Today's Gospel in Art - Jesus healing the blind man

Jesus healing the Blind Man, 2008 © Brian Jekel

Jesus healing the Blind Man, 2008 © Brian Jekel

Gospel of 22nd March 2020 - John 9:1,6-9,13-17,34-38

As Jesus went along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. He spat on the ground, made a paste with the spittle, put this over the eyes of the blind man, and said to him, 'Go and wash in the Pool of Siloam' (a name that means 'sent'). So the blind man went off and washed himself, and came away with his sight restored.

His neighbours and people who earlier had seen him begging said, 'Isn't this the man who used to sit and beg?' Some said, 'Yes, it is the same one.' Others said, 'No, he only looks like him.' The man himself said, 'I am the man.'

They brought the man who had been blind to the Pharisees. It had been a sabbath day when Jesus made the paste and opened the man's eyes, so when the Pharisees asked him how he had come to see, he said, 'He put a paste on my eyes, and I washed, and I can see.' Then some of the Pharisees said, 'This man cannot be from God: he does not keep the sabbath.' Others said, 'How could a sinner produce signs like this?' And there was disagreement among them. So they spoke to the blind man again, 'What have you to say about him yourself, now that he has opened your eyes?' 'He is a prophet' replied the man.

'Are you trying to teach us,' they replied 'and you a sinner through and through, since you were born!' And they drove him away.

Jesus heard they had driven him away, and when he found him he said to him, 'Do you believe in the Son of Man?' 'Sir,' the man replied 'tell me who he is so that I may believe in him.' Jesus said, 'You are looking at him; he is speaking to you.' The man said, 'Lord, I believe', and worshipped him.

Reflection on the Painting

Brian Jekel, born in Wisconsin, painted well over 1200 paintings of biblical scenes. When interviewed, he quoted: "It's been an education in itself to really get into these events of the Bible and to study them as I try to create an illustration that attempts to bring it to life. There are so many great stories, awesome in scope and importance, but the life of Christ has been the most humbling and sometimes burdensome experience. There are times when you can feel the weight of it all."

Today's portrait of the blind man being healed by the outstretched arm of Jesus coming into the canvas is very effective. The blind's man hand is reaching out for Jesus, but he can't see Him - yet! The blurred surface around the blind man's face conveys the haziness and blindness of his condition. He is at the point now of being healed and his sight restored.

The question in today's Gospel reading is: what do we see in people when we look at them, and do we see the face of God in everyone we meet? Also, vice versa, do people see God in us by the way we talk and behave? But an angle I found very interesting recently, when I went on a retreat last month, was to contemplate how God actually sees me… seeing ourselves through God's Eyes… Quite an interesting exercise to do. Does He see you as capable, lovable, forgivable, etc…? He looks at the inner person in us in its entirety and He loves us for who we are… He does more than just see us - He has insight!… a close understanding of who we are with all our faults and talents…

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Tags: Christian Art Today, Patrick van der Vorst, Blind Man, Brian Jekel

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