There was a man in Jerusalem who was born blind. One Sabbath Jesus stopped as he was passing by. While his followers argued over why the man was blind, Jesus made mud from his own saliva and the dust on the ground, put it on the blind man’s eyelids, and told him, “Go wash in the pool of Siloam” (John 9:7 NET). The blind man made his way there, washed the mud off his eyes, and came back seeing. He had been healed!
His neighbors could tell there was something different about him. Some weren’t sure if it was really him, but the man kept insisting that it really was. That led to the obvious question: “How then were you made to see?” (John 9:10). The man then told his neighbors what had happened. They wanted to meet Jesus for themselves, but the formerly blind man did not know where he had gone (after all, he had been blind and had gone to wash off the mud).
So they took him to the Pharisees. If anyone could understand what was going on it had to be this group of extremely religious men. The man related to them what Jesus had done for him.
Some of the Pharisees automatically rejected Jesus as being a man of God – after all, he did heal this man on the Sabbath! Others were more thoughtful: “How can a man who is a sinner perform such miraculous signs?” (John 9:16). To have such an ability to do good had to have been from God. Because they were divided in their opinion, they decided to ask the man who had been healed who Jesus was. The man concluded, “He is a prophet” (John 9:17).
As they could not admit that Jesus was from God, there had to be another explanation. So they refused to believe that the man really had been blind and therefore no healing had taken place. They called the man’s parents to come before them.
His parents came and told the Jewish leaders, “We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. But we do not know how he is now able to see, nor do we know who caused him to see. Ask him, he is a mature adult. He will speak for himself” (John 9:20-21). The problem was that if anyone said that Jesus was the Messiah, they would be ostracised from their community (John 9:22-23).
The man was called to come for the second time and told that he had to tell the truth and that they knew “this man” was a sinner. The man replied, “I do not know whether he is a sinner. I do know one thing – that although I was blind, now I can see” (John 9:25). The evidence for him was obvious – he had been healed!
They continued to question him as to how Jesus had caused him to see. He replied, “I told you already and you didn’t listen. Why do you want to hear it again? You people don’t want to become his disciples too, do you?” (John 9:26).
They did not appreciate his forthright answer and began to insult and slander him, calling him a disciple of Jesus and born completely sinful. They then threw him out of the synagogue, ostracising him from the Jewish community.
Jesus heard about what happened and found the man. He asked if he believed in the Son of Man. “He answered, ‘And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?’ Jesus said to him, ‘You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.’ He said, ‘Lord, I believe,’ and he worshiped him” (John 9:36-38 ESV).
Jesus is a teacher but so much more. He is a prophet, but so much more. He is the Son of Man, the Messiah promised of old, the Son of God. He came into the world “that those who do not see may see” (John 9:39).
May we see him as clearly as the formerly blind man did.
Readings for next week:
4 December – John 8:31-59
5 December – John 9
6 December – John 10
11 December – John 11:1-29
12 December – John 11:30-57