Blind from Birth, John 9:8-39

“Therefore the neighbors and those who previously had seen that he was blind said, ‘Is not this he who sat and begged?’ Some said, ‘This is he.’ Others said, ‘He is like him.’ He said, ‘I am he.’ Therefore they said to him, ‘How were your eyes opened?’ He answered and said, ‘A Man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, “Go to the pool of Siloam and wash.” So I went and washed, and I received sight.’ Then they said to him, ‘Where is He?’ He said, ‘I do not know.’” John 9:8-12.

There was a significant change in the countenance of this man. The joy he must have felt to see colors he had never seen before, people, houses, and trees; things felt, heard, and smelled, but so limited in definition. His face must have been that of a child as he saw new and wonderful things.

Perhaps he even ran some of the way back to where he was. There is no question that he would have only a vague resemblance to the man who left for the pool with clay on his eyes earlier.

This man’s face may have changed but his confession was the same as so many before and ever since, “A man called Jesus.”

“They brought him who formerly was blind to the Pharisees. Now it was a Sabbath when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. Then the Pharisees also asked him again how he had received his sight. He said to them, ‘He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.’ Therefore some of the Pharisees said, ‘This Man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath.’ Others said, ‘How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?’ And there was a division among them. They said to the blind man again, ‘What do you say about Him because He opened your eyes?’ He said, ‘He is a prophet.’” John 9:13-17.

To what purpose would these people take this healed man to the Pharisees, especially knowing that they were out to destroy Jesus?

And upon his arrival there is no rejoicing for the man’s sight, for the healing, nothing. They immediately moved aggressively to discredit this amazing Man Jesus and the miracle.

Some give the ridiculous charge of making clay on the Sabbath as proof that Jesus was a sinner. The making of clay on the Sabbath was indeed unlawful, but it was part of the prohibition against doing work on the Sabbath.

People do not make clay just to play in the mud, they do it to make things out of clay and this is work which God forbade because the Sabbath was a day of rest. Such foolishness to say that someone who spits on the ground is doing work!

It has been my experience that intelligent people will knowingly say the stupidest things to win a point that they already know is indefensible.

“Therefore some of the Pharisees said, ‘This Man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath.’ Others said, ‘How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?’ And there was a division among them.” John 9:16.

Let us assume for a moment that Jesus profaned the Sabbath by spitting on the ground and making a thimble full of clay. This would bring up the second question. How can a sinner do such signs?

It was the oft repeated belief of the Pharisees that a sinner could not do such miracles, only a worshiper of God who does His will would be heard by Him.

If Jesus was a sinner could He have healed the blind man? If Jesus healed the blind man could He be a sinner? These are questions which deserved an honest answer. Unfortunately honesty was something the Pharisees lacked.

Though some were honest enough to consider the miracle itself for what it was, something from God. Christ always causes division, whether between family members, in social circles, religiously (as here), or even politically.

“Father will be divided against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.” Luke 12:53.

“They said to the blind man again, ‘What do you say about Him because He opened your eyes?’ He said, ‘He is a prophet.’” John 9:17.

Why the Pharisees asked the opinion of the blind man is anybody’s guess. He was not one of them, so his opinion would be worthless to them, unless they wanted to find fault.

His answer however bears consideration, “He is a prophet.” This is the beginning of the opening of this man’s spiritual eyes, though his words are few, upon study, one becomes aware that, though blind, this man’s mind is as sharp as anyone’s.

Yet, even before the man started to realize who Jesus was he had one wonderful character quality.

He had an unwavering loyalty to the Man who had done so much for him, he spoke the truth, and would not let these bullies rattle him or cause him to back down from his testimony.

The progression here begins with an obvious observation by someone who knows nothing about Jesus, “He is a prophet”.

On the other hand the Pharisees’ actions that follow show that they ignored his answer completely. They want Jesus a hoaxer, not Jesus the Messiah.

