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The Gospel of John: Revealing the Invisible God 

A Bible Study by Fred Kenison

 

Chapter 9


 

 

The sixth miracle: Jesus heals the blind man

 

Summary Highlights of Chapter 9

 

 

This book is a verse-by-verse commentary.  To go to the commentary for any particular verse in Chapter 9, please click on a number below.

 

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The sixth miracle: Jesus heals the blind man

 

9:1     And passing on he saw a man blind from birth.

 

This chapter is a continuation of the previous one, but with a wider scope. Jesus had just escaped from the Jews who tried to stone him. He accused them of not knowing The God whom they professed to serve. He said their religious life was one of ignorance, that they walked in darkness, doing the will of their father, the devil. He told them they were not children of Abraham, that if they were they would have believed what he said.

 

As Jesus was leaving the temple, "he saw a man blind from birth." In that day, many handicapped people spent hours begging around the temple as they had no other means of support. They depended upon the generosity of the religious community for their living.

 

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9:2     And his disciples asked him, saying, Rabbi, who sinned, this [man] or his parents, that he should be born blind?

 

At first appearance, this was a puzzling question. Since the man had been blind from birth, he had no opportunity to sin. The disciples probably included his parents because they were aware of Exodus 20:5,

"Thou shalt not bow down to them [graven images], nor serve them: for I the lord thy god am a jealous god, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate him."

 

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9:3     Jesus answered, Neither this [man] sinned, nor his parents; but that the works of The God should be manifested in him.

 

With the words, "neither this man sinned, nor his parents,"  Jesus denied the supposition that all illnesses were caused by sin. While some illnesses, such as sexually transmitted diseases, are indeed caused by mankind's derelictions, certainly not all illnesses are. Some illnesses apparently exist for the purpose "that the works of The God should be manifested in him." This verse does not say that The God caused this man's blindness, but that he used the man's blindness for his purposes.

 

Manifested comes from thaneroothee, an aorist passive, which means to make visible, clear, or openly declare someone, or some thing. That which will be made clear is "the works of The God." The aorist tense is often confused with the English past tense, which it can be similar to. Here, however, it is clearly a future tense. When the Greek letters th and ee are added to an aorist tense, it changes it into a future tense.

 

Note carefully that Jesus said that the works were of The God. Whatever they were to be, Jesus did not claim the credit for them. It is very difficult for most of us to credit only The God when he does some good work through us. We like to take at least some of the credit! Not so with Jesus! He always gave all the glory to his father, The God.

 

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9:4     It behooves me to work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night comes, when no one is able to work.

 

Behooves comes from dei. Thayer (p. 126) says,

"dei seems to be suggestive of moral obligation, denoting especially that constraint which arises from divine appointment."

 

With the use of this word, Jesus was accepting the obligation put upon him "to work the works of him who sent me." They were not his own particular works except in the sense he was the one sent to do them.

 

"While it is yet day." The word day referred to the light which Jesus represented while he was here on earth as a man.

 

"Night comes, when no one is able to work."  The night, or darkness, which Jesus spoke of here is found in Matthew 27:45, which describes the time during his crucifixion.

"Now from the sixth hour darkness was over all the land until [the] ninth hour."

 

Men were not doing works of The God during that terrible time of darkness.

 

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9:5     While I may be in the world, I am [a] light of the world.

 

"While I may be in the world" indicates that Jesus knew his stay here as a man was a temporary situation. But, while he was here, he was [a] light of the world. There is no definite article preceding light. If there had been, then it would signify that Jesus was the only light.

 

At the time of his dwelling here, he brought spiritual light, or knowledge, of The God. There was also the light from the creation of The God, but Jesus was the one appointed to manifest, or make clear, the character of The God. That was his mission. It was not to bring glory to himself, but that all humanity would glorify his heavenly father through the knowledge he brought.

 

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9:6     Having said these things, he spat on [the] ground, and made clay of the spittle, and applied the clay to the eyes of the blind [man].

 

"Having said these things" refers to what Jesus had been telling his disciples. He had made clear to them that this man was being used as an example of all mankind. He was born blind, physically. But, this was only a parable of the condition of all humanity. They were all born blind, spiritually. No one can see spiritual things until they are enlightened by the light which only Jesus can give.

