Hey everyone! Happy Friday! Today we are reading John chapter 9.
As always, all of the headings and verses below were taken directly from the New International Version of the Bible (NIV). Jesus’ words are in red and my commentary is in blue.
I’ll have a recorded video of today’s reading at the bottom of the page, and if you missed yesterday’s, I have that linked here for you!
Here we go!
Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind
9 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.”
6 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.
This is a thought that has crossed all of our minds at some point: Why does God allow bad things to happen?
The fact is, we are living in a broken world as a consequence for our sin. Adam and Eve once enjoyed perfection in the Garden of Eden, but they eventually proved their humanity by committing the first sin. Their failure to obey God exposed what, at the core, separates us from our perfect creator. And we have been living in the wake of this moment in history ever since.
So his disciples were wrong in assuming that this man’s blindness was inflicted by sin. And Jesus clarifies that, but doesn’t spend too much time on the matter. He presses, “as long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me” (verse 4). Out of his compassion for this man, he is more eager to bring him healing than to sort out the current theological questions of his followers.
Herein lies another fact about Jesus that differs greatly from the heart of religion. Religion asks, “what is your theology?” while Jesus asks “what is your problem, and how can I best serve you?”. And he hopes for us to have that same heart towards each other.
Now back to the man who has been healed…
8 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.
The Pharisees Investigate the Healing
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.”
Remember from day 5 of our study, when Jesus healed the man at the pool on a Sabbath? The Pharisees hated that and have been after him to have him killed ever since. That Jesus is continuing to heal on the day of rest is not welcome news.
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.”
The man doesn’t seem to know much about Jesus besides his first name and the healing that he had performed. He is not wrong to assume that Jesus is a prophet at the very least.
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.”
To be excommunicated and not allowed back in to participate in the Jewish faith would be the worst shame. And this was a real threat to the people at this time, so their heart towards their son is “you’re on your own buddy!”
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.”
From Psalm 66:18 and Isaiah 1:15 we can understand that God isn’t obligated to hear the prayers of one living in sin or operating from it. The man is explaining that if Jesus was the sinner they claimed he was, He wouldn’t be able to perform such a great miracle in the name of God the Father.
34 To this they replied, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out.
Here again, we face the misconception that if you were born with an impairment like blindness, it must’ve been due to sin. The fully capable Pharisees love this one, because their healthy bodies, to them, tell of their righteousness. But they couldn’t be further off.
35 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.”
The man who had lived so long with blind eyes, met Jesus, who healed his physical blindness and spiritual blindness. He comes to believe in Jesus as the Messiah and now he can see in a way that many with 20/20 vision cannot. The Pharisees, on the other hand, claim to be spiritually enlightened, although they are blinded to the truth of who Jesus really is. This makes them hypocrites and guilty of sin.
This world comes with heartbreak, pain, and tragedy. God has made Himself available to us as our “Wonderful Counselor and Everlasting Father” (Isaiah 9:6). Although following God doesn’t exempt us from the bad, we don’t have to face the struggles of this world on our own. And that’s a promise.
He takes those of us who once were blind and gives us sight. One day, we will be back in Eden with our Loving Savior, if we only would hear, believe, and receive him into our hearts in the here and now.
I’ll see you all tomorrow for chapter 10!