Chapter 9


Sight Received


A reminder that Jesus is still in the Temple and it is still the Feast of Tabernacles. In chapters 7 and 8 we have seen how spiritually blind the Jews, particularly the scribes and Pharisees are. Here in this chapter through this blind man we have an event that brings out the truth of spiritual blindness.


9:1 Now as Jesus was passing by, he saw a man who had been blind from birth.


As He was leaving the Temple Jesus saw a man who had been born blind. The man does not call out or draw any attention to himself which suggest that he was not aware that Jesus was near Him.


9:2 His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who committed the sin that caused him to be born blind, this man or his parents?


Neither does Jesus draw attention to the man it is His disciples who are with Him who do this by asking the question "who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" It was believed that if anyone who suffered with sickness, disability or things were going wrong that the person or their parents must have committed some sin/sins. This is what Job's friends said was the course of his troubles (Job 22:5).


9:3 Jesus answered, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but he was born blind so that the acts of God may be revealed through what happens to him.


Jesus corrects this injustice and clearly states that this man's blindness was not through any sin of the man or his parents but that he was blind so that God's power might be seen at work and His Name Glorified. Jesus did not infer by this that the man or his parents were without sin.


9:4 We must perform the deeds of the one who sent me as long as it is daytime. Night is coming when no one can work.


The time for Jesus to carry out his Father's work while He was on earth and to fulfill the plan of salvation was limited for the time would come when He would be cut off from the land of the living (Isa. 53:8). "While it is day"  that is while there is still an opportunity to do so. "Night is coming" the time will come when no one will be able to do the work of God.  


9:5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.


When He was in the world Jesus was the "Light" and He still is the "Light of the World" shining through those who are His disciples (Matt. 5:14-16 and Phil. 2:15). To work the works of God while their is opportunity applies to all followers of Christ in a double sense. It is limited by the span of life that the Lord gives us and by the time left before the Lord returns for His Church and the day of grace ends. Jesus was going to give light to this blind man in more ways than one.


9:6 Having said this, he spat on the ground and made some mud with the saliva. He smeared the mud on the blind man's eyes.


When He had finished speaking to His disciples He turns His attention to the blind man. In this instance Jesus uses  natural elements to perform the miracle clay and saliva. The Jews held saliva to be effective in curing eye-trouble, but it was forbidden to do so on the Sabbath. Having made this salve Jesus anointed the man's eyes with it.   Notice that it says He "anointed" the man with the clay - The "'Anointed"' One of God "'anointed"' the man.


9:7 And said, "Go wash in the pool of Siloam" (which is translated "sent"). So the blind man went away and washed, and came back seeing.


Having done this He tells him to go and wash in the pool of Siloam. It was not the clay, saliva or the washing in the pool of Siloam that gave the man his sight it was the power of Jesus transmitted through His saliva to the clay. We read in the account of the woman who had the issue of blood that she was healed by the virtue/power flowing from the hem of His garment (Matt. 9:20-21).


9:8-9 Then the neighbors and the people who had seen him previously as a beggar began saying, "Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?" Some people said, "This is the man!" while others said, "No, but he looks like him." The man himself kept insisting, "I am the one!


The people who knew this man as a blind beggar could not recognise him after the Lord had performed this remarkable miracle.  He looked so different, he was changed, a new man! And so it is with those who have had their spiritual blindness taken away from them by the Lord Jesus Christ, they are changed, different, unrecognizable by their former associates and family (2 Cor. 5:17).


9:10 So they asked him, "How then were you made to see?


They cannot understand how the man's sight had been given him so they asked him how this miracle had happened.  


9:11-12 He replied, "The man called Jesus made mud, smeared it on my eyes and told me, 'Go to Siloam and wash.'so I went and washed, and was able to see." They said to him, "Where is that man?" He replied, "I don't know.


The man did not hesitate to tell them exactly what happened and who it was that healed Him, although at this point of time He only knew Him as a man called Jesus.  


Give Glory to God


We must keep in mind that in these verses it is primarily Jesus who the Pharisees are trying to get at through this man. That is why they interrogated him, they had no other interest or concern for him or the miracle that been done. So it is with everyone who is Christ's disciples (Matt. 5:11 and Matt. 10:22).


9:13-14 They brought the man who used to be blind to the Pharisees. (Now the day on which Jesus made the mud and caused him to see was a Sabbath.


The man had been healed on the Sabbath so his nice neighbours take him to the Pharisees. As far as they were concerned the real issue was that He made a substance and applied it to the man's eyes on the Sabbath Day and this constituted working. It is not so much that Jesus healed the man, although they did not like this


9:15 So the Pharisees asked him again how he had gained his sight. He replied, "He put mud on my eyes and I washed, and now I am able to see.


The man is as certain about his testimony before these rulers as he was with those who knew him. He does not and will not alter telling the truth no matter what they may say or do.  