 

Why did Jesus use spittle and soil? Spittle was common to any human, and all humans were of the dust. Genesis 3:19 b. says,

"For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return."

 

By using these two elements, Jesus was not only demonstrating to the disciples that he was a man, but also that his ability to give light to the blind of the world was something given to him by The God. He, in turn, was sharing that light with those who could hear his words and understand his works. All of humanity needed his ministry to overcome their blindness to the things of The God.

 

He "applied the clay to the eyes of the blind man." Jesus became the same flesh as other men, thus he was emblematic of the clay. When the clay of the man Jesus is applied to our natural sight, then we are no longer blind to the things of The God. This effectively explains how the man's blindness was used for the purpose of The God.

 

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9:7     And he said to him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, which is interpreted, Sent. He went therefore and washed, and came seeing.

 

By commanding this man to go, Jesus was testing him for two elements of a spiritual life: faith and works. First, would this man show any faith in what Jesus had done for him? Second, would that mental consent, or faith, result in his obedience to Jesus' command? Faith and works are like the two sides of a coin. Neither is complete without the other.

 

With the "easy-believism" brand of "christianity" preached in many churches today, obedience is scarcely mentioned. As a result, many people can spend a lifetime going to church, and still die as biblical babes. The scriptures tell us in II Peter 3:16 that

"(Paul) as also in all his epistles, speaking in them some things which the untaught and unestablished, wrest, as also the other scriptures, to their own destruction." (See also Hebrews 5:13).

 

This blind man went, washed as commanded, and "came seeing." It is our commitment to The God, evidenced by our obedience, which will keep us from being spiritually blind. Everyone is spiritually blind, just as this man was physically blind. It is this insight into the healing of this man's sight, that explains why John spent the whole of Chapter 9 upon the subject of this one man.

 

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9:8     Therefore the neighbors and those who saw him before that he was blind, said, Is this not he who was sitting and begging?

 

These neighbors and others were those acquainted with the formerly blind man. They remembered what this man's life was like.

 

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9:9     Some said, It is he, but others, He is like him. He said, I am [he].

 

Even the people who knew him in his former condition could not agree on what had happened. Some believed, "It is he," but others thought it was someone who was "like him."  John was describing a common reaction among people who observe a work of The God. Some believe, but others cannot or will not believe. It has ever been so.

 

"He said, I am he." Hearing his neighbors and acquaintances arguing about his identity, he spoke up to resolve the issue.

 

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9:10      Therefore they said to him, How were thine eyes opened?

 

Under the circumstances, this would be a natural question. "How were thine eyes opened?"  Or, how did you come to see?

 

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9:11     He answered, and said, A man called Jesus made clay and applied to mine eyes, and said to me, Go to the pool of Siloam and wash: and having gone and washed, I received sight.

 

The man gave an accurate account of what had happened to him. What he did not realize was that his statement would bring a great deal of trouble upon his benefactor. It should be noted that this man showed both faith and obedience to the command of Jesus. This, in turn, resulted in his gaining eyesight.

 

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9:12     Therefore they said to him, Where is he? He says, I know not.

 

"Where is he?" This question is not as innocent as it might appear to be at first glance. The Jews who were questioning this former blind man where some of those seeking Jesus. Their question masked an ulterior motive, which will be evident in the following verses.

 

This man really did not know where Jesus was because Jesus left while he was washing in the pool of Siloam. This verse concludes the physical aspect of the blind man's healing, and the narrative now enters the spiritual aspect.

 

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9:13     They bring him, who once [was] blind to the Pharisees.

 

Why did they bring him to the Pharisees? This poor man, who had been blind from birth, was now caught up in their religious intrigue. It was no longer simply a question as to how it happened, but when. With the "when" in mind, this group of neighbors thought it best to take this once blind man to the Pharisees.

 

Who were the Pharisees? Thayer (p. 649) says this about them.

