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Jesus: Healing a Man Born Blind

      The final Sabbath incident mentioned in John occurs in chapter 9. Jesus encounters a man who had been born blind. Jesus makes clay, puts it on the man's eyes, and tells him to go wash in the Pool of Siloam. Upon doing this, the man can see.

      Jesus is still in Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles, and the Judean traditions seem to be more rigid in their understanding of Sabbath regulations. In the view of Judean teachers, Jesus broke the commandments by making mud on the Sabbath. He also broke it by applying it to the man's eyes with the intention of healing. All of Jesus' other Sabbath healings were by the spoken word, and thus were not contrary to any of the oral traditions. We need to note that neither of these views on Sabbath laws are found in scripture; they were the interpretation of some of the rabbis at that time.

      The Pharisees are faced with a quandary. They perceive, correctly, that a man who is from God will not go around breaking the Sabbath laws that God gave to his people. And yet a miracle has been done, and no power but God's can account for it. Some of the Pharisees were bold enough to consider that Jesus had not broken the Sabbath, despite their understanding of it (9:16). It must have been difficult for them to re-examine their closely held beliefs to that extent, but the evidence was staring them in the face. The opponents must have been in the majority, however, for the rest of the story is told from their point of view.

      The Pharisees and other Judean authorities continued to question the man and his parents and eventually rejected their arguments that the healing proved Jesus authenticity. We need to realize that when we encounter the word "Jews" in John it is usually referring to Judeans, those who lived in Judea, as opposed to Galileans like Jesus and his disciples. All of the players in the stories are Jews not Gentiles, including Jesus and his disciples.

Flight from Judea

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May those who fear you rejoice when they see me, for I have put my hope in your word.
Psalm 119 :74