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The Man Born Blind - Scott Richardson

Miracle At Cana:  Water To Wine - Daniel Tucker


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October 2, 2011


The Man Born Blind

As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.” When He had said this, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and applied the clay to his eyes, and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went away and washed, and came back seeing. (John 9:1-7)

The Association of Adversaries

The significance of the events of the ninth chapter of John become much more powerful when the context of what Jesus teaches is examined. Jesus spent this day teaching in the Temple in the midst of adversaries. The begin with, the adversaries are trying to trap Jesus with questions concerning a woman caught in adultery, “‘Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?’ They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him …” (John 8:5-6). Jesus then began to teach a most remarkable lesson: “Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.’” (John 8:12). Jesus restates this theme as he heals the man in the text of the ninth chapter. What a striking comparison of blindness and darkness and of the healing from Jesus and the Light that is Jesus.

“Adversaries” very well describes the Pharisees and scribes in this narrative. They are certainly opposed to Jesus. On more than one instance in this context, they are plotting ways to kill Him (John 8:37,40,59). Jesus explicitly tells them that rather than displaying that they are the sons of Abraham, these Jews are showing that they are the sons of the devil (John 8:44). How appropriate! The name of the devil, “Satan,” means “adversary” in Hebrew. What a picture Jesus paints: opposition of Himself and these Jews, of God and Satan, of Light and darkness. Then He “brings it to life” right before their own blinded eyes through the healing of the blind man He passes by as He leaves the Temple.

The Situation of the Sightless

What a sad predicament for the man John describes. The man was without the blessing of sight and had been this way since birth. Stories from history show that people had often attempted to remedy blindness in some circumstances of disease and injury. The Egyptians even injected bat blood into a patient’s ears to cure blindness, but no one could open the eyes of someone born blind. The man who had been blind himself answered: “Since the beginning of time it has never been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind.” (John 9:32). This man was without hope. He could not function normally in society and to maintain his existence he sat near the Temple and begged (John 9:8).

The Confusion of the Companions

A popular conception of any affliction is that it is caused by sin. Another reference to this idea is recounted in Luke 13:1-5. The disciples were curious about who must have sinned in this case. They were a bit confused since the man was born blind. Was it then his parents that had sinned (John 9:2)?

The Solution of the Savior

Jesus let them know that everything was not as they imagined. “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” (John 9:3). Jesus continued His lesson by making a paste of dirt and His own spittle and applying it to the blind eyes (John 9:6).

The Subservience of the Sightless

Compassion and mercy is what Jesus showed to the blind man, but what then does the blind man show? Jesus provided a solution by applying the paste to the eyes and continued by saying, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam.” The healing had not yet taken place; something was required of the man. Yes, he had come in contact with Jesus. Yes, Jesus had applied the clay, but did the man trust Jesus? Was the man willing to walk by faith and immerse his eyes at the pool? Yes, the man responded to the words of Jesus: “So he went away and washed, and came back seeing.” (John 9:7). He obeyed Jesus without question and the works of God were displayed in him.

The Dividing of the Disgruntled

The adversaries were quite disturbed by this turn of events. The facts as presented to them led to division among them. “Therefore some of the Pharisees were saying, ‘This man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath.’ But others were saying, ‘How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?’ And there was a division among them.” (John 9:16). Although divided, they still held to their predetermined animosity toward Jesus. The questioned the one healed. They questioned the man’s parents. They weren’t really looking for answers, “for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone confessed Him to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue” (John 9:22).

The adversaries again asked the healed man about Jesus. He knew their motives and somewhat sarcastically answered, “I told you already and you did not listen; why do you want to hear it again? You do not want to become His disciples too, do you?” (John 9:27). What the man had to say was not what they wanted to hear. They put the man out of the synagogue (John 9:34).

The Steps of the Seeing

It is interesting to note the growth and progress of the healed man. At the beginning of the text, the man did not even approach Jesus himself. Then as Jesus interacted with the man, he became willing to become subservient. Immediately after the miracle of sight, he simply referred to Jesus as “The man who is called Jesus” (John 9:11). When first questioned by the Pharisees, he said of Jesus, “He is a prophet” (John 9:17). When pressed the second time by the Pharisees, he stated that Jesus was from God (John 9:33). Upon being put out of the synagogue, Jesus came to the man. Now, how did the man feel about Jesus as the Son of God? “Lord, I believe.” And he worshiped Him.” (John 9:38).

The Unperceptive Unforgiven

It is sad to think of the state of those in that day and even in our day who refuse to see Jesus. Without Jesus, there remains sin. “And Jesus said, ‘For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.’ Those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things and said to Him, ‘We are not blind too, are we?’ Jesus said to them, ‘If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.’” (John 9:39-41).

—S. Scott Richardson Sr.

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