Jesus said to them in reply, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them. And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.” (MT 11:4-6)
The story presented to us in John’s Gospel is a story about liberation from a tragic abuse of power and knowledge. The abuse of knowledge is evidenced in the heartless decision of the Pharisees. Since their knowledge of God is disordered, then, their ability to live out the covenant will also be disordered.
John did not include this story in his Gospel to teach us of the blindness of the Pharisees. This fact is evident in each of the Gospels. The point of this lesson is to teach us how easy it is for us to lose sight of Jesus, even when He works openly.
In the minds of the Scribes and Pharisees, it was impossible for Jesus to be the Messiah. The Prophets predicted many signs announcing the coming of the Messiah. One of the signs was a super-abundance of wine. However, with Mary’s prompting, this is exactly what Jesus did at the Wedding of Cana. He created over 180 gallons of wine as the first sign revealing His divine identity. This news did not reach the Scribes and Pharisees; or they rejected it.
The Pharisees and religious leaders believed that Jesus was a fraud. In the Gospel today, they believed that Jesus “healed” a man who was already well. They believed that this sinful action was made worse since it occurred on the Sabbath.
The fact that this man’s illness was well known and many people including his parents testified to it put the Pharisees in a difficult situation. If they acknowledged the healing, they would be acknowledging Jesus the Messiah. If they rejected Jesus, they would be protecting the Sabbath and lose credibility in the eyes of those who truly knew the blind man.
The blind man had nothing to lose, so he trusted Jesus and gained sight. Conversely, those who claim to have understood with absolute clarity were the ones who were the most blind. Jesus is at work—even in the places we think He could not possibly be. Let us join Him, wherever He may be and bring whatever is good to fulfillment.