The miracle of Jesus healing the blind man found in John 9 has perplexed many people. Why did Jesus use mixed mud to heal this man’s blindness (Jn. 9:1-7)? Some have speculated that Jesus used an ancient remedy to perform this wonder. One commentator wrote concerning this passage, “Apparently spittle was traditionally thought to have healing properties, for Tacitus reports that Vespasian’s diseased eyes were cured with it. Clay was also used as a treatment, though less commonly. So, the Lord utilized what was probably considered in that day to have been a ‘home remedy, for blindness” (King 185). I disagree with this opinion because it limits the power of Christ’s miraculous power. If Christ could not heal this man without an ancient remedy was it really a miracle? If we accept that Jesus needed modern medicine to perform this miracle, we open the door for skeptics to claim Jesus was simply a skilled physician, not the Son of God. Studying the following verses may shed some light on the reason Christ used mixed mud to heal this man’s ailment.
Jewish tradition forbade many different activities from being done on a Sabbath that God had not forbade. God specified that the Jews could not work on a Sabbath (Ex. 34:21). Moses recorded an instance when a man was gathering up sticks (working) on a Sabbath and he was stoned to death (Num. 15:32-36). Other examples of God’s definition of working on a Sabbath included treading a winepress, doing business, carrying things, traveling, and kindling a fire (Neh. 13:15-18; Jer. 17:21-22; Ex. 16:29; Ex. 35:1-3). The Jews had a healthy fear of breaking the Lord’s Sabbath, which led them to creating traditions that went beyond God’s stipulations. The perfect example of this can be found when Jesus’ disciples plucked heads of grain and the Pharisees believed they had broken the Sabbath by doing so (Mk. 2:23-24). If the Jewish leaders viewed plucking grain as work, is it not reasonable to conclude they saw mixing clay as work as well (Jn. 9:14-16)? These leaders even viewed healing someone as breaking the Sabbath (Mk. 3:1-6; Jn. 5:1-16). Jesus condemned these same leaders for binding their man-made traditions instead of obeying God’s commands (Matt. 15:1-9). By making mud and healing this blind man on a Sabbath, Jesus challenged these leaders to get past their traditions and recognize that He was God’s Son; unfortunately, they held firm to their traditions (Jn. 9:8-17).
Jesus came to bring people to God, but most refused to accept Him and gladly remained in their lost and undone condition. Many of the Jews would rather follow the traditions of their forefathers and continue to go to their synagogues than to follow God’s Son (Jn. 12:42-43). They even knew that Jesus Christ was from God; yet they could not imagine leaving the traditions they knew so well. Many in our day in age are just the same as they were. So many remain in denominations, false doctrines, and blatant disregard for the Scriptures because they love the praise of men more than the praise of God. Are there any traditions that you are holding onto? Have you refused to obey the Gospel because a loved one or a family member taught you their tradition on how one ought to be saved? When man-made traditions contradict clear Biblical teachings, we must obey God rather than man (Acts 5:29)! Traditions will not save you on the Day of Judgment; only the blood of Christ can (Rev. 1:5). One can only come into contact with the blood of Jesus through baptism (Rom. 6:1-6). Will you escape man’s tradition and accept the truth?