What does it say?
Here in John 9 Jesus heals the man born blind from birth, the sixth miracle in John’s gospel. This infuriates the Pharisees because Jesus did this healing on the Sabbath. They pressure his parents because they refuse to believe that he had been born blind. Fearful of the Jews, the parents send the Pharisees directly to their son. Not willing to engage in their theological battle, the formerly blind man simply answers that the one thing he knows is that whereas he had been blind his entire life, he now can see.
In response to those who should have been faithful spiritual leaders of Israel, Jesus presents himself as the Good Shepherd (10:1-21). Once again, Jesus brings division to the Jews as they contemplate and debate both his deeds and his sayings. During the weeklong Festival of Lights in Jerusalem, commemorating the Jewish victory under the Maccabees over Antiochus Epiphanes, the Pharisees demand that he state clearly whether or not he is the Christ. They take up stones to kill him because they understand that he is claiming to be God.
What does it mean?
Having said in John 8 that he is the light of the world, the story of giving sight to the blind man in chapter 9 flows naturally. In this healing, Jesus mixes saliva and clay as was common for medicinal purposes at this time. However, we note that Jesus rarely heals the same way. He speaks, touches, heals from afar – in so doing he makes himself to be the source of healing and not any particular method.
Not only does Jesus present himself as the good shepherd, he says that he has other sheep not of this sheepfold, a reference to God’s mission to the nations. As is so common in John, the deity of Jesus Christ is central. Yet again the Pharisees demand that he clearly announce if he is or is not the Christ. Of course he has already done so repeatedly. Jesus firmly points them to his works, his miracles and healings. This is the real issue. The signs that Jesus does are not random, but are specifically in fulfillment of the prophets. The Pharisees accuse Jesus of being a man that makes himself out to be God. They are wrong; he is God made man.
How will I respond?
What is one practical, concrete way in which the deity of Jesus Christ should affect my life today?