version, John 9: 4 reads: “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.” In the New International and all of the American Standard versions it reads: “We must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.” Have you ever noticed how big a little thing like a pronoun or sentence case can be? If it is the plural that is more correct here (where it states “we” in place of “I”) this note speaks then to all those that follow Christ in much the same fashion as the Great Commission: WE must do the works of him that called us. As the Lord always had the duty before him to perform the will of the Father, so then should we.
Jesus followed that verse by stating: “When I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” When the master left this world then the duty of being light of the world fell to the disciples, the Christians. If you don’t understand that this is true perhaps this reading from Matthew chapter 5 and verses 14 through 16 where Christ is speaking to his disciples will help: “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
As we move on, please note that this healing took place on the Jewish Sabbath. To the Pharisees this was a violation of Jewish law, when actually it was violation only of their tradition. Of course this runs in opposition to the intent of God, as Christ noted when he said, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.” (Mark 2: 27)
At the conclusion of his answer on the question concerning sin and the man’s blindness, Jesus took some clay and his spittle and placed the molded clay over the man’s eyes. Now there is something here that is also not obvious or well understood, and that is this: clay was forbidden to be used for medicinal purposes by the Pharisees, and spittle is considered by everyone to be unclean. You weren’t supposed to use dirt as a healing agent for obvious reasons and certainly the notion of using someones spit was abhorrent. So in placing clay upon the man’s eyes Jesus placed himself and what he was doing in direct opposition to another tradition of the leading party of the Jews – those who were observing these things and those that thought of themselves as the true interpreters of the Law of Moses. But nonetheless he placed the clay over the man’s eyes and told him to “go and wash in the pool of Siloam.”
That the pool of Siloam was clear on the other side of town is also not mentioned. How does a blind man get across town, if not very deliberately, with considerable difficulty and in the company of a lead or with many hours spent at it? But go he was told and go he did.
The instructions were specific. This should bring to mind the healing of Naaman through Elijah. And we would be remiss if we didn’t ask the age old question: do you suppose that it would have done this man any good, would he have received his sight, had he gone to some other place to wash besides Siloams Pool? I grant that this audience already knows the answer to that without my assistance. And that should be all we need to say about following Gods instructions just as they are given. Doing that alone will place you on the side of the divide that believes that without following the exact will of God that no one will see heaven. If that is your view you are also in the minority, but then you also are to be saluted for striving to be a servant in observing the things that God has clearly stated that are to be done by all that call on his name.
Now this man went and did exactly as he had been bidden, and as an outcome he (for the first time in his life) can see. Can we understand the marvel of this? Can we even feel the majesty that lay before him who was blind and that could now see? Again, let us note that no such thing had ever occurred in all of history – no man had ever given sight to or returned sight to the blind and particularly given sight to one that had been blind from birth. You likely know that there are some false teachers around today who say that they can give sight to the blind. I pity these in the judgment, as they have taken a miracle assigned only to the Son of God and make some pretense that they are on his level. What folly. I personally have known of the contrariness of some who have believed in such things. We need to be careful in what we say and do. We are not dealing with some witless acquaintance in these things but with the creator and sustainer of all things.