"Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind"
In the previous study, Jesus declared himself to be the light of the world. In this study He restores a blind man's physical and spiritual light.
Jesus Heals a blind man:
VERSE 1-3: "As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. 2And his disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" 3Jesus answered, "It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him."
The disciples had seen this man as they were leaving the temple area. Blind people would often be found near the temple begging. That's the only way they could make a living.
The Jewish teachers often believed suffering and sickness was due to sin; that someone could be made suffer for the sins of one's parents, or even for a sin committed by the mother during the pregnancy.
At any rate, this curse, sometimes referred to as Generational Curses, was surely removed by Jesus, and Paul says in (Rom 8:1.) there is now no condemnation. If God does not condemned us for our own sins He surely will not condemn us for the sins of others, right?
We do often carry the same curses of our forefathers, even from the Garden of Eden as well as their bad habits, features, and propensities to do the wrong things, make the same mistakes, and have the same sicknesses, and so on. So there are many reasons to seek deliverance from things passed on to us from our forefathers, but, these things are not due to the sins of our forefathers because Jesus paid the price for all sins.
VERSE 4: "We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. 5As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world."
The contrast between day and night appears to be symbolic. In that day, for the most part, the only ones who worked after dark were shepherds and watchmen, and jobs that were essential but didn't require the super lighting such as we have today.
And, relating to verse 5, in one of our previous studies, (John 8;12), in speaking of spiritual light, Jesus said that He was the light of the world to all nations, and that all who did not follow Him were walking in darkness. As long as Jesus is present there is light and illumination.
VERSE 6-7: "Having said these things, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud 7and said to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam" (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing."
The strange use of saliva in curing blindness is also found in Mark 7:33, but, for what it's worth, in that case it was applied direct, and here, in the man born blind, it was mixed with soil. Our present medical professionals would disagree, but in that time there was a belief that saliva was beneficial for diseased eye. But John made it clear that it was a miraculous healing that occurred as the man obeyed by washing his eyes in "Siloam."His healing was a result of his obedience to Jesus, his faith, and the power of God.
VERSE 8-12: "The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar were saying, "Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?" 9Some said, "It is he." Others said, "No, but he is like him." He kept saying, "I am the man."So they said to him, "Then how were your eyes opened?" 11He answered, "The man called Jesus made mud and anointed my eyes and said to me, 'Go to Siloam and wash.' So I went and washed and received my sight." 12They said to him, "Where is he?" He said, "I do not know."
In these scriptures the argument about the identity of the man born blind whom Jesus healed, his own vague knowledge of Jesus, and the certainty of the cure are all brought out.
People in that day, and even in our day, didn't recover from being born blind. Even though this man kept telling the people that He was the same one they had always known some of them just couldn't believe he was the same man.
He even told them what Jesus had him to do. And although the Pharisees claimed to know God and everything about the law, the man born blind, who knew very little about the law, had met Jesus, and had experienced a miracle that these scholars couldn't refute. They didn't have a valid argument.
But, in verses 13 and 14,
VERSES 13-14: "They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. 14Now it was a Sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes."
We're not told who brought the man to the Pharisees, but it is likely to have been some who were hostile toward Jesus and were sticklers for the Jewish law. In spite of having been done as an act of mercy, under the Jewish law the making of the clay on the Sabbath would have been against the law.
And, from what we have learned about these people we know that the good things Jesus did meant nothing to them; that regardless of how much good He had done their response would be to charge Him with breaking the law.
VERSE 15: "So the Pharisees again asked him how he had received his sight. And he said to them, "He put mud on my eyes, and I washed, and I see."
The Pharisees were interested in the method Jesus used.
VERSE 16-17: "Some of the Pharisees said, "This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath." But others said, "How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?" And there was a division among them. 17So they said again to the blind man, "What do you say about him, since he has opened your eyes?" He said, "He is a prophet."
Again, they are accusing Jesus of not keeping the Sabbath. In that day there is said to have been ninety nine classes of work that were forbidden on the Sabbath, and the Pharisees apparently considered miraculous healing to be one of them, and even the making of mud from one's spittle. But they were divided, because at least some knew that this miracle of the man born blind had to come from God, so they were divided.
The man told them that he thought Jesus was a prophet. Apparently he had not previously known Jesus and didn't know that He was the Messiah, so in saying "he is a prophet," was no doubt the best he could do at the time.
VERSE 18-21: "The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight, until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight 19and asked them, "Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?" 20His parents answered, "We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. 21But how he now sees we do not know, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself."
The Jews didn't accept the man's testimony that he had been born blind, so they summoned his parents and asked them if he had actually been born blind. If anyone would know, they would! His parents obviously didn't want to testify, but both the Greek and Jewish courts could force people to testify against their will; so not wanting to be in trouble with the court they simply acknowledged that he was their son and had been born blind, and then said, "ask him; he is of age."
