In John 9 we find the encounter between Jesus and the blind man. Like the previous two chapters the context of this encounter is taking place during the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot). This feast is a seven day feast with two major celebrations taking place each day: water libation ceremony in the morning and the ceremony of lights in the evening.
In the evening four gigantic menorahs would be lit in the woman’s court and below them the priest and other holy men would dance through out the evening holding torches. During this time the Levites would be chanting Psalm 120-134. The Mishnah even states that during this time, “There was not a courtyard in Jerusalem that did not reflect the light of the House of water drawing.” The purpose of The Feast of Tabernacles was for the people to remember their time (40 years) in the desert in which God guided and protected them. The light celebration has its connection to the fact that in the evening God would guide them through the darkness with a pillar of fire.
Now Jesus comes and claims to be the light of the world (8 v.12, 9 v.5) and performs a miracle which involves bringing light to a man that had only seen darkness all of his life. Jesus instructed the man to go the Pool of Siloam (which means Sent One) to wash, after putting mud on his eyes. The man does so, but it’s not the contact with the water that brings about the cure but the contact with the Sent One, Jesus. It was the obedience and acceptance of the word of Jesus that led to a miracle.
As the story is told, the man’s friends and the Pharisees question the man about his healing. It’s interesting to look at the progression of the man’s faith as he is questioned about what has taken place in his life. When he’s asked by his neighbors as to the where Jesus is and he claims, “I don’t know” (v. 12). Then while in front of the Pharisees he claims that Jesus must be a prophet (v. 17). In his final appearance before the Pharisees he makes the declaration that Jesus must be from God (v. 33). After being kicked out of the community by the Pharisees and being found again by Jesus the man uses the title “Lord” in addressing Jesus (v. 38). While the man was progressing to a fuller understanding of who Jesus was, the Pharisees were stuck in understanding the how.
Instead of allowing their focus to be on who performed this miracle, they were focused on how it was performed. It appears that they were more focused on preserving the law as they understood it, than seeing the “light of the world” that was before them.
How often do we look upon the wrong thing, the how as to the who? How often are we more concerned about how something is done as to who it’s done by or for? How often are we more interested in how to worship than we are about who is at the center of our worship? Even the culture we find ourselves in has trained us to find our importance in our doing (how) but God is more concerned with our being (who). We were created to be a “human being” not a “human doing.”
Does your focus on the how of life (the doing) impact your understanding of who life is about? Each one of us needs to ask the “Light of the World” to penetrate the darkness of the how’s of our lives. In order for us to fully experience who God is, and become who he desires us to be, we must continually seek Jesus so as to not be blinded by the how.
“Blessed are you Lord, our God, King of the universe. May we be a community of those who are more concerned with the who than with the how. You alone are our God and it’s our desire to love you with all of our heart, all of our soul, all our might and to love our neighbor as our self. Amen!”