The Gospels are replete with Jesus’ miracles — turning water into wine, feeding the masses, healing the sick, and giving sight to the blind. In John 9:1-12, Jesus gives sight to a man blind from birth — the story behind this issue’s cover art. The painting shows one detail of the story from John 9:6: “[Jesus] spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man’s eyes” (NRSV).
The artist places us so close to the story that it seems we are watching the events along with the disciples. We can see Jesus’ gentle expression as he cradles the man’s face, thumbs touching the man’s eyelids. One eyelid is open, although the man doesn’t appear to be able to see anyone. But he appears at ease and seems to trust Jesus.
At the beginning of the story, the disciples ask Jesus who is to blame for the man’s blindness (John 9:2). But Jesus reminds them that the point of this occasion is for Jesus to show someone miraculous healing. Jesus says to the disciples, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned . . . but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me” (John 9:3-4, NIV).
I wonder how often we are like the disciples. This painting, along with the story it depicts, reveals a choice for the disciples, and it presents a choice for us today. Do we look so closely at one detail that we miss the larger story? How will we seek to trust Jesus, work hard to serve God, and strive to see all the wonders of God’s power around us?
Cover art courtesy of Ann Lukesh. © 2014 Ann Lukesh. Prints of cover art are available from fineartamerica.com/artists/ann+lukesh.