John 9:1-41

February 23, 2014 Jesus has just left the temple where the people wanted to stone Him and now we come to chapter nine. We can understand the main point of this passage if we read the first verse and then the last. Here is a man who is born blind. He cannot see. In the last verse we read about some men who can see fine in the natural sense but spiritually they are as blind as if they had never been able to see. This contrast is presented throughout this chapter: the man who was born blind actually sees quite well and He worships the Messiah. The leaders say he is steeped in sin since birth but Jesus has set him free and he is righteous. The leaders, on the other hand, seem so healthy and rich yet are blind and poor. They are indeed born into sin and shall die that way. The difference is Christ. And this is what John shows us so that we may believe and live. Let’s begin with verse one: And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. 2And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? This isn’t just a silly question; it can actually be supported by Exodus 20:5. Not that it’s being applied correctly here but that was the prevailing cultural perspective. Later the same man will argue with the leaders and they will say, “You were born altogether in sins, and do you teach us?” They believed that if something was wrong with a person that it must be because of sin. And if you think about it there’s no shortage of people around us who think the same way. If things aren’t right it must be because God is angry. They want to know whether he was blind for his own sin or whether a blind child was punishment for his parents. It shows how badly they misinterpreted Moses and makes me wonder if they’ve ever read the story of Job.

Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. We don’t have to look far in John to find God’s sovereignty and it shows well right here. Why was the man born blind? Did someone do something wrong? No. The man was born this way because God wanted to do something with him. And God has that right as the Potter. He chose to make this man blind from the womb so that he would later be healed. And we can imagine the parents when they first

realized; they thought it was awful and begged and cried and asked God why. But there never was an answer and there never was a cure. They just learned to live with this terrible handicap and with the stigma of being sinners. And then Jesus comes along with His disciples and for whatever reason they ask the question and Jesus says, “No. No one sinned to make him blind. He’s this way because it’s what God wanted, and I’m finally about to show you why:”

I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. 5As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. Notice that he once again calls Himself the Light of the world. Knowing the way to the Father and receiving salvation comes from being able to see clearly. Jesus is the Light and He lights every man that comes into the world. We are in the world but not of it and at the right time He opens our eyes and shines. And so He says, “I have to do the works I’ve been sent to do before my time comes to leave. I’m only in the earth for a short season, and I’ve got a list of things to get done before I go.” And this blind man is on the list.

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, 7And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing. I don’t know why Jesus chose this method and I don’t think there’s anyone who really knows the meaning of any symbolism, but there’s one main point: Jesus is the Messiah and He makes the blind to see (Is. 35:5). And that’s what this man will learn for himself; he feels Jesus rubbing clay on his face and then he’s away to a place called “Sent.” He washes the mud away and suddenly realizes that the darkness is light! When he has a second to focus he realizes he can see! All the things around him that were so hard to understand, things he didn’t even know existed, are so plain to him now! And he’s so excited that he runs back to find Jesus, but Jesus has already gone.

The neighbours therefore, and they which before had seen him that he was blind, said, Is not this he that sat and begged? 9Some said, This is he: others said, He is like him: but he said, I am he. 10Therefore said they unto him, How were thine eyes opened? 11He answered and said, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash: and I went and washed, and I received sight. 12Then

said they unto him, Where is he? He said, I know not. Pharisees him that aforetime was blind.


They brought to the

It’s such an unbelievable miracle that even the people who knew him didn’t think it could be true. They think it must be someone who looks like him, but he confesses and recounts the story of how he got his sight. They want to see Jesus but no one knows where Jesus is, so they take the man to the Pharisees.

And it was the sabbath day when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes. I don’t know if this is why the crowd took the man to the Pharisees or not, but this is when John decided to tell us. They already want to kill Jesus and they’re going to use anything they can to get it done. Working on the Sabbath is strictly forbidden and death is the punishment. If they can prove He was working on that day then they can say He’s not from God and have Him executed.

