John 9:John 9:1-16 – Opposed by Blindness
John 9:17-41 – Opposed by Ignorance
A. The man is healed.1. (1-2) The disciples ask a question.
Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
a. As Jesus passed by: The previous chapter ending as Jesus passed by those who wanted to stone Him, considering Jesus guilty of blasphemy. John continues the account, noting now Jesus passed by a man who was blind from birth.
i. The sense of the flow of the text is that Jesus was not shaken or disturbed by the almost deadly confrontation with the religious leaders that just happened. “We find Him calm and self-possessed, acting with a profound disregard of His enemies and their hatred.” (Boice)
ii. Jesus was often reviled, but never ruffled. “One of the things worthy to be noticed in our Lord’s character is his wonderful quiet of spirit, especially his marvelous calmness in the presence of those who misjudged, and insulted, and slandered him.” (Spurgeon)
iii. “The blind man was sitting begging (John 9:8), possibly proclaiming the fact of his having been so born; for otherwise the disciples could hardly have asked the following question.” (Alford)
b. Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind? The disciples regarded this man as an unsolved riddle. They showed no interest in helping the man, but in discussing the cause for his condition.
i. Jesus will soon show a different way. He won’t dwell on the theological puzzle, but on actually helping the man. “It is ours, not to speculate, but to perform acts of mercy and love, according to the tenor of the gospel. Let us then be less inquisitive and more practical, less for cracking doctrinal nuts, and more for bringing forth the bread of life to the starving multitudes.” (Spurgeon)
ii. We often suspect that where there is a more than ordinary sufferer, there is a more than ordinary sinner. The disciples believed this so much so that they wondered if this man had actually sinned before he was born, causing his blind condition. “In their thinking about divine retribution they had not advanced far beyond the position of Job’s friends.” (Bruce)
iii. “It was widely held that suffering, and especially such a disaster as blindness, was due to sin. The general principle was laid down by Rabbi Ammi: ‘There is no death without sin, and there is no suffering without iniquity.’” (Morris)
iv. Dods suggested five possible reasons behind their question.
· Some of the Jews of that time believed in the pre-existence of souls, and the possibility that those pre-existent souls could sin.
· Some of the Jews at that time believed in some kind of reincarnation, and perhaps the man sinned in a previous existence.
· Some of the Jews at that time believed that a baby might sin in the womb.
· They thought the punishment was for a sin the man would later commit.
· They were so bewildered that they threw out a wild possibility without thinking it through.
2. (3-5) Jesus responds to the question, without answering it.Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
a. Neither this man nor his parents sinned: First, Jesus said that the man’s blindness – essentially a birth defect – was not caused by some specific sin on the part of the man or his parents.
i. Birth defects and other such tragedies are sometimes due to sinful behavior of the parents. Yet far more often – and in the case Jesus spoke of here – it is due simply to sin and our fallen condition in general, not due to any specific sin. The sin of Adam set the principle of death and its associated destruction in the world and we have had to deal with it ever since.
b. But that the works of God should be revealed in him: Speaking to this man’s situation, Jesus told them that even his blindness was in the plan of God so that the works of God should be revealed in him.
i. Think of all the times the little blind boy asked his mother, “Why am I blind?” Perhaps she never felt she had a good answer. Jesus explained, it is because God wants to work in and through even this. Jesus pointed the question away from why and on to the idea, what can God do in this?
ii. In this man’s case the specific work of God would soon be revealed: to heal him of his blindness. God may reveal His works in other lives other ways, such as joy and endurance in the midst of the difficulty.
iii. “In the economy of God’s Providence, his suffering had its place and aim, and this was to bring out the works of God in his being healed by the Redeemer.” (Alford)
iv. “Evil furthers the work of God in the world. It is in conquering and abolishing evil that He is manifested. The question for us is not where suffering has come from, but what are we to do with it.” (Dods)
v. “This does not mean that God deliberately caused the child to be born blind in order that, after many years, his glory should be displayed in the removal of the blindness; to think so would again be aspersion on the character of God. It does mean that God overruled the disaster of the child’s blindness so that, when the child grew to manhood, he might, by the recovering of his sight, see the glory of God in the face of Christ, and others, seeing the work of God, might turn to the true Light of the World.” (Bruce)
vi. “We must suppose that every sufferer will in the long run be made aware of his share in promoting that advance; though to-day he suffer blindly, little conscious of his privilege.” (Trench)
c. I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day: Instead of focusing on the man as a theology problem, Jesus saw him as an opportunity to work the works of God. Jesus sensed an urgency to do this while it was still day – the time of His earthly ministry.
