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Healing of the Man Born Blind

I. OBSERVATION

A. Passage Selected: John 9:1-41

B. Progression Stated: Logical and Ideological

C. Presentation Summarized:

1. Context

In John 6: Jesus fed 5000 and then said He was the Bread of Life (John 6:35). In John 8:12 he claimed that He was the Light of the World. Now he provides physical and spiritual light to a blind man.

This miracle has messianic significance. In the OT it is God himself who is associated with the giving of sight to the blind (Ex. 4:11, Ps. 146:8). In a number of passages in Isaiah (29:18, 35:5, 42:7) it is considered to be a messianic activity:

John 8:59 shows that they wanted to kill Him. They understood his claims.

2. Content
a. The initial conversation and cure of the man 9:l-12

(1) The question of the disciples (1-2)

In light of the placement of this account in the narrative, it appears that the Evangelist wants to suggest that this man is representative of all humanity. The fact is that mankind is not by nature receptive to the light (1:5,10). Rather all mankind is spiritually blind from birth. It is the role of the Light who comes into the world to enlighten every man (cf. 1:9).16

The disciples are guilty of a “Job’s friend” type of theology. They assumed that there was something sinful about the conception or the lives of the parents or the man sinned in the womb.

One of the main reasons this type of theology is so popular, is because if we can assign blame for misfortune, then it offers us the false hope that if I am good, nothing like that will happen to me.

(2) The answer of Jesus (3-5)

The purpose is for the benefit of the man and the witness of Christ. “While it is day” is a metaphor for present opportunity. He is here now and able to do things in front of them, soon he will be leaving.

He repeats the statement that He is the light of the world (cf 8:12).

(3) The result for the blind man (6-7)

The means - spittle and touch again. Here he makes mud pies (which violates the sabbath rule against kneading). The word “siloam” means “sent” and may be a reference to the fact that Jesus was sent by the Father and Jesus sent the man.

(4) The report of the blind man (8-12)

A man called Jesus. I don’t know where he is.

b. The indicting confrontation of the man with the Pharisees 9:13-34

(1) The man and the Pharisees (13-17)

They want to know how he had received his sight? They were not interested in the welfare of the man, just that someone had worked on the Sabbath. (Another Sabbath miracle.)

The Pharisees conclude He can’t be from God, because he is a Sabbath breaker. The man concludes he might be a prophet.

(2) The Jews and the parents (18-23)

The parents are afraid of the leaders and wouldn’t say anything.

(3) The man and the Jews (24-34)

They know he is from Nazareth. The question might be referring to who his father was. Perhaps they think Jesus is illegitimate because he was born too soon after the marriage. Or the question could

No one has ever heard of opening the eyes of someone born blind - increase in the power factor here.

The formerly blind man makes several true statements, follows the logic and comes to the correct conclusions. Thus, the Pharisees are indicted for not coming to the same conclusions and being the godly leaders they were supposed to be.

c. The invited confession of the man by Jesus 9:35-41

Jesus found him out... Jesus healed him of his blindness, but the man didn’t really understand who it was that healed him. So Jesus found the man a second time to deal with his spiritual blindness. Perhaps the man wasn’t ready at the time of the healing to believe, but after the questioning of the Pharisees, he had had time to think about everything and was now ready.

(1) The faith of the man (35-38)

Although the majority of Greek manuscripts read “Son of God,” the oldest and best manuscripts read “Son of Man.” I think “Son of Man” fits the context of judgment better (cf. Dan 7:13) The “Son of Man” phrase means more than just any son to this man. It has special significance and the blind man recognizes it. He just hadn’t made the connection before now that Jesus was the son of man. It is at this time that he becomes a believer. Not when he was making deductions earlier.

(2) The function of Jesus (39-41)

He reveals the truth and gives sight to the blind.

He conceals the truth and further blinds those who can “see.”

(i) The purpose of Christ’s ministry

His purpose is both salvation and judgment. He saves those with faith and judges those with lack of faith. In this context the condition for salvation is the confession of need (recognizing blindness) And those who say they see are self-righteous. Saying you “see” means you don’t recognize your sin. Therefore you don’t see a need for salvation.

Christ’s purpose was to save the world, but the consequence of rejecting His salvation is judgment. Priority desire is to save. Resultant action may be condemnation. Did I know when I had children that I would have to spank them. Yes. Did I have children so that I could spank them? No.

(ii) The problem of Israel’s mentality

II. INTERPRETATION

  • Jesus as the Son of Man is the Light and the Lord in whom one should place faith and before whom one should worship, otherwise there will be judgment.
  • Shows how little compassion the Jewish leaders had for the people. They were only concerned with rules.

    III. APPLICATIONS

  • From the Pharisees we learn that: Self-righteousness is blind. Light rejected brings darkness. He came to blind those who could see. That is a tough statement.
  • From the Parents we learn that: Fear of others can keep one from accepting Christ. Fear of being booted out of your group.
  • Sometimes a good defense is a good offense.
  • Not all sickness is the result of sin.
  • Can God allow a man to be born blind for His glory. You have to stretch your theology / understanding of God to include this one. God is bigger than we expect. Suffering and tragedy can fit into the good plan.
  • And again I’m impressed with the fact that the “layman” understands the obvious truth while the “scholars” argue over the technicalities.
  • People always want to know “how,” but the correct question is “who?”
  • Related Topics: Miracles