Sixth Sunday of Pascha: The Blind Man


Church of Serbia – 16/5/18

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Christ is Risen!

Today’s Sunday is called the Sunday of the Blind Man. The event described in the Evangel of Saint John is confirmation of the words said by the Saviour, “I am the light of the world”.

But let’s turn to the Holy Gospel itself. Walking along Jerusalem streets on Saturday, the Lord saw a man blind from birth. The disciples of Christ asked the Lord about the reason of his blindness, “Rabbi, who sinned, he or his parents, that he should be born blind?” The essence of the question is the Old Testament notion that any sickness, any misfortune is the retribution for sins. Indisputable truth of this logic is that the rabbins admitted the possibility of personal sin even before the birth of a person. Christ rejects this notion. Really, sickness is sometimes punishment for sins. But in this case all this happened in order to reveal God’s works on this Blind Man. The healing of the blind man became another revelation of Christ as “the light of the world”. This miracle happened quite differently than, for example, the healing of the paralytic at the sheep pool when the Lord raised the sick only by His word. Here the healing of the blind man is preceded by the action called to prepare the sick man internally, to revive his faith to Christ’s power. The Saviour spat on the ground, made clay of the spittle and applied the clay to the eyes of the sick man. Then He sent him to wash in the pool of Siloam from where he came back seeing.

The healing on Saturday caused a wave of displeasure among adherents of Old Testament religion. Being unable to dispute an obvious miracle, the Pharisees began to investigate carefully all details of the healing: they called the parents of the blind man to make sure that it was the very person who was born blind. They also questioned the blind man himself but didn’t learn anything from him either. Being in the captivity of their prejudice, they couldn’t see the Messiah, the Saviour of the world, in the Healer.

Christ gives the blind man ability to see not only perceptible light. The Lord is “the light of life” for spiritually blind mankind. He gives the blind man not only physical but spiritual sight. After the Pharisees put out the cured man, the Saviour meets him and asks, “Do you believe in the Son of God?” As the cured mad was spiritually ready to receive the Messiah, he asks Christ, “And who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?” Christ answers him, “You have both seen Him, and He is the one who is talking with you”. And the cured man answered, “Lord, I believe”.

After this the Saviour explains the people surrounding Him, the spiritual sense of the healing. “For judgment I came into this world, that those who don’t see may see; and that those who see may become blind”. The aim of coming Christ into this world is to enlighten people who are in the spiritual darkness by the light of the truth. Using the language of the Evangel, Christ is “veritable light”, enlightening any person coming into this world. But the Lord is only the light for those who open their spiritual eyes, for those who believes in him. But the light of Christ makes blind those who don’t want to open their hearts to Christ’s good news. So, the coming of Christ is the beginning of judgment for them.

Having heard the Lord’s words some Pharisees who were with Him asked, “We are not blind too, are we?” Christ answered them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, “We see, your sin remains”.

The Lord is ready to give spiritual sight for all those who need it, He is “the light ineffable”, the light which “shines in darkness, and darkness doesn’t envelop it”. To enlighten others can only the one who is enlightened himself. The Orthodox Christian must, first of all, strive not for outward deeds, religious polemics but for purifying his soul in order to make the soul a temple which is worthy to contain the glory of God’s grace. Even if any of us achieve it, then the words of Saint Seraphim of Sarov will come true: “Win the spirit of peace, and thousands will be saved around you”.

Today, saying good-bye to Easter Sunday, let’s hope that the Lord will strengthen the faith in our hearts and open our spiritual eyes, gives all of us strength to live with Christian dignity so that we will meet the Holy Easter next year. Amen.