We aren't told how old the man was, but he was certainly of age, because after the age of thirteen a Jewish boy became responsible for keeping the commandments.
The Jews had already made up their mind and had totally disregarded the man's miraculous healing. They disregarded the evidence that although he had been born blind that now he could see. They disregarded his testimony, that of his parents and all of those who had known him these many years.
Even though they had no other explanation for the man's healing, they clung to their argument was that no power, except of God could heal anyone who had been born blind, and that Jesus was not of God.
VERSES 22-23: "His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone should confess Jesus to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue.) 23Therefore his parents said, "He is of age; ask him."
The law of the Pharisees was very strict concerning the cross-examination of the witnesses. It was supposed to be done fairly and without prejudice, so these interrogators had violated their own rules and ethics.
To be put out of the synagogue, excommunicated, was a very harsh treatment that was rarely carried out and was considered to be one of the most severe forms of discipline.
VERSE 24: "So for the second time they called the man who had been blind and said to him, "Give glory to God. We know that this man is a sinner."
Again they called the man born blind to court again and commanded him to "give glory to God." This could not have meant that the Jews were urging the man to praise God for the healing, but was more of what we might call a "Swearing In" ceremony, to take a common Jewish oath to tell the truth.
VERSE 25: "He answered, "Whether he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see." 26They said to him, "What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?" 27He answered them, "I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?"
The man gave his testimony but that didn't give them the answers they need to accomplish their purpose; so perhaps like today's courts, they began asking for details, and presenting technicalities; because these were much easier to challenge than his straight-forward witness to the facts.
So although they cross-examine the man they don't get very far. Isn't it obvious that the man born blind was irritated by their stubborn refusal to accept the truth. He apparently saw the irony realized the answers they wanted were those that would help accomplish their purpose, but it didn't work. He reminded them that he had already told them everything that happened.
VERSE 28-29: "And they reviled him, saying, "You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. 29We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from."
"They reviled him", or used abusive language, and, admit that they don't know where Jesus came from.
This may have been a suggestion or idea concerning Jesus heritage that seems to reappear from time to time. The courts would sometimes investigate a person accused of leading the people astray to determine if they were an illegitimate child; which would eliminate any credibility.
VERSE 30-33: "The man answered, "Why, this is an amazing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. 31We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him."
Doesn't this man seem to be as perplexed as we are concerning their disbelief? And he continues to be more and more harsh with his answers. But as we know, their views and disbelief concerning supernatural healing is very similar to some of the medical authorities of today.
So, here this unlearned, previously blind man lecturing the Pharisees, and to paraphrase tells, them God doesn't listen to sinners, but He does to those who worship Him and do His will.
And goes on in Verses 32 and 33 to say:
VERSES 32-33: "Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing."
He said never has it been heard that anyone had ever opened the eyes of the blind. This man, born blind, like most with any knowledge of God, recognized that the restoration of his sight could have only been a miracle from God.
VERSE 34: "They answered him, "You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us?" And they cast him out."
The theologically minded Jews finally realized they could make no headway with this man who argued his case with such integrity, but in spite of his testimony and correct argument in court they kicked him out of the synagogue. It didn't matter whether he was right or not it was not the answer they were looking for.
The rest of this study/chapter deals with the man born blind's discussion with Jesus. Jesus took the initiative and looked him up.
VERSE 35-38: "Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?" 36He answered, "And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?" 37Jesus said to him, "You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you." 38He said, "Lord, I believe," and he worshiped him."
As with others in our studies who had met the Master, and perhaps been healed, and were then abused, hurt, embarrassed by the Jews, Jesus finds the man born blind and offers him comfort and assurance, and eternal life.
The man did not know Jesus' true identity until He said "I am the Son of Man," then he said "Lord I believe." He thought Jesus was at least a prophet, or at least from God, but had not known that He was "God the Son," the Messiah.
He meets the Master and has the fantastic opportunity to worship Him face to face.
And Jesus continuing to speak in verse 39,
VERSE 39: "Jesus said, "For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind."
The non-seeing and seeing, seeing and becoming blind are among the characteristics of this Gospel of John's. The blind man had received both spiritual and physical sight. Yet, the Pharisees possessed natural sight and thought they possessed spiritual sight, but their reaction to Jesus showed they were actually blind, spiritually blind.
VERSE 40-41: "Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, "Are we also blind?" 41Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, 'We see,' your guilt remains."
As we have seen in this study, the spiritually blind, are the blindest of all? Haven't we seen their blindness throughout this study? Their question "are we also blind" was a sign of their unbelief.
Jesus said "if you were really blind you would be guiltless. If they were actually bind "spiritually" they would desire this spiritual sight, but they obviously didn't. Jesus was saying their willful, or deliberate spiritual blindness carried with it judgment and guilt; in this case they were guilty of rejecting the Messenger of God, and God Himself.