Bible Study series No.15 from the Gospel of John "Toward the Pool of Siloam"
In the Bible, there are many miracles of healing. Healing through washing in the pond or river is often mentioned, for example, in Chapter Five, the Pool of Bethesda, and in Chapter Nine, the Pool of Siloam. Additionally, there is a well-known story of a man called Naaman in the Old Testament. He was healed of severe skin disease in the Jordan River. It was also in the Jordan River that Jesus was baptized.
When Jesus and his disciples were walking, they saw a blind man. One of the disciples asked Him in verse 2 "Teacher, who sinned that this man was born blind? Was it the man himself or his parents?
The belief was that there is a sin behind every disease. In those days, people believed that sin resulted in illnesses as a curse from God.
Even now, it is not uncommon to think this way. In addition, there is still a tendency to hate certain types of diseases: mental illness, incurable diseases, genetic diseases, and Covid-19 that have been occurring for the past few years. Some illnesses and accidents are results of carelessness, but most of them are beyond our control.
Jesus told his disciples in Verse 3, "It is not he who has sinned, nor his parents, who have sinned. But that the works of God might be revealed in him."
Jesus made mud with His spit and smeared it on the blind man's eyes and told him to go to the Pool of Siloam and wash. Then the blind man could see. This miracle made a big commotion. The Pharisees tried to condemn Jesus because it was again, the Sabbath.
The Pharisees were desperate to catch Jesus this time as a sinner who broke the Sabbath. They pressed the blind man to give them the facts, but they could not believe what he said clearly, so they dragged in his parents. They knew the harm that would be done to them, so they just told him that their son was born blind and that he could now see, and they were out of trouble. I think it was very wise of them to do so.
The Pharisee called the blind man again and asked to point him more detailed questions. Here, I'm very interested in the dialogue between Pharisee and the blind man because it clearly shows the change in the blind man's understanding of Jesus through the conversation.
First, in Verse 25, the man said, "I don't know if he is a sinner or not, but I do know one thing. I was blind, but now I see."
In Verse 17, in response to the Pharisees' question, "What do you think of the man who opened your eyes?" the man replied, "He is a prophet."
However, gradually, in Verse 33, the man began to say that Jesus was "from God,"
and finally, in Verse 38, the man expressed his faith by saying, "Lord, I believe," and worshiped Jesus.
The word "Siloam" is used in Verse 7 to mean "one who is sent."
They are referring to Jesus Christ. When the blind man obeyed Jesus' words and washed in Siloam, a miracle of physical healing took place, and more importantly, his soul was opened.
In Verses 30-33 we read,
30 The man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will. 32 Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”
Among the healed people, this was a man of integrity who was not afraid of persecution from the Pharisees (in fact, he was expelled from the Jewish society.”)
It is rare to find someone like him who stands up for what he believes.
To be honest, I was surprised with admiration because the man spoke logically against the elite Pharisees despite being a beggar. He was a beggar treated as being cursed by God.
What are your thoughts and feelings about the story?
Here we can see the attitude of people who have encountered Jesus, had their problems touched and solved.
The excitement and gratitude of having wishes fulfilled tend to fade as time goes by. I think it is our weakness to get upset when problems occur. The process of believing in Christ's words may not be as speedy as the blind man, but we can grow one step at a time.
Today is the first message of the new year, so I would like to talk about something more that may not be related to this story.
Romans 8:28 says, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."
I believe that the word all in the passage includes things that may seem negative on the surface.
I believe that all things have meaning and lead to grace.
We don't have to think that everything is someone else's fault or the work of evil.
Jeremiah 29:11 says, "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
During times of difficulty, it can be hard to take things calmly. We may lose control and feel negative, wondering, "can I do this?"
But the important thing is not for us to judge whether we can or not. Once we have set our desired goal, we must do our best. If you don't know how to, then ask for advice. The most important is to rely on God and ask for His strength.
Let us give glory to God for the outcome. If you take credit for the fulfillment of your wish, it is not the right attitude. Faith does not come from the faith by ourselves but the faith of Jesus.
It strikes us in the heart and spirit that God, who loves us so much that He generously gave us His own Son, has the best plans for us!
We want to cultivate an unshakable and consistent trust in the Lord, even if the results are far beyond our thoughts and wishes. Let's make an effort to keep our faith alive.
The year 2022 has begun. What aspirations do you have?
I pray for God's blessings on you.