Jesus, the Sent One
By Scott Fiddler
The Word: John 9:1-12
1 As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth.
2And His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?”
3Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.
4“We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work.
5“While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.”
6When He had said this, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and applied the clay to his eyes,
7and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went away and washed, and came back seeing.
8Therefore the neighbors, and those who previously saw him as a beggar, were saying, “Is not this the one who used to sit and beg?”
9Others were saying, “This is he,” still others were saying, “No, but he is like him.” He kept saying, “I am the one.”
10So they were saying to him, “How then were your eyes opened?”
11He answered, “The man who is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes, and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash’; so I went away and washed, and I received sight.”
12They said to him, “Where is He?” He said, “I do not know.”
I love a good movie, particularly those with metaphors, layers of meaning, and a good message. Shoot-em-ups and two hour chase scenes have lost their luster for me.
One of my favorite movie makers is Woody Allen. In the move, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Allen explores the whole idea of morality (hence, the title). The movie’s chief protagonist is an ophthalmologist who has his girlfriend murdered after she threatens to expose the relationship to his wife. He struggles with his conscience and the idea of morality after he commits the crime, but when there are no repercussions to his act he questions whether morality even exists apart from what we create in our own minds. The protagonist is an ophthalmologist for a reason—ophthalmologists help people who have diseases of the eye to see. The protagonist here is helping others in the movie, and the viewers, to see something about morality.
Now the message of the movie is wrong, and there is nothing particularly insightful about it, but everything in the movie is designed to convey that message, right down to the occupation of the protagonist and physical malady of the rabbi (who gives morality-based advice but is going blind). It’s how good movies are made. The ultimate goal is to communicate a message and hopefully entertain in the process.
Jesus came to communicate a message. He is called the “Word” because He is not just a communication; He is the message. God is the Great Auteur, and John 9 is a good example.
Jesus sees a man blind from birth. Physical blindness is not the only issue for this man; it is a metaphor for his lack of understanding. He does not see the Truth. Jesus says He is the light of the world. Light helps people see or understand.
Jesus puts mud on the man’s eyes and tells him to go to the Pool of Siloam and wash. “Siloam” means “sent” and the pool had long been associated with the throne and kingdom of David, from whom the Messiah would come. Jesus was the One sent of God.
Washing was a symbol of repentance and spiritual cleansing for the Jews. When the man washes, his eyes are opened and he can see. Jesus has not just healed the man physically, but in that healing He has revealed Himself as the sent one from God, the descendant of David, the Messiah.
John could have just recorded that Jesus healed a man who was blind from birth. Instead, John recorded what Jesus did and said and told the man to do because it was all important to communicating the message, and that message is that Jesus is the Messiah, the sent One.