“But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind and received his sight, until they called the parents of him who had received his sight. And they asked them, saying, ‘Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?’ His parents answered them and said, ‘We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; but by what means he now sees we do not know, or who opened his eyes we do not know. He is of age; ask him. He will speak for himself.’ His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had agreed already that if anyone confessed that He was Christ, he would be put out of the synagogue. Therefore his parents said, ‘He is of age; ask him.’” John 9:18-23.

The only real surprise in this dialogue is that, “…the Jews had agreed already that if anyone confessed that He was Christ, he would be put out of the synagogue.”

How many folks have entered hell on the word of a so-called holy man? Do not just take the word of someone because they have a title, or sound so confident in their assertions in conversation or from the pulpit.

“Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.” Matthew 24:11.

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1.

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.” Matthew 7:15-20.

“But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed.” 2 Peter: 2:1-2.

“So they again called the man who was blind, and said to him, ‘Give God the glory! We know that this Man is a sinner.’ He answered and said, ‘Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.’” John 9:24-25.

It is amazing that they can tell this man to give God the glory by calling God the Son, a sinner! And this from intractable minds that have already been made up; however this man has an irrefutable testimony, “One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.” As you can see, he is beginning to form an opinion of who the Christ is.

“Then they said to him again, ‘What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?’ He answered them, ‘I told you already, and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become His disciples?’ Then they reviled him and said, ‘You are His disciple, but we are Moses’ disciples.’” John 9:26-28.

It is hard to tell whether he means that he is now Christ’s disciple or if he is asking them if they want to be a disciple of Christ with the many others. Personally, it appears to me that the former blind man has decided to follow Jesus.

“We know that God spoke to Moses; as for this fellow, we do not know where He is from. The man answered and said to them, ‘Why, this is a marvelous thing, that you do not know where He is from, and yet He has opened my eyes! Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him. Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind. If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing.’ They answered and said to him, ‘You were completely born in sins, and are you teaching us?’ And they cast him out.” John 9:29-34.

It is clear that the former blind man paid close attention to the reading of the Scriptures in synagogue on the Sabbath because he expresses principles from Psalms and Proverbs, along with a good knowledge of the rest of Scripture.

His mind is very logical and he refutes their emotional arguments with reason rather than emotion, which is what the God hater finally winds up using in their rants against God.

Notice too how the former blind man refutes the Pharisees arguments that Jesus was a sinner with their own beliefs.

“Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him.” John 9:31.

The end result is that they excommunicate him after saying, “You were completely born in sins, and are you teaching us?” What arrogance, were they not also under the curse of sin?

The likelihood is that because he was born blind, they felt that his sins were great and they were justified by their own self-righteousness.

We tend to worry when adversity like this comes against the new Christian or one who is considering becoming one; but as we see here, adversity may strengthen the resolve of an honest mind, while it can often push another away, but God is able to overcome.

However, we must never forget to pray earnestly for those undergoing trials and to come alongside them when we can be of help.

God does all the work in the heart of the individual but He also desires His children to partner with Him in showing the love of Christ to others.

“Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said to him, ‘Do you believe in the Son of God?’ He answered and said, ‘Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?’ And Jesus said to him, ‘You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you.’ Then he said, ‘Lord I believe!’ And he worshiped Him.” John 9:35-38.

When all have cast you out, Jesus will find you. Having endured the fire of the hatred of the Pharisees this man is confronted by Jesus, the light of the world, who then says, “You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you.” No longer having to rely on the sound of the voice alone, this man now sees Jesus.

“And Jesus said, ‘For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.’” John 9:39.

The judgment that the Lord speaks of above is that which comes to those who claim to see God without really caring about Him, will be made blind, and those who honestly seek Him without knowing what they seek, will be made to see.

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6.

Blind from Birth, John 9:8-39 taken from posted on 1-3-13, updated on 11-22-17.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version, copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission, all rights reserved.

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