Why does Jesus tell the man to do something (wash the mud off his eyes) when in other places like Matthew 9:30, He just heals people without them doing anything?
Isaiah was written 700 years before Christ came on the scene, and his predictions are precise. For example, the miracle of sight to the blind was something only the Messiah could do. You can read more about this in Isaiah 29:18 or Isaiah 35:5. One of the reasons the rabbis were angry with Jesus in this account is because He was breaking Sabbath. Secondly, the fact that He could perform miracles meant He was Messiah.
The miracle in John 9 is notable because, in John 8:12, Jesus proclaimed Himself “the Light of the world.” This public demonstration would authenticate His claim; He gave sight to a man born blind. This man was born blind. Every healing miracle is an illustration of our sinful condition. This man is a physical illustration, but it is a spiritual issue. We need not just eyes but new sight.
This man is an object lesson because he doesn’t ask Jesus to heal him. John 9 tells us this was a theological “head-scratcher” for the disciples. Many rabbis believed that you could sin in the womb. Conversely, some believed that his parents sinned, causing him to be disabled.
Jesus’ answer to this miracle is extraordinary and imperative for us to understand. Neither his nor his parents’ sin caused his disability; we are all spiritually blind. The point was for God’s glory to be displayed, showing that He can do things nobody else can. Specifically, He gave sight to the blind. Spiritually, He was showing that only He can give sight to all of us who are spiritually blind.
John 9:6–7 says that Jesus “spat on the ground, made clay of the spittle and applied the clay to his eyes.” Man was made from this same dust of the earth, as mentioned in Genesis 2:7. We are meant to see a creation miracle; God created man from dirt, and Jesus made sight from dirt. Further, Jesus’ use of clay was an object lesson to develop this man’s faith. Jesus’ making of clay broke the Rabbinic regulations against kneading clay on the Sabbath. Jesus then told the man, “Go to Siloam and wash.” Siloam in Hebrew means sent. The pool of Siloam is located at the southeast corner of Jerusalem, where Hezekiah’s tunnel channeled water inside the city walls from the Gihon Spring. The man was “sent” there, and Jesus was the One “sent” by the Father. The man washed and went home seeing.
The One sent by the Father to save the world is sending a blind man who needs saving to the pool of Siloam (sent). It’s a unique miracle in several ways. First, this man was an object lesson. He was congenitally blind and didn’t ask for anything. Jesus clarifies that it wasn’t the sin of his parents or the womb. Whenever you come across a unique detail in a healing account, it is worth digging into some commentaries to learn more. Jesus was intentional and deliberate in everything He did; nothing was happenstance. Jesus wants them to understand He’s the light of the world.
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