John 9


John 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?"


It is unknown how much time has passed since Jesus left the temple and escaped from being stoned to death. He and His disciples were walking along when they passed by a man that was blind since birth. It is interesting to note that no one was healed of blindness in the Old Testament. This man was accustomed to being blind, but I cannot imagine living my entire life without being able to see my loved ones or the beauty of God’s creation with my eyes.  


When Jesus’ disciples saw this man, they assumed he was born blind because he had sinned or his parents had sinned. Since they knew he was blind from birth, someone must have mentioned this to them earlier. Anytime someone suffered from a disease or a physical aliment, many assumed that person sinned just like Job’s friends assumed about him.


It is possible for someone to suffer a disease or a physical aliment if they engage in sin (Gal. 6:6-7). For instance, if a person abused his body with drugs, alcohol, or he commits fornication, it can cause disease and health problems. It is also possible for a child to be born blind or have other problems if his mother sins by abusing her body with drugs, or if the husband sins by beating his wife while she is pregnant. Sometimes several generations can be affected by the sin of their parents even though their descendants are not guilty of their parent’s sin (Ex. 20:5).


Even when a child is born with a physical ailment, it does not mean that he is a sinner because it is impossible for them to be one, and his parent’s sin cannot be passed onto him (Ezek. 18:20). An infant cannot speak or even think about sin because they do not know what it is. Therefore, I find it strange that these disciples asked if this man had sinned to cause himself to be blind from birth, which would mean he could have sinned from the womb, which cannot happen.


Many times a person can suffer physically or even get diseases naturally without sin being the cause (Lk. 13:1-5), which is the case with this blind man. But the disciples had made a judgment call and assumed the worse without knowing the facts. We have to be careful that we do not find ourselves guilty of this today. It is important that we do not prejudge someone based on what we initial perceive with our eyes. Instead, we need to gather all the facts we can before we make a judgment call.


John 9:3 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."


Jesus told His disciples neither this man nor his parents were guilty of sin, but the works of God will be revealed in him. I do not believe God caused this man be blind from birth for this purpose. Instead, Jesus would use this opportunity to work another miracle to glorify God. Just as Jesus used His opportunities wisely, we should do the same. When Jesus said neither this man nor his parents sinned, He was only saying that their sins did not cause the blindness because they were not sinless.


In verse 4, Jesus is saying that He must continue to do the works of the Father while He is alive, which is what is meant by day. The night represents death when no one can work. Jesus is our perfect example because He was obedient to the Father in every way and used His time wisely to serve God. We must learn from this example and realize that we only have a short time on this earth. Once we die, it is over. There are no second chances, so we must redeem the time we have (Eph. 5:16; Col. 4:5).


Once again, Jesus claims to be the light of the world. It was prophesied that He would be this shining light (Isa. 9:2; Mt. 4:14-16; Lk. 1:79). Jesus called Himself this light on many occasions (Jn. 3:19; 8:12; 9:5; 12:46; Rev. 22:16). His light exposes the darkness of sin, and it reveals the truth. Even when Jesus was physically taken out of the world, He did not leave us in darkness because He left us His Word, which reveals that same light (2 Tim. 1:10; 2 Pet. 1:19; Ps. 119:105).


When we step into that light and obey it, we become Christians. We can have the same confidence David did when he said:


Psalm 27:1  The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?


Not only does Jesus continue to be the light for us through His Word, He will be the eternal light of heaven (Rev. 21:23). So, if we want to be pleasing to God, we must believe on the light and become sons of light (Jn. 12:36), walk in the light (1 Jn. 1:6, 7), put on the whole armor of light (Rom. 13:12), and shine as a reflection of that light (Isa. 60:1; Phil. 2:15; Acts 13:47). We must strive to emulate Christ’s obedience to the Father.


John 9:6 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. 


On several occasion Jesus used something with His miracle, but He always used something that had nothing to do with the miracle itself.  I do not know the reason Jesus used things like this because if He wanted to, He could just say your healed and the person would be healed, but I have no doubt there was a purpose for it. Though not mentioned, I can imagine that some tried to reproduce this miracle by using clay and the pool of Siloam, but they would find out that it would not work for them.   


The blind man did not know who Jesus was, but he had nothing to lose. So, He allowed Jesus to anoint his eyes, and he obeyed the command to go wash in the pool of Siloam. According to one commentator:


Its name was derived from the fact that its waters were “sent” into the pool by a channel:


South of the temple mount is a basin hewn out of the rock in part and partly built of masonry, fifty-three feet long, eighteen feet wide and nineteen feet deep, which is identified as Siloam. A stream, rising in the fount of Siloam, passes

through the reservoir, which is used for domestic purposes.


