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John 9:1-23 (web)

The Blind Man: Part I

The Healing

1  As he passed by, 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  Jesus answered,
"Neither did this man sin, nor his parents;
but, that the works of God might be revealed in him.
I must work the works of him who sent me, while it is day.
The night is coming, when no one can work.
While I am in the world, I am the light of the world."

6  When he had said this, he spat on the ground,
made mud with the saliva, anointed the blind manís eyes with the mud,
7  and said to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam" (which means "Sent").
So he went away, washed, and came back seeing.

The Reaction

8  The neighbors therefore, and those who saw that he was blind before, said,
"Isnít this he who sat and begged?"
9  Others were saying, "It is he."
Still others were saying, "He looks like him."
He said, "I am he."
10  They therefore were asking him, "How were your eyes opened?"
11  He answered,
"A man called Jesus made mud, anointed my eyes, and said to me,
ĎGo to the pool of Siloam, and wash.í
So I went away and washed, and I received sight."
12  Then they asked him, "Where is he?"
He said, "I donít know."

The Interrogation

The Criticism

13  They brought him who had been blind to the Pharisees.
14  It was a Sabbath when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes.
15  Again therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he received his sight.
He said to them, "He put mud on my eyes, I washed, and I see."
16  Some therefore of the Pharisees said,
"This man is not from God, because he doesnít keep the Sabbath."
Others said, "How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?"
There was division among them.
17  Therefore they asked the blind man again,
"What do you say about him, because he opened your eyes?"
He said, "He is a prophet."

The Parents

18  The Jews therefore did not believe concerning him,
that he had been blind, and had received his sight,
until they called the parents of him who had received his sight,
19  and asked them, "Is this your son, who you say was born blind?
How then does he now see?"
20  His parents answered them,
"We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind;
21  but how he now sees, we donít know;
or who opened his eyes, we donít know.
He is of age. Ask him. He will speak for himself."
22  His parents said these things because they feared the Jews;
for the Jews had already agreed that if any man would confess him as Christ,
he would be put out of the synagogue.
23  Therefore his parents said, "He is of age. Ask him."

Discussion Questions

Why are there people born blind or with other such deformities?
What "works" does Jesus refer to in vs 3?
vs 4 What work has God given you to do?
If you were to die tomorrow could you say that you have finished the work God gave you to do?
vs 6-7 Why do you suppose Jesus covered the man's eyes with mud and tell him to go away and wash?
vs 8-12 How did others react to you becoming a Christian?
In what ways did you appear to be a different person?
vs 16 In what ways do Christans also misevaluate one another
based upon human dogma concerning such things as "Sabbath"?
vs 18-23 How have your parents or those close you reacted to becoming a Christian?


vs 1-2 There was no question in the disciple's minds that for this man to be blind someone had to have sinned. Such also is the mindset of the health and wealth gospel. They haven't learned from Job. For there are other reasons for suffering affliction besides sin. But the flesh would like to take on such a contemptuous attitude towards the afflicted, for it then frees one up from a sense of compassion and responsibility towards them. This "he deserves it" atttitude or the more fatalistic attitude of "whatever will be will be" is substituted for compassion.

vs 3 It is not that they were sinless, but rather that his blindness was not due to a particular sin which he or his parents committed. But it's a matter of interpretation whether what Jesus says of this man can be applied universally. What did Jesus mean "that the works of God might be revealed in him"? We could take this to mean that his being healed was the work Jesus was referred to. But based on his response to his interrogators it is apparent that God had been doing other works in him as well. For just as the Lord, he seemed quite astute at theological debate and insight even confounding the religious elite. The work of God was evident in him for here's a man who could see before he could see.

vs 4-5 What is the night he is referring to? As he is the light of the world, when he leaves the world I would suppose that such a time would be reckoned night.  "While I am in the world" appears to refer to his physical presence. But then again it's possible to extend such a time to the church age in which he is present in the Christians. "Christ lives in me" Galatians 2:20 But this may be a different sense than what he was referring to. He could be referring to the cessation of miracles in the future. But then again when he ascended, the apostles still continued to do miracles, though such miracles were rare after their time. What is the night in which no man can work? "Work" may also include the Great Commission and such Christian works as are commanded in the New Testament. On an individual basis "Night" would then refer to death, in which the Christian's work is finished. Or it might refer to the resurrection in which the Christians are rewarded. But I wouldn't think he would associate such times with "night" so much as with the Sabbath. In fact Paul writes, "The night is far gone, and the day is near." Rom 13:12 "day" referring to the resurrection - the day of the Lord. Most likely "night" refers to that time period between his death and Pentecost in which he reestablished his presence on earth by proxy through the Holy Spirit dwelling in the assembly of believers.

Another application is to walk as Jesus did. While on the earth he had a sense of responsibility to fulfill certain works which God had given him to do. We must also identify the works which God has given us to do and do them. We must live with a sense of mission.

vs 6-7 Jesus had cured those who were blind simply by touching them or by simply speaking to them (Lk 18:42,43). Therefore it is not clear why in this case Jesus made made mud and put it on his eyes. But the effect was that he had to go somewhere to wash it off and when he returned Jesus was apparently gone. (vs 12) The man was left on his own to give testimony and to defend himself under interrogation. Perhaps this was simply the result Jesus intended in putting mud in his eyes. Some will take the passage and try to infer all kinds of things about water baptism and such, but safer to deal with such issues when they are taught explicitly, else we could end up inferring just about any doctrine true or false allegorically.

vs 8-12 Now being able to see, how was it that the man looked different? One thing was that he could now look at people directly. Furthermore, being the first time he had even seen things, no doubt the expression on his face was much different than when he was blind. His countenance would be much different. (Oops! Almost spelled this "continence", which refers to something quite different). But there are also similar effects in being born of God. One is suddenly enlightened and the presence of God is detected. We realizes that our sins are forgiven and our destiny is heavenwards. But we can also look into to the souls of others, in some ways knowing more about them than they know about themselves. We can fearlessly look truth in the face. Thus those born of God may appear to be different people than before, as Paul writes, "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation." 2Cor 5:17

"Just the facts ma'am." This was a phrase from an old detective show, but it is also a principle of Christian witness. As I said the #1 principles of preaching is simply TO TELL THE TRUTH. He simply told them the facts of the case.

vs 13-17 "This man is not from God, because he doesnít keep the Sabbath." Here's a theological error that many Christians make as well. For they associated what "keeping the Sabbath" meant with their own human dogma. Thus Christians will despise even one another for such reasons saying, "Such and such a person is not of God because ... he goes to church on Saturday instead of Sunday, or Sunday instead of Saturday, or some other day of the week, or meets in a home instead of a church building, or does communion differently or not as frequently, or plays some sport or watches TV on 'the Christian Sabbath', etc. etc. etc." But as I had pointed out previously, that in healing this man Jesus was in fact keeping in the Spirit of the Sabbath giving him rest from his affliction. Beware of human dogma. Christians have generally been programmed to believe whatever their spiritual leaders tell them. But the Bible says, "Donít believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world." 1Jn 4:1

Based on this miracle, the blind man inferred that Jesus was a prophet from God.

vs 18-23 Becoming a Christian may cause those who were formerly close to distance themselves from such a person for fear of being persecuted by association. This often involves family members. Jesus said, "Donít think that I came to send peace on the earth. I didnít come to send peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man at odds against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. A manís foes will be those of his own household." Matt 10:34-36 The blind man's parents were afraid of being put out of the synagogue. But I wonder whether they still associated with their son after he was ostracized. Probably not. Such is also the Christian life.

The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources Jan 28,2022