Yeshua and the Feast of Tabernacles: Part Six
by Sue Towne
Last week we saw in the gospel of John how Yeshua prophetically linked Himself to the themes and elements of the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot), revealing who He really is.
But we also saw that the Pharisees were blind to who He was, even as He gave them several “lessons” about light, one of the themes of Sukkot. As we ended chapter 8 we saw the Pharisees so angry at what Yeshua was saying, that they picked up stones to kill Him.
Such was the depth of their spiritual blindness. How interesting, then, that as Yeshua escapes them and leaves the Temple, the very next incident, which begins chapter 9, is the healing of the man born blind.
It’s still the eighth day of the Feast of Tabernacles. Just as He and His disciples are passing by, Yeshua sees the man born blind. His disciples want to know whose sin caused this blindness in the man, the man’s sin or his parents’ sin?
Yeshua’s answer to them totally confounds the religious thinking of the day, which underlies the question the disciples asked.
Instead of blaming someone for the man’s condition, He says that the man’s blindness is just an opportunity for God to heal him–and thereby to “display the works of God.”
Note that in saying this, He is not necessarily saying that God blinded him in order to heal him. Probably Yeshua is not even addressing the root cause of this man’s blindness at all.
What I believe Yeshua is doing by His words is “measuring” the situation correctly. Rather than identifying the cause, He is more concerned with results–dealing with the man’s condition.
I say this because before He heals the man, He says, “We must work the works of Him who sent Me, as long as it is day; night is coming when no man can work.”
Then He says, “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
What I’m seeing in His statement as a whole here is that light destroys the works of darkness. His mission is not so much to explain all the “reasons why” things happen in the earth.
Rather, His mission is to set things right, in all the fullness of what that means—to destroy the works of darkness. Healing a man born blind is “setting things right.”
And really, that is what we are called to do as His co-laborers in this world when we pray for people and minister the Word of God to them. It is more important to set the captives free than it is to know all the reasons they are suffering captivity.
Yeshua’s statement about being the light of the world might seem strange in the context of this incident, to those not familiar with the customs and themes of Sukkot. But we have been following this theme since chapter 7 of John, and we are not at all surprised to see Him make this statement again, are we?
In fact Yeshua is about to give the disciples (and even the Pharisees) an object lesson in what He meant by saying He was the light of the world. The healing of the blind man is a continuation of the teaching He was giving in the Court of Women when He said, “I am the light of the world.”
Now watch what He does. Even the way Yeshua heals this man is significant. He makes clay by mixing earth with His own spit. Then He sends the man to wash it off in the pool of Siloam.
Siloam…where have we heard that before in connection with the Feast of Tabernacles? Remember the water ritual in the Temple? The priest obtains the water that is poured into the silver funnel by dipping his golden pitcher in–the pool of Siloam.
And there’s more. The word “Siloam” means “sent.” Over and over Yeshua has been saying in various ways that He is the Sent One–the one sent from the Father.
And just before He heals the man born blind, Yeshua tells His disciples, “We must work the works of Him who sent Me.”
The story is not over with the man’s healing. After he is healed, the man is grilled by the Pharisees, because Yeshua healed the man on the Sabbath. Remember that the eighth day of Sukkot is a Sabbath. (Lev.23:36)
The upshot of their questioning is that the Pharisees can’t receive what the formerly blind man says to them. So they end the matter by throwing him out–excommunicating him.
But Yeshua learns of this and comes to the man to minister to Him. The man believes in Yeshua and worships Him. His eyes truly ARE opened.
Yeshua responds to the man’s acceptance with this, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see; and that those who see may become blind.” In other words, He came that blind eyes would be opened, and those whose pride would not receive Him would become spiritually blind.
This was not lost on the Pharisees who overheard Him. Basically they said, “Surely you’re not talking about US being blind, are you?”
He replied, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say ‘We see,’ your sin remains.”
In other words, if you would humble yourselves to admit you need a savior, you would be saved. But if not, you still have the sin you don’t even see in yourself.
Lord, preserve us from falling into religious presumption, from being blinded by man-made doctrines that keep us from seeing You as You are, or from seeing our own deep and continuing need of You.
Throughout chapters 7, 8 and 9 of John we have seen Yeshua answering the “riddles” of the Feast of Tabernacles, revealing who He is to those who have spiritual eyes to see it.
Next week I am hoping to wrap up this series on the Feast of Tabernacles by talking about its possible connection with Yeshua’s birth.