A member of the sect or party of the Pharisees....A Hebrew word which means ‘to separate', because deviating in their life from the general usage. The first and feeble beginnings of this sect seem to be traceable to the age immediately succeeding the return from exile. In addition to the books of the O.T. the Pharisees recognized in oral tradition a standard of belief and life....They sought for distinction and praise by the observance of external rites and by the outward forms of piety, such as ablutions, fastings, prayers, and alms-giving; and, comparatively negligent of genuine piety, they prided themselves on their fancied good works. They held strenuously to a belief in the existence of good and evil angels, and to the expectation of a Messiah; and they cherished the hope that the dead, after a preliminary experience either of reward or of penalty in Hades, would be recalled to life by him and be requited each according to his individual deeds. In opposition to the usurped dominion of the Herods and the rule of the Romans, they stoutly upheld the theocracy and their country's cause, and possessed great influence with the common people....They were bitter enemies of Jesus and his cause; and were in turn severely rebuked by him for their avarice, ambition, hollow reliance on outward works, and affectation of piety in order to gain notoriety.

 

This description of the Pharisees may help the reader understand the comments made by Jesus, and why he seemed to be so harsh on them.

 

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9:14     Now it was sabbath when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes.

 

Because it was a Sabbath day, these neighbors were outraged, which is the reason they brought this man to the Pharisees. The Pharisees were sticklers for the outward observance of any Sabbath. No work, however simple, was to be done on a Sabbath. To them, what Jesus had done was unforgivable.

 

What Jesus had done was to heal the blind man. This was not the first time John had spoken of Jesus healing someone on the Sabbath. Earlier, John told of Jesus healing the impotent man, which also resulted in a dispute with the Jews.  However, according to their religious rules, he should not have healed the blind man on a Sabbath. This illustrates the blindness that can occur with any religion when its doctrines are "set in stone."  The Pharisees were upset because the blind man was healed on a Sabbath.

 

Why did Jesus persist in healing people on the Sabbath? It was because he had a different concept of the Sabbath than did the Pharisees and their followers. Mark 2:27-28 explains this.

"And he [Jesus] said to them, The sabbath was made on account of man, not man on account of the sabbath: so then the son of man is lord also of the sabbath."

 

The Jews were making the Sabbath more important than people. With this statement Jesus put the Sabbath in a proper perspective. He insisted that people were more important.

 

In truth, the Sabbath was made for the benefit of mankind. Why, then, did the Pharisees continually resist any healing on the Sabbath? They had surrounded the scriptures with so many of their own commandments, that they no longer differentiated between the two. When Jesus came and declared the true purpose of the scriptures, they faulted the truth-bearer, instead of hearing what he said. Why? Because they were obsessed with their religion and intent on maintaining the control they exerted over others.

 

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9:15     Again, therefore, the Pharisees also asked him how he received sight. And he said to them, He put clay on mine eyes, and I washed, and I see.

 

First, the blind man's neighbors had asked him about how he gained his sight, and he told them. They discovered from his testimony that Jesus had healed him on a Sabbath. Therefore, thinking Jesus had broken the law, they took this man to the Pharisees, so he could report the incident to them.

 

"The Pharisees also asked him how he received sight."  They wanted to hear for themselves from this former blind man. He told a somewhat more abbreviated version. He did not mention the pool of Siloam, but only stated that "I washed, and I see."

 

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9:16     Therefore some of the Jews said, This man is not from The God, for he does not keep the sabbath. Others said, How can a man, a sinner, do such signs? And a division was among them.

 

With this verse, John cut to the crux of the religious argument. Can a sinner accomplish anything godly?  The legalists, who argued about keeping the Sabbath, said, No. The others said, Yes! He may have broken the Sabbath, but look at what he accomplished. He gave this blind man sight. Both parties should have known the answer to this quandary from their scriptures.

 

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9:17     They say again to the blind man, What sayest thou concerning him, for he opened thine eyes; And he said, He is a prophet.

 

Religionists, such as these Pharisees, pursue their pet doctrines to the bitter end.  They now wanted to know from the former blind man, "What sayest thou concerning him?"  As further verses will reveal, this was a dangerous situation for this believing Jew. He was not versed in all the scriptures as were the Pharisees, and he was not aware of all the exigencies involved when he answered, "He is a prophet."

 

However, this former blind man may have been aware of the prophesy in Malachi 4:5.

"Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the lord."

 

By saying "He was a prophet," he was essentially saying that he thought Jesus was the returning Elijah, or the messiah.

 

Another Old Testament scripture the former blind man may have had in mind would be Deuteronomy 18:15.

"The lord, thy god will raise up unto thee a prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me [Moses]; unto him ye shall hearken."

 

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9:18     The Jews therefore did not believe concerning him that he was blind and received sight, until they call the parents of him who had received sight.

