|Jesus anointed the man's eyes with spit and clay|
The ‘Three Scrutinies’ are part of our Elect’s final step of preparation, wherein they are purified and enlightened. They are purified by the Word of God; turning away from their former lives in darkness and enlightened by the Light of Christ, so they may see with new sight, the Truth of Christ.
Today’s Readings are taken from Year A in the Lectionary. They are fitting and appropriate to the Rite of Christian Initiation in our Elect’s preparation for Baptism and serve to remind all the faithful of their own Baptism and entry into the Life of Christ, as adopted children of God.
Jewish belief in the time of Jesus was that being blind or any physical affliction or any other misfortune was a result of sin committed by the person or by their parents. It was God’s punishment. Blindness or other incurable affliction was an eternal damnation – a predestination from which the victim would not recover and their ‘sins’ were never forgiven. It was a life without hope, despite the best efforts of the afflicted to live righteously.
Jesus, through this sign, this miracle, changes that reality of life for the Jewish people. He does the impossible, thereby turning the culture completely on its head. In curing this man’s blindness, Jesus brings new reality to the Jews: forgiveness to a sinner. A complete turn-around – moving from a life of no hope to a life filled with hope; restoring a future to this man and to the people of God.
Jesus is the Light that dispels the darkness. He is the Light come into the world; bringing salvation to God’s people through the forgiveness of their sins. His light illuminates the pathways for the One of whom Isaiah spoke, the One for whom John the Baptist called out, “Make straight the pathways of the Lord.”
Jesus is the One who brings healing to a wounded world. Last week He gave life-giving water to the woman-at-the-well. Today, Jesus restores sight to a man-born-blind and in doing so, brings His Light into the world and forgiveness of sins for all, except for those whose hearts are hardened against the Truth of Jesus Christ.
“None are so blind as they who will not see.” With spit and mud, Jesus anointed the blind man; telling him to wash in the waters of Siloam, from which the Jewish priests filled their golden jugs for the Feast of Tabernacles. The feast which the Jews celebrated to commemorate their entrance into the Promise Land: their escape from slavery into their hope for the future.
The Scribes and Pharisee’s refused to see the light of the future, Jesus Christ. In their hard-heartedness they failed to understand what the man-born-blind came to know: That Jesus is the hope and promise of the future for all people. He is their deliverance from the slavery of sin.
We pray today for our Elect and for the whole world: That the Light of Christ, the hope of the future, will continue to penetrate the darkness, so all may come to see the Truth in Christ Jesus. That all may be freed from the darkness of sin and division and rise up rejoicing in God’s promise of salvation and Life Eternal found in Jesus Christ. ~Amen