To prepare for this study, sit either outside or in a place with a view to the outside if possible. Have your Bible and journal nearby. Close your eyes and quiet your mind. Focus your thoughts on God and ask for the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
If you are not familiar with the Ignatian method, we strongly recommend that you consult the page on our website describing the method. You will be asked to read through the scripture several times. The instructions will guide you through this process.
READ John 9:1-41 as a casual observer to get a sense of the story. Note the main characters and the actions of the storyline. In your journal, record your first impressions. Note down any questions that arise.
READ verses 1-7 again from the perspective of the blind man. Take the time to close your eyes for a few minutes to get a sense of what it is to be blind from birth. Sense the anticipation as you feel Jesus touching you, putting the mud on your eyes. Feel your way to a sink or other water source and put water on your eyes if possible. Open your eyes and imagine seeing for the very first time. Take in the details that you might normally miss. Record your feelings and reactions.
Continue reading the rest of the story from the perspective of the blind man. What are your feelings toward your neighbors? Toward your parents? Toward Jesus? How does your perception of Jesus change? Toward the Pharisees? How do you thoughts toward the Pharisees change? Journal your observations.
READ the passage from the point of view of the Pharisees. What were their concerns? From where did their frustrations arise? How do you respond when you feel that the very foundations of your faith are being shaken? Where do these feelings come from? Write your reflections.
READ these verses as one of the disciples. Although they are not active participants in the majority of story, they see and hear it all. What thoughts and questions are going through their minds? How does this event change your thoughts about Jesus? Record your thoughts in your journal.
READ these verses from Jesus’ perspective. He has something to say to his disciples, to the blind man and to the Pharisees. Consider how he chooses his words. What is his purpose in saying what he does? As he leaves the scene, what might his thoughts be toward the Pharisees? toward the healed man? toward the disciples?
What was that poor man to think? He had been blind, and now he could see. These Pharisees confronting him ought to help him to make sense of his situation. Those teachers of the synagogue, could they not help him to see the truth about this man who had opened his eyes? Could they not clarify the identity of this healer?
The man who had been blind finds no enlightenment from his teachers. So he answers the Pharisees, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see.”
With that confession, the story goes one step further. And the blind man advances closer to the true acceptance of who Jesus is. The Pharisees remained trapped in their own theological spider web. They are so convinced that Jesus is a sinner that they cannot accept him as the Healer. They are so entangled by their views of Jesus that they cannot break free. By God’s grace, that man who was blind was able to accept the gift of sight.
And so, even before all the answers are clear to him, he puts his trust in Jesus. Not only have his eyes been opened, but his heart too! He is ready to accept the truth.
(Sermon prepared by Rev. Dr. William T. Koopmans, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada)
JOURNAL any new insights you have received. End your session with a time of prayer – pray for wisdom from God and the humility to accept that wisdom. Ask God to show you what beliefs you hold on to that might be blinding you from seeing the truth about Jesus.