John 9: “Light of the World”

What does Sensodyne and Aquaphor Have in Common?

One of the things my wife loves about me is that I can get dressed and ready for the day without having to turn on a single light! It’s true! I was used to doing this for my roommates since I was a religion major and had 7:30am – 8am classes in college. Most of my roommates were slackers and had cake majors that let them sleep in till like a 11! Okay, so maybe that’s not completely true, but the getting ready in complete darkness is true.

I only had one instance where a little more light would have gone a long way. Early in my marriage I got up one morning and started to get ready as I normally do, but this time I left out a BIG step. I forgot to put in my contacts. My eye doctor will tell you, if I don’t have my contacts in I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between a bunny rabbit and a mountain lion.

You’ll never know how hard it is to see until you mistake your Sensodyne toothpaste with you’re tube of Aquaphor. Needless to say, my mouth was not left minty fresh, however my teeth where now treated against the harsh effects of winter…

There are two things that would have been REALLY helpful for me that morning; light and the ability to see clearly.

This leads in nicely to the story of the blind man found in John 9.

John 9

Right off the bat we have the disciples asking what seems to be an insensitive question: (v. 2) “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?” You have to remember, the belief in those days what it was possible to be born guilty of specific sin. Example, a child is judged to be guilty of idolatry if their mother worshiped false God’s while pregnant. Strict Jews believed that a fetus could sin in the womb.

Jesus insures his disciples that this man didn’t sin, (v. 3) but this happened so that the work of God, might be displayed in his life.” He then makes an interesting comment in verse (v. 5) But while I am here in the world, I am the light of the world.”

We’ve heard others as well as Jesus reference that he is the light of the world, but to this here is actually extra special. Let’s cover one more point of the story, then will come back and make reference to the significance of his comments.

After Jesus makes a mud pie (v. 6) and smears it over the eyes of the man, he instructs him to go wash in the Pool of Siloam. After the blind man went and obeyed Jesus’ command, he came home seeing.

Okay, so lets look at why this is important. In Chapter 7 we learn that Jesus is the Water of Life or better phrased, “The Living Water.” We also know that the timing of this declaration was important because it was during the Feast of Tabernacles/Booths, where the final day would have centered all around the theme of water. But do you know what else was celebrated during the Festival of Tabernacles; the “Illumination of the Temple”

Illumination of the Temple

During the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) there was a great ceremony called the “Illumination of the Temple,” which involved the ritual lighting of four golden oil-fed lamps in the Court of Women. These lamps were huge menorahs/candelabras (seventy-five feet high) lit in the Temple at night to remind the people of the pillar of fire that had guided Israel in their wilderness journey. All night long the light shone their brilliance, it is said, illuminating the entire city.

Jesus is the Light of the World, the source of illumination to bring the lost out of darkness. In the moment when Jesus is declaring that he is the Light of the World, he’s pointing to the giant menorahs set up in the temple to commemorate God’s light that led the people of Israel out of slavery and into freedom.