This pool is located in the southeast part of the city where the Tyropoean Valley joins the Kidron. Its waters come from the Gihon Spring by way of the tunnel built by Hezekiah (2 Kings20:20; 2 Chron. 32:30).At the Feast of Tabernacles the waters of Siloam were used to symbolize the blessings of God upon the people, and Jesus had related the symbolism to Himself (John 7:37-38). John wants his readers to see that the blessings which the man was to experience really came from Messiah, the Sent One. In Isaiah 8:6 these same waters were used to describe God’s provision for His people (Power Lectureship, The Sayings of Jesus p. 424).


Make no mistake, there was not any power in the clay, spit, or the pool of Siloam. The miracle happened because of Jesus and the man received his sight because He obeyed, which is similar to the story of Naaman (2 Kings 5). Naaman was a leper and Elisha told him if he wanted to be made clean, he would have to dip in the Jordan River seven times. At first, he did not want to do it, but his servant talked him into obeying this command. When he did, his leprosy was taken away. There was nothing magical about the Jordan River. It was simply the place God designated where Naaman would be healed. In both these instances God was the source of the healing, and they received their healing by obeying.  


This same principle applies to every person today because everyone is stained with sin, and the only way to be cured from that sin is through the power of God. However, we must choose to accept it by having an obedient faith. We must believe, repent, confess Jesus as Lord, and be baptized. Many people get hung up on the idea of baptism, but the water is not what takes away our sin just like it did not open the blind man’s eyes or cure Naaman’s leprosy. It is simply the place God has told us to go. When we obey His command and we are baptized, we can know that God is removing our sin and making us a child of God (Col. 2:12).


John 9:8 Therefore the neighbors and those who previously had seen that he was blind said, "Is not this he who sat and begged?"  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."  


We can only imagine what these neighbors thought. Here was a man they saw begging day after day because he could not see. Maybe some of them had even seen him earlier that day being blind, but now he could see. Some were so shocked by this event that they began to question their own sanity, which is why they asked if he was that man while others said he certainly looks like the man.


By this time there was probably a small crowd gathered because people always come together to see something extraordinary. This former blind man removes all doubt about his identity because he tells them he was that blind man. Of course everyone wants to know how it happened, and the man had no problem telling them what Jesus did for Him and how it was done. When they found out it was Jesus, they wanted to know where He was, but the man did not know. While many of these people probably knew who Jesus was, the blind man did not.


John 9:13 They brought him who formally 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."   


The neighbors knew this was a miracle, so they brought this man to the Pharisees. We find out that Jesus healed this man on the Sabbath. Once again, this man explained how Jesus healed him, but all the Pharisees could focus on was their own laws they had made for the Sabbath. In their man-made traditions, Jesus had broken the Sabbath because He healed a man, spit in the ground, and made clay. However, Jesus had not broken the Sabbath according to the Law of Moses (Heb. 4:15).


The Pharisees were only concerned with Jesus because they did not like Him. They never said a word about the blind man who washed, which would have broken their view of the Sabbath. Because of their narrow minds, they did not pay attention to the miracle that happened.


Some of them understood the significance of this miracle, and they posed a great question.  “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” If the Pharisees could have seen past their traditions and focused on this genuine miracle, they would have to conclude that Jesus was from God. They could not accuse Him of having a demon because when does a demon or the devil do something kind like making the blind see? Once again, the Pharisees held to their stubborn position while others had been convinced, so a great division occurred that day.


Now they want to know what this blind man thinks about Jesus. This man was like the woman at the well (Jn. 4) because he is progressing in what he thinks about Jesus. First, he said that a man named Jesus healed him. Now, he is saying He must be a prophet since He was able to heal his blindness.


John 9:18 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."


These Jews did not believe in Jesus, so they wondered if this man had really been blind.  So, they investigated this man’s story by asking his parents if he was indeed born blind, and if he was blind, how was it that he could see now. Much to the disliking of the Pharisees, his parents confirmed that their son was born blind, so there was no denying that a genuine miracle happened. One would think these parents would be overwhelmed with joy that Jesus gave there son his sight and would proudly say that Jesus was the one that did it. Instead, they decided to lie so they would not get kicked out of the Synagogue.


To be kicked out of the Synagogue was a Jews’ worse fear because not only were they not allowed to worship there, the other Jews would not talk with them or do business with them. So, this is why they would not tell these men what they knew, and why they shifted the focus back on their son.


John 9:24 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."


Since the Pharisees were not successful with the parents, they turned their attention to this man again. They are trying their best intimidate him to get him to deny that Jesus had anything to do with his eyesight. Unlike his parents, he did not cave under the pressure. He did not care if Jesus was a sinner or not, and he did not care what these Pharisees were saying because he knew that he was blind and now he could see. Nothing was going to change that fact.


John 9:26 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?"


Once again, the Jews wanted this man to tell them how he was healed. They were probably hoping his story would change so they could find someway of disproving Jesus’ involvement. This man was growing tired of these Pharisees, so he does not tell them the story again because they do not want to hear the truth. He then mocks them by asking them if they want to be His disciples.


