I have been spending considerable time mulling over the ninth chapter of John's Gospel. What a fascinating account of a miracle! There are so many things to mine from this passage that it may take more than one post to get through it.
And while passing on, He saw a man blind from birth. 2 And His disciples asked Him, saying “Rabbi, who sinned— this one or his parents, that he should be born blind?” (Disciples Literal New Testament)
It is interesting that the chapter starts with a conjunction in this and other translations including the KJV. Looking back at chapter eight we find Jesus disappears from the Pharisees who are picking up stones in threat. Is chapter nine a continuation following His escape, or does the "and" reference some other occasion of which we are unaware?
3 Jesus answered, “Neither this one sinned nor his parents, but it was in order that the works of God might be made-visible in him. 4 We must be working the works of the One having sent Me while it is day. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5 When I am in the world, I am the light of the world”. (DLNT)
The disciples in asking their question were displaying a commonly accepted belief in that day and even to this day that one who is afflicted must be so afflicted because he or his parents sinned.
Jesus seizes the teachable moment to enlighten His followers regarding His mission and theirs, for note the pronoun in which Jesus includes His followers in that mission: "We must be working the works of the One having sent Me."*
he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the
spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay,
said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by
interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came
The blind man humbled himself in allowing the smearing of spittle mixed with dust to be applied to his face. Could Jesus have performed the miracle without the use of this amalgam? Certainly. Why did He not?
There are differences of opinion regarding salvation, God's role and man's role. There are those who hold that salvation, a free gift of God, is granted by God to whom He will. There is nothing one can do to effect his own salvation. Moreover some go so far as to teach that there is nothing required of the recipient for action on his part would indicate a limitation on God's omnipotence.
God alone can save; yet I believe that one is required to do something, namely, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and confess Him with your mouth. (Romans 10:9) This will be followed by obedience to the will and Word of God.
And (note the conjunction) this man was given an explicit instruction. God will give him sight, but he must act according to the will of the Savior. Jesus sent him to wash in the Pool of Siloam. Could he have washed at any convenient basin? Certainly, but that is not what the Son of Man asked of him. I think it significant that Jesus told him to wash in the Pool of Siloam and that the writer of the account tells us the interpretation of the name: Sent.
Judaic oral tradition suggests that the pool mentioned was considered to be Messiah's pool, hence "Sent" for the Messiah is the One sent by God. Jesus knew this and in effect was asserting His Messianic claim by utilizing that particular body of water to complete the miracle.
Thus begins the account of Jesus granting sight to the man born blind. TBC
*Some texts translate the statement in the first-person singular rather than in the plural.