Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
John 9:18a (Holman) The Jews did not believe this about him.
The Pharisees, suspicious throughout this kangaroo court session, used browbeating tactics to try to disprove the miracle. Skeptics hate to confess the supernatural. Knowing only the flesh, they want to discard 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.@
Society abounds with critics and blindness. It is especially seen in the prejudice that has always abounded against the Godly.
When John Hus was burned, the wood-man who prepared the stake knew nothing about Hus= doctrine. He was simply a pawn of his masters, accepting without question the poison they said of Hus. He was so happy, industrious, and zealous to kindle the flame that the martyr sighed, AO holy simplicity.@
As blind as ever, the lost world continues to criticize us and our spiritual beliefs. We have experienced something outside their realm of experience.
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). Unbelievers cannot pronounce fair judgment against us because of their preconceived, well-entrenched prejudices.
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.@
Since the man could obviously see, the Pharisees tried another ploy. Maybe the miracle was a hoax, faked by Jesus and the man. Unable to reconcile a genuine miracle with disregard to the Sabbath, the Pharisees suspected collusion.
The parents of the beggar were summoned to be questioned. AIs this your son? Was he born blind? How does he now see?@
The parents verified a miracle had occurred. Their son, born blind, could now see. Even the Pharisees were now finally convinced (v. 18).
The parents neither cooperated with the Pharisees nor spoke boldly for Jesus. Fear of excommunication terrified them.
They were surely thankful for what Jesus did to their son, but their gratitude was not strong enough to make them courageous. They probably did not witness the actual healing. This absence gave them a convenient cop-out.
AThe fear of man is a snare@ (Proverbs 29:25). Most of us can see ourselves in this verse. We have no prejudice against Jesus, but at the same time can=t muster enough courage to speak boldly for Him.
The parents referred the Pharisees back to their son. He was a tiger and they knew it. He could speak for himself.
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, knowing the miracle was genuine, feared the conclusion. They recalled the beggar, probably hoping to find a contradiction in his accounts. If this ploy didn=t work, they would try to prove Jesus did not have a hand in it.
The leaders adjured him to AGive glory to God.@ Jews used this oath in court as a way of calling God to be a witness (Joshua 7:19). The man was being solemnly charged to speak the truth, implying his former statements dishonored God, that is, were dishonest.
The healed man, tired of the debate, had no desire for antics. Irritated at the persistence of the Pharisees, he sprang to the attack. He even implied himself a follower of Jesus (Atoo@) in the masterstroke, the jab B AYou don=t want to become His disciples too, do you?@ (v. 24). This volley proved to be the most exciting part of this deliberation.
Maclaren called this argument a clash between knowledge which is ignorant and ignorance which knows, with the latter the winner. The Pharisees thought they knew, but didn=t. The blind man, having no formal theological training, was an example of knowledgeable ignorance. He knew he was ignorant, and thus waited for light. He was willing to be led.
The blind man also illustrated honest knowledge. He knew what he knew and refused to be coaxed or frightened from confessing it.
In him we find 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, Adisciples@ for life.
The beggar was born blind, but definitely 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.
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 this man B we don=t know where He=s from!@
They are Moses= disciples, not Athat man=s@ disciples. Viewing Jesus as totally foreign to them, they want no connection with Him.
The Pharisees were smug. They claimed to know everything in the realm of religion, but had their inflated egos pricked by the healed man=s jab.
The Pharisees, claiming to have absolute knowledge, said, AWe know that this man is a sinner@ (v. 24), but offered no evidence to support their conclusion.
Their know-it-all exterior was a facade to cover a know-nothing interior. Jesus, Son of God, Yahweh in flesh, was standing before them and the Aknow-it-all=s@ were saying, AWe don=t know where He=s from.@
They were making dogmatic statements about Him while confessing they Adon=t know@ His origins. They felt they knew it all and were addicted to praises for their knowledge, but in matters that really counted, they knew nothing.
The same insidious thing still happens. Our culture is mesmerized by Intelligent Agnostics, so-called intellectuals who know much, but conclude the ultimate statement and evidence of brilliance is to say repeatedly, AI don=t know.@
They say we should never be dogmatic in our beliefs, for we can be certain about nothing in spiritual things. We cannot be sure about miracles, about the Bible, about God=s attitude toward people.
In place of faith, they offer a religion of AI don=t knows.@ Is there a God? I don=t know. Is there life after death? I don=t know. Is Heaven real? I don=t know. Is Hell real? I don=t know. What do you know for sure? I don=t know.
They want to hand us a dusty list of AI don=t know=s.@ No, thanks. We=ll keep our sureties: AI know whom I have believed. I know that my Redeemer lives. I know Heaven awaits me. I know the Bible is God=s Word.@
Skeptics want to substitute a religion of empty negatives for our religion of glorious positives. In things that really matter, they don=t know, but based on their Adon=t know=s@ are often considered the Aknow-it-alls.@ Strange indeed.
Here is my testimony. AOne thing I do know: I was blind, and now I can see!@ and Jesus made the difference.