John 9:28 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."


They did not like what he said one bit, so they began to defend themselves and said they were Moses’ disciples. As we learned earlier in our study, Moses prophesied about Jesus, and He had been fulfilling those prophecies. If these Jews were really Moses’ disciples, they should have believed that Jesus is the Messiah. We also find these Pharisees lying because they claimed they did not know where Jesus was from, but back in John 7:27, they said they did. Even if these were not the same Pharisees of John 7, we know they shared the news about Jesus to their fellow Pharisees because they were all looking for a way to bring Him down, and they all knew who He was. These Pharisees were willing to say anything that would keep them from admitting the truth. 


John 9:30 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.


This blind mind had a greater understanding than these Pharisees. He understood that the only way that Jesus could have healed his blindness was if God was working through Him. The blind man could see this, but the Pharisees would not open their eyes to this simple truth. Instead, they cast him out of their site claiming that he had no right to teach them anything because he was born in sin.


Let’s take a closer look at what the blind man said. Even though this man was not inspired by God, he claimed that God does not hear sinners, which is true, and it is supported by several Old Testament Scriptures (Ps. 34:15-16; Prov. 1:28-31, 15:29, 28:9; Mic. 3:4; Zech. 7:12-13). When we examine these verses, we will find that God does not hear the prayer of those who are not willing hear or obey the Law of God.


However, if a person is seeking after God, and they are trying to obey God’s Word, He will hear their prayer just like he heard Cornelius’ prayer (Acts 10:4). Even the blind man in John 9 said, “If anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him (Jn. 9:31).” There are many passages that imply this truth as well (Prov. 8:17; Acts 10:4; Jas. 4:8).

While God may hear the prayers of those that are drawing near to God, they will not be able to boldly approach the throne of grace as Christian can because Jesus is not their high priest, and they are on the outside looking in (Heb. 4:14-16). It should have been obvious to these Pharisees that the blind man was right because no miracle like this had ever been done in the past.


John 9:35 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?"  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.


Jesus found the blind man and wanted to know if he believed in the Son of God. The blind man wants to believe in the Son of God, but he does not know who He is. This fact disproves the fake miracle workers today who claim that a person can only be healed if he has enough faith in Jesus because this man was healed, and he did not know who Jesus was. When Jesus healed this man, he only heard His voice and did not know what He looked like. At first, he called Jesus a man, and later he concluded that He was a prophet. This man was ready to believe in the Son of God when Jesus pointed out who He was.


When Jesus told him that He was the Son of God, he did not question it; He simply believed and worshipped Him. Jesus did not stop him from worshipping Him because Jesus was worthy of worship. He was both man and God in the flesh.


John 9:39 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.


When Jesus came into the world it was not to condemn it, but to save it.  


John 3:17 "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.  18 "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.


However, as He began to reveal the truth through His words, He was laying the foundation by which all be judged (Jn. 12:48). Not only did Jesus come to save those that were willing to accept His words of salvation, these same words will judge those who refuse to accept them like these Pharisees.


Jesus also added that He came to open the eyes of those who cannot see and make blind those who can see. Jesus is using this saying in reference to the blind man that had his eyes opened, but He is talking about this in a spiritual sense. Yes, this man was healed of his physical blindness, but as time progressed, his eyes were opened spiritually. Now, He believes that Jesus is the Son of God, which is what is meant by making the blind to see. Every sinner in this world is spiritually blind until they allow their eyes to be opened by the Word of God.


On the flip side, those who think they can see, like the Pharisees, were made spiritually blind by the truth that Jesus was teaching because they were unwilling to accept it, which was a fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah (Mt. 13:14-15; Isa. 6:9-10).


What did Jesus mean when He said, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, 'We see.' Therefore your sin remains.” When Jesus said they would have no sin, He was not saying they would have no sin whatsoever because all have sinned (Rom. 3:23). If He was talking about spiritual blindness, I believe He was saying they would have no sin in not knowing who Jesus was if they had not heard who He was or who He claimed to be.


If He is talking about physical blindness, He could be saying that if they were like this blind man, they would not have sin for not believing in Him because He did not know who Jesus was, and he had not been able to see any of the signs that Jesus had done. When Jesus opened the blind man’s physical eyes with a miracle it led to the blind man having his spiritual eyes opened because this miracle and Jesus’ proclamation that He was the Son of God was all the blind man needed for proof.


These Pharisees had heard about and seen some of the miracles that Jesus did. On many occasions Jesus pointed out to them how He was fulfilling the prophecies of the Messiah. Jesus gave them plenty of evidence that should have cured their spiritual blindness, but because of their stubborn pride, they refused to believe in Jesus. Since they were claiming they could see and knew what the Scriptures said, they would continue to remain in their sins because they were still denying that Jesus was the Son of God.