Lesson 74: Jesus Healed a Blind Man and the Pharisees Investigated
A Blending of The Four Gospel Records. Welcome! This is lesson #74. In our last lesson, John ch. 8 ended with Jesus infuriating the Jews and they took up stones in the temple to cast at Jesus (v.59). But, it said "Jesus...went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by." It seems Jesus was very successful and very skillful at escaping the hand of his enemies a number of times. Nothing is said about the apostles and disciples here; it might be that they aided Jesus by crowding around him and assisting his escape. This is not said. John did not give us the timing between this event and the occasion that we are going to cover in John ch. 9. But, undoubtedly a few hours or at best a few days intervened. Let's read John ch. 9. This is not an extremely long chapter; but, a fairly long chapter. We're going to read the entire chapter of 41 verses at one reading. Jesus healed a man that was born blind. He had been blind all his life. After the man was healed the Pharisees investigated the legitimacy of this healing. Are you ready? Let's begin reading in John 9:1 and we'll read the whole chapter. Are you ready? "And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, and said unto him Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing. The neighbors therefore, and they which before had seen him that he was blind, said, Is not this he that sat and begged? Some said, This is he: others said, He is like him: but he said, I am he. Therefore said they unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He answered and said, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash: and I went and washed, and I received sight. Then said they unto him Where is he? He said, I know not. They brought to the Pharisees him that aforetime was blind. And it was the sabbath day when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes. Then again the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. He said unto them, He put clay upon mine eyes, and I washed, and do see. Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracle? And there was a division among them. They say unto the blind man again, What sayest thou of him that he hath opened thine 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 that had received his sight. And they asked them, saying, Is this your son, who ye say was born blind? How then doth 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 seeth, we know not; or what hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself. These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue. Therefore said his parents, He is of age; ask him. Then again called they the man that was blind, and said unto him, Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner. He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see. Then said they to him again, What did he to thee? how opened he thine eyes? He answered them, I have told you already, and ye did not hear: wherefore would ye hear it again? will ye also be his disciple? Then they reviled him, and said, Thou art his disciple; but we are Moses' disciple. We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is. The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvelous thing, that ye know not from whence 'he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes. Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth. Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. If this man were not of God, he could do nothing. They answered and said unto him, Thou was altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out. Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? And Jesus said unto him Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee. And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him. And Jesus said, For judgment Iam come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind. And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also? Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth."
O.K. let's review this occasion. There are three or four stages to the development; so, let's go stage by stage. Back at the beginning, in the first couples verse, try to get a mental picture of this. Jesus and his disciples pass by a blind beggar (v.8); probably sitting at one of the gates of the temple asking an alms. This was on the sabbath day, (v.14). And in a very natural way, I suppose; some of the apostles asked Jesus: "Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?" They assumed that all suffering was a form of retaliation or retribution for sin. Thus they wanted to know if the sin was on the part of his parents or did this man sin. Since this man was born blind (v.1), that means the man would have had to sinned before birth. Which is a little absurd. Some may see in this a hint to the theory of reincarnation; but, that's missing the point. They probably just had not thought through that aspect of their question. I find myself asking dumb questions like that every once and a while. Notice Jesus' answer: "Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents..." Now, that of course did not mean these were sinless people. The point is that this man's blindness and his suffering was not retribution for sin. Their assumption in that respect was erroneous. Thus, we need to learn this lesson good. I do not understand the providential element by which God controls the universe. Some things are genetic, some things are environmental, and some things may be providential; but, we need to understand clearly that God does not assign such suffering as retaliation for our sins. It's a common misunderstanding today. As, you talk to some people, they ask, "Why does God want me to suffer, so?" That's accusing God of something unjust, you see. So, don't be guilty of that! I think we covered this verse before; but, if you have any qualms on that point, read James 1:13, James said: "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man..." ANY MAN? That is about all of them and it certainly includes you and me. You see, James is very consistent with what Jesus told his disciples on this occasion. So, when Jesus had made this point he healed the blind man. Why Jesus made the clay from spittle and did it in this way, I don't understand and probably nobody else does. Why did he send the man to the pool of Siloam? Again, I don't know! Maybe it served some other reason. Jesus could have done it any way he chose. He could have said the word, told the man to stand on his head, or hold his breath. But, Jesus chose to do it that way. Maybe it had something to do with the sabbath day question that got the attention of others; or may be it had to do with this man's faith; like I said" I don't know. So, we're wasting our time to speculate.
V.4 contains a great thought. I'm not sure that I get all of Jesus' meaning. After Jesus was resurrected; he did no more miracles. His time in this respect was limited apparently. This was true with Jesus' disciples and the same is true with you and me. The night is coming, i.e. our opportunities are limited. We have to do what we do now. our opportunity will not be forever. You will recall in one of Jesus' temple speeches back in John 8:12, Jesus had said, "I am the light of the world." I would assume that Jesus repeated that statement here in v.5 to help his disciple (and us) to make the connection to what he said in his prior speech.
