(John 9:1-41) Most of us can’t imagine a world without light and, thankfully, we’ll never have to experience such a reality. For light plays an important part in our lives, helping to determine the hours of the day and to regulate the internal clocks of our bodies that tell us when it’s time to sleep or wake up. We need light to see and, without it, our eyes cease to function properly. Light even influences our emotions and mood…just ask anyone who lives in the extreme north during winter, when daylight is at a premium. Is it any wonder, then, that the invention of the light bulb was such a remarkable feat?
In this week’s Gospel (an entire chapter in the Book of John), Jesus declares that He is “the light of the world” and reveals His glory by healing a man who was blind from birth.1 All those who know the man and witness his transformation are incredulous, so much so that they take him to the Pharisees – the spiritual “experts” of the day – to determine what has happened. Not that the man has suddenly become unrecognizable, but the eyes of their hearts are closed. Spiritually blind to Jesus, the Pharisees come up with a hundred different reasons why He couldn’t possibly have healed the man. Perhaps their eyes are just playing tricks on them? In the end, the best answer comes from the blind man himself when he points out, “If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”2 The Pharisees are so incensed that they throw him out of the synagogue. Their disbelief blinds them to the truth: Jesus is truly the Messiah.
This is where faith comes in. It’s okay to question the things we see and don’t understand, as that natural curiosity and inquisitiveness can help us to learn and grow. But we must never become skeptics, allowing our intellect to dominate the movements of the heart. When we depend so much on our physical sight for understanding, we risk becoming spiritually blind. Jesus wants to open our eyes in ways that we can only imagine, to give us that inward sight which surpasses human understanding. He wants to help us see that everything in this world – even hardship or suffering – can be an instrument of His grace. Christ is our light, a hope that shines forth, illuminating the path so that we can find our way. For without Jesus, we’re just fumbling around in the dark.
– Kelley Holy
1 John 9:5
2 John 9:33