Today’s Gospel is filled with uses of the verb “to know.” In an almost trial-like fashion, the witnesses are questioned. The blind man is asked what he knows. “If he is a sinner, I do not know. One thing I do know is that I was blind and now I see.” They question the parents and they reply almost as if advised by counsel, “We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. We do not know how he sees now, nor do we know who opened his eyes.” Everyone is very clear about exactly what they know and what they do not.
After examining all the witnesses and determining what facts can be known from proof, it is clear to just about everyone that a miracle has occurred. Despite all the facts, the Pharisees are not able to reach the obvious conclusion. They remain as it were blind to the truth.
However, the point of this detailed account is not just that the Pharisees fail to see the truth of an event. They are blind to something else much more important. After all this talk of knowing, Jesus comes to the blind man, now able to see, and now asks him not “What do you know?” but “Do you believe?” That’s the key question, for the blind man and for us. Anyone can look at a bunch of facts and reach some kind of conclusion to say what we “know,” but what do we “believe?” In a beautiful twist of providence, the blind man sees more clearly than anyone. “I do believe” and he worshiped.