The Book of John is unique among the Gospel accounts. You may read it when you are yet in shallow waters near the shore, and you will find Jesus there. You may read it and find yourself totally immersed in deep truths about God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Sometimes I will go deep, and if it is too much, don’t worry! Stay in the shallow waters for a bit. He will take you deeper, as you get to know Him!
John 9 is about blindness — natural and spiritual. When Jesus walked the earth, natural blindness was even more devastating than it is now. There was no Braille, no white canes, no training on how to get around in a seeing world, no guide dogs, no financial provision. A blind person was led by the hand to a place where he or she would sit and beg for money from passersby.
But spiritual blindness has a far greater consequence. For the Jewish elite, and for everyone who rejects Christ, the consequence is hell. But in John 9, you will learn that Jesus Christ is the Healer of both, if you will believe Him. I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see!
Verse 1-2 — Jesus saw a man blind from birth. The disciples asked him who sinned, the man, or his parents. It seems like a strange question. But in Jewish thought, if someone was born blind, he either sinned while still a fetus in the womb, or his parents sinned.
IMPORTANT POINT: The disciples were focused on determining who sinned, so they missed what Jesus saw — a man in need of healing, and an opportunity to glorify God the Father. I wonder how often the church does that today?
Verse 3 — Jesus corrected His disciples. This man’s blindness was not caused by his sin or his parents’ sin. This man was born blind so that the works of God could be displayed in him. He was born blind so that God would be glorified for doing something miraculous. God would get the credit, the honor and the praise for it. In all of history, healing a person born blind had never been done. You will see that God’s works are about to be seen.
IMPORTANT POINT: Is it possible that a birth defect happens so that the person can be healed by God, and God can be glorified? Do you believe Jesus can heal birth defects? That was the case here. Just something to chew on.
Verse 4-5 — Jesus then says we (all believers) must work the works of the Father as long as it is day. Night is coming, and no one will be able to work then. The Light of the world is here, and Jesus says believers are lights of the world (Matthew 5:14). But there will come a time when He and we are no longer here. Then it will be very dark, indeed, dark because the light of God is no longer on the earth.
IMPORTANT POINT: Are you a believer? Are you working the works of the Father — works that cannot be attributed to any natural cause or any medical treatment? If not, ask Him to fill you with His Spirit. You will do His works. He will be glorified by it. Night is coming — you have a limited time to work.
Verses 6-7 — After saying this, He spat on the ground, made clay of His spittle, and put it on the man’s eyes. I believe He used clay because the man had no eyes. They had to be created from the dust, just as when Adam was created by God.
Then He commanded the man to go wash in the pool of Siloam (which is translated “sent”). He sent the man to the pool named Sent, to wash the clay off his face.
So the man obeyed, and came back seeing. Glory to God! Can you see him at the pool, washing, washing, and suddenly, he sees his reflection for the first time ever?
IMPORTANT POINT #1: Jesus Christ can create something from nothing, just as He did when the Father and He created everything you can now see, even to the farthest star and planet. He had to create new nerve connections in my brain in order for me to be healed of progressive MS 15 years ago. Mine had been destroyed, severed, never to be connected again. But with God, all things are possible.
IMPORTANT POINT #2: If someone is born blind, the brain does not have visual images to process. It gets used to not processing images. So when He creates eyes for someone who never had eyes, He has to correct the brain so it will process the images it is suddenly receiving! It is the same when you are filled with His Spirit. Suddenly, you are able to see truths you never saw before, to have visions you never had before, to see those in need — the ones you never saw before. He is an Eye Opener!
IMPORTANT POINT #2: Jesus just told the man to wash. He didn’t promise him healing. But the man obeyed, and came back with eyes that could see! You will be healed, if you will do what the Lord tells you to do (like me, when He told me I was sinking in a sea of doubt, and I reached my hand up to Him, just like Peter on the sea), even if He does not say you will be healed (He didn’t say anything about healing, but He healed me that very night).
Verses 8-9 — People look different after Jesus has touched them. People look different when they had no eyeballs, and suddenly have them. And people look different when they do not need to feel their way along, when they can stand up straight and see where they are going.
He was so changed, the neighbors weren’t sure he was the formerly blind man, even though they had seen him begging every day. Some said it was him, some said he just looked like him. When God’s works are done, there is always doubt on the part of some.
IMPORTANT POINT: When you are blind spiritually and can suddenly see, the change is just as dramatic, and some won’t recognize you anymore. When you can stand up straight because you are now walking in light instead of darkness, some won’t recognize you anymore. Whether He changes you by physically healing you or by opening your spiritual eyes, the change is extremely dramatic!
Verses 10-12 — The neighbors wanted to know how he was healed. He said that Jesus made clay, anointed his eyes, and told him to go and wash at the pool. So he did it, and he received sight. Simple! Then they wanted to know where Jesus went. The man didn’t know, because Jesus was not there when he returned from the pool seeing. He did not even know what Jesus looked like!
Verses 13-14 — This is the beginning of what I like to call, “The Pharisees Investigate the Healing.” The neighbors brought the man who was formerly blind to the spiritually blind Pharisees, the religious elite! Why did they bring him before them? Because the Law had been violated. He was healed on a Sabbath! Nothing is to be done, no work at all on the Sabbath, in their interpretation of God’s Law.
