The Gospel of John, The Period of Conflict - The Clash of Belief and Unbelief, Continuing discourse after the feast, The Man Blind from his Birth, Part XXI, John 9:1-7 - Lesson 68
As we enter into a study of chapter nine we look back from where this Gospel has brought us and we remember that the deity of Jesus Christ has been declared, that deity has been disputed by the Jewish leaders, we have been with Jesus in Jerusalem and in the countryside of Galilee, we have heard him expound the word of God, we have seen him expose the wickedness of men, and we have just seen him again to claim to be God, and we have seen the Jews attempt to stone him for blasphemy.
Conflict with Jesus Christ is open and building.
Jesus Christ does not shrink from this conflict but in fact encourages it by his miracles.
He is about to cause division of the Jews by working a work of grace on the sabbath.
This miracle declares his deity to many but to those whose ears are closed to truth deity cannot enter.
Only lies have a pathway.
The Jews are determined not to believe him.
The matter is closed.
Nothing will satisfy them but his death.
We will read the first seven verses:
John 9:1-7, And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.
John 9:1, And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.
John has selected only a few of the many miracles that Jesus did while on earth.
He selected hard cases to illustrate spiritual truths.
The case of the man born blind is the seventh sign in the gospel.
This man that Jesus saw had a disease from birth.
He had never seen the light of day, never seen the stars, the moon, the sunset, had never seen his parents or his brothers or sisters or friends, he had never seen a bird fly or a human face smile.
He was never conscious of any space except that which he alone occupied.
He did not even know that Jesus noticed him.
He had entered this life in darkness and lived to adulthood in darkness not knowing what light was.
Darkness was normal and light was a concept he could not imagine.
It could not be explained to him. He had no reference to know light.
Light had to be given to him by an outside source.
He could do nothing to gain the light of sight by his own strength.
And that light named Jesus Christ came by him at a particular day at a particular time of that day and saw that he was born blind.
God had arranged this meeting from eternity past and Jesus kept this appointment because he always did his Fatherís will.
In this passage we read, Jesus said that as long as he is in the world he is the light of the world.
The hatred that surrounds him in Jerusalem does not deter him from being the light.
Light cannot be darkened.
He sees one who cannot see.
Just what he is looking for.
Does he not say in the last few verses of this chapter that he has come into the world that they which see not, might see?
Isnít this his mission?
To seek and to save those who are lost, and those who are blind and without sight to God?
John 9:2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
This question of the disciples may be revealing.
Why did they ask the question?
Why did they ask the question in the presence of the blind man?
Were they truly interested or were they simply trying to act theological in front of their Master?
Jesus Christ saw one blind who had a deep need.
The disciples saw one who provided a show and tell object lesson of the relationships of sin with physical infirmities.
Jesus Christ displayed compassion while the disciples theorized and philosophized about theological questions.
The disciples considered only two reasons for his blindness.
Both of them included sin as a reason for this manís blindness.
They knew he was born with blind yet they included his sin as a reason.
Perhaps they thought that he was born blind on account of sins he would commit in the future.
John 9:3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.
Jobís friends surmised that his suffering was the result of great sin on his part.
Not so, we learn by studying the book of Job.
God had reasons to allow suffering into Jobís life.
Human reason delights to connect suffering to special sin.
We love to condemn, we love to analyze.
We know that sin is the result of evil but those that suffer from evils effects are not necessarily more guilty than others.
Look at the innocents in Bosnia, and Rwanda, and Somalia.
Caught up in the evil that sin has unleashed.
Jesus tells his disciples that this man is not blind because of his sin or the sin of his parents.
He teaches that these parents had sinned no more than those parents whose children can see.
He knows that the discipleís flesh wants to connect suffering to individual sin because it caters to their flesh.
It puffs up those who are whole and healthy.
My sin must be less, for God to bless me with eyes that see or with legs to walk and with ears to hear.
Jesus infers to us that our duty is not to find blame but to seek to comfort those who suffer and to seek to remove the evil that may cause the suffering.
By Jesus saying that this manís blindness was not the result of sin he does not say that no suffering is the result of sin.
But he says that is is not the case with this blind man.
There is a high purpose to be carried out in the case of this blind man.
God desires that his works are manifest.
Because he desires to show off?
No, it was given to reveal Godís care in a human life.
Would this man have been saved if he had not been born blind?
His blindness from birth would result in a revelation of Godís grace to him and to us.
This manís blindness does not reveal an unkind God.
It does not reveal a God who makes mistakes.
It reveals a God who intended to bring Christ into this manís life and ultimate praise and glory to God.
This is one of the purposes of all the signs and miracles that Jesus performed while on this earth.
They should point each and every one of us to glorify God.
Even though we were not present at this miracle we are there by faith and this manís blindness continues to preach to men and women the wonderful grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
John 9:4, I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
Each man has his day when he can work.
Each man will have his night when he cannot work.
There is a time for work and there is a time when work cannot be done.
Jesus day of work was the period of three and one-half years of public ministry while he was on this earth revealing the perfections of God and ministering to the needs of his creatures.
He knew that his day was limited to that short period and that his night was coming when he would leave the earth and return to his Father.
He must then be about his Father's business.
Time was drawing short.
John 9:5, As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.
But as long as he was in the world he is the light of the world.
The efforts of the Jews could not stop him from working the works of the Father.
The light would shine regardless of the efforts of man to get rid of him.
John 9:6,7, When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.
Jesus now shows the power of light in the life of this blind man.
A work must be done to fulfill the Father's will.
Jesus Christ was a doer of good works.
He did not stop with words but he performed deeds.
Jesus could easily have pronounced this man whole but there is more to this healing than opening the blind man's eyes.
Jesus is preparing himself to go to a cross.
He is righteous and must do righteous acts which will put him at odds with the religious authorities.
He bends and spits holy spit onto the ground and forms a wet clay which he then applies to the closed eye lids of the man blind from birth.
The clay applied to the eye lids emphasizes the man's blindness.
Perhaps it emphasized the power of the world to blind or the defilement of the world.
If there was any hint of sight on the blind man's part, Jesus, by placing clay on the lids, shows that man is totally without spiritual sight.
And in making clay on the Sabbath, he performs work, according to the rabbinic definition of work.
Never mind that he has given a man who had never seen a human face the ability to see.
The sabbath is more important than that in the minds of those who are blind to the light that Jesus is.
Jesus continues to confront the established religion of the Jews for he knows that this is the way to the cross.
He sends him to a pool called Sent.
Applying the clay requires removal, it requires the man to exercise faith by obedience.
The man needs water. He's dirty.
He has been told that he is blind. He now is dirty.
He needs water.
The man did not reason about this, he did not ask questions.
He obeys and goes and washes in the water and comes seeing.
What a spiritual lesson Jesus teaches here.
A lesson of comparison between the Jews who did not know that they were blind and dirty and a blind man who knew he was.
They refused the water of the word but the blind man obeyed the word and washed in the water and came seeing.
Perhaps we can skip to verse 39, and learn exactly what took place: And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.
I believe that the blind beggar is a representative of any one of us.