John 9:13-17 (Holman) They brought the man who used to be blind to the Pharisees. The day that Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes was a Sabbath. So again the Pharisees asked him how he received his sight. AHe put mud on my eyes,@ he told them. AI washed and I can see.@ Therefore some of the Pharisees said, AThis man is not from God, for He doesn=t keep the Sabbath!@ But others were saying, AHow can a sinful man perform such signs?@ And there was a division among them. Again they asked the blind man, AWhat do you say about Him, since He opened your eyes?@ AHe=s a prophet,@ he said.
The man born blind had been healed by Jesus on the Sabbath Since this was an unlawful act, the healed man was brought before the religious leaders for investigation.
It was dangerous to speak well of Jesus, but the healed man had no choice. He couldn=t hide the evidence. Something had happened which he could not deny.
None of the Pharisees asked, ACan you see?@ That was obvious. The same is true of whatever Christ does for you. It will be obvious.
This is especially true of conversion. Your acquaintances will know that you are converted if you really are. They will find it out. When God does a AHoly Ghost@ job in your heart, you can not keep it a secret unless you consciously squelch the evidence.
How sad it is that we (AI@ included) are ashamed of the outward results of inner conversion. We often act like something we are not. We have the right, and the obligation, to be what we are. It is an indictment on our backwardness that cursing and APlayboy@ are socially acceptable, but religious talk and the Bible are taboo.
We should cultivate a general habit of openness and boldness. We don=t need to become pushy or be a nuisance; but we also should live and walk in the world as those who have nothing to conceal.
One man was converted, but was afraid to tell his wife. He was afraid she would ridicule him. He would sneak upstairs to pray so she wouldn=t see or hear him. But his scheme broke down. His wife soon found out.
Genuine conversion is not to be hidden. You cannot hide a cough. If a man has a cough, he must cough. And if you have grace in your heart, let it show forth in your life.
Has something happened in your heart, or not? If it has, then alert your body to that fact. Let yourself be what you are. Your body actions need to be conformed to your heart condition. Then you will be a living testimony.
The way you eat will show it; the pause to thank God will be obvious. Your weekends henceforth will belong to God. Your reading habits will include the Word. Your interests will change. Compassion will begin to shine through you. You will find it natural to tell people you are praying for them.
Some say AI am so retiring.@ Drop your indecent modesty and get braver. A soldier who retires in the day of battle is shot as a coward. We should assert ourselves more. Something has happened. Reveal the evidence.
Act I, Scene II, AThe Critics@
John 9:18a The Jews did not believe this about him.
The Pharisees were suspicious throughout and used browbeating tactics to try to disprove this miracle. The lost world hates to confess the supernatural. They know only the flesh and want to do away with the miraculous.
Voltaire said, AIf in the market of Paris, before the eyes of a thousand men, and before my own eyes a miracle should be performed, I would much rather disbelieve the two thousand eyes and my own too, than believe it.@
The world still abounds with critics. The world is shrouded in blindness. It is seen in the prejudice that has always abounded against the Godly. The Jews called Jesus a Samaritan, a devil, a sinner, a wine-bibber, etc.
When John Huss was burned at the stake, the man who prepared the wood-pile knew nothing about Huss= doctrine. The man was simply a pawn of his masters and accepted the poison they said of Huss without question. He was so happy, industrious, and zealous to kindle the flame that the martyr cried out, AO holy simplicity.@
The world is still just as blind as ever. The lost world will always criticize us and our spiritual beliefs. We have experienced something that lies outside their realm of experience.
But this should not shake us or surprise us. We were warned, ABe aware of this: scoffers will come in the last days to scoff, following their own lusts@ (2 Peter 3:3).
Lost men cannot pronounce an honest judgment on us because of their preconceived and well-entrenched prejudices.
Act II, Scene I, AThe Parents@
John 9:18-23 The Jews did not believe this about him B that he was blind and received sight B until they summoned the parents of the one who had received his sight. They asked them, AIs this your son, the one you say was born blind? How then does he now see?@ AWe know this is our son and that he was born blind,@ his parents answered. ABut we don=t know how he now sees, and we don=t know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he=s of age. He will speak for himself.@ His parents said these things because they were afraid of the Jews, since the Jews had already agreed that if anyone confessed Him as Messiah, he would be banned from the synagogue. This is why his parents said, AHe=s of age; ask him.@
It is obvious that the man can see, so the Pharisees decide to try another point of attack.
The Pharisees hoped this miracle had been faked by Jesus and the man. Surely it was a hoax. The Pharisees could not reconcile a genuine miracle of healing with disregard to the Sabbath. Hence, they suspect collusion.
The parents of the beggar are summoned and asked, essentially, three questions. Is this your son? Was he born blind? How does he now see?
The parents verified that a miracle had occurred. Their son, born blind, could now see. Even the Pharisees were convinced (v 18).