 

These Pharisees simply did not believe that the man had ever been blind. They had previously denounced all the miracles of Jesus. They did not know who had supposedly healed this blind man, and they were not about to admit that it had even happened. They thought this man was an imposter. Whoever heard of anyone born blind gaining sight? Therefore, they called his parents for further information.

 

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9:19     And they asked them, saying, Is this your son, of whom ye say that he was born blind? How then does he now see?

 

Was he born blind? If so, how does he now see? These were the overriding questions for the Pharisees. They probably expected that his parents would expose the man's lie.

 

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9:20     His parents answered them, and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind.

 

These parents shared two things with the Pharisees. First, "this is our son." Second, "he was born blind."  Being called before the Pharisees was a frightening event. These people were probably very circumspect in their remarks. The religious leaders wielded great power, and did not hesitate to use it.

 

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9:21     But how now he sees we know not, or who opened his eyes we know not: he is of age, ask him. He shall speak concerning himself.

 

His parents said they did not know how he gained his sight. The not is the absolute ouk. They had no possible way of knowing. Neither did they know who had healed him. Then his parents showed a spark of resistance to the Pharisees. "He is of age, ask him. He can speak concerning himself."  They essentially closed off any further questioning by the Pharisees. Ask him, he is old enough to speak for himself. He was there, we were not.

 

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9:22     These things his parents said because they feared the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed together, that if anyone should confess him [to be the] christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.

 

His parents put the onus on their son because they feared the Jews. Why? Because they did not want to be put out of the synagogue. Religionists of that day used excommunication as a club to get their own way. Today, some organized religions still do the same. Religions may differ in their beliefs, but they use similar means to keep dissidents in line.

 

Being put out of the synagogue would have been a serious threat. People believed that salvation required being in the good graces of the church. The same is still true today. To the uniformed, being thrown out of the organized church means certain punishment by God. This is not only false, it is a terrible example of how organized religions place people under bondage.

 

These parents were not about to admit that Jesus had healed their son, as this would be tantamount to confessing that he was the christ, or messiah. If they did, they knew they would no longer be admitted to the synagogue.

 

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9:23     Therefore said his parents, He is of age; ask him.

 

His parents were not about to be drawn into the snare the Pharisees were trying to weave.  Ask him, he is old enough to talk for himself.

 

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9:24     Therefore they called the man who was blind a second time, and said to him, Give glory to The God; we know that this man is a sinner.

 

The parents gave the Pharisees nothing as evidence against Jesus, so "they called the man who was blind a second time."  They were still trying to build a case against Jesus. This time, however, they tried a different subterfuge, trying to put words in his mouth. "Give glory to The God; we know this man is a sinner."  They implied that by admitting whoever healed his sight was a sinner, he would be giving glory to The God. Do not you want to glorify your god? Of course you do. Be a good Jew, and say this man is a sinner.

 

This same ploy is used today. I know, because it has happened to me. Admit to something that you do not really believe is true, and you can stay in our church. Otherwise, we will put you out of the congregation. And, they claim that those put out of their church will wither and die spiritually.  Actually, they were wrong, and just the reverse happened; I grew spiritually.

 

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9:25     Therefore he answered and said, If he is a sinner I know not. One [thing] I know, that being blind, now I see.

 

This former blind man did not take the bait; he was not about to deny what had happened to him. He did not know whether or not the man who healed him was a sinner. To his credit, this former blind man was not about to judge the man who healed him.

 

He admitted freely that he was once blind, but now he could see. But, again, this did not satisfy the Pharisees.

 

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9:26     And again they said to him, What did he to thee? How opened he your eyes?

 

The unbelief of the Jews caused them to continually rehash the events. They did not give up easily. They must have thought that he was not telling the truth. This had never happened before, so why should it happen now?

 

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9:27     He answered them, I told you already, and ye did not hear: why do ye wish to hear again?" Do ye wish also to become his disciples?

 

The former blind man seemed to be losing patience with his questioners. They absolutely did not, ouk, hear. His words indicate that he was becoming increasingly exasperated. How many times were they going to ask him to tell his story?  "I told you already, and ye did not hear: why do ye wish to hear again?"

