Jesus Giving Sight to the Man Born Blind
John 9:1-5 As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
So, Jesus is leaving the group that had picked up stones to kill Him and He’s just walking along when He saw this blind man.
The word “saw” in Greek indicates Jesus looked closely and carefully at the man. It seems like this man was known because the disciples knew he had been born blind. Likely he was one of the many beggars who would sit at the temple gates hoping worshippers would be generous.
The disciples weren’t really concerned about the man – they just had a question for Jesus. “Who sinned, he or his parents?” Judaism in that day taught that all personal suffering was a result of personal sin or the sin of the parents. Scripture does teach that sin brings personal suffering. However the Old Testament also clearly teaches not ALL suffering can be traced to an individual or parents’ sins.
The entire book of Job shows that. And sometimes you are in the wrong place at the wrong time.
But suffering is always under God’s perfect, sovereign care. And sometimes a person’s response when they are suffering: if they stay faithful, cheerful, don’t blame God; will bring God more glory than if He miraculously got them out of their trial.
Jesus wasn’t as concerned with what caused it as how to relieve it and use it to glorify God. He would act in divine power to demonstrate God’s love and power.
He would show God’s glory by giving sight to a man who had never seen the light.
No matter what Jesus was doing He recognized that His Father’s will was woven into every encounter with every person.
Then Jesus said, “As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me”
He said “we” because His disciples were called to do God’s work. And we are too. We are to do the work of God in the lives of those we encounter while the opportunity is there – as long as we live or until He comes back.
John 9:6-7 After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. 7 “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.
Often Jesus healed with a mere word. However in this miracle there were two stages in the healing.
This is one of three miracles in which Jesus used saliva to heal. In Jesus’ time, “fasting saliva” or saliva from some distinguished person was believed to possess healing qualities. The famous Roman writer Pliny devoted an entire chapter to the use of saliva for cures. It’s possible that Jesus used current customs to get the man to trust Him. This wasn’t a restoration of sight, but created sight. Kind of like when God breathed into Adam’s clay-formed nostrils the breath of life.
Jesus connected the gift of sight to the blind man’s obedience to His command to wash in the Pool of Siloam. John inserted the meaning of the word Siloam here. Sent. The Father sent Jesus and Jesus sent the blind man for the completion of the miracle.
There’s no coincidence that this took place after Jesus declared Himself to be the light of the world. This man had lived his whole life in darkness and Jesus gave him light.
Humans live like that too. We are in darkness and we don’t even know what we are missing out on until Christ comes into our lives. This man knew he was blind – but he didn’t really know what seeing was like!
John 9:8-12 His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, “Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?” 9 Some claimed that he was.
Others said, “No, he only looks like him.”
But he himself insisted, “I am the man.”
10 “How then were your eyes opened?” they asked.
11 He replied, “The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.”
12 “Where is this man?” they asked him.
“I don’t know,” he said.
13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind. 14 Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man’s eyes was a Sabbath. 15 Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. “He put mud on my eyes,” the man replied, “and I washed, and now I see.”
16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.”
But others asked, “How can a sinner perform such signs?” So they were divided.
17 Then they turned again to the blind man, “What have you to say about him? It was your eyes he opened.”
The man replied, “He is a prophet.”
18 They still did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they sent for the man’s parents. 19 “Is this your son?” they asked. “Is this the one you say was born blind? How is it that now he can see?”
20 “We know he is our son,” the parents answered, “and we know he was born blind. 21 But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don’t know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself.” 22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who already had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. 23 That was why his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”
24 A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. “Give glory to God by telling the truth,” they said. “We know this man is a sinner.”
25 He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”
26 Then they asked him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?”
27 He answered, “I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?”
28 Then they hurled insults at him and said, “You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses! 29 We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.”
30 The man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will.32 Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”
34 To this they replied, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out.
The Pharisees were the faction of Jewish leaders who professed to believe in God’s supernatural power as revealed in Israel’s Scripture and history. But the chose not to recognize Christ’s power. Maybe because He interfered with their preconceived ideas and revealed their inadequacy. Probably because if they admitted He was who He said He was they would have to change their way of living. So they attempted to discredit Jesus and crush the healed man’s testimony.
They focused on the fact that it was the Sabbath and Jesus “broke the Law.”
The same thing happened when He healed the man at the Pool of Bethesda who couldn’t walk.
I had a thought here that maybe that’s REALLY why Jesus made the mud. If He had just spoken healing – maybe that wouldn’t have really been considered work, but He actually made the mud…..just a thought.
As the scene unfolds you can see the man changing. He gets more courageous. More bold in his testimony and more insightful in His appraisal of Jesus.
The parents however I thought were pretty awful! Wouldn’t you think they’d be overjoyed that their son could see? Instead they were so afraid they’d be thrown out of the synagogue that they threw their son under the bus by making him answer for himself!
Sometimes we don’t speak up for God. But our actions prove whom we fear most – God or man.
So the Pharisees called the man back. They basically told him to speak the truth as before God. (what they wanted him to then say was that the man was not a prophet and was a sinner.) And this is where he got bolder and more clear. He told the plain truth, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see.”
As the Pharisees argued with him the man began to see his restored sight as God’s sign and approval of Jesus. He logically reasoned Jesus must be of God. God’s wisdom is hidden from the prejudiced “wise and learned” who profess to see but are really blind. He concluded that “if this man were not from God he could do nothing.”
It’s interesting that the Pharisees began to verbally abuse the man by saying he was steeped in sin at birth, implying that his blindness was a curse from God – because that would imply that his healing was God’s blessing. They sort of dug themselves into a hole with that one!!!
Frustrated and with no real answers (to their liking!) they threw him out. Declaring the work and truth of Jesus always carries a cost. It may lead to ostracism, persecution or broken relationships with non-believers. This can hurt because it’s human nature to want to be accepted. To belong. But a relationship with Jesus carries a value beyond measure that is eternal and exceeds all earthly treasure. Jesus is our treasure!
John 9:35-41 Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
36 “Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.”
37 Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.”
38 Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.
39 Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”
40 Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?”
41 Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.
Remember the term Son of Man refers to the Messiah. The man seemed to get this, but was still confused. “Who was he?”
And Jesus basically says, “You’re looking at him!”
And faith and assurance replaced confusion. The man knew he was looking into the eyes of the Messiah of Israel, the Son of God!
And he said, “Lord, I believe.”
And he worshipped Him.
So you can see how this man changed. At first he referred to Jesus as ‘the man”, then when he realized a miracle had taken place, he called him a prophet, and then he recognized Him as the Son of God.
Where Jesus says He came so the blind could see, but those who see will become blind, reflect Isaiah 6:9-10:
He said, “Go and tell this people:
“‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’ 10 Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull
and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears, understand with their hearts,
and turn and be healed.”
This speaks of God’s judicial blinding of those who choose not to see. He’s not going to force us – and if we reject Him the consequences are on us!
The Pharisees WERE blind. They claimed to live by Scriptures, but they didn’t recognize the One to whom the text pointed. In their prideful ignorance they rejected God’s Son.