The Worship of the Blind Man
Feast of Tabernacles
Jesus’ Declaration of Divinity
The question that Jesus asked him concerning his believing in the Son of Man probed him to the very core of his being. Here believing did not mean the mere acceptance of signs (cf. 2:23–25) but the active commitment of himself to the Son of Man, who brought God’s hope and forgiveness to the world. The man had already proven himself to be faithful in spite of his never having seen Jesus. As such he was a preresurrection example of the believers who were to come (cf. 20:29), and he also faced persecution as the Christians would experience it in the postresurrection era (cf. 15:18–16:4; also Matt 10:17–18).
The Worship of the Blind Man.
The use here of the term proskynein (“worship”) as applied to Jesus is unique in this Gospel. While the term can be used in secular parlance for rendering “obeisance” or prostrating oneself before another human and kissing the person’s feet in an act of utmost respect, in the biblical context the term, when applied to God, is meant to signify worship. Some scholars, like Schnackenburg and Beasley-Murray, do not consider that the expression means the man “worshiped” Jesus, even though that is what the text says. But they consider that it means worshiping God since for them the stage of authentic believing in Jesus had not yet been reached in the Gospel of John. I regard this story, however, to be a high point in the Festival Cycle as far as a confession of Jesus is concerned.245 Moreover, when taken together, the unique use of “Lord” and the linkage to “believing” and “worship” (of a God figure) all function as a window into the Thomas confession of “My Lord and my God!” (20:28). Coming from a blind man who committed himself to the truth of transformation without having seen his transformer in person, his confession illustrates Jesus’ blessing announced to Thomas upon those who would believe without seeing (cf. 20:29).