i. I must work is a marvelous statement of Jesus. The Worker is “a well-earned title to the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the worker, the chief worker, and the example to all workers.” (Spurgeon)
ii. “He worked under the limitations of mortality, and recognized in the brevity of life another call to eager and continuous service.” (Maclaren)
iii. “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.’” (Spurgeon)
d. The night is coming when no one can work: Jesus understood that opportunities for service and doing good don’t last forever. Jesus knew that healing this man on the Sabbath would bring greater opposition from the religious leaders who already wanted to silence and kill Him. Yet His compassion for the man drove Him to do it anyway.
i. “Our Lord as a man here on earth had a day. It was only a day-a short period, and not very long; he could not make it longer, for it was settled by the great Lord.” (Spurgeon)
3. (6-7) The man is healed.
When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. And He said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went and washed, and came back seeing.
a. He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva: Jesus used what was undoubtedly one of His more unusual methods leading to a miracle. We can suppose that Jesus wanted to emphasize at least two things.
· Just as God used the dust of the ground and clay to do a work of creation in Genesis, so Jesus did a work of creation with dust and clay for this man.
· Jesus found it important to change His methods of healing so one could never make a formula of the methods. The power was in God, not in a method.
i. “The emphasis of John seems to be on compassion rather than creation. The touch of a friendly hand would be reassuring. The weight of the clay would serve as an indicator to the blind man that something had been done to him, and it would be an inducement to obey Jesus’ command.” (Tenney)
ii. “In His ministry to the souls of men Jesus adopted no stereotyped approach. He dealt with each man as his particular need required.” (Morris)
iii. Several commentators note that what seems so strange to us – using saliva as a medicine upon the eyes – was not so strange in the ancient world.
· “Spittle, and especially the spittle of some distinguished persons, was believed to possess certain curative qualities.” (Barclay)
· “The virtue of the fasting saliva, in the cases of disorders of the eye, was well known to antiquity.” (Alford)
iv. Mark recorded two other healings that Jesus performed with the use of His saliva (Mark 7:33 and 8:23).
b. Go, wash in the pool of Siloam: In this miracle, Jesus took all the initiative. Jesus came to the blind man; the blind man did not come to Him. Even so, He expected the blind man to respond with faith-filled action. The healing would not happen unless the man responded with those faith-filled, obedient actions.
i. Not many people would appreciate having mud made with spit rubbed in their eyes. Some would look at how Jesus did this miracle and object, saying that it was offensive, inadequate, or even harmful to rub mud made with spit in a man’s eyes.
· In the same way, some feel that the gospel is offensive. It is true that it offends man’s pride and human wisdom, but it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.(1 Corinthians 1:21)
· In the same way, some feel that the gospel is inadequate. But have all the psychiatric and political and social programs in the world done more good that the life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ?
· In the same way, some feel that the gospel is harmful, that the free offer of grace in Jesus will cause people to sin that grace may abound. But the gospel changes our life for the good and the pure, not unto wickedness.
ii. The water for the pool of Siloam came through Hezekiah’s tunnel, a remarkable engineering feat built in Old Testament times. “It was called Siloam, which, it was said, meant sent, because the water in it had been sent through the conduit into the city.” (Barclay)
iii. “It was from the Siloam stream that was drawn the water which was poured over the great altar at the Feast of Tabernacles just past, which pouring out was regarded by the Rabbis (and is still) as typical of the pouring out of The Spirit in the ‘latter days’.” (Trench)
iv. Which is translated, Sent: “Again and again John refers to Jesus as having been ‘sent’ by the Father. So now blindness is removed with reference to and with the aid of the ‘sent’.” (Morris)
c. So he went and washed: This took faith, even when Jesus did not even promise the blind man sight in the doing of this. It was surely implied; but the man acted on faith even in the implied promise of Jesus.
i. Still as a blind man he had to find his way down to pool of Siloam and down its steps to the pool itself. He likely 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 (and because there was mud in his eyes).
