Miracle 27:
Healing of the Man Born Blind
  
 

A. Passage Selected: John 9:l-41   

1. Context

a.            In John 6: Jesus fed 5000 and then said He was the Bread of Life (John 6:35). In John 8:12 he claimed that He was the Light of the World.  Now he provides physical and spiritual light to a blind man.

b.            This miracle has messianic significance. In the OT it is God himself who is associated with the giving of sight to the blind (Ex. 4:11, Ps. 146:8). In a number of passages in Isaiah (29:18, 35:5, 42:7) it is considered to be a messianic activity:

c.            John 8:59 shows that they wanted to kill Him.  They understood his claims.

2. Content

a. The initial conversation and cure of the man  9:l-12
(1) The question of the disciples (1-2)

a.       In light of the placement of this account in the narrative, it appears that the Evangelist wants to suggest that this man is representative of all humanity.

b.       The fact is that mankind is not by nature receptive to the light (1:5,10). Rather all mankind is spiritually blind from birth. It is the role of the Light who comes into the world to enlighten every man (cf. 1:9).[1]

c.        The disciples are guilty of a “Job’s friend” type of theology.  They assumed that there was something sinful about the conception or the lives of the parents or the man sinned in the womb.

d.       One of the main reasons this type of theology is so popular, is because if we can assign blame for misfortune, then it offers us the false hope that if I am good, nothing like that will happen to me.

e.       In their day there were probably four answers they would have given.

1.       The pagans of that day, as many of today also, believed in reincarnation and held that congenital disease could be the result of sins committed during a former existence. The Jews never did accept this explanation.

2.       Then there is the argument of heredity, that the sins of the fathers are visited upon the children to the third and fourth generations (see Exod. 20:5). We know that this is possible and blindness in some cases can be the result of the sin of the parent.

3.       Then, there was the explanation that the sin of Adam was passed to each member of the human family so that all are subject to death and disease.

4.       And finally, the Jewish rabbis believed that a child in the womb could sin.[2]

(2) The answer of Jesus  (3-5)

a.                   The purpose is for the benefit of the man and the witness of Christ.  “While it is day” is a metaphor for present opportunity.  He is here now and able to do things in front of them, soon he will be leaving.

b.                   Jesus doesn’t give them the answer they wanted. He says the important thing is not to probe around in the past and try to find out who is guilty. The thing to do is to cure the man. It may be true that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, but after a man is sick, it’s pretty important to get that pound of cure for him.[3]

c.                    God has created you and me for His glory. He did not create us that we might try to be a somebody down here. He created us for His glory. If we miss that, we miss the entire purpose of our creation. These trials and sufferings come to us because they bring about the glory of God. This blind man, through the healing of his blindness, will bring about the glory of God. Not only will this blind man see (and think how much he would enjoy seeing all the rest of his life), but also he will see Jesus Christ and come to know Him as his Savior.

d.                   Now Jesus reverts to His original statement. “I am the light of the world.” The night makes all of mankind blind. No one can see. Christ is the spiritual Light of the World, and without Him everyone is blind. But as long as He is in the world, He is the Light of the World. He is still in the world today, my friend. He comes to us in the person of the Holy Spirit. Unless the Son of God, by means of the Holy Spirit, opens our eyes so that we can see spiritual things, we will remain blind as bats.[4]

e.                   He repeats the statement that He is the light of the world (cf 8:12).

(3) The result for the blind man  (6-7)

a.                   The means - spittle and touch again.  Here he makes mud pies (which violates the sabbath rule against kneading). 

b.                   The word “siloam” means “sent” and may be a reference to the fact that Jesus was sent by the Father and Jesus sent the man.

c.                    Christ had to touch the blind man, and the blind man had to obey Christ. Christ must touch our spiritual vision and bring new life to the dead spiritual optic nerve. It is not a question of who sinned. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). If Christ has not touched your eyes, you are not seeing.[5]

(4) The report of the blind man  (8-12)

A man called Jesus.  I don’t know where he is.

