Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
John 9:6 (Holman) After He said these things He spit on the ground, made some mud from the saliva, and spread the mud on his eyes.
This is not the first time God used dirt. The Father created us from clay. By using clay to create sight, Jesus was performing another act of creation, of Deity.
John 9:7 AGo,@ He told him, Awash in the pool of Siloam@ (which means ASent@). So he left, washed, and came back seeing.
Jesus blatantly broke Jewish law. No healing was to be done on the Sabbath, for God, the Healer, was to be allowed to rest. The legal code of Jesus= day specifically forbade applying saliva to the eyes on the Sabbath due to its believed medicinal value.
This episode displayed Jesus= contempt for pharisaical traditions. Jesus never profaned God=s Sabbath, but trampled under foot its pharisaic perversions.
God had intended for the Sabbath to be a day of laying aside burdens. He never meant for it to be an intolerable burden itself.
Jesus felt the law needing to be obeyed on this occasion was God=s law of love and compassion.
Jesus did not delay His kindness till the Sabbath was past in order to avoid controversy. Seeing an opportunity to do good, He did it quickly.
Many good works are left undone because we want to wait till things are more convenient or there will be no objection. Let=s learn from our Lord.
John 9:8-12 (Holman) His neighbors and those who formerly had seen him as a beggar said, AIsn=t this the man who sat begging?@ Some said, AHe=s the one.@ ANo,@ others were saying, Abut he looks like him.@ He kept saying, AI=m the one!@ Therefore they asked him, AThen how were your eyes opened?@ He answered, AThe man called Jesus made mud, spread it on my eyes, and told me, >Go to Siloam and wash.= So when I went and washed I received my sight.@ AWhere is He?@ they asked. AI don=t know,@ he said.
The blind man=s neighbors were so astonished at the cure that some of them refused to acknowledge he actually was the same person. They could not believe it was really him. Jesus is always doing things for people which seem too good to be true.
As onlookers gawked and squawked, this man simply used the same line of reasoning over and over again. He emphasized the contrast in his life, persistently declaring what he had been versus what he was now. AI am he@ (v. 9), AI went and washed, and I received sight@ (v. 11), AI washed, and do see@ (v. 15), AI was blind, now I see@ (v. 25).
AWas@ and Ais@ were the bedrock foundation of his testimony. He didn=t understand all the particulars of what had happened to him, but he knew something remarkable had occurred. He had experienced a radical change, and kept emphasizing it.
The man remembered what he had been. We should too. If people ever forget where they came from, their testimony loses its effectiveness. Our elevated position in Christ can be appreciated best when contrasted to the degradation from which we rose.
Our was/is story is a powerful soulwinning tool. We don=t need shrewder ingenuity to win the lost. The main prerequisite is living, walking, talking, breathing monuments to God=s grace.
Produce one converted person, one genuine turnaround, and Christ will win battles. Tell others what Jesus has done for you.
The best evidence for Christianity is not good preaching, effective Bible studies, or increased knowledge. Our best hope is the contrast the new birth spawns in a person=s life. We forget this too often.
Jesus changes lives. What greater words could be spoken? What happened physically at the Pool of Siloam pictures the spiritual healing that flows from Christ.
They who come to the fount weak, return strengthened; doubters find answers; mourners leave rejoicing; tremblers find triumph; the blind go away seeing; the broken go away singing; sinners find forgiveness.
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?@ The answer to this question was obvious. The same is true of what Christ does for us spiritually. Its results will be obvious.
This is especially true of conversion. Our acquaintances will know we are converted if we really are. They will detect it. When God changes us, we can not keep it a secret, even if we consciously try to squelch the evidence.
I heard of a husband who was converted, but was afraid to tell his wife. He feared 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 figured out something had happened.
Genuine conversion is hard to hide. We can=t hide a cough; if we have a cough, we have to cough. Likewise, if we have grace in our heart, it will show forth in our life.
Has regeneration happened in our heart or not? If it has, then alert your body to the fact.
Let yourself be what you are. Behavior needs to be conformed to our heart condition. Then we will be a living testimony.
The way we eat will show it; the pause to thank God will be obvious. Our weekends henceforth will belong to God and the church. Our reading habits will include the Bible. Our interests will change. Compassion will begin to shine through us. We will find it natural to tell people we are praying for them.
