John 9:1–41 (NKJV)
9:1 Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. 2 And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”John 9:1-7
3 Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. 4 I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
6 When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. 7 And He said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went and washed, and came back seeing.
Jesus begins this story (unique to John’s gospel) by noticing a blind man and healing him by spitting on the ground and putting the resulting clay upon his eyes. He then instructed him to go and wash in the pool of Siloam. When he washed, his sight was given to him and he returned to the place where he was touched by Jesus. In this middle of this event, Jesus declared that the blindness was not the result of anyone’s sin–a common conception among Jews–but rather for an opportunity that the works of God be revealed.
This healing was unusual for a few reasons. First, the blindness was not seen as a punishment but as an opportunity, contrary to the philosophy of the religious leaders. Second, Jesus performed the miracle on the Sabbath, which was a transgression of the law in the opinion of the religious leaders. Jesus did this multiple times, upsetting those who followed the letter of the law, proving that He was the Lord of the Sabbath, and that healing and other miracles superseded the narrow interpretation of this law by the Pharisees.
8 Therefore the neighbors and those who previously had seen that he was blind said, “Is not this he who sat and begged?”John 9:8-34
9 Some said, “This is he.” Others said, “He is like him.”
He said, “I am he.”
10 Therefore they said to him, “How were your eyes opened?”
11 He answered and said, “A Man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed, and I received sight.”
12 Then they said to him, “Where is He?”
He said, “I do not know.”
13 They brought him who formerly was blind to the Pharisees. 14 Now it was a Sabbath when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. 15 Then the Pharisees also asked him again how he had received his sight. He said to them, “He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.”
16 Therefore some of the Pharisees said, “This Man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath.”
Others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” And there was a division among them.
17 They said to the blind man again, “What do you say about Him because He opened your eyes?”
He said, “He is a prophet.”
18 But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind and received his sight, until they called the parents of him who had received his sight. 19 And they asked them, saying, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?”
20 His parents answered them and said, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; 21 but by what means he now sees we do not know, or who opened his eyes we do not know. He is of age; ask him. He will speak for himself.” 22 His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had agreed already that if anyone confessed that He was Christ, he would be put out of the synagogue. 23 Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”
24 So they again called the man who was blind, and said to him, “Give God the glory! We know that this Man is a sinner.”
25 He answered and said, “Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.”
26 Then they said to him again, “What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?”
27 He answered them, “I told you already, and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become His disciples?”
28 Then they reviled him and said, “You are His disciple, but we are Moses’ disciples. 29 We know that God spoke to Moses; as for this fellow, we do not know where He is from.”
30 The man answered and said to them, “Why, this is a marvelous thing, that you do not know where He is from; yet He has opened my eyes! 31 Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him. 32 Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind. 33 If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing.”
34 They answered and said to him, “You were completely born in sins, and are you teaching us?” And they cast him out.
When the neighbors realized the miracle that had occurred, they questioned the once-blind man as to how he was healed. He explained to them, and then they took him to the Pharisees, who also demanded the explanation. His parents wiped their hands of the situation and suggested they ask the now-seeing man themselves. They did and he told the story. When they reasoned among themselves, they declared Jesus a sinner for healing on the Sabbath, and then asked for the account to be told again. At this point, the healed man asked why they asked him to repeat the story and suggested they must want to be Jesus’ disciples as well. This enraged the Pharisees, and they cast him out of the synagogue.
35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said to him, “Do you believe in the Son of God?”John 9:35-41
36 He answered and said, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?”
37 And Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you.”
38 Then he said, “Lord, I believe!” And he worshiped Him.
39 And Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.”
40 Then some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these words, and said to Him, “Are we blind also?”
41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, ‘We see.’ Therefore your sin remains.
Jesus found the sighted man and asked if He believed. He was uncertain as to what Jesus asked, but Jesus revealed Himself as the Son of God. The man immediately believed, and Jesus told him that the order of religious power was being turned upside down. Those who were blind will see, and those who claim to see will be blind. He said these things right in front of the Pharisees, who accosted Him. He called them out, and declared their sinfulness and responsibility.
In this exchange, Jesus demonstrates that He is the Son of God, by His words and by His actions. He heals a man blind from birth, declares Himself the Son of God to the man, and wins a disciple. At the same time, He denounces the Pharisees for their religious arrogance and takes authority over their negative barbs, winning even more disciples in the process. While a man was blind, he now can see. Whereas Jesus shunned the spotlight for a time, it seems He here announced to the world that He is the Son of God. Jesus is embracing the destiny for which He was sent, and everything is about to change. He is the Son of God. Embrace Him and the destiny for which He sends you today. Let Him open your eyes and make you His choice disciple!
Artwork from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ghZJgShbHg