IMPORTANT POINT: Not only did they never speak Jesus’ name, but the Jewish elite never rejoiced that the man was healed and could see for the first time in his life, and was now able to enter the Temple to worship! Because of his blindness, he was banned from the Temple, considered unclean. But Jesus cleaned him up, in every way! Keep on reading!
Verses 15-16 — How did you receive your sight, the Jewish elite asked. So he told them. He applied clay, he washed, and now he sees. But this man (they refused to mention his name, Jesus) could not be from God, because He did work on the Sabbath! But some of the religious elite asked how a sinner (one who broke the Sabbath law) could perform such signs (miracles that attest that He is from God, because He is doing what only God can do). Jesus caused division among the man’s neighbors, and among the men investigating the healing.
IMPORTANT POINT: Jesus will challenge everything you think you know.
Verse 17 — So what do you say about Him, they said, since He opened your eyes? He is a prophet, says the man formerly blind. But in the Old Testament, prophets healed, but no one ever healed anyone born blind. The man born blind will see the truth shortly.
Verses 18-23 — The Jewish elite refused to believe the man’s testimony. So they called his parents. Is this your son? Was he born blind? How now does he see? They testified that he was their son, and was born blind. But they claimed to have no idea how he was healed. Ask our son, they said.
The parents didn’t want to say how he was healed because if they did, it would be the same as confessing that Jesus was the Christ. And if anyone did that, the Jewish elite had ruled that they would be put out of the synagogue. It was much more than being asked to leave a church. It meant that they would be shunned, have no assistance, and would be made beggars, unable to buy and sell in Jerusalem. That’s why they would not answer, but told them to ask their son.
IMPORTANT POINT: Confessing Jesus as the Christ can put you in jail these days, in many countries. It can get you tortured. It can get you killed. And even here in the U.S., hatred toward believers in Christ is on the rise. Why do they hate Jesus? Because He and His followers tell the world about their evil.
Verses 24-28 — Again they called for the man formerly blind. They issued a powerful order, in their religious culture. “Give glory to God,” meaning you have lied, now tell the truth. We know this man is a sinner.
The man replied that he didn’t know if Jesus was a sinner, but he know one thing, that he was blind and now he could see. That’s my testimony, too! I was spiritually blind, but now I see. But I know Jesus never sinned, even though He was tempted in all things, as we are (Hebrews 4:15).
They asked him how his eyes were opened. What did He (Jesus) do? So the man said he told them already but they did not listen. So why did they want to hear his testimony again? Did they want to become His disciples, too?
Verses 28-29 — The Jewish elite then reviled the man (criticized him verbally, in an abusive and insulting manner). You are His disciple, they told him, but we are disciples of Moses. We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man (Jesus), we do not know where He is from (despite Jesus telling them many times).
Verses 30-33 — Now the man boldly spoke truth to the Jewish elite. It was amazing that the Jewish elite didn’t know where Jesus was from, and yet He opened the eyes of a man born blind. God does not hear sinners, but if anyone is God-fearing (worships and honors and reveres God) and does His will, God hears him. So God heard Jesus, Jesus heard God, and Jesus is God-fearing and does His will.
Besides that, since the beginning of time, no one has been healed who was born blind. If this man (Jesus) were not from God, He couldn’t do that. He couldn’t do anything! (Jesus is from God, but you are blind and do not see it!)
IMPORTANT: God does not hear sinners, except when they repent and ask forgiveness. If anyone is God-fearing and does God’s will, God will hear him always. You can’t become those things; but you can ask Him to change your heart, when you ask Him to fill you with the Holy Spirit. Then you will revere and honor and worship God, and cry, “I have come to do Your will, O Lord!”
Verse 34 — The Jewish elite cursed the man, calling him a sinner, born entirely in sins. (You were born blind because you sinned or your parents sinned.) Who do you think you are, teaching us? And they put him out — excommunicated him, shunned him.
Verses 35-38 — Jesus heard what the Jewish elite did to the man, and found him. He said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” (Son of Man is a Messianic title, meaning the Christ.) The man said, “Who is He, Lord, so I amy believe in Him?” Jesus told him that he had seen Him, and He is the one talking with him. (“I am the Christ.”)
The man’s response? Lord, I believe. And he worshiped Jesus.
IMPORTANT POINT: Your response to an encounter with Jesus is this: Lord, I believe. And you worship Him. Or you reject Him, and revile those who believe in Him.
Verses 39-41— The Pharisees then heard Jesus say that He came into the world for judgement.
What is the judgment? Those who do not presently see will see Him and believe and worship Him. And those who claim they see will be blind, and will reject Him. Jesus is the catalyst, but it is their reaction to Him that judges them.
So the Pharisees said, Are you saying we’re blind? And Jesus said, if you were spiritually blind and did not claim you could spiritually see, you would have no sin. But because you say you spiritually see, your sin remains.You claim to see, yet you do not see Me, God the Son, your Messiah, your Christ!
IMPORTANT POINT: Much of the spiritually blind world judges Jesus, and therefore brings upon itself the judgment of God.