The parents had not cooperated with the Pharisees, but neither had they spoken boldly for Jesus. The fear of excommunication terrified them.
They were undoubtedly grateful for what Jesus had done to their son, but their gratitude was not strong enough t to make them courageous. They probably did not witness the actual healing. Their absence from the scene gave them a convenient cop-out.
AThe fear of man is a snare@ (Proverbs 29:25). Most of us can see ourselves here. We definitely have no prejudice against Christ, but at the same time we just can=t muster enough courage to speak boldly for Him.
The parents refer the Pharisees back to their son. He=s a tiger and they know it. He can speak for himself.
Act III, Scene I, AThe Jab@
John 9:24-27 So a second time they summoned the man who had been blind and told him, AGive glory to God. We know that this man is a sinner!@ He answered, AWhether or not He=s a sinner, I don=t know. One thing I do know: I was blind, and now I can see!@ Then they asked him, AWhat did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?@ AI already told you,@ he said, Aand you didn=t listen. Why do you want to hear it again? You don=t want to become His disciples too, do you?@
The leaders had heard enough for conviction, but they were afraid of the conclusion. Hence, they recalled the beggar, probably hoping to find a contradiction in his accounts. And if that didn=t work, they would at least try to prove that Jesus did not have a hand in it.
The leaders adjure him to AGive glory to God.@ This was an oath used by Jews in court. God is called upon as a witness, and the man is solemnly charged to speak the truth (Joshua 7:19). The implication is that his former statements dishonored God (that is, they were dishonest).
However, the healed man was tired of the debate. He had no desire for antics. He was irritated at the persistence of the Pharisees and sprang to the attack. This volley is the most exciting part of the debate.
He withstood the Pharisees with vigor. He even implied himself a follower of Jesus (Aalso@) in the masterstroke, the jab B Awill ye also be His disciples?@ (v 24).
Maclaren called this debate a clash between knowledge which is ignorant and ignorance which knows, with the latter the winner. The blind man was an example of honest ignorance, knowing himself ignorant and therefore waiting for light and wiling to be led. But he also illustrates honest knowledge. He knew what he knew and refused to be coaxed or frightened.
There is found an example of what we should be. We must know what we know and stand by it. But we must also be ever mindful that there is much we don=t know. We must ever be learners. We are Adisciples@ for life.
The beggar may have been born blind, but he definitely was not born mute. He knew how to stand his ground verbally and had a knack for saying a lot with very few words. The Pharisees were no match for the witty man=s shrewd, keen, piercing tongue.
Act III, Scene II, AThe Agnostics@
John 9:28-29 They ridiculed him: AYou=re that man=s disciple, but we=re Moses= disciples. We know that God has spoken to Moses. But his man B we don=t know where He=s from!@
They are Moses= disciples, not Athat man=s@ disciples. Christ is being viewed as totally foreign to them. They want no connection with Him.
They are so smug. The Pharisees claimed to know everything in the realm of religion, but had just had their inflated egos pricked by the healed man=s jab.
The Pharisees claimed to have absolute knowledge. In verse 24, they said, AWe know that this man is a sinner.@ However, they offered no evidence to support their conclusion.
Their know-it-all exterior was a facade to cover their know-nothing interior. Jesus, the very Son of God, Yahweh in the flesh, was standing before them and the Aknow-it-all=s@ had to say, AWe know not from whence He is.@
They are making dogmatic statements about Him while confessing they Adon=t know@ anything about his origins. They felt they knew it all and were addicted to praising their knowledge. But in the things that really count, Athey knew nothing.@
The same insidious thing is still happening. Our culture is presently being mesmerized by Intelligent Agnosticism. There are Aintellectuals@ in schools, colleges, even seminaries, who Aknow@ so much. These pseudo intellectuals have concluded that the ultimate statement and evidence of brilliance is to say repeatedly AI don=t know.@
They tell us we can be certain about nothing in spiritual things. You cannot be sure about the miracles, about the Bible, about God=s attitude. They say we should be less dogmatic in our beliefs.
In place of our present faith, they offer a religion of AI don=t knows.@ Is there a God? Is there life after death? Is there a real Heaven? Is there a lake of fire? What do you know for sure?
They want to hand us a dusty catalogue of AI don=t know=s.@ No thanks. I=ll keep my acrostics and sureties: AI know whom I have believed.@ I know that my Redeemer liveth.@ AI know Heaven awaits me.@ I know the Bible is the Work of God.@
The skeptics want to substitute a religion of empty negatives for our religion of glorious positives. They are just like these Pharisees. In the things that really matter, they don=t know, don=t know, don=t know, but based on their Adon=t know=s@ they are considered the Aknow-it-alls.@ Strange indeed.
AOne thing I do know: I was blind, and now I can see!@ and Jesus made the difference.