The 4th Sunday of Lent Jn 9:1-41
Turning to God’s Word An often-overlooked detail about the Fourth Gospel is that the Evangelist John doesn’t begin Jesus’ signs with a demonstration of Jesus’ power over sin. But rather…
Many of the people who encounter Jesus in the Gospel According to John end up testifying that he’s the Messiah. The man born blind joins the Samaritan woman, who met Jesus in the fourth chapter, as two of the most significant witnesses to Jesus Christ in all of the Scriptures.
Why is this sign different? In most of the signs in the Fourth Gospel, Jesus merely speaks in order to bring about change. Water becomes wine. A Samaritan woman believes. A crippled man walks. In the case of the woman caught in adultery, Jesus also writes with his finger on the ground, a suggestion that the law of Moses originally was written by God on tablets of stone. In giving the man born blind the gift of sight, Jesus spits on the ground to make clay, recalling God’s Creation of the first man out of clay, which is described in the book of Genesis 2:4–7. It’s important to note that the man born blind doesn’t have his sight restored, a phrase used in many commentaries. The man never had sight to begin with. He was born without the ability to see, so it’s inaccurate to consider what Jesus does for him a restoration of sight. The man is re-created, not restored. Jesus’ use of clay in performing this sign points to re-creation. Jesus is God, and the man is undergoing a type of Baptism. He both is and isn’t the same person as he was before—an apt description of what happens to men and women during the ontological change that occurs in the sacrament.Jesus is God, and the man is undergoing a type of Baptism. He both is and isn’t the same person as he was before—an apt description of what happens to men and women during the ontological change that occurs in the sacrament.