12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
6 After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. 7 “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.
There is an interesting connection between these two passages, not only that they are both in John’s gospel, but that as Jesus states that those who walk with him will never walk in darkness, he meets someone walking in darkness and transforms them.
The passage shows a man who had spent many years in darkness. We know this because he is described as someone who was blind from birth and has reached the age of maturity. He has never seen light before this encounter with Jesus and we can understand now why Jesus says he has been blind only that the works of God may be displayed in him. This is a living example of the earlier saying of Jesus – that whoever follows him will no longer walk in darkness.
But what did it take for this man to be transformed in this way? There was actually very little for him to do, except to believe and obey. He allowed Jesus to put the mud on his eyes (not exactly what any one of us would expect in this situation) and then all he had to do was to go and wash. He took this walk in the dark – a darkness he was used to functioning in and which he could presumably navigate at least as far as the pool Jesus sent him to. But on arriving and washing there, his journey was transformed – he came back walking in the light, able to see.
So what does it mean for us this Lent to know Jesus as the Light of the World? This world is often a place of darkness and we may even experience darkness ourselves, internally. So how can we reach the light of Jesus? All this man had to do was to believe and obey. It took a little time, but through faith and obedience he was transformed and given the ability to walk in the light.
Lord, in this Lent period, give us the ability to trust you and obey your instruction. Give us your light in the darkness and help us to walk in your light and life each day. Amen.