John 9:8–11, 13–17, 35–41comment (0)
November 7, 2013
By Jay T. Robertson
Related Scripture: John 9:8–11, 13–17, 35–41
Explore the Bible
Assistant Professor of Christian Ministries, University of Mobile
DOUBTING JESUS’ POWER?
John 9:8–11, 13–17, 35–41
Feeling Uncertain (8–11)
Jesus is passing by, having escaped an attempted stoning following His climatic declaration, “Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58). He meets a blind man who would station himself near the temple so he could get enough money to survive, depending on the mercy of others. Jesus sees him and His disciples are not moved to help but to talk. They wish to engage in a theological discussion about the problem of pain, suffering and evil.
The disciples buy into the commonly held view of the day that all sickness and hard times are due to sin in the person’s life. The disciples ask Jesus, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus takes advantage of their question to drive home two important spiritual truths. Jesus answers His disciples, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” First we must understand what really matters. We must do the works of God while we can. Our time is limited. What do you need to do today to be obedient?
Second we must understand who really matters. Jesus makes a mixture of spit and dirt, applies it to the man’s eyes and commands him to go to the pool of Siloam and wash. Siloam means “sent.” He who is the true “Sent One” sends this man to the pool of Sent. The water will cleanse his eyes just as certainly as Jesus will cleanse his soul. The blind man obeys Jesus and is healed. The man born blind meets the Light of the World and now he sees.
The people are amazed and confused, astonished and puzzled and curious and skeptical. The people are uncertain about how the man born blind can now see. The man born blind who can now see is a walking testimony to the power of God.
Resisting the Truth (13–17)
What should have been the occasion of a great celebration now becomes the occasion for an evil inquisition. The neighbors of the healed man take him to the Pharisees because it was the Sabbath day when Jesus opened his eyes. This is not the first time Jesus has violated their Sabbath laws.
Jesus violated their man-made religious traditions by working on the Sabbath (making clay) and by healing on the Sabbath when it was not a life or death situation. This is unacceptable. Religious protocol has been violated, regardless of the greatness of the miracle.
The Pharisees repeatedly questioned the man, resulting in division among the Pharisees. Instead of rejoicing in the miracle, some attack the miracle-worker. Many of the Pharisees condemned the Light. Others, however, cannot escape what has occurred.
As for the blind man, all he can say at this point is that Jesus is a prophet. His sight grows stronger, but for those who condemn and reject the Light, their sight only grows weaker.
Refusing to See (35–41)
The Jews throw the healed man out of the temple, and the Lord of the temple finds him. Light received will result in greater light. In verses 9:35–39 we see four characteristics of spiritual sight. First spiritual sight requires divine initiative. The Pharisees shut him out but Jesus seeks him out. Second spiritual sight responds in faith. The man’s response reveals a heart divinely prepared to believe. Third spiritual sight recognizes Jesus as the Christ. He recognizes that Jesus is the Anointed One, the promised Son of Man. Fourth spiritual sight results in worship. The only appropriate response to this truth is worship.
Light received will result in greater light, but Light rejected will result in greater blindness. Revelation brings responsibility. The more you know the greater is your accountability. Respond to what you receive and God will give you more. Reject what you receive and you will lose even that. Spiritual blindness receives judgment, refuses to admit its blindness, rejects spiritual sight and results in doom.