|1 Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind
1. (verse 1) How do you think the blind man felt? If you were in this condition, would you be angry with God?
Here is a man who has been blind all his life. I wonder how he felt. Not only did he have to deal with his blindness, but he also had to put up with people who thought he was blind because of some sin he or his parents committed. Maybe he wondered himself about his fate. If we were in this condition, perhaps we would be angry with God and blame him for our misery. Or maybe we would be like Helen Keller and sense Gods presence in spite of our blindness. There are probably many blind people who are miserable with self-pity, and many others who are full of the joy of the Lord. What is our attitude when things arent going well for us? Perhaps we need to learn to be joyful in all circumstances, and trust God in all things.
2 And His disciples asked Him, saying, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"
2. (verse 2) Why would the disciples ask this question? Do you think sin might lead to sickness or physical problems?
It was a common belief among Jews that misfortune was the result of sin. But we know that Job suffered even though he was righteous. Paul suffered from a thorn in the flesh even though he prayed that God would remove it three times. Timothy suffered from stomach ailments. However, we know that we must sometimes suffer the consequences of our sin. The person who smokes all their life may live to an old age, but if they are stricken with lung cancer, they certainly cant blame God for a bad turn of events. When we follow the moral teachings of the Bible, it is amazing how many diseases, illnesses, and possible dangers we will avoid in our life time.
3 Jesus answered, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.
3. (verse 3) Why did this man have to suffer with blindness all these years? Does God sometimes allow us to suffer with some physical condition?
I want you to notice that Jesus said that this man suffered blindness all his life for one reason that the works of God should be revealed in him. Perhaps the blindness seemed unfair. But how much greater was his joy when he not only recovered his sight, but later recovered his soul. God used the mans blindness to lead him to Christ. Perhaps God will allow us to experience some suffering in order for us to place our focus on the one who can set us free.
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."
4. (verses 4-5) What do you think Christ means by saying, "the night is coming when no one can work"? Does God still perform miracles today?
Many people think Jesus is saying he must work before his ministry on this earth is finished with his crucifixion. I dont think this is what he is talking about since he uses the words, "the night is coming when no one can work." Even though Christ has ascended up to the Father, he has left us down here to continue his work. Christs light is still shining forth through the work of his church. He is still setting people free spiritually and physically. He is still in the business of healing body and soul. But there will come a day when no man can work. This may be referring to the dark times of Jacobs trouble when all the world will be going through the great tribulation of sorrow. But let us be busy doing Gods work while there is still time.
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.
5. (verses 6-7) Sometimes Christ just touched the person to heal him. Why do you think this time he made clay and placed it on the eyes of the blind man? Why do you think Jesus told the man to go wash in the pool?
Some have suggested that the mans blindness was the result of some birth defect, and he did not have proper eyes. Christ displayed his creative powers by forming new eyes with the clay of the ground just as God had done at the creation of man forming him from the earth.
It is interesting that Christ instructed the man to go wash in the pool of Siloam at the temple. Lange suggests, "Moreover, as His adversaries accounted Him guilty of antagonism to the law of Jehovah in His previous healing on the Sabbath, they should now see that the God of their temple is His co-agent on the Sabbath, since the temple-waters of Siloam are brought into co-operation...."
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."
6. (verses 8-9) Why do you think the neighbors were confused? How do you think the blind men felt when he told his neighbors that it was he?
Those who had seen the blind man every day begging at the temple never expected to see him walking though the temple. In their mind, the man was the one who sat by the temple begging. Many of us see other Christians that way. We can only see them one way, as an ineffective person with no hope. But God sees us differently. He sees potential where others see none. If he can make the blind see, he can take us, though unworthy and incapable that we are, and use us for his kingdom.
I would imagine the blind man could not contain his joy over what Christ had done for him. He left Jesus groping in the dark to find the pool, and he now comes out rejoicing over this miracle from God. He hasnt even seen the one who performed it yet.
10 Therefore they said to him, "How were your eyes opened?"
7. (verse 10) How do you think God is using this blind mans healing? Have you seen someone who had an experience with God as an adult and noticed how their friends wonder what happened?
When God performs a miracle in our life, he uses it to bring others to him. This man has been blind all of his life. Now all his friends and neighbors are curious as to what happened. When God delivers us from sin, we may experience the same thing. People who used to know us all of a sudden see a change in our behavior, our attitude, and our outlook on life. They may come to us with questions just as these people did.