 

Then, he went beyond all propriety by asking these Jews who are bent on destroying Jesus the big question. "Do ye wish also to become his disciples?"  One must wonder, was this a sincere question, or was it facetious? Was he poking sarcastic fun at them? Whatever his motivation, he had apparently lost his fear of the Pharisees. He can see! What can they do about that?

 

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9:28     Therefore they railed at him, and said, Thou art his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses.

 

These Pharisees had no intention of becoming disciples of Jesus, and this man's question had revealed their true intentions. So, they did what many people do when confronted with the truth of their duplicity: they "railed at him."

 

Railed comes from loidoreoo, defined by Thayer (p. 382) as,

"To reproach, rail at, revile, heap abuse upon."

 

Here, again, the religionists of Jesus' day reacted much the same as the religionists of our own day. If they cannot convince others to agree with their religious views, then they abuse them verbally.

 

"Thou art his disciple."  No doubt they were trying to frighten the man with this accusation, as well as insult him. "But we are disciples of Moses." In other words, you are nothing, and we are the important ones here. This is an early example of the "us" versus "them" still preached by nearly every religious denomination today.

 

The God never wanted people to set themselves apart from others. Paul wrote in I Corinthians 1:11-13,

"For it was shown me concerning you, my brethren, by the house of Chloe, that strifes are there among you. But I say this, that each of you says, I am of Paul, and I of Apolos, and I of Cephas, and I of Christ. Has the christ been divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized to the name of Paul?"

 

There is a plethora of denominations today, all producing serious schisms within the body of the christ. When Jesus was crucified, The God reconciled the world to himself. That included everybody. He reconciled both Jews and Gentiles. He does not recognize any group which sets itself apart from others. We are all one in the Christ.

 

As Paul asked in I Corinthians, has the Christ been divided? If not, then why is the world's population divided into so many schisms, or divisions? The preachers of the world who preach "us vs. them" doctrines are responsible for a gross disservice to The God.

 

Scripture clearly says that Jesus reconciled the world to The God by his death, thereby dissolving any differences. If so-called "christian" preachers would preach what scripture actually says, there would be far fewer divisions in the body of christ.

 

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9:29     We know that The God has spoken to Moses; but this [man] we know not whence he is.

 

The former blind man may not be as ignorant, or unlearned, as the Pharisees believe him to be. He has now needled them into an argument. They claim to be disciples, or followers, of Moses, because "The God has spoken to Moses."  Moses, they believed, wrote the first five books of the Bible, under direct communication from The God.

 

Then they fell into a trap of sorts. They said, "We know not whence he is." Moses they knew about, but this man they did not know about. Whence comes from pothen, which means,

"from what place" (Thayer, p. 524).

 

They said they understood that Moses wrote and acted from The God, but they did not know about this man.

 

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9:30     The man answered, and said to them, This is indeed a wonderful thing, that ye know not whence he is, and he opened mine eyes.

 

"This is indeed a wonderful thing, that ye know not whence he is."  This was spoken in a mocking tone, by an unlearned man, to the Pharisees who prided themselves on their knowledge of the scriptures. Wonderful comes from thasmaston, which means

"[to wonder at], to gaze at, a wonderful thing, a marvel" (Thayer, p. 283).

 

The former blind man was giving as good as he got.  In other words, he said, This is a marvel that you do not know where this man and his actions are from. He clearly implied that if they knew about Moses, they should have known about this man.

 

"He opened mine eyes, and ye know not whence he is?"  Even this former blind man thought it strange that these learned Pharisees would admit they did not know about a man who could open the eyes of the blind. If he could open the eyes of a blind man, he had to be acting under the power of The God.

 

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9:31     But we know that The God does not hear sinners; but if anyone be god-fearing, and the will of him do, he hears him.

 

The former blind man continued to lecture the Pharisees. First, he told them they were a marvel, or something to be wondered at. Now, he began to tell them why. The use of the word "we," included the Pharisees. That is "we know that The God does not hear sinners."

 

A number of Old Testament scriptures could apply to this comment. Job 27:8-9 says,

"What is the hope of the hypocrite though he has gained, when god taketh away his soul?"

 

Job 35:13 says,

"Surely god will not hear vanity, neither will the almighty regard it."

 

Psalms 66:18 says,

"If I regard iniquity in my heart, the lord will not hear me."

 

Isaiah 8:18 says,

"Therefore will I also deal in fury: mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity; and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them."

