May 21, 2017

What the Healing of the Man Blind from Birth by Jesus Signifies (St. Cyril of Alexandria)

By St. Cyril of Alexandria

(Commentary on John, Bk. 6, Intro.)

While the Jews were raging against Him and now looking to wound Him with stones, forthwith He goes forth from the temple that is among them, and takes Himself away from the unholiness of His pursuers. And in "passing by," straightway He sees one "blind from his birth," and set him as a token and that most clear that He will remove Himself from the abominable behavior of the Jews, and will leave the multitude of the God-opposers, and will rather visit the Gentiles, and to them transfer the abundance of His mercy. And He likens them to the "blind from his birth" by reason of their having been made in error [cf. Gen. 27] and that they are from their first age as it were bereft of the true knowledge of God, and that they have not the light from God, i.e., the illumination through the Spirit.

It is meet to observe again what Christ's visiting the blind man as He was "passing by" signifies. And it comes to me to think that Christ strictly speaking came not for the Gentiles but for Israel's sake alone (as He Himself too somewhere says, "I was not sent save unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel"), yet the recovery of sight given to the Gentiles was Christ transferring His mercy to them as by the way, because of the disobedience of Israel. And this it was again which was afore-sung through Moses, "I will provoke them to jealousy with those who are not a nation, with a foolish nation will I anger them." For a foolish nation was it which serves the creature more than Creator and like irrational beasts feeds on just all unlearning, and gives heed only to things of the earth. But since Israel, which was wise by reason of the law and prudent from having Prophets angered [God], it in its turn was angered by God, they who aforetime were not prudent taking the place belonging to these, for to them through faith was Christ made wisdom and sanctification and redemption, as it is written, i.e., both light and recovery of sight.