d. And came back seeing: This is the first time in the Biblical record a person born blind was healed of their blindness. From Genesis to John, no prophet, priest, or apostle ever gave sight to eyes born blind.
i. Since healing blind eyes is the work of the Lord, Yahweh, Jehovah, it shows that Jesus is God: The LORD opens the eyes of the blind. (Psalm 146:8)
ii. Opening the eyes of the blind was prophesied to be a work of the Messiah: The eyes of the blind shall be opened. (Isaiah 35:5)
iii. Came back seeing: “The word rendered received sight is literally, recovered sight. Sight being natural to men, the depravation of it is regarded as a loss, and the reception of it, though never enjoyed before, as a recovery.” (Alford)
iv. “As the impotent man of chapter 5, cured after his thirty-eight years of sickness, may be viewed as a type of the Jews who are yet to be healed: so may this man of chapter 9, blind from birth, be viewed as a type of the Gentiles whose healing was about to begin and who were about to believe into Jesus as Him who was ‘the Sent’ from God.” (Trench)
B. The controversy surrounding the healing.1. (8-12) The neighbors react to the healed man.
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.”
a. Others said, “He is like him.” He said, “I am he”: It seemed too amazing to believe, but the man convinced them that he was in fact healed from congenital blindness. The transformation in his life was so significant that many found it hard to believe he was the same man.
b. A Man called Jesus: At this point, the man knew very little about Jesus. He didn’t seem to know that Jesus was from Nazareth, or was the Messiah, or claimed to be God, or the light of the world. He didn’t even know where Jesus was. The man seemed to know nothing about Jesus except His name and that Jesus was the Man who healed him.
i. The blind man never even saw Jesus until later in the story. His first dealings with Jesus were while he was still blind, and Jesus was not there when he washed his eyes at the Pool of Siloam and could see.
2. (13-16) The healed man is brought to the Pharisees.
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.
a. Now it was a Sabbath when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes: Jesus took the initiative in this miracle, and could have done it on any day He chose. 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.
i. “One of the categories of work specifically forbidden on the Sabbath in the tradition interpretation of the law was kneading, and the making of mud or clay with such simple ingredients as earth and saliva was construed as a form of kneading.” (Bruce)
ii. “Works of necessity and mercy never could be forbidden on that day by him whose name is mercy, and whose nature is love; for the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath; were it otherwise, the Sabbath would be rather a curse than a blessing.” (Clarke)
b. Therefore some of the Pharisees said, “This Man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath”: To the Pharisees, Jesus could not be from God because He did not line up with their traditions and prejudices.
i. This Man: “This man is contemptuous; ‘This fellow’.” (Tasker)
c. There was a division among them: Instead of uniting everyone, Jesus often divided men. They were divided between those who accepted Him and trusted Him, and those who did not.
i. In choosing, they took one of two sides regarding Jesus.
· Jesus is a sinner and should be rejected.
· Our understanding and application of the Sabbath law is wrong.
ii. There was far for evidence for the second proposition than for the first, yet it seems that far more of them adopted the second position. They did this in spite of the evidence, not because of it.
iii. “The group speaking tentatively in favor of Jesus must have been a small one. We do not hear of them again after this verse, and throughout the rest of the chapter the narrative proceeds a though the other group were the only one to be considered.” (Morris)
iv. “The minority’s question, ‘How can a sinner do such miraculous signs?’ sounds much like Nicodemus’s opening words to Jesus: “No one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him’ (John 3:2).” (Tenney)
3. (17-18) The religious leaders question the man born blind.
They said to the blind man again, “What do you say about Him because He opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.” 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.
a. What do you say about Him because He opened your eyes?
Most of the religious leaders had made up their mind about Jesus – saying that He was not of God, yet some disagreed (John 9:16). They thought they would get the opinion of the man born blind regarding Jesus.
i. “It is a measure of their perplexity and division that they ask the man what he thinks of Jesus. Normally they would not have dreamed of putting a question on a religious issue to such a man.” (Morris)
b. He is a prophet: Jesus did not specifically say to this man that he would be healed if he washed in the Pool of Siloam (John 9:7), but it was implied in the action. Though Jesus was not present when the man actually gained his sight, one could say that Jesus prophesied that he would gain his sight if he did what Jesus told him to do.
i. In John 9:11, all the man knew about Jesus was His name. Here, the healed man proclaimed that Jesus was a prophet. He grew in his understanding and proclamation about Jesus.
ii. “Now, according to a Jewish maxim, a prophet might dispense with the observation of the Sabbath. See Grotius. If they allow that Jesus was a prophet, then, even in their sense, he might break the law of the Sabbath, and be guiltless.” (Clarke)
c. But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind: It was easier for the religious leaders to believe that the man was never really blind than to believe that Jesus healed the man.
i. “Unable to explain this unprecedented phenomenon of a man born blind being enabled to see, they will not admit that it has really happened.” (Tasker)
4. (19-23) The Pharisees question the parents of the man born blind.