Some say AI am too shy to be a witness.@ Drop your indecent modesty. Be braver. We should assert ourselves more. Something radical has happened to us. Let=s reveal the evidence.
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.@
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.@
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 blind man 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.
John 9:30-33 (Holman) AThis is an amazing thing,@ the man told them. AYou don=t know where He is from, yet He opened my eyes! We know that God doesn=t listen to sinners, but if anyone is God fearing and does His will, He listens to him. Throughout history no one has ever heard of someone opening the eyes of a person born blind. If this man were not from God, He wouldn=t be able to do anything.@
Though a miracle was performed, the Pharisees persisted in unbelief. The healed man was shocked. He saw their stubborn unbelief as more marvelous than his cure. He said literally, AHerein is the miraculous thing@ (v. 30). His healing wasn=t near as unbelievable as their reaction. To him, what Christ did on Earth sufficiently demonstrated what He was in Heaven (v. 33). He felt the Pharisees were behaving irrationally.
After he received his sight, his testimony was all of Jesus. The blind man=s longest talk was a defense of Jesus. Thus must it be for all who have been cleansed by Him. All of Jesus and Jesus only is our theme. He satisfied the Father, purchased our salvation, released the Holy Spirit, saved us. No merit is in us. We place every crown of honor on His head for He did all things well.
John 9:34 AYou were born entirely in sin,@ they replied, Aand are you trying to teach us?@ Then they threw him out.
Debate ended. Abuse began. The Pharisees knew his argument was air-tight. As it became obvious they were losing, they changed their game plan. They threw away weapons of debate and took up stones of abuse. Debate and investigation had failed; abuse was their only recourse.
Learn a valuable lesson here. The Pharisees, not the healed man, hurled abuse. Disagreements come, and we need to discuss our differences, but when dialogue degenerates into angry insults, it becomes an argument, a contest in bitterness. Heated words prove our case is too weak to stand on its own evidence.
Our Lord gave us the perfect example. He never became angry over affronts to Himself. Let=s do likewise.
John 9:35 When Jesus heard that they had thrown the man out, He found him and asked, ADo you believe in the Son of Man?@
Jesus looked for the outcast. The Royal sought the loyal. Chrysostom said, AThe Jews cast him out of the Temple; the Lord of the Temple found him.@ Jesus had to find the man because God=s work in him was not yet completed.
What a blessing to lose Pharisees and find the Savior. Any time our witness separates us from others, it brings us close to Jesus.
Notice Jesus= love. The leaders accused the beggar of being born in sin. Jesus asked nothing about his ancestry, creed, or past life. The issue was faith, ADo you believe in the Son of God?@ AOn@ suggests dependence, trust, reliance.
John 9:36 AWho is He, Sir, that I may believe in Him?@ he asked.
The sharp-tongued, independent man suddenly fell into submission ready to accept whatever Jesus said. Readiness to believe expressed his gratitude to Jesus.
AWho is He?@ expressed eagerness, urgency, wondering, hope. Having been rejected by the religious leaders, he probably felt beyond help.
John 9:37-38 Jesus answered, AYou have seen Him; in fact He is the One speaking with you.@ AI believe, Lord!@ he said, and he worshiped Him.
His blind spirit gained full sight. True faith proves itself by humbly adoring Jesus. All the arguments of the leaders were in vain. Instead of shaking him, their arguments merely helped him clarify his position. He finished the interrogation with more appreciation for Jesus than he had at the beginning.
The blind man=s perception of Jesus followed a lovely progression. First, Jesus is a man (v. 11). If Jesus were only a man He would still rank as one of history=s greatest heroes. He was a man among men.
Second, Jesus is a Prophet (v. 17), one who hears God, and brings to people a message from the throne room. If we followed Jesus= teachings, the world=s personal, social, economic, and political problems would be relieved.
Third, the man saw Jesus deserved allegiance (v. 27 Aalso@). He could see people needed to connect their lives to Jesus. He deserves allegiance.
Fourth, Jesus is the Son of God (v. 38). The man realized human categories were inadequate to describe Jesus. Something in Jesus is more than human.
Often the more we know of a person, the less we think of them. We see larger weaknesses, faults, and failings. But the more we know Jesus, the greater the wonder becomes. He is more beautiful to us all the time. There is something extra-human, above-human, supra-human, in Jesus.