I must tell the truth. The man called Jesus has changed me. Not just a little but radically. I’ve changed my mind about missing God’s goal and now act differently.
Why? The man called Jesus has healed me and made me whole. I couldn’t see before. Now I can. That is worth a shout out for sure!
As he was passing by, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him: “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” Jesus answered. “This came about so that God’s works might be displayed in him. We must do the works of him who sent me while it is day. Night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
After he said these things he spit on the ground, made some mud from the saliva, and spread the mud on his eyes. “Go,” he told him, “wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means “Sent”). So he left, washed, and came back seeing.
His neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar said, “Isn’t this the one who used to sit begging?” 9 Some said, “He’s the one.” Others were saying, “No, but he looks like him.”
He kept saying, “I’m the one.”
So they asked him, “Then how were your eyes opened?”
He answered, “The 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.”
“Where is he?” they asked.
“I don’t know,” he said. | John 9:1-12 (Christian Standard Bible)
About the only thing a blind man could do in that day was beg, and that is what this man was doing when Jesus passed by. No doubt there were many blind people who would have rejoiced to be healed, but Jesus selected this man. Apparently, the man and his parents were well known in the community. It was on the Sabbath when Jesus healed the man, so that once again He was upsetting and deliberately challenging the religious leaders and elites.
The disciples did not look at the man as an object of mercy but rather as a subject for a theological discussion. It is much easier to discuss an abstract subject like “sin” than it is to minister to a concrete need in the life of a person. The disciples were sure that the man’s congenital blindness was caused by sin, either his own or his parents’, but Jesus disagreed with them. Jesus disagreed emphatically.
In the final analysis, all physical problems are the result of our fall in Adam, for his disobedience brought sin and death into the world. But afterward, to blame a specific disability on a specific sin committed by specific persons is certainly beyond any man’s ability or authority. Only God knows why babies are born with handicaps, and only God can turn those handicaps into something that will bring good to the people and glory to His name.
Certainly, both the man and his parents had at some time committed sin, but Jesus did not see their sin as the cause of the man’s blindness. Nor did He suggest that God deliberately made the man blind so that, years later, Jesus could perform a miracle. Since there is no punctuation in the original manuscripts, we are free to read it this way:
Neither has 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.
Our Master’s method of healing was unique: He put clay on the man’s eyes and told him to go wash. Once Jesus healed two blind men by merely touching their eyes, and He healed another blind man by putting spittle on his eyes. Though the healing power was the same, our Master varied His methods lest people focus on the manner of healing and miss the message in the healing.
The healing now led to a problem in identification: was this really the blind beggar, and who caused him to see? Throughout the rest of John 9, a growing conflict takes place around these two questions. The religious elistes did not want to face the fact that Jesus had healed the man, or even that the man had been healed!
Four times in this chapter people asked, “How were you healed?” First the neighbors asked the man, and then the elites asked him. Not satisfied with his reply, the elites then asked the man’s parents and then gave the son one final interrogation. All of this looked very official and efficient, but it was really a most evasive maneuver on the part of both the people and the leaders. The elites wanted to get rid of the evidence, and the people were afraid to speak the truth!
They were all asking the wrong question! They should not have asked “How?” but “Who?” But we are so prone to ask “How?” We want to understand the mechanics of a miracle instead of simply trusting the Savior, who alone can perform the miracle. Nicodemus wanted to know how he could reenter his mother’s womb. “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?” Understanding the process, even if we could, is no guarantee that we have experienced the miracle.
When asked to describe his experience, the man simply told what had happened. All he knew about the person who had done the miracle was that He was “a man called Jesus.” He had not seen our Master, of course; but he had heard His voice. Not only was the beggar ignorant of Jesus’ identity, but he did not know where Jesus had gone. At this point, the man has been healed, but he has not been saved. The light had dawned, but it would grow brighter until he saw the face of Jesus and worshiped Him.
- Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (Jn 9:1–41). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
- Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, pp. 324–325). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.