“I must work the works of him that sent me…As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam…He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing” (John 4-7).
When Jesus and His disciples encountered a man who had been blind from birth, they inquired which party was to blame for his sightlessness: him or his parents. Jesus replied, “Neither hath…sinned: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him” (John 9:3). Ever compassionate, Christ restored the man’s vision – much to the infuriation of the Pharisees, who sought to discredit Him and labelled Him a sinner, since the miracle was performed on the Sabbath. They repeatedly interrogated the blind man, along with his parents – and though eventually the Pharisees were forced to acknowledge the healing, they cast the blind man out because he would not recount his testimony of the experience, nor disgrace Jesus. Later Jesus found the man and revealed His identity as the Son of God. President Howard W. Hunter noted: “Now sight had been given twice – once to remedy a congenital defect and once to behold the King of Kings before He would ascend to His eternal throne. Jesus had quickened both temporal and spiritual vision. He had cast his light into a dark place, and this man, like many others in that day as well as in our own, had accepted the light and had seen.” (footnote: Hunter, Howard W., “The God that Doest Wonders,” General Conference, Apr. 1987).
In this painting, Rane emphasizes the actual healing process rather than who is performing the miracle. The focus is upon the two sets of hands: Christ’s lovingly stretched forth in tenderness, the blind man’s twisted and anxious while being healed, thereby capturing the blind man’s hope of being released from a pitiable condition. Rane used sandpaper to scrub out the background to eliminate distractions so the viewer focuses on the two main figures. (http://www.ldsart.com/p-20633-he-anointed-the-eyes.aspx)
Additional reading: “For I was Blind but Now I See”