When that man received his sight at the pool of Siloam, can you imagine what a joyful moment that was for this man? HE CAME SEEING! (v.7). Then look at the dialogue of the neighbors (v.8-12). "Is not this he that sat and begged?" Some others said, Yep! that him! Others said, Oh! NO! It can't be! But, the fellow said, Yep! It's me! Then naturally, they wanted to know, HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? Of course, when the man told them and mentioned Jesus; they wanted to know: "Where is he?" (v.12). So, v.13, "They brought to the Pharisees him that aforetime was blind." Isn't that a very natural reaction? How can this be? What if it happened to one of your neighbors? Wouldn't you be curious? So the Pharisees, i.e. some of the Jewish leaders that were Pharisees, began to investigate. The Pharisees ask the man some of the same questions. After several questions, some of the Pharisees concluded, "This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day..." (v.16). But, others of their number disagreed, there was a division among them the last of the verse says. The other division of the Pharisees asked, "How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles?" So, they pushed the investigation further and insisted on talking to the parents of the man. They intended to find some way in which they could discredit the miracle. The parents were a little evasive because they had heard some say that anyone who acknowledged Jesus would be excommunicated from the synagogue. They didn't hesitate to confirm it was their son and that he was healed and of course they didn't doubt that the man had been healed by Jesus; but, since they were not present they used that to not answer any more question than they were forced to answer. So, since the Pharisees saw that the parents were a little evasive; they called the man in and said (v.24) "Give God the praise, we know that this man is a sinner", trying to raise doubts on the part of the man and trying to gain his cooperation. But, the man confessed Jesus and said, "one thing I know, that whereas I was blind, now I see." So, they went over the case again, "What did he to thee? how opened he thine eyes?" As they began to pressure the man on every little point, the man said , "I have told you already..." (v.27). He could see they were trying to find something to discredit Jesus so he asked: in sarcasm, "will ye also be his disciple?" So, John said "they reviled him", i.e. they then tried to discredit the man, and disregard the healing. They said, "we are Moses1 disciple...as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is." But, the man stood his ground and made them a little speech: "Why herein is a marvelous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes. Now, we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth. Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one
that was born blind. If this man were not of God, he could do nothing."
We would say the man reached an iron clad, inescapable conclusion. They saw his point. But, as usual they would not concede; so, their answer is in v. 34. They tried to discredit the man by claiming superior knowledge. "Thou was altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us?" i.e. the heads of the Jewish religion. So, they stubbornly "cast him out." What does that mean? Some think they threw him out of the investigation room. But, it probably means they, excommunicated the man from the Jewish synagogue. So, when Jesus heard this, Jesus found the man and taught him further, concerning faith. V.38 says that the man believed Jesus and worshipped Jesus.
Notice the principle that Jesus stated in v.39. He seems not to have said this to any special person; but rather, a simple summary of the situation as it related to his mission. "For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind." This is a spiritual principle. Everything that Jesus did separated the sheep from the goats so-to-speak. Thus, in this sense, everything Jesus did and the response of the people to his teachings was a continuous judgment situation. And this becomes another statement or a re-statement of Jesus' mission from the heavenly Father. Jesus came that he might give light unto the world, i.e. the world would see and understand by that which Jesus imparted to the world. But, at the same time, those that rejected Jesus and followed their own opinions became more and more alienated and more and more void of the truth; thus they became blinder and blinder by the very process. Re-examine that statement close. Jesus said he came for two purposes, (#1) "that they which see NOT might see". i.e. that those that don't have spiritual understanding might have it. (#2), "That they which see might be made blind", i.e. that those who think they know and see by their own opinions might be made blind. The apostle Paul in writing to the Thessalonians said, "And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." ( II Thes. 2:11-12).
Even on the occasion that Jesus stated this principle, some Pharisees were listening. So, one of them asked Jesus, "Are we blind?" (v.40). Notice how that Jesus applied the principle stated above. If they didn't understand, then they would have no sin. But, since they claim to understand and claim to have superior knowledge and rejected Jesus, they sinned. In Jesus words, "ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth." Do you remember in Matthew ch. 15, where Jesus was talking to the scribes and Pharisees about their customs and traditions? He said, "Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition." (Matt. 15:6). Then in v.9, Jesus said that worship using such doctrines and commandments was vain. Then further down in v.14, Jesus said, "if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch", i.e. not only those that teach these things will be lost; but those that they lead astray will be lost also. What a terrible situation! And how much more does this place the responsibility to examine and to know God's word upon every individual. James said, "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin." (Jas. 4:17). So, Jesus' judgment principle is still working today. Until our next lesson, have a good day!