St. John’s Gospels prefer to teach who Jesus is and why we should believe in him by recalling several of the great signs Jesus worked. Last Sunday we heard of how the Samaritan woman at the well revealed him as possibly “the Christ” to her townsfolk. Jesus himself confirmed that he was indeed the Messiah. The townsfolk confessed him to be “Savior of the world.” This John wants us too, to know and believe.
On this 4th joyful Lenten Sunday, we are called upon to renew our faith in Jesus as Lord. As he had done with the Samaritan woman, John recalls a chance meeting of Jesus with a beggar blind from birth. John wants us to accept that often we too are blind. We forget about the gift of “living water,”that at baptism we were born anew by the grace of God. Jesus wants us to open our eyes and see that God is ever with us, all powerful and compassionate. He wants us to believe in him and never forget or deny that he is with us.
Jesus could and did perform many signs simply by his word. Not so with this beggar. He quite obviously spat on the ground and with his saliva took some of the dust of earth from which we were created. A speck in our eyes often hurts us, but Jesus took this mud and made of it a healing salve for the blind eyes of this poor man. He did not have to be present for the cure but sent the man away to wash in the pool of healing. Lo! He could see!
“This Jesus could not be a man of God, for he did this in violation of the Sabbath. This healed man could not be that same man who begged in the city. He must be lying.” So thought the evil-minded leaders of that day. Jesus was stealing from them their prominence. In defiance of their disbelief, the cured man said, “If he is a sinner, I do not know; One thing I do know is that I was blind and now I see. … If this man were not from God, he would not be able to do anything.” Defiant the world may be, but we know that Jesus is the all-powerful creating Word of God. For those who want a godless world, woe to them, better that the name of Jesus, of God, and any expression of faith on public ground be eliminated, even from school children.
Instead, John urges, “Onward Christian Soldiers.” We confess, Jesus Christ is Lord. Joyfully, openly, we profess our faith in him. We will not be silenced.