Three fundamental traits of divinity are represented in the Jewish and later Christian traditions: God is all- powerful, all-holy, all-knowing and all-loving/good. However, in the experiences of believers in those traditions there has been different understandings of what those traits should mean. Each have logical conclusions on how life is lived. The irony is some believers may misunderstand God’s nature on suffering and make God sound like he does not love where it counts.
Such was the unbelief of God’s love by many believers in the time of Jesus when someone was born greatly disadvantaged. To some extent you could say it was about God the Father as dysfunctional since God as father was said only 17 times in the Old Testament. But Jesus came and changed the story referring to God as father 17 times just in the Sermon on the Mount alone and did not stop there with the case below in point.
As he passed by he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.We have to do the works of the one who sent me while it is day. Night is coming when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva, and smeared the clay on his eyes, and said to him, “Go wash in the Pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed, and came back able to see (John 9:1-7).
who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?– By phrasing it the premise is that a burden to bear must only come from sin in the mix and thus blame or shame is part of that lens. We learn from the first epistle of John that, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love” (1 John 4:18). Perfect love is best manifested to change that fear or shame mentality with the fullest expression of the gospel. The disciples and the man born blind breathed in some doctrinal stumbling block that was not of love but fueled by fear.
it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him- I will now share the most brilliant answer possible for the question on what those works are: no one totally knows. I can say that in general, it is surrender for God’s will to be done and with a response of the heart with trust. Jesus prayed “Not my will, but yours be done” and went to the cross and the victory came only after death. But sometimes God does a miracle that can draw us unto truth and even better to a fulness of relationship with him. But in not knowing there is always the invitation to trust.
We have to do the works of the one who sent me while it is day.– Jesus in the world was rightfully the focus of salvation, what is true and what sustains. Jesus said later “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6). We also know that Jesus is the “Apostle and High Priest of our good confession” (Hebrews 3:1). Apostle means “sent one”. For Jesus to be God incarnate is to be the sent as frail humanity to save the world. The sending is in sacrifice and such sacrifice is endurable due to love.
Night is coming when no one can work- Augustine makes a good point of what this night could be. “Let man, then, work while he lives, that he may not be overtaken by that night when no one can work. It is now that faith is working by love…..this is the day- Christ is here” (Augustine, Lectures or Tractates on the Gospel According to St. John.). One should make the most of today and remember that we will be judged by our works that are done in love. Also, it is worth knowing that darkness came over the earth three hours into the six that Jesus was on the cross but fire came down on the birth of the Church on the day of Pentecost. More on that below.
While I am in the world, I am the light of the world– Jesus here is making a point that one can look further than him at this time on knowing what the will of God is. Although writing about the spread of Christianity is not my focus here, it should be noted that Jesus spoke a calling for those who believe in him to preach and teach his agenda.
You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father (Matthew 5:14-16).
smeared the clay on his eyes- Jesus used matter to convey the grace of God often. This is why the anointing of oil is referred to in James 5 for healing. Christianity never sees spirit and matter at war with each other.
Go wash in the Pool of Siloam” (which means Sent)– This is not meaningless tangent for John. Apostle in the Greek means sent. But there is an apostolic, or sending theme, that Jesus intended. Paul reflects on this on how “Through him we have received the grace of apostleship, to bring about the obedience of faith, for the sake of his name, among all the Gentiles” (Romans 1:5). Putting the New Testament together in context with Jesus at the center is to remember that grace and the sending of Jesus and followers, means to speak and live grace in a way that brings some level of wholeness to anyone who believes (Romans 1:16). Indeed, the gospel is good news and not a labeling game. The gospel directs us to see the labels washed off of us.