 

He continued his lecture by saying, "But if anyone be god-fearing, and the will of him do, he hears him."  Although this man was born blind, he must have been instructed in the scriptures. At least, he was able to chide the persistent Pharisees. This man, whose eyes had been opened, believed that The God must have heard his deliverer's prayer, else he would not have been healed. And, if he was heard, then he was not a sinner.

 

There are several scriptures which support his contention.

 

Psalms 34:15:

"The eyes of the lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayer."

 

Psalms 34:17:

"The righteous cry, and the lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles."

 

Proverbs 28:9:

"He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination."

 

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9:32     It was not ever heard that anyone opened [the] eyes of [one] having been born blind."

 

Ever comes from ek tou aioonos, which literally means out of the ages. He was telling the Pharisees that out of all the previous ages, no one has ever been known to open the eyes of a person born blind. Surely, this fact alone should prove to them that the man who healed him was not a sinner.

 

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9:33     If this man were not from The God, he could do nothing.

 

If he were a sinner, The God would not hear him, and if The God did not hear him, then nothing would have happened. The tone of his words suggests that this man, who now sees, was being rather abrupt as he lectured the Pharisees.

 

From is the Greek para, written in the genitive. Thayer (p. 476) says,

"With the genitive; and as in Greek prose writ. always with the gen. of a person, to denote that a thing proceeds from the side, or the vicinity of one, or from one's sphere of power, or from one's wealth or store.... properly, with a suggestion of union of place or of residence, after verbs of coming, departing, setting out."

 

When the former blind man used para, it spoke much more to the Pharisees than the word from does to an English speaker. This did not mean that he was someone like a prophet who was used of The God, but someone who was much closer to The God. He was actually saying that this one came from the very vicinity of The God.

 

If this were not true, "he could do nothing."  Never, in all the ages, had anyone ever done such a thing as open the eyes of one born blind. This had to be a special person who had come from the very presence of The God, or he could do nothing. Nothing is a compound word of ou and den. The ou was an absolute not. This man absolutely could not have done what he did without being out from The God.

 

This former blind man was pulling no punches, so to speak, with these Pharisees. Organized religions today sorely need people such as he! But, even today, when one speaks out about the abuse of the organized church, they will usually suffer the same consequences as did this man.

 

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9:34     They answered and said to him, Thou wast wholly born in sins, and teachest thou us? And they cast him out.

 

This former blind man had finally gone too far with these religious bigots. The us vs. them principle arises again. "Thou wast wholly born in sins." But, we are the righteous ones because we were not born blind.

 

This man would have had to sin while still in his mother's womb. There was no scripture which would uphold such a teaching. It is beyond comprehension that there are still people today who say a handicap is caused by sin. One godly lady we know, afflicted with rheumatoid arthritis, was told in one church that she needed to have a demon cast out so she could be healed.

 

"They cast him out."  The way this is written, it is very emphatic. The Pharisees did not just tell him to leave, they literally threw him out. He was thrown out of the synagogue, just as his parents feared they would be. He was excommunicated. But look who came to comfort him outside the synagogue.

 

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9:35     Jesus heard that they cast him out, and having found him, said to him, Thou believest on the son of The God?

 

Jesus would have understood how devastating such an event could be to a Jew. Remember, the scriptures pointed out that the blind man's parents refused to answer several questions asked by the Pharisees because they feared being ousted from the synagogue.

 

How did Jesus react? He went looking for him, and having found him, asked him, "Believest on the son of The God?"  The former blind man may have been cast out of the synagogue, but Jesus came to comfort him.

 

This illustrates a common truth: The God, and his son, Jesus, may be best found outside of organized religions. Revelation 3:20 states this quite plainly.

"Behold I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hear my voice and open the door, I will come to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."

 

This verse is often taken out of context to indicate that Jesus is standing at one's heart door and knocking. However, Revelation 3:14 states that these comments were made to the church of Laodicea. Jesus was knocking at the door of a church, not at the door of someone's heart. He wanted the church to let him in.

 

Jesus asked the man one question, and it had nothing to do with whether or not he was a member in good standing of the synagogue. "Believeth on the son of The God?"  This was one of the very few times that Jesus used this terminology about himself. He usually spoke of himself as "the son of the man."  Others spoke of him as "the son of The God," which meant the Hebrew messiah, the Greek cristo, or the English christ.