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.”
a. Is this your son, who you say was born blind? The religious leaders asked the parents to verify that the man was truly born blind. The tone of their question implies that they wondered if the parents were part of the same imagined conspiracy. Yet, the parents verified, “this is our son, and that he was born blind.”
i. This should have persuaded the religious leaders that a remarkable man from God was in their midst. It did not persuade them and they continued their hostile interrogation.
b. By what means he now sees we do not know, or who opened his eyes we do not know: The parents could identify their son and that he was born blind. They would not speak to the question of how he was healed because of the threat of excommunication (the Jews had agreed already that if anyone confessed that He was Christ, he would be put out of the synagogue).
i. Ezra 10:8 is an Old Testament example of excommunication.
ii. Dods wrote of the practice in the ancient Jewish world: “Of excommunication there were three degrees: the first lasted for thirty days; then followed ‘a second admonition,’ and if impenitent the culprit was punished for thirty days more; and if still impenitent he was laid under the Cherem or ban, which was of indefinite duration, and which entirely cut him off from intercourse with others. He was treated as if he were a leper.” (Dods)
iii. Many of the rulers in Jerusalem really believed in Jesus, but were afraid to say it because they didn’t want to be cast out of the synagogue (John 12:42).
iv. In the modern western world the idea of excommunication means little, because it is easy for the excommunicated one to simply go to another church and pretend that nothing happened. More common today is what one might call self-excommunication, where believers separate themselves from church worship and life with no good reason.
c. He is of age, ask him: It is instinctive and normal for parents to protect their children, even when the children are adults. The parents were so frightened by the threat of excommunication that they did all they could to put the attention back upon their son and away from them.
i. “It is plain that they discerned danger, and had no intention of being caught up in it with their son.” (Morris)
ii. They emphatically turned the focus back upon their son. “The pronouns in the latter part of the verse are emphatic: who hath opened his eyes we know not: ask him: he is of age, he shall speak for himself.” (Alford)
C. The religious leaders interrogate the man born blind, now healed by Jesus.1. (24-25) The simple testimony of the man born blind.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.”
a. Give God the glory: This command to the healed man may be an admonition to tell the truth (as in Joshua 7:19), or it may be a command to deny any credit to Jesus in the healing.
i. “The words are a form of adjuration (see Joshua 7:19), to tell the truth, q.d. ‘Remember that you are in God’s presence, and speak as unto Him.’” (Alford)
ii. “The man is being told that he has not been completely frank up till now. He has held back something which would show Jesus to be a sinner.” (Morris)
b. We know this Man is a sinner: They said this not because Jesus broke the law of God in the Hebrew Scriptures; they said this because Jesus did not obey their man-made traditions around the law. They said this despite the evidence, not because of it.
c. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see:
The man born blind didn’t know everything about Jesus, but he did know how Jesus had touched his life. At that moment, it was an irrefutable argument. They could not argue against what Jesus did in this man’s life.
i. “They take their stand on their preconceived ideas, he on the simple facts that he knows” (Morris)
ii. “It was frustrating for his interrogators that neither of those statements could be refuted: the former statement was confirmed by the evidence of the parents; the truth of the latter they could see for themselves. Why not admit the conclusion to which these two facts pointed?” (Bruce)
iii. From time to time Christians are confronted with questions meant to embarrass or mock, questions about some science or social issue or another. One doesn’t have to be an expert in all those things, though the more one knows the better. More than anything, we may simply say: “I don’t know about all that; but this I know: Once I was blind, now I see.”
iv. We don’t base our faith on our personal experience; we base it upon God’s truth, revealed to us in the Bible. Yet our experience of God’s work in our life is an important and persuasive additional support for our faith and the faith of others. To be able to truly claim, “though I was blind, now I see” is a powerful argument.
