21 April 2016

The Healing of the Man Born Blind

by Phil Johnson

From 2006 to 2012, PyroManiacs turned out almost-daily updates from the Post-Evangelical wasteland -- usually to the fear and loathing of more-polite and more-irenic bloggers and readers. The results lurk in the archives of this blog in spite of the hope of many that Google will "accidentally" swallow these words and pictures whole.

This feature enters the murky depths of the archives to fish out the classic hits from the golden age of internet drubbings.

The following excerpt was written by Phil back in April 2007. He offered his thoughts regarding the means that Jesus used to heal the man born blind (John 9:6-7).

As usual, the comments are closed.
Here's a curious means of healing! Jesus spits on the ground. And I'm assuming He spat several times, because if you have ever tried to make clay with your own spit (and I have) it takes a lot of spit to make even a little ball of clay.

Then he takes this mud made from spit and rubs it into the eyes of the blind man.

It's remarkable that the blind guy submitted to such a remedy.

Why did Jesus use that method?

Well, for one thing, it makes a good picture of the gospel. It's offensive. It goes against propriety and common sense. It offends our sense of good taste. It is crude. In the judgment of worldly wisdom, it seems foolish. It is a stumbling-block and an offense to our sense of decorum and refinement. It is probably the last method you would expect God to employ.

And yet it was perfectly suitable to Christ's purpose. Underneath the crass and uncouth outward appearance of this act is a tremendous amount of divine wisdom.

Suppose Jesus had used a more refined means of healing the man. Suppose he had reached into his bag and taken out an alabaster vial of glycerin or oil and delicately put drops in the man's eyes, and the man received sight from that.

What would have been the result?

Everyone would have said, "What a wonderful medicine! What is that stuff? Where can I get some?" The focus would have been on the elixir. The cure would have been ascribed to the eye-drops rather than to the power of God.

But the way Jesus healed this man, no one would ever say, "The mud did it!" Or, "It was the spit." Instead, it was clear to everyone that Jesus possessed divine power, and the glory went to Him, where it rightfully belongs.

He deliberately chose means that were commonplace and menial. He purposely did something unconventional. Instead of an elaborate ceremony or a cultured and polished ritual, He chose means that people might think unsanitary, messy—perhaps even indecent.

Again, that perfectly illustrates how God works through the gospel. "God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence" (1 Corinthians 1:27-29).

The atonement itself is regarded by many in this world as an ugly, appalling, embarrassing thing—a blood sacrifice, involving the death of God's own Son on a cross of shame, to pay the price of sin in such a public and inglorious way.

But the wisdom of God is foolishness to this world. "The preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God" (1 Corinthians 1:18).

What's more, the means by which Jesus healed this guy almost seems counterproductive. Who would ever think that putting mud in a man's eyes would help him see? The clay is actually an impediment to the light and an irritant to the eye. This is no way to heal blindness! Besides, clay is inert. It has no healing power or efficacy!

And you know what? That's right. The healing power was not in the dirt. It was not even in the spittle. The efficacy came from the power of Christ.