9:16 Then some of the Pharisees began to say, "This man is not from God, because he does not observe the Sabbath." But others said, "How can a man who is a sinner perform such miraculous signs?" Thus there was a division among them.


They accuse Jesus as being a law breaker because He had violated the Sabbath according to their interpretation of the scriptures (Exod. 20:10). They had no idea who Jesus was; the Son of God; God manifest in the flesh; the One who had given them the commandments to keep! On one occasion when they accused His disciples of breaking the Sabbath He told them "The Sabbath was made on account and for the sake of man, not man for the Sabbath" (Mark 2:27). The Pharisees try to break down the man's confidence by undermining the Lord Jesus.  


9:17 So again they asked the man who used to be blind, "What do you say about him, since he caused you to see?" "He is a prophet," the man replied.


On being asked who he thought Jesus was the man now realizes that He is more than just a man and confesses that He is a prophet, that is, a man of God, which is in complete contradiction to his interrogators.   So the man has graduated in his understanding of who Jesus is from, a man to a prophet.


9:18 Now the Jewish religious leaders refused to believe that he had really been blind and had gained his sight until at last they summoned the parents of the man who had become able to see.


However the man's antagonists do not give up very easily and will not believe that he had be born blind, therefore they call his parents to give evidence.


9:19-21 They asked the parents, "Is this your son, whom you say was born blind? Then how does he now see?" So his parents replied, "We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. But we do not know how he is now able to see, nor do we know who caused him to see. Ask him, he is a mature adult. He will speak for himself.


On being questioned they acknowledge that he is their son and that he was born blind but they do not now how he was healed.   They will not be brought into the argument so they put the ball right back into the hands of their son who they say is old enough to stand up for himself.  


9:22-23 His parents said these things because they were afraid of the Jewish religious leaders. For the Jewish leaders had already agreed that anyone who confessed Jesus to be the Christ would be put out of the synagogue. For this reason his parents said, "He is a mature adult, ask him.


Because of their fear of the Jewish rulers they safeguarded themselves by saying "he is old enough ask him yourselves" for they knew that if any one confessed that Jesus was the Christ they would be thrown out of the synagogue.


9:24 Then they summoned the man who used to be blind a second time and said to him, "Promise before God to tell the truth. We know that this man is a sinner.


When the Pharisees said "Give God the praise" they were saying that the story the man has told is a lie and that by now telling the truth he will give God the glory. They could not deny that he was born blind and now could see but they did not want to accept that Jesus had healed him. To do so would be to acknowledge that Jesus is who He claims to be "the Son of God". They put pressure on the man to deny that he had been healed by Jesus. The devil and his agents will do all they can to bring doubt into the minds of those who have received from the Lord. The devil never changes he still does the same today, has God said? are you really saved? are you really healed? will He meet your every need? etc. Christ's accusers have already  judged and condemned the Lord - "we know he is a sinner". They did not know anything of the sort for He is the spotless Lamb of God (1 Pet. 1:18 and Heb. 4:15).  


9:25 He replied, "I do not know whether he is a sinner. I do know one thing — that although I was blind, now I can see.


The man will not give in he might not be as religious or intelligent as they are but boldly confesses, for he cannot deny the fact that once he was blind but now he sees and he gives them an invitation to follow Jesus! He certainly gave  "Glory to God!"


The Witness of the Healed Man


9:26 Then they said to him, "What did he do to you? How did he cause you to see?


The Pharisees continue their interrogation of the man who was born blind, having now found out from his parents that his story of healing is genuine. But in unbelief they refuse to accept the plain and simple truth that the man has already told them. Jesus had made mud from the dust with his own spit and put it on the man's eyes, sending him to the pool of Siloam to wash it off. When he did he received sight. What the Pharisees are puzzled about is how Christ had the power to do this.


9:27 He answered, "I told you already and you didn't listen. Why do you want to hear it again? You people don't want to become his disciples too, do you?


The man becomes bold, as well he ought to, in face of such unbelief. Why should he repeat what he has already said, since they refuse to listen? He has already made up his mind that Jesus is sent by God and he wants to follow him and be his disciple. Do they want to become his disciples too? No amount of evidence would make them do that. They had become too stubborn in their unbelief and hardness of heart. They were trying to find opportunity to accuse Jesus and arrest him.


9:28 They heaped insults on him, saying, "You are his disciple! We are disciples of Moses!


The Pharisees called the formerly blind man names when he suggested that they might follow Jesus. They were self righteous and thought they were better than he (2 Tim. 3:5) and also considered themselves superior spiritually, claiming to be Moses' disciples. But not only were they not better than others, they were not in truth Moses' discilpes either, for they were not obeying Moses teaching, believing Moses writings, or following Moses' example. They paid no attention to what Moses wrote about the Prophet who was to come, who was to be greater than he. Jesus was that Prophet (Deut. 18:15 and Heb. 3:3).


9:29 We know that God has spoken to Moses! We do not know where this man comes from!