 

Jesus wanted to know about this man's faith, not his church membership. Note, too, that Jesus did not ask if he believed that Jesus "was his personal savior."  Jesus wanted to know, did he believe that he was the son of The God. Most churches have forgotten that this is the message of foremost importance.

 

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9:36     He answered and said, Who is he, lord, that I may believe on him?

 

Remember, the former blind man had never seen Jesus. He had gone to the pool of Siloam to wash, and Jesus left the temple. Therefore, he asked "Who is he, lord, that I may believe on him?"  There was not a question of his believing the truth that whoever had cured his eyesight was the messiah; but, he wanted to know who it was.

 

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9:37     And Jesus said to him, Thou hast both seen him, and he who speaks with thee is he.

 

Jesus identified himself as the man who had healed him.

 

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9:38     And he said, I believe, lord. And he worshiped him.

 

The man had faith, but he needed to have the object of that faith identified. When Jesus did that, the man immediately said, "I believe, lord."

 

Worshiped comes from proskuneo, which means to prostrate oneself before someone who is a superior. It was more a matter of reverence, and paying homage, than worshiping.

 

This verse is often used to prove that Jesus accepted the worship from men, and that his doing so proved that he was The God. However, Revelation 19:10 says,

"Worship The God."

 

Jesus is to be honored, but The God is to be worshiped.

 

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9:39     And Jesus said to him, For judgment I came into this world, that they who see not, might see, and they that see might become blind.

 

This sounds like a contradictory statement to John 3:17.

"For The God sent not his son into the world that he might judge the world, but that the world through him might be saved."

 

John 3:17 refers to the judicial judgment authorized by the invisible god.

 

In verse 9:39, Jesus referred to a judgment which occurs naturally because of his very presence. He is the light of the world, and he has bestowed that light upon every person coming into the world. To those who believe, that light would open their eyes to spiritual truth. This is what he meant when he said, "That they who see not, might see."

 

If they did not accept him as the christ of The God, then their eyes would not be opened to the light, or knowledge of The God, and their sight was diminished. This is the meaning of "they that see might become blind." Keep in mind that the blind man allegorically symbolized man in his natural state. When he met Jesus, his natural blindness disappeared, and he also received his spiritual sight.

 

This is still true of humanity. Spiritual knowledge comes only through faith in Jesus, the Christ, and his revelation of the grace and goodness of The God, our heavenly father.

 

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9:40     And those of the Pharisees who were with him heard these things, and they said to him, Are we also blind?

 

The Pharisees knew they were the ones who supposedly said they could see. Now, they ask Jesus directly, "Are we also blind? "  The answer to this query should be obvious to us today, particularly with the further knowledge we have. The answer to the question would be, Yes!  They were blind. Why? Because they believed not the words, and deeds of the son of The God.

 

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9:41     Jesus said to them, If ye were blind, ye would not have sin: but now ye say, We see, therefore the sin of you remains.

 

"If you were blind, ye would not have sin" is a third-class conditional sentence, or one which is contrary to fact. The fact was that they said, "We see."  What they saw, though, was Jesus as an impostor. They saw only the son of Joseph, a Nazarene, an unlearned man. With their lack of faith in whom Jesus really was, their sin remained.

 

The word for sin, in the singular, comes from hamartia. The basic meaning of this word is "miss the mark."  These Pharisees were missing the mark. They would not be blessed in the future with entrance into the kingdom of The God in a place of blessing, to share the coming glory of Jesus as king.

 

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The message of this chapter is not just about the blind man. The message is also a symbolic representation of all people in their natural state.

 

The discussion between the former blind man and the Pharisees illustrates how the traditions of an organized religion can nullify the commandments of The God (see Mark 7:13).

 

Another truth of this chapter concerns what happens to those who are cast out of the organized church for speaking the truth. When that happens, Jesus seeks them out, and his revelation of truth to them is their reward.

 

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Summary Highlights of Chapter 9

 

#  Jesus denied the supposition that all illnesses were caused by sin.

 

# This verse (9:3) does not say that The God caused this man's blindness,

     but that he used the man's blindness for his purposes.

 

#  It is very difficult for most of us to credit only The God when he does

     some good work through us. We like to take at least some of the credit!