2. (26-27) The man born blind reacts to the intense questioning.
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?”
a. They said to him again: The tone implies a harsh, intense interrogation. They demanded answers from this man who now could see.
b. I told you already, and you did not listen: The man born blind showed a simple and profound wisdom in his back-and-forth with the esteemed and educated religious leaders. If they kept asking the same question, they would keep hearing the same answer.
i. “As the mercy of God had given him his sight, so the wisdom of God taught him how to escape the snares laid for his ruin.” (Clarke)
c. Do you also want to become His disciples? Intending to or not, the healed man mocked both their prejudiced rejection of Jesus and proclaimed himself to be a disciple of Jesus (do you also).
i. “He now displays a hitherto unsuspected capacity for ironical repartee.” (Bruce)
ii. “The man did not really expect that these men who were so plainly opposed to Jesus were changing their minds. But he was quite ready to bait them.” (Morris)
3. (28-34) After wisely answering the religious leaders, the man is excommunicated.
Then they reviled him and said, “You are His disciple, but we are Moses’ disciples. “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; 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.
a. We know that God spoke to Moses; as for this fellow, we do not know where He is from: The religious leaders could not keep from displaying their own proud arrogance and their prejudiced contempt of Jesus (this fellow).
b. Why, this is a marvelous thing: The healed man said this about their unbelief, not about the miracle of Jesus. It was if he told the religious leaders, “Your unbelief and ignorance in the face of the evidence is more of a miracle than my cure.”
i. That you do not know where He is from: “His ‘ye’ is emphatic and may carry some sly irony: ‘You, the religious experts, cannot work out a simple thing like this?’” (Morris)
c. We know that God does not hear sinners: Isaiah 1:15 and Psalm 66:18 are passages that say that God is not obligated to hear the prayer of a sinner. With knowledge of the Scriptures and valid application, the simple man born blind proved that their claim “we know this man is a sinner” was false.
i. “As a well-brought-up Jew the man regards it as axiomatic that a miracle wrought in answer to prayer is proof that its worker is no sinner. No divine help is available for impenitent sinners.” (Tasker)
ii. The man’s statement was in one sense true and in another sense false. God is certainly under no obligation to hear the prayer of the man or woman in rebellion against Him. Yet in His mercy and for His ultimate wise purpose, He may hear the unrepentant sinner.
iii. Yet the man’s statement was completely true in this sense: “If Christ had been an impostor, it is not possible to conceive that God would have listened to his prayer, and given him the power to open the blind man’s eyes.” (Spurgeon)
d. You were completely born in sins, and are you teaching us? These religious leaders despised the common people, and this man in particular. They were especially angry because he was right and they were wrong,
i. “A mortified man will yield to learn of anybody; ‘a little child shall lead him,’.” (Trapp)
e. And they cast him out: The excommunication of the blind man – difficult as it was – turned out to be a good thing, because he would shortly be far more connected to Jesus.
i. “The casting out of this man meant his excommunication from his religious rights in Temple and synagogue.” (Morgan)
ii. The religious leaders treated this man terribly.
· They abused him (they reviled him).
· They insulted him (You were completely born in sins).
· They rejected him (they cast him out).
iii. “They have had since many followers in their crimes. A false religion, supported by the state, has, by fireand sword silenced those whose truth in the end annihilated the system of their opponents.” (Clarke)
4. (35-38) The man born blind and then healed believes on Jesus.
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.
a. When He had found him: The religious leaders rejected the man whom Jesus healed. Jesus then made it a point to meet him and receive him. It hurts to be rejected by others, but God has consolation for us in Jesus Christ.
i. “If He finds and receives, what does it matter who rejects?” (Morgan)
ii. “He that enjoys the favor of the Son of God will not tremble at the frown of the Sanhedrim.” (Spurgeon)
b. Do you believe in the Son of God? Jesus called on the healed man to fully believe, and he did (Lord, I believe). When the healed man declared his loyalty to Jesus by not denying Him before the hostile religious leaders, he was rewarded when Jesus revealed more of Himself to him (You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you).