The Pharisees knew that God had spoken to Moses, for they had the account of it in Exod. 3:4. They claimed they did not even know where Jesus came from. They did know that. They were calling him an unknown, it was an insult. They had not understand what had been written about Jesus in their law.


9:30 The man replied, "This is a remarkable thing, that you don't know where he comes from, and yet he caused me to see!


The simple, uneducated man confounds the teachers of the law. For since he was blind from birth he had never learned to read or write. Yet he trusts the evidence of his own miraculous experience to bear witness for Jesus. Moses was used by God to part the Red Sea, but since the world began no one had ever heard of giving sight to a man born blind; so who was the greater? If Moses was a man of God, Jesus must be even more so. Moses had been sent by God from the desert to Egypt, but Jesus was sent from heaven to earth by God the Father. God revealed himself to Moses at the burning bush, but Jesus knew the Father before the world began.


9:31-33 We know that God doesn't listen to sinners, but if anyone is devout and does his will, God listens to him. Never before has anyone heard of someone causing a man born blind to see. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing


The illiterate man has enough sense to realise that God does not hear or answer the prayers of sinners, or do their will. He knows that God hears those who trust and believe in him and answers their prayers. He reasons, quite rightly that if Jesus were not from God, and did not have God's power or approval then he could do nothing.


9:34 They replied, "You were born completely in sinfulness, and yet you presume to teach us?" So they threw him out.


The self righteous Pharisees considered themselves without sin, above the law, better than other men, more righteous. The man has hit a raw nerve, because their lack of faith in Christ had revealed their sin (John 16:8-11). This brought conviction from the Holy Spirit, which they reject. They heap insults on the man, wrongly accusing him of being steeped in sin at birth, an impossibility, for though all men are born in sin, with a sinful nature, and so need salvation - no infant has committed any actual sin. They thought themselves intellectually superior - "how dare you teach us?" They threw him out of the Sanhedrin and excommunicated him from the synagogue.


9:35 Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, so he found the man and said to him, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?


Jesus heard that they had cast him out. Christ is always ready to draw near to someone who is being rejected or ill treated for his name sake (Heb. 13:12-14). He knew that the man had begun to have faith in him, now he wants to focus that faith. He has healed the man, but now he wanted to save his soul. Christ wanted the man to believe in him, not as a great miracle worker, or as a prophet, but as the Christ, the Son of God who had come to save him from his sin. When anyone believes this he or she is born again (1 John 5:1).


9:36 The man replied, "And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?


In reply to Jesus' question "Do you believe in the Son of God." The man, confessing Christ as Lord humbly asks who he is so that he can believe in him.


9:37 Jesus told him, "You have seen him; he is the one speaking with you.


"You have now seen him" is a reference firstly to the miracle Jesus had wrought, then to the One standing in front of him who was the Son of God.


9:38 He said, "Lord, I believe," and he worshiped him.


The man was ready to believe and now understands who and what he must believe in, since Christ has revealed it to him, and so he worships Christ as the Son of God.


9:39-41 Jesus said, "For judgment I have come into this world, so that those who do not see may gain their sight, and the ones who see may become blind." Pharisees who were with him heard this and asked him, "We are not blind too, are we?" Jesus replied, "If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin, but now because you claim that you can see, your guilt remains."


To the crowds, including the Pharisees, Jesus explains the purpose which his miracle illustrated. Christ had come into the world to separate man from man, that is to set apart those who believe in Him as his own. Those who receive Christ as Saviour, although previously spiritually blind, are illuminated by the Holy Spirit through the truth of the gospel and brought to new birth (2 Cor. 4:4-6). These believers are justified and saved from the eternal judgement to come.


Those who reject Christ are condemned eternally. It is men's reaction to Christ which decides their eternal destiny. Those who say "we see" are those who are self righteous, who claim they do not need a Saviour. Because they reject Christ, the only one who can take their sin away, their sin and guilt remains. "Those who see may be made blind" that is, they are blinded by their own self righteousness  to Christ's purpose in coming to save them.


When the Pharisees ask if they are also blind, Jesus replies, if you were, you would not be charged with sin. He does not mean that they would be without sin, for all men have sinned (Rom. 3:23). He means that they would be less to blame for their rejection of Him. But since they had the light of the Divine law, and the light of Christ's miracles, yet still rejected him, their guilt would not be taken away (John 15:24). It was because the Pharisees thought they were good enough to get themselves to heaven that they did not submit themselves to the righteousness of God in Christ (Rom. 10:3).


This is a warning for us. We must not think we are good enough to merit forgiveness from God, or good enough to go to heaven. Instead we must admit that we have sinned and ask the Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us and rose again, to forgive us and give us His free gift of eternal life. We will never get to heaven by trying to be good but only by trusting the Lord Jesus Christ. Have you trusted Jesus Chrit to Some of the give you His free gift of eternal life, for he is offering it to you today.

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