     Not so with Jesus! He always gave all the glory to his father, The God.

 

#  Jesus was the one appointed to manifest, or make clear, the character of

     The God. That was his mission. It was not to bring glory to himself, but

     that all humanity would glorify his heavenly father through the

     knowledge he brought.

 

# The man blind from birth was only a parable of the condition of all

     humanity. They were all born blind, spiritually. No one can see

     spiritual things until they are enlightened by the light which only Jesus

     can give.

 

#  Jesus was sharing that light with those who could hear his words and

     understand his works. All of humanity needed his ministry to

     overcome their blindness to the things of The God.

 

# Faith and works are like the two sides of a coin. Neither is complete

     without the other.

 

#  In many churches today, obedience is scarcely mentioned. As a result,

     many people can spend a lifetime going to church, and still die as

     biblical babes.

 

#  It is our commitment to The God, evidenced by our obedience, which

     will keep us from being spiritually blind.

 

#  John was describing a common reaction among people who observe a

     work of The God. Some believe, but others cannot or will not believe. It

     has ever been so.

 

# According to the religious rules of the Pharisees, Jesus should not have

     healed the blind man on a Sabbath. This illustrates the blindness that

     can occur with any religion when its doctrines are "set in stone."  The

     Pharisees were upset because the blind man was healed on a Sabbath.

     Jesus persisted in healing people on the Sabbath because he had a

     different concept of the Sabbath than did the Pharisees and their

     followers.

 

# The Jews were making the Sabbath more important than people. Jesus

     put the Sabbath in a proper perspective, insisting that people were

     more important.

 

# The Pharisees had surrounded the scriptures with so many of their own

     commandments, that they no longer differentiated between the two.

     When Jesus declared the true purpose of the scriptures, they faulted the

     truth-bearer, instead of hearing what he said. Why? Because they were

     obsessed with their religion and intent on maintaining the control they

     exerted over others.

 

# Religionists of that day used excommunication as a club to get their

     own way. Today, some organized religions still do the same. Religions

     may differ in their beliefs, but they use similar means to keep dissidents

     in line.

 

# Being put out of the synagogue would have been a serious threat.

     People believed that salvation required being in the good graces of the

     church. The same is still true today. To the uniformed, being thrown

     out of the organized church means certain punishment by God. This is

     not only false, it is a terrible example of how organized religions place

     people under bondage.  And, they claim that those put out of their

     church will wither and die spiritually.  Actually, they are wrong, and

     just the reverse often happens.

 

# So, they did what many people do when confronted with the truth of

     their duplicity: they "railed at him."   Here, again, the religionists of

     Jesus' day reacted much the same as the religionists of our own day. If

     they cannot convince others to agree with their religious views, then

     they abuse them verbally.

 

# "But we are disciples of Moses." In other words, you are nothing, and

     we are the important ones here. This is an early example of the "us"

     versus "them" still preached by nearly every religious denomination

     today.

 

# There is a plethora of denominations today, all producing serious

     schisms within the body of the christ. When Jesus was crucified, The

     God reconciled the world to himself. That included everybody. He

     reconciled both Jews and Gentiles. He does not recognize any group

     which sets itself apart from others. We are all one in the Christ. The

     preachers of the world who preach "us vs. them" doctrines are

     responsible for a gross disservice to The God. If so-called "christian"

     preachers would preach what scripture actually says, there would be

     far fewer divisions in the body of christ.

 

# This illustrates a common truth: The God, and his son, Jesus, may be

     best found outside of organized religions.

 

# This verse (Revelation 3:20) is often taken out of context to indicate that

     Jesus is standing at one's heart door and knocking. However,

     Revelation 3:14 states that these comments were made to the church of

     Laodicea. Jesus was knocking at the door of a church, not at the door

     of someone's heart. He wanted the church to let him in.

 

#  Jesus wanted to know about this man's faith, not his church

     membership. Note, too, that Jesus did not ask if he believed that Jesus

     "was his personal savior."  Jesus wanted to know, did he believe that he

     was the son of The God. Most churches have forgotten that this is the

     message of foremost importance.

 

# Keep in mind that the blind man allegorically symbolized man in his

     natural state. When he met Jesus, his natural blindness disappeared,

     and he also received his spiritual sight. This is still true of humanity.

     