b. The indicting confrontation of the man with the Pharisees  9:13-34
(1) The man and the Pharisees  (13-17)

a.       They want to know how he had received his sight? They were not interested in the welfare of the man, just that someone had worked on the Sabbath. (Another Sabbath miracle.)

b.        The Pharisees conclude He can’t be from God, because he is a Sabbath breaker. The man concludes he might be a prophet.

c.       I love the testimony of this man. He told only what he knew—a good, honest, sincere testimony. He grew in perception every time he gave his testimony. Notice how accurate the Word of God is. He didn’t say Jesus took spittle and made clay. In his blindness he didn’t know that. All he knew was that he felt clay rubbed on his eyes. His testimony is honest, not elaborated or glamorized.

d.       Salvation is really a simple matter. It is coming to the Lord Jesus and experiencing the power of God. This man hadn’t even seen Jesus and yet the Lord Jesus had opened his eyes. The important thing for us is not to see Jesus but to believe in Him.[6]

(2) The Jews and the parents  (18-23)

a.       The parents are afraid of the leaders and wouldn’t say anything.

b.       Here is religious conniving, and it is one of the most pernicious things that is imaginable. The religious rulers are trying to find somebody they can hang this on, and the parents want to get off the hook. These rulers never contested the fact that the man had been blind and now could see. The people who were present never denied that a miracle had been performed.

c.       The parents knew that a miracle had been done. But they were not prepared to explain how the miracle had been done. They did not want to be excommunicated because that would completely ostracize them, and they didn’t want to get into that kind of trouble. Since the religious rulers cannot deny the miracle, they will try to keep the Lord Jesus from receiving the credit for it.

(3) The man and the Jews  (24-34)

a.          They know he is from Nazareth.  The question might be referring to who his father was.  Perhaps they think Jesus is illegitimate because he was born too soon after the marriage.

b.          The Jews now go back to their first argument: this Man is a sinner because He broke the Sabbath. Don’t give glory to this Man, the Lord Jesus. Give the glory to God. My, doesn’t that sound nice and pious![7]

c. No one has ever heard of opening the eyes of someone born blind.

d.          The formerly blind man makes several true statements, follows the logic and comes to the correct conclusions. Thus, the Pharisees are indicted for not coming to the same conclusions and being the godly leaders they were supposed to be.

e.          That is the testimony of any sinner who has been saved. Once I was blind but now I see. Once I was in spiritual darkness but now I am in spiritual light. Once I did not know Christ, but now I know Him as my Savior.

f.  I don’t know about you, but I get a little weary of long-winded testimonies. I suspect that many of them are padded and embellished and polished up to make them attractive. Sometimes the emphasis is placed on the past, so much so that the people actually come out as heroes in their testimony. They were leaders in crime, they were rubbing shoulders with the gang leaders, they knew all the great ones, they were the worst alcoholics, the worst gamblers, and on and on. Then they heard the gospel and were converted.

g.          The people who hear such testimonies go home and call their friends, “My, have you heard the testimony of So-and-So?”—and they are so busy telling about So-and-So and all the things he had done that they hardly even mention Christ. Friend, the important part of any testimony that I want to hear is simply this, “Once I was blind; now I see.”[8]

h.          The man who had been blind is beginning to understand what they are doing, and he gets a little sarcastic with them, “Will you also be His disciples?” He makes another interesting observation, “Will you hear it again?” Not only are the Pharisees blind so they cannot see the Light of the World, they are also deaf so they cannot hear.[9]

i.  The religious rulers revile him. You can notice again that, when men do not have an answer, they will resort to ridicule. Inadvertently they have slowly moved the healed blind man into a line of logic so that he knows only a man from God could do such a miracle: there is no doubt that he had been healed, so this Man must be from God. Remember, he still has never seen Jesus.

j.  These rulers have no answer. They cannot meet the argument or give a satisfactory explanation. The facts confound and contradict them. What do they do? They cast the man out. This excommunication shut him out of the temple. It also shut him out of business. It made him an outcast, almost like a leper. He would be shut out of everything religious and social.[10]

c. The invited confession of the man by Jesus  9:35-41

a.  Jesus found him out...  Jesus healed him of his blindness, but the man didn’t really understand who it was that healed him. 

b.  So Jesus found the man a second time to deal with his spiritual blindness.  Perhaps the man wasn’t ready at the time of the healing to believe, but after the questioning of the Pharisees, he had had time to think about everything and was now ready.