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."
8. (verse 11) What is the emphasis of the blind mans testimony? When we share our testimony with others, do we talk more about ourselves or more about Christ?
Notice everything the man says emphasizes what Christ did for him. The blind man was simply obedient. When we are sharing our testimony with others, it is important for us to learn a lesson from the blind man. Let us share what God has done for us. It is easy to get excited about our own feelings and the joy we have experienced. We may spend all the time talking about us instead of God. But the blind man pointed others to Christ. Let us be sure to do the same thing.
12 Then they said to him, "Where is He?" He said, "I do not know."
9. (verse 12) Why do you think the blind man did not know the location of Jesus? Why wouldnt Jesus hang around to receive all the accolades?
Christ has just performed one of the great miracles of his ministry. In fact, he said in verse 3 that this man was blind so that the works of God might be made manifest in his life. This would be an ideal time for Jesus to be hanging around to receive the accolades and worship. But where was he? He had left. In fact he didnt even bother telling the blind man where he could be found so the blind man could show his appreciation.
This humility is hard for us raised in our society to understand. We seldom are willing to hide in the corners. If we do anything noteworthy, we usually want everyone to know about it, and we certainly want to be the one to receive all the credit. But Christ was not this way. Let us learn of the humility of our Savior. May we be willing to take a lower seat, to retreat into the shadows, and to allow God to receive the glory.
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.
10. (verses 13-14) Why do you think his friends brought him to the Pharisees? Why would it be significant that the man was healed on the Sabbath?
I think his friends wanted to share the good news with the religious leaders of their day. If God works a miracle in your life, wouldnt you want to share it with the church? I believe these friends were so overwhelmed with the power of God that they had to tell the religious leaders.
Unfortunately, the Pharisees could not see the miracle, they could only see that the man was healed on the Sabbath. According to their traditions, this was sinful. The Old Testament law did say that no work should be done on the Sabbath, but the Pharisees had taken this commandment to an extreme. Their interest in the Sabbath was more the result of their jealousy of Christ than any regard for Gods law.
As Lange comments about the blind mans friends, "...they considered it their duty to bring the miracle to the cognizance of the theocratic court. It is only after the introductory clause: it was the Sabbath, that the stumbling-block appears among the Pharisees."
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.
11. (verses 15-16) Describe the spiritual reasons each side would have for their opinion? Why wouldnt Jesus keep the Sabbath?
The Pharisees were divided. Some were legalists. They felt that anyone sent from God would keep all the tiniest details of the legal requirements of the Bible. Others wondered how could anyone do such miracles if they werent sent from God. I believe this is teaching us that we need to be careful that we dont become so legalistic in our interpretation of scripture that we miss the move of the Holy Spirit of God. Certainly, God is not going to violate his commandments, but he may violate our interpretation of these commandments. Too many Christians think of God as some cosmic policeman who is ready to pounce on anyone who deviates from the straight and narrow path of their own imaginations. God is bigger than most Christians give him credit for.
The fact that Jesus performed some of his miracles on the Sabbath indicates to me that he was purposely displaying that he was the Lord of the Sabbath. Those who would accept his message on faith would understand that it was mercy that would cause good to be done on the Sabbath. But those who rejected Christ would use it as an excuse to crucify him, thus fulfilling Gods eternal plan for our salvation.
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.
12. (verses 17-18) Why do you think the man referred to Christ as a prophet? Why wouldnt some of the Jews believe the man?
The man acknowledges that Jesus must have been sent from God. He is perhaps feeling the pressure of the Pharisees who are hostile toward Christ. But he makes a clear statement of faith. Lange remarks, "The straight-forward, decided and intelligent character of the man appears still more distinctly here."
As today, some of the Pharisees refused to believe that a miracle had occurred until they heard from the parents that their son had been blind all his life. Some of us are slow to believe that God can perform miracles. God is still working in lives today, healing minds, spirits, and even bodies.
This study on John 9:1-18 © 1998 by David Humpal. All Rights Reserved.
All scriptures unless otherwise noted are from the New King James Version © 1984, Thomas Nelson Publishers
Langes Commentary on the Holy Scriptures, the Gospel of John, pg. 307, Zondervan Publishing House
Langes Commentary on the Holy Scriptures, the Gospel of John, pg. 309, Zondervan Publishing House
Langes Commentary on the Holy Scriptures, the Gospel of John, pg. 309, Zondervan Publishing House