59 – Heals Blind Man
Where: Temple, Jerusalem, Judea
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It was winter when Jesus again journeyed up to Jerusalem, this time for the eight day long Festival of Dedication.
The Syrian king who ruled over Canaan had been absolutely determined to stamp out the “Jewish religion”, and had sacrificed unclean pigs on the altar in Jerusalem. When the Maccabees defeated Antiochus Epiphanes in 167 BC, they began to rebuild the temple. Finally in early December of 165 BC, they rededicated (purified) the altar and the temple. This was celebrated every year and was called the Festival of Lights.
Because of the cold weather [it is known to snow in Jerusalem at this time of year], Jesus was teaching under the roof at the eastern-most place in the temple complex. On the edge of the Court of the Gentiles was the Portico of Solomon [model], who was known for his wisdom. People came and went. Some were curious about this teacher, but most were busy with their own lives. Yet the religious leaders were aware that Jesus sat and taught in the Temple complex, and they were constantly discussing, questioning, debating, and arguing with him. Yet never really listening to him.
*When he said that he was sent by the Father to bring the ‘light of the knowledge of the Father’ to the world, they questioned his honesty and his parentage.
*When he said that to know the truth would set them free, they said that as descendents of Abraham they were already free.
*He accused them of being children of Satan because they could not see that Jesus was sent from God.
*But when he finally equated himself with God, the “I AM“, it was too much. Some picked up stones to throw at Jesus for blasphemy. But Jesus escaped. It was getting intense as Jesus left the Temple complex.
He left through the Eastern Gate [model]. When they passed by a blind beggar, one of the disciples asked Jesus a question. ‘Since good is from God, and punishment is from God, who sinned so that the man over there was punished with blindness?’
This “principle of retribution” was the prevalent explanation of suffering at the time. If you “do good”, you, or your descendants, are rewarded in this life. But if “you sin”, then you, or your descendants, are punished even to the third or fourth generation. Therefore if one is “well off” they must have done “good”. But if one is poor or afflicted then they must have “sinned”. Jesus did not support their interpretation. Instead he simply stated that the man’s blindness would result in glory to God.
Jesus applied mud, made of saliva and dirt, to the eyelids of the blind man and then sent him to wash his eyelids in the pool of Siloam [traditional]. The man was led south, down the Kidron valley, to where the pool had been built during the reign of Hezekiah (around 800 BC). The natural underground waterway was a natural outlet through the limestone from the Gihon spring. Before the Assyrian army arrived, the waterway had been expanded to bring ALL the water inside the walls of Jerusalem, once the other outlets were blocked.
After the man rinsed his eyes in the pool [today], his physical sight was restored and his journey to spiritual sight began. He came to believe that Jesus was a prophet during the questioning by the religious leaders. He even asked the leaders if they wanted to be disciples. Finally the man returned to the temple area and found Jesus, who instructed him. Then the man saw that Jesus was the Messiah. The religious leaders said that they could see the will of God, but they could not even recognize the fact that Jesus had been sent by God.
The authorities confronted Jesus and asked for a clear statement of the rumored claim that he was the Messiah. Jesus responded that he would let his deeds speak for him, and that Jesus and the Father were one in will. The religious leaders got so angry that they wanted to kill Jesus then and there. But because there were too few of them, they tried to have the temple guard arrest him. But that also failed, and Jesus left the temple, left Jerusalem, and returned to Perea.
No questions have been asked yet.