Read John 9
Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind
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?”
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.”
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.
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 Pharisees Investigate the Healing
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.”
18 They still did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they sent for the man’s parents. 19 “Is this your son?” they asked. “Is this the one you say was born blind? How is it that now he can see?”
20 “We know he is our son,” the parents answered, “and we know he was born blind. 21 But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don’t know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself.” 22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who already had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. 23 That was why his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”
24 A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. “Give glory to God by telling the truth,” they said. “We know this man is a sinner.”
25 He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”
26 Then they asked him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?”
27 He answered, “I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?”
28 Then they hurled insults at him and said, “You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses! 29 We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.”
30 The man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will. 32 Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”
34 To this they replied, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out.
35 Jesus heard that they had thrown him 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.
Over the last few chapters we have seen growing animosity towards Jesus as He continues to perform signs and miracles. There is a patterned response of people when Jesus enacts these signs and miracles: They either misunderstand or they get angry. Either way, they must make a choice. When Jesus enters the room or conversation, He requires a decision to be made: Believe or don’t. There is no neutral with Jesus.
In John 9 we are introduced to a man who was born blind. In ancient Judaism, the common assumption was that this man’s sin had caused his blindness. This can often be an assumption that we are guilty of as well when something bad happens to innocent people. Jesus flips the script on this thought. He says that divine purposes are the deciding factor, and the divine purpose is so “that the works of God might be displayed in him”. God will sometimes allow us, His children, to go through trials of various kinds so we can experience God’s mercy and power in our deliverance. So, we can rejoice in the fact that God is working our present trials for good for those who have been born again (Romans 8:28, John 3:3). Jesus also reiterates that He is “the light of the world” (v. 5), which is referencing God’s illuminating presence. This statement is especially important in light of the fact that Jesus heals a blind man, so he is now able to see light for the very first time in his life. This “sign” is also a symbol of how Jesus being the “light of the world” brings to light the knowledge of God.
After the blind man is healed, he begins to share his story with those around him. He did not have an elaborate testimony, but a simple one “I was blind, but now I see” (v. 25). Even when his family and community were reluctant to his story, he was faithful to share what Jesus had done in his life. He rightly understood that you cannot judge obedience by the outcome. This should encourage and embolden us to faithfully share our story no matter the circumstance.
- Are you faithfully sharing your story with others? If not, what is holding you back?
- Do you find yourself judging your own obedience based on the outcome? How can you re-frame that in your mind?
- How have you seen God at work even in the midst of suffering?
Did You Know?
The healing of the blind man wasn’t just an incredible act, it also fulfilled multiple prophecies from Isaiah (Isaiah 29:18; 35:5; 42:7) that claimed the coming Messiah would heal blindness. In all the miracles recording in scripture, only Jesus restored sight.