“Having said these things, He spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then He anointed the man’s eyes with the mud and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.” (John 9:6–7, ESV) (Caps added to pronouns in ESV referring to God the Father, Son, and Spirit)
We know that God has the power to do absolutely anything, and that Scripture records many things that were said and done without what we would see as physical touch or handling. God spoke and it was so. In John chapter 2 in Cana the water was turned into wine. Jesus told the men to fill six stone jars with water and then to draw some water out of one of them. Between filling them to the brim and bringing the filled cup to the master of the feast the water had become top quality wine. In John chapter 4 He told the official that his son would be healed, and as the man returned back home he indeed did find out that his son was healed. In John chapter 5 he told the man who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years to take up his bed and walk, and the man did so fully healed. While Jesus may not have provided physical touch He spoke, things happened, and people were amazed with many even coming to believe.
Here in John chapter 9 we find that Jesus provided that physical touch. Scripture does not tell us why Jesus chose in this instance to physically touch the man. It may be, as I strongly suspect, that it was because it was Sabbath and Jesus was again demonstrating to the Jews that He was Lord of the Sabbath as we read He said of Himself in passages such as Matthew 12:8, “For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” (Matthew 12:8, ESV) This will become evident in just a few verses when He will again be accused of being a sinner because He did not keep the Sabbath in the way the Pharisees had prescribed.
As I thought about His touch on this man I was mindful of Jesus’ great compassion being personally demonstrated. He spit on the ground and mixed the dirt with His saliva to make a paste which He put with His own hands on the man’s eyes. Our Lord touched the man in a way that no one ever had or ever could. Then He told the man to go and be washed, which the man did, and when he did this he came back seeing.
Jesus came to seek and to save the lost (John 19:10). He came to give sight to the blind and to judge those whose haughty sight keeps them blind (John 9:39). As the Son of God He became man to open man’s eyes that men might see, believe, and receive spiritual life. All of mankind is born spiritually blind, and apart from Christ all men remain that way. There is no hope of gaining sight without the salvation found in Him. He is the one who is light and life for all who believe.
I guess that God could have devised salvation in any number of ways, but He chose to do it in this way. And as Jesus could have easily healed the man born blind just by His will and even speaking it as so, He chose to touch his eyes and call him to be washed. Then having had his eyes washed the man was given the sight that he had never known before. Thinking on this touch I was reminded of my condition before I really understood the love of God for me and the salvation which He so freely gave to me in His Son. Before, I knew something was missing, but I did not know what it was. I was searching for answers, but I could not find them. Then through a sermon on a Sunday while visiting a church God’s Spirit spoke to my heart and my eyes were opened to see that our God is truly amazing. I wanted to know Him more. That day the light bulb went on for me. My eyes were opened and I knew that God was real and that His Son really did pay for my sins. I went before Him and thanked Him for this incredible gift and asked for the salvation which He promised and which His Son freely gave. At that moment I was made spiritually alive and my sins were fully forgiven (past, present, and future) and they were washed away along with the spiritual blindness which I had known. “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:11, ESV)
Having been washed of my sins I was given spiritual sight, a sight which I had not had before because I was born spiritually blind. Just as the man would say later in this chapter, all he knew was that he was born blind but now he sees, so it is with us who are saved. This new sight makes all of the difference. It is not as a result of anything we did or do, but 100% a result of what God has done for us. It is the blood of Jesus that washes away our sins and makes us right. “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” (Isaiah 1:18, ESV)
Now, as one saved by the Light of the world, I have become a vessel of the Light. “For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” (2 Corinthians 4:6–7, ESV) I am not the light, but the Light dwells in me and I trust in Him. His Word has become a lamp to my feet and a light to my path (Psalm 119:105).
Just as the man moved forward from that moment when he was given sight for the first time, so are we to live in the light of the life which we are given in Christ. The apostle Paul wrote about the work that Christ does to shine light in believers’ lives and to then how we are to live as children of Light. “Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of Light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”” (Ephesians 5:7–14, ESV)