Jesus gets asked several times throughout his ministry who he is, what authority he has to do what he does, and what he actually means by what he says. Many times his answers are not direct. This miracle is another instance of Jesus showing all around who he is, but not in a completely direct manner.
As Jesus walked along, he saw a man who was blind from birth. Jesus’ disciples asked, “Rabbi, who sinned so that he was born blind, this man or his parents?” Jesus answered, “Neither he nor his parents. This happened so that God’s mighty works might be displayed in him. While it’s daytime, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” After he said this, he spit on the ground, made mud with the saliva, and smeared the mud on the man’s eyes. Jesus said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (this word means sent). So the man went away and washed. When he returned, he could see.
There are several things going on in this passage. First, Jesus shows how illogical it is to assume bad things happen to people because of sin. This man could not have sinned before he was born so that he was born blind, nor would God have punished him for the sins of his parents. God holds people accountable for their own sins, not someone else’s sins.
Second, Jesus shows that he is God. Just two verses before this miracle Jesus answers his accusers with the statement, “I assure you,” Jesus replied, “before Abraham was, I Am” (8:58). With this statement Jesus tells the religious leaders questioning him that not only is he the One who spoke to Moses from the burning bush on Mt. Sinai in Exodus 3, but because of that fact he is also the One who made a covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in Genesis. I Am is the divine name of God, and by Jesus using that name for himself, he is telling them he is their God.
Then, immediately following that exchange, we have this miracle. Here we have a man whose eyes did not form properly. He was born without working eyes; he was born blind. Jesus, the I Am, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the Creator, finds this man and takes dirt from the ground to heal him. Actually, he takes dirt from the ground to create new eyes for him. He shows everyone that he creates just as he created in Genesis 2:7, where God took dirt from the earth and created man. Jesus takes dirt from the earth and completes the creation of this particular man.
For all who are paying attention, Jesus just demonstrated that he is, in fact, I Am.