(1) The faith of the man  (35-38)

a.          The Lord Jesus comes on the scene. This man has defended the Lord Jesus, has come out the winner in the argument, but has been cast out by the religious rulers.

b.          It is quite wonderful that the Lord Jesus comes to him. Friend, it is always Jesus who looks for the man. The Lord has prepared this man all along the way.

c.          Now the man must put his faith in the Son of God. Our Lord now comes to him with that crucial question: “Dost thou believe on the Son of God?” The experiences through which he has gone have strengthened his faith and clarified his thinking.

d.          The Lord knows that he is ready for this final step. This man is so very open, so honest and sincere. He asks who the Son of God is so that he might believe. You can see the eagerness of this man. He wants to go farther. He wants to come to know Him.

e.          Our Lord responds in this lovely way, “Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee.” The man believes Him and worships Him. This is one of the finest instances of faith that we have in the entire Word of God. Our Lord took this blind man step by step and brought him to His feet where he could say, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped Him.

f.  It is so with the steps of every sinner. We are blind at first. We are lost sinners, and we don’t even see our lost condition. Then we come to Christ. He reveals Himself to us; our eyes are opened and we see who He is and what He has done for us.

g.          Then the question is: “Will you believe?” This man’s answer can also be your answer, “Lord, I believe.” And you will fall at His feet and worship Him.[11]

(2) The function of Jesus (39-41)

He reveals the truth and gives sight to the blind.

He conceals the truth and further blinds those who can “see.”

(i) The purpose of Christ's ministry

His purpose is both salvation and judgment.  He saves those with faith and judges those with lack of faith.  In this context the condition for salvation is the confession of need (recognizing blindness)  And those who say they see are self-righteous.  Saying you “see” means you don’t recognize your sin.  Therefore you don’t see a need for salvation.

Christ’s purpose was to save the world, but the consequence of rejecting His salvation is judgment.  Priority desire is to save.  Resultant action may be condemnation.  Did I know when I had children that I would have to spank them.  Yes.  Did I have children so that I could spank them?  No.

II. INTERPRETATION

·          Jesus as the Son of Man is the Light and the Lord in whom one should place faith and before whom one should worship, otherwise there will be judgment.

·          Shows how little compassion the Jewish leaders had for the people.  They were only concerned with rules.

III. APPLICATIONS

·          From the Pharisees we learn that: Self-righteousness is blind. Light rejected brings darkness.  He came to blind those who could see.  That is a tough statement.

·          From the Parents we learn that: Fear of others can keep one from accepting Christ.  Fear of being booted out of your group.

·          Not all sickness is the result of sin.

·          Can God allow a man to be born blind for His glory.  You have to stretch your theology / understanding of God to include this one.  God is bigger than we expect.  Suffering and tragedy can fit into the good plan.

·          And again I’m impressed with the fact that the “layman” understands the obvious truth while the “scholars” argue over the technicalities.

·          People always want to know "how," but the correct question is "who?"



[1] Hall Harris, Notes on John, http://www.bible.org/docs/nt/books/joh/harris/gjohn010.htm.

[2]J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1981 by J. Vernon McGee.

[3]J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1981 by J. Vernon McGee.

[4]J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1981 by J. Vernon McGee.

[5]J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1981 by J. Vernon McGee.

[6]J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1981 by J. Vernon McGee.

[7]J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1981 by J. Vernon McGee.

[8]J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1981 by J. Vernon McGee.

[9]J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1981 by J. Vernon McGee.

[10]J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1981 by J. Vernon McGee.

[11]J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1981 by J. Vernon McGee.