i. “The question ‘Do you believe in the Son of Man?’ is a summons to commitment. The Greek pronoun su(‘you’) used with the verb makes the inquiry doubly emphatic. It demanded a personal decision in the face of opposition or rejection.” (Tenney)
ii. Jesus dealt with this man differently than most. He met his physical need first, then allowed him to endure persecution, then called him to a specific belief. It’s good to remember that God may work differently in different lives.
iii. Some manuscripts have Son of Man instead of Son of God. Both terms point to God’s Messiah, the One who should be believed and trusted.
c. And he worshipped Him: The religious leaders said, “You can’t worship with us at the temple.” Jesus said, “I will receive your worship.”
i. When the man worshipped Jesus, Jesus received the worship. This is something that no man or angel in the Bible does. The fact that Jesus accepted this worship is another proof that Jesus was and is God, and that He knew Himself to be God.
ii. The formerly blind man showed an increasing awareness of Jesus.
· Jesus is a man (John 9:11).
· Jesus is a prophet (John 9:17).
· Jesus is my master, I am His disciple (John 9:27).
· Jesus is from God (John 9:33).
· Jesus is the Son of God (John 9:35-38).
· Jesus is who I trust (John 9:38).
· Jesus is who I worship (John 9:38).
5. (39-41) Jesus distinguishes between the blind and the seeing.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.” Then some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these words, and said to Him, “Are we blind also?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, ‘We see.’ Therefore your sin remains.
a. For judgment I have come into this world: John recorded these words of Jesus as part of a larger theme in his Gospel – that men were divided over Jesus, with some accepting and some rejecting. This is one way Jesus brought judgment…into this world, by being a dividing line.
i. In this sense, Jesus is like the Continental Divide in the Rocky Mountains; a single place where an entire path is decided. Jesus is “the pivot on which human destiny turns.” (Tenney)
ii. “His statement that He had come to judge the world meant that He would be the separating One, the One through whom God would judge.” (Morgan)
b. That those who do not see may see: Those who admit their spiritual blindness can find sight in Jesus. But those who see may be made blind – that is, those who falsely claim to have spiritual sight will be made blind.
i. “They which see not means ‘they who have no spiritual vision by are conscious of their need of it’; and they which see means ‘they who wrongly suppose that they already possess spiritual vision’.” (Tasker)
ii. Those who do not see may see: “Those who are conscious of their blindness and grieved on account of it may be relieved; while those who are content with the light they have lose even that.” (Dods)
iii. “We ought not to suffer any person to perish for lack of knowing the gospel. We cannot give men eyes, but we can give them light.” (Spurgeon)
iv. In saying those who do not see, Jesus used blindness in a spiritual, metaphorical sense – of those who cannot see the light and truth of God, especially as it is revealed in Jesus Christ. One may say that this entire chapter paints a picture of how Jesus heals blind souls.
· We are all spiritually blind from birth.
· Jesus takes the initiative in healing us from blindness.
· Jesus does a work of creation in us, not reformation.
· In this work, we must be obedient to what Jesus commands.
· Jesus commands us to be washed in the water of baptism.
· We become a mystery to our former associates, not even seeming to be the same person.
· We display loyalty to Jesus when we are persecuted, boldly and plainly testifying of His work in our lives and confounding others.
· We pass from little knowledge to greater knowledge, and this brings us to greater worship and adoration.
· We never know the name of this man born blind. Jesus is the important One; a true disciple is content to remain anonymous if his Lord gets the glory.
c. Are we blind also? The Pharisees sneered at Jesus, confident in their own spiritual sight – which was blindness, because they could not see the Son of God right in front of them.
i. “Take a homely illustration from myself: I used to be very backward in using spectacles for some time, because I could almost see without them, and I did not wish to be an old gentleman too soon. But now that I cannot read my notes at all without wearing spectacles, I put them on without a moment’s hesitation, and I do not care whether you think me old or not. So when a man comes to feel thoroughly guilty, he does not mind depending upon God.” (Spurgeon)
d. If you were blind, you would have no sin: If the Pharisees would admit to their spiritual blindness, they could be forgiven and set free – but because they say “we see,” their sin remains.
i. There is a great difference between the one who is blind and knows it, and the one who simply shuts his eyes.
ii. “To be so self-deceived as to shut one’s eyes to the light is a desperate state to be in: the light is there, but if people refuse to avail themselves of it but rather deliberately reject it, how can they be enlightened? As Jesus said, their sin remains.” (Bruce)