Then again the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. He said unto them, He put clay upon mine eyes, and I washed, and do see. 16 Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them. 17They say unto the blind man again, What sayest thou of him, that he hath opened thine eyes? He said, He is a prophet. The trouble is they can’t make up their minds. Some of them think He’s from God because He performs miracles. Others think He’s not from God because He doesn’t obey their regulation on the Sabbath. They argue about it for a bit and finally turn to someone with some firsthand experience with Him. “What about you? What do you think?” His answer is pretty straightforward: “He is a prophet.” It might seem less than desirable to call Jesus a mere prophet, but remember that the man doesn’t know much else about Him yet (v. 35-36). What he’s saying is that Jesus is from God!

But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind, and received his sight, until they called the parents of him that had received his sight. 19And they asked them, saying, Is this your son, who ye say was born blind? how then doth he now see? 20His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind: 21But by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself. 22These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that

if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue. 23Therefore said his parents, He is of age; ask him. They just can’t believe in Jesus and they’re looking for any way possible to discredit the miracle. When the man tells his story they say, “Oh, you can’t possibly have been born blind.” They subpoena his parents to testify to his identity and everything checks out. But how is he able to see? The parents undoubtedly know the answer but don’t want to give it because it’s already been decided that Jesus is not the Christ. Anyone who says otherwise will lose access to one of the most important institutions in the Jewish community. They would lose access to the community. And so they don’t want to answer and they instead throw the ball back in their son’s court.

Then again called they the man that was blind, and said unto him, Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner. They’re not really asking for praise. What they’re really saying is, “Do the right thing here. Confess that this man is not actually a prophet. He healed you on the Sabbath…He is a sinner. Now you say it.” They say they want him to do the right thing, but then they ask him to lie. This man may be a new disciple, but God gives him just the right words to say:

He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see. He’s going to be hard to turn after the miracle. “I don’t know much about Him and I don’t need to. I couldn’t see this morning, but then He touched me and here I am. There’s no denying that.” What’s undeniable may still be unacceptable however:

Then said they to him again, What did he to thee? how opened he thine eyes? Maybe they’re hoping for a different answer or to catch him in a lie so they ask him the same question he’s already answered.

He answered them, I have told you already, and ye did not hear: wherefore would ye hear it again? will ye also be his disciples? If he’s trying to hide how he feels about Jesus here, he lets it slip that he considers himself a disciple. Are they trying to get all the details so they can follow Jesus too?


Then they reviled him, and said, Thou art his disciple; but we are Moses’ disciples. 29We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is. They knew that Moses came from God and they were proud to follow him. But they couldn’t be shown that Jesus was from God so anyone who followed Him was a fool worthy of ridicule. But once again God gives the new convert wisdom for what to say:

The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes. If Jesus could open the eyes of a blind man, how could they not know whether He was from God? It’s amazing that people with so much religious education, people with such clear vision can’t understand or see this one simple thing:

Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth. 32Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. 33If this man were not of God, he could do nothing. That’s it for him. He’s crossed the line and left no room for doubt.

They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out. They aren’t really interested in truth or wisdom and when they’re outdone they do the only thing they can: they revile him and cast him out. How dare a man born into sin (sin so horrendous that he was born blind) lecture such holy and righteous people? It’s easy to skip right onto the next verse but stop and think about the gap here. The man no doubt saw anger and shame on people’s faces. His parents are there. His neighbors are there. He won’t be able to beg anymore and he has nowhere to go. What’s to become of him with his new sight?

Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? 36He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? Whatever has happened, the man knows the truth. Jesus is from God and he’ll believe whatever He tells him. “Tell me so I can believe!”


And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee. 38And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him. All he needed was the revelation and he’s ready to worship. He goes from calling Jesus a prophet to calling himself Jesus’ disciple to calling Jesus Lord. He goes from obeying Him to following Him to worshiping Him.

And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind. The Light of the world shines on men and judgment takes place. Many will see and believe just like the man but many more will hate the Light and refuse to come to it. If they can they will snuff it out because it exposes them for what they are.

And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also? 41Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth. What a contrast and turn of the tables! The blind man sees and the seeing men are blind! The Sabbath-breaker and His followers are righteous and the zealots are evil. The difference between life and death is not religion but Christ! May God give us eyes to see.

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