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David Guzik :: Study Guide for John 9

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Jesus Gives Sight to A Man Born Blind

A. The man is healed.

1. (Jhn 9:1-2) The disciples ask a question.

Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"

a. Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind? The disciples regarded this man as an unsolved riddle; but Jesus regarded him as a suffering person needing relief.

b. We often suspect that where there is a more than ordinary sufferer, there is a more than ordinary sinner; the disciples believed this to be so to the extent that they wondered if this man was a most remarkable sinner - one who personally sinned before he was born!

2. (Jhn 9:3-5) Jesus responds to the question, without answering it.

Jesus answered, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should 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. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world."

a. Neither this man nor his parents sinned: Jesus' response was "I'm not here to answer such questions, but to do the work of God in alleviating such suffering while I can."

i. This is an answer consistent with the spirit of the book of Job. Sometimes, God intentionally leaves us without knowledge regarding the source or reason behind pain.

b. It is possible that John 9:3 could be punctuated like this: "… nor his parents sinned. But that the works of God should be revealed in him, I must work …"

c. Why do such bad things happen? Generally, because we live in a fallen world, a world willing to serve Satan and sin.

d. While it is day: If we neglect our opportunities for service, they may be lost forever.

3. (Jhn 9:6-7) The man is healed.

When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. And He said to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam" (which is translated, Sent). So he went and washed, and came back seeing.

a. He spat … and He anointed the eyes: In this miracle, Jesus took all the initiative. The blind man did not come to Jesus and ask to be healed, Jesus came to Him. Still, He expected the blind man to respond in faith (Go, wash in the pool of Siloam).

b. So he went and washed, and came back seeing: This was a completely unique miracle in the Scriptures. From Genesis to John, no prophet, priest, or apostle ever gave sight to blind eyes but Jesus did this type of healing more than any other miracle.

i. Since healing blind eyes is the work of the Lord, Yahweh, Jehovah, it shows that Jesus is God: The Lord opens the eyes of the blind. (Psalm 146:8)

ii. Opening the eyes of the blind was a specific work of the Messiah: The eyes of the blind shall be opened. (Isaiah 35:5)

c. Made clay with the saliva: Why did Jesus use clay and spit? Jesus often varied His methods of healing so they could never be "formularized. " As well, we can see that Jesus is using the dust of the ground and clay to do a work of creation in man, just like in Genesis.

d. Not many people would appreciate having mud made with spit rubbed in their eyes. Some would look at how Jesus did this miracle and object, saying that it was offensive, inadequate, or even harmful to rub mud made with spit in a man's eyes.

i. In the same way, some feel that the gospel is offensive. It is true that it offends man's pride and human wisdom, but it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. (1 Corinthians 1:21)

ii. In the same way, some feel that the gospel is inadequate. But have all the psychiatric and political and social programs in the world done more good that the life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ?

iii. In the same way, some feel that the gospel is harmful, that the free offer of grace in Jesus will cause people to sin that grace may abound. But the gospel changes our life for the good and the pure, not unto wickedness.

B. The controversy surrounding the healing.

1. (Jhn 9:8-12) The neighbors react to the healed man.

Therefore the neighbors and those who previously had seen that he was blind said, "Is not this he who sat and begged?" Some said, "This is he. " Others said, "He is like him. " He said, "I am he. " Therefore they said to him, "How were your eyes opened?" He answered and said, "A Man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, 'Go to the pool of Siloam and wash. ' So I went and washed, and I received sight. " Then they said to him, "Where is He?" He said, "I do not know."

a. Others said, "He is like him. " He said, "I am he": It seems too amazing to believe, but the man convinced them that he was in fact healed from congenital blindness.

b. A man called Jesus: At this point, the man knew very little about Jesus. He didn't know anything more about Jesus than His name, and that He healed him.

2. (Jhn 9:13-16) The healed man is brought to the Pharisees.

They brought him who formerly was blind to the Pharisees. Now it was a Sabbath when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. Then the Pharisees also asked him again how he had received his sight. He said to them, "He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and I see. " Therefore some of the Pharisees said, "This Man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath. " Others said, "How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?" And there was a division among them.

a. Now it was a Sabbath when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes: Jesus took the initiative in this miracle, and could have done it on any day He chose. Then why did Jesus do this miracle on the Sabbath? Jesus did this to challenge the petty traditions of the religious leader, traditions that they elevated to the place of binding laws.

b. Therefore some of the Pharisees said, "This man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath": To the Pharisees, Jesus could not be from God because He did not line up with their traditions and prejudices.

3. (Jhn 9:17-23) The Pharisees question the man's parents.

They said to the blind man again, "What do you say about Him because He opened your eyes?" He said, "He is a prophet. " But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind and received his sight, until they called the parents of him who had received his sight. And they asked them, saying, "Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?" His parents answered them and said, "We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; but by what means he now sees we do not know, or who opened his eyes we do not know. He is of age; ask him. He will speak for himself. " His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had agreed already that if anyone confessed that He was Christ, he would be put out of the synagogue. Therefore his parents said, "He is of age; ask him."

a. He is a prophet: In John 9:11, all the man knew about Jesus was His name. Here, the healed man now proclaims that Jesus is a prophet. He grows in his understanding and proclamation about Jesus.

b. By what means he now sees we do not know, or who opened his eyes we do not know: The Pharisees couldn't even bring themselves to believe that the man who said he was born blind was actually born blind. Therefore, they questioned the man's parents and asked them if he was born blind and how he was healed. In their reply, the parents carefully avoid controversy, because of the threat of excommunication (the Jews had agreed already that if anyone confessed that He was Christ, he would be put out of the synagogue).

4. (Jhn 9:24-34) The healed man holds his own when interrogated by the Pharisees, resulting in his excommunication.

So they again called the man who was blind, and said to him, "Give God the glory! We know that this Man is a sinner. " He answered and said, "Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see. " Then they said to him again, "What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?" He answered them, "I told you already, and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become His disciples?" Then they reviled him and said, "You are His disciple, but we are Moses' disciples. "We know that God spoke to Moses; as for this fellow, we do not know where He is from. " The man answered and said to them, "Why, this is a marvelous thing, that you do not know where He is from; yet He has opened my eyes! Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him. Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind. If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing. " They answered and said to him, "You were completely born in sins, and are you teaching us?" And they cast him out.

a. Give God the glory: This command to the healed man may be an admonition to tell the truth (as in Joshua 7:19), or a command to deny any credit to Jesus in the healing.

b. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see: The man born blind doesn't know everything about Jesus, but he does know how Jesus has touched his life. This is an irrefutable argument. How can they argue against what Jesus did in this man's life?

i. "They take their stand on their preconceived ideas, he on the simple facts that he knows" (Morris)

ii. Relying on what we personally experience with Jesus is about the only way to deal with people who are so prejudiced. No one can effectively argue against "though I was blind, now I see."

c. Do you also want to become His disciples? The healed man both mocks their prejudiced rejection of Jesus, and proclaims himself to be a disciple of Jesus (do you also).

d. Why, this is a marvelous thing: The healed man says this about their unbelief, not about the miracle of Jesus. It as if he tells the Pharisees, "Your unbelief and ignorance in the face of the evidence is more of a miracle than my cure!"

e. We know that God does not hear sinners: Isaiah 1:15 and Psalm 66:18 indicate that God does not hear the sinner. Therefore, the claim that "we know this man is a sinner" is false according to the Scriptures. The blind man is no theologian, but he offers a well-reasoned argument according to the Scriptures, but if falls on deaf ears.

f. And they cast him out: The excommunication of the blind man turned out to be a good thing, because it prevented him from trying to live in two worlds. Being "put out" of our old group is undeniably painful, but it is usually spiritually helpful.

5. (Jhn 9:35-38) The healed man believes on Jesus.

Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said to him, "Do you believe in the Son of God?" He answered and said, "Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?" And Jesus said to him, "You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you. " Then he said, "Lord, I believe!" And he worshiped Him.

a. When He had found him: The man whom Jesus healed was rejected by the religious community, but now Jesus made it a point to meet him and receive him. It hurts to be rejected by others, but it should be enough to be accepted by Jesus.

b. Do you believe in the Son of God? Jesus calls on the healed man him to fully believe, and he does. When the healed man declared his loyalty to Jesus by sticking by Him before the hostile Pharisees, he was rewarded when Jesus revealed more of Himself to him (You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you).

i. Jesus dealt with this man differently than most. He met his physical need first, then allowed him to endure persecution, then called him to a specific belief. Are we willing to allow Jesus to deal with people differently today?

c. And he worshipped Him: When the man worshipped Jesus, Jesus received the worship. This is something that no man or angel in the Bible does.

i. The healed man has an increasing awareness of who Jesus is.

- A man called Jesus (John 9:11)
- He is a prophet (John 9:17)
- A man from God (John 9:33)
- The Son of God, worthy of worship (John 9:38)

6. (Jhn 9:39-41) Jesus distinguishes between the blind and the seeing.

And Jesus said, "For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind. " Then some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these words, and said to Him, "Are we blind also?" Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, 'We see. ' Therefore your sin remains.

a. That those who do not see may see: Those who admit their spiritual blindness can find sight in Jesus. But those who see may be made blind - that is, those who falsely claim to have spiritual sight will be made blind.

b. Are we blind also? The Pharisees sneer at Jesus, confident in their own spiritual sight - which was blindness, because they could not see the Son of God right in front of them.

c. If you were blind, you would have no sin: If the Pharisees would admit to their spiritual blindness, they could be forgiven and set free - but because they say "we see," their sin remains.

d. John 9 paints a picture of how Jesus heals blind souls.

- We are all spiritually blind from birth
- Jesus takes the initiative in healing us from blindness
- Jesus does a work of creation in us, not reformation
- In this work, Jesus calls us to be obedient to what He commands
- Jesus commands us to be washed in the water of baptism
- We become a mystery to our former associates, not even seeming to be the same person
- We display loyalty to Jesus when we are persecuted, boldly and plainly testifying of His work in our lives and confounding others
- We pass from little knowledge to greater knowledge, and this brings us to greater worship and adoration
- We never know the name of this man born blind. Jesus is the important One; a true disciple is content to remain anonymous if his Lord gets the glory

© 2000 David Guzik - No distribution beyond personal use without permission

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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