"I came into this world for judgment, so that those who do not see might see, and those who do see might become blind." (John 9:39)
Jesus and the disciples pass by a blind man. His disciples ask, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" During this time, the belief was that if a person had a disability, it was a result of their sin or their parents’ sins. Instead of affirming this, Jesus says that this man’s blindness was not from his sin or the sins of his parents. Instead, “it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.” God uses everything we have to fulfill His purpose, even our sufferings.
Jesus made clay, smeared the clay on the man’s eyes, and told him to wash. The man washed and returned able to see. Until the man washed, his world was full of darkness. Now that his eyes were opened, he saw the light. His eyes were opened both physically and spiritually to the light of God.
The story continues with the man being questioned by several groups of people. Each time he is questioned, he gains insight into his own story. At first, the blind man saw Jesus only as a man. As the story continues, his faith grows through a struggle of encounters with other people that will challenge everything he says.
They take the man to the Pharisees who question him. Some of the Pharisees said, “This man [Jesus] cannot be from God because he does not keep the Sabbath.” Now the Pharisees are the blind ones who do not see Jesus. In contrast, the man’s vision improves as he describes Jesus as a prophet from God. The Gospel is setting up a contrast between the man born blind (who can now see) and the Pharisees who thought they could see perfectly but are growing increasingly blind.
By the end of the Gospel, the man sees Jesus as the Lord. At the heart of this passage is a powerful distinction: the man who was blind knows little, but upon encountering the Lord learns much. The Pharisees, who present themselves as knowing, expose themselves as men who know nothing. Through prayer and reflection, our eyes can be opened to how God is working through us, so that we may see the light and proclaim His goodness to the blind.