Darkness which is Thick
South Africa has some of the world’s deepest mines. I had the opportunity to visit one. We didn’t descend very far – too dangerous for the average person to say nothing of a growing sense of claustrophobia with every metre. At one point, the guide turned off the lights in the mineshaft. If you’ve ever experienced that sort of lack of light, you’ll understand the idea of darkness being thick. The relief when the lights came back on!
I wonder if that’s how the ‘man born blind’ in John 9 felt? From total darkness to total light, healed by Jesus who had just declared himself the light of the world, demonstrating it by literally enabling him to see light again. I also like the thought that Jesus spitting on the ground to make mud to smear on the man’s eyes evokes how humans were created out of dust in the Genesis story. Did Jesus create new, pristine eyeballs
The man healed should have been restored to community life. That placed attention on the Pharisees, as it was they who would originally have confirmed his exclusion. They didn’t like the answers the man provided to their questions, determined as they were not to endorse Jesus in his breaking a specific sabbath regulation. So they threw the man out.
Jesus found the man and invited him to become one of his followers, to join the community of those whose sight is restored by the true light of the world. The more serious blindness has little to do with physical disability and everything to do with spiritual darkness. Blindness was self-imposed in the case of the Pharisees, as it is with all religious people who easily become blind to the fact they cannot see without that true light. Perhaps in our own case as well. There are none so blind as those who will not see.
From Grant Walton’s Sermon last Sunday