“As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” After saying this, he [Jesus] spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.
The What and Why
Unfortunately, the “what” easily overshadows the “why” in this story.
What Jesus did seems striking: Spiting on the ground to make a little bit of mud. Taking that mud and putting it on a blind’s man eyes. Certainly, Jesus didn’t need these props to do a miracle, as he had performed many miracles by just speaking. There are a couple of possible explanations for the “what.” Two thousand years ago, saliva was believed to have some medicinal function as a type of first aid. So, perhaps, Jesus was using what would have been the popular symbol of his day to indicate that he would provide healing to this man. It also may have been a way for Jesus to reference what God had said to Adam and Eve after they had disobeyed him, “For dust you are and to dust you will return,” and to show a larger connection between this individual miracle and the larger work of God.
While the “what” may grab our attention the “why” is what is really important.
Jesus said he must do the works of him who sent me while it was still day, for night was coming soon. Jesus was there to do the work his Father had for him to do in the time God had given him. Jesus’ mission was to undo the effects of sin, and God had arranged all of time for this purpose. His work could not wait but had to be accomplished.
It is the same “why” in your own story and the same determination with which God works in your life. He is still the light of the world, and he is still working at just the right time and in just the right way. We may have lots of questions about the “what” of our story, but never forget about the “why.”
Lord of all, enable me to do the work you have given me in the time you have given me to do it. Amen.