In the ninth chapter of John, Jesus heightens the tension with the Jewish leaders by healing a blind man on the Sabbath.
In chapter eight, Jesus confronted the Jewish leaders when He said, "Before Abraham was, I am." They took stones to cast at Jesus. Jesus hid and escaped from among the leaders.
We now look at the story in chapter nine of Jesus healing the blind man who had been blind from birth. This healing is one of the few occasions that Jesus healed a person who did not ask
to be healed. The man did not know who Jesus was.
The blind man had no hope of sight.
He had given up hope of ever seeing and accepted his life as a blind man. He had not heard of Jesus and the many healing miracles that Jesus had performed across Israel. Later, when asked, the man did not know Jesus' name and guessed that Jesus was a prophet.
The second noticeable observation of the healing of the blind man was that many in the community did not believe the man had been healed. They shrugged off the healing by saying the healed man was not the same man or that he was never blind.
The third observation about the healing of the blind man was how much this upset the Pharisees and the high officials. They were irate that Jesus would heal a person on the Sabbath. In their opinion, Jesus had violated the Law of Moses.
The question is, "Why would so many people refuse to believe that Jesus was the Messiah?"
We all make choices; we can believe or elect not to believe!
The Jewish leaders had elected not to believe that Jesus was the Messiah. Instead, they would do all they could to deter the people from believing in Jesus.
The disciples saw the man who was blind from birth. They wanted to know if the man was blind because he had sinned or because his parents had sinned. The Savior said that neither the parents nor the man had sinned.
The man was blind so that Jesus could heal him and show people God's power.
The disciples assumed it was a condition of sin either by the man or his parents. This type of thinking was prevalent in Jesus' day and still is in our society today. Many people believe that if bad things happen to them, it is punishment for some sin they have committed. Therefore, they feel unworthy of God's blessings.
The New Testament contains around 75 references to the healing work of Jesus. The healing of the blind man was one such healing.
Why do you think this miracle of healing rose to the level
of being recorded in the Bible?
Why does Jesus heal the blind man in two stages?
(John 9:6-7 and Mark 8:22-26)
First, it isn't a matter of Jesus failing to heal on the first attempt or that he was somehow inadequate. Remember, Jesus was always teaching. Here He uses the occasion to get more people involved,
asking questions and spreading the gospel.
We must remember that physical healing doesn't always come instantaneously. Even our spiritual growth comes over a period of time.
1 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?"
The disciples asked Jesus why this man was born blind? The blind man was known for sitting and begging. The disciples were more interested in the cause of the man's condition than in helping him.
Jesus showed them a different way to look at the situation. 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."
Jesus was always teaching. He used this situation to teach the disciples about the works they should perform while it is time.
"As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent
What was Jesus saying in verse four?
Jesus was saying that His earthly ministry would be over soon, and there was yet much work to be done. So, likewise, our earthly ministry is short, and we have much work to do.
Note that the blind man did not ask Jesus to heal him. But he showed his faith by obeying Jesus by going to the Pool of Siloam.
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."
First, Jesus said that a specific sin did not cause the man's blindness on the part of the man or his parents.
Jesus explained that this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. God would receive the glory and credit for the healing of the man. Jesus explained that it is because
God wants to work in and through this situation. Jesus pointed the question away from why and directed the attention to what God can do.
Jesus said we must do the works of Him who sent Him. Then He healed the blind man.
There is great suffering in the world.
Aren't all of mankind in some form of suffering?
It may not be as dramatic as being blind from birth, but each person suffers to some degree. Lives are often drastically changed when sinful men turn to God and follow God.
Charles Spurgeon said, "Whenever you see a man in sorrow and trouble, the way to look at it is not to blame him and inquire how he came there, but to say, 'Here is an opening for God's
almighty love. Here is an occasion for the display of the grace and goodness of the Lord.'"
By healing the blind man on the Sabbath, Jesus knew it would bring opposition from the religious leaders, for they wanted to silence and kill Him. But this did not deter Jesus.
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."
Why do you think that Jesus healed this man using spittle and dust?
He had a way with the dramatic. Just as God performed numerous miracles before convincing the Egyptian Pharaoh to release the Israelites, Jesus wanted the story of healing the blind man
to be told for many years. This healing brought glory to God.
In this miracle, Jesus took all the initiative. Jesus came to the blind man; the blind man did not come to Him. Even so, Jesus expected the blind man to respond with faith-filled action. The
healing would not happen unless the man responded with faith.
The man went to the pool and washed. Going to the pool took faith, even when Jesus did not promise the man sight in the doing of this. It was indeed implied, but the man acted on faith even in the implied promise of Jesus.
Still, as a blind man, he had to find his way down to the pool of Siloam and down its steps to the pool itself. He could think of a dozen reasons why this was a fool's errand, but he went and
washed in faith and obedience because Jesus told him to go.
He came back seeing.
The Neighbors did not Believe
Verses 8 – 12 say, " 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 change in the man’s life was so significant that many of his neighbors found it hard to believe he was the same man. It seemed too fantastic to believe.
The man knew little about Jesus. He didn’t seem to understand that Jesus was from Nazareth or was the Messiah. The man knew nothing about Jesus except that Jesus was the Man who healed him.
Verses 13-16 say, 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.”
Jesus took the initiative in this miracle and could have done it any day of the week He chose. But instead, Jesus chose to do this miracle on the Sabbath to challenge the petty traditions of
the religious leaders, traditions that they lifted to the place of binding laws.
Jesus had turned the Pharisees on their heads. Jesus created a division in the crowd: those that accepted Him and trusted Him and those who did not.
Still later, the Pharisees questioned the man about who healed him. The man answered that Jesus was a prophet.
He believed that only a man from God could do this work.
Then the Pharisees questioned his parents. They did not want to get involved and referred them to their son. The parents could have been concerned that they would be excommunicated from the synagogue if they got involved.
The blind man 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 9:25).
When the blind man would not agree with the Pharisees that Jesus was a sinner for healing on the Sabbath, they cast him out of the synagogue. They excommunicated him.
This caused Jesus to find the man.
35 Jesus heard that they had thrown him (the blind man) 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.
Jesus used the physical blindness of the man to reach the spiritual heart. It was the heart of the man that Jesus wanted to turn to God.
No longer was just the physical wrongdoing in violation of God’s law but the intent of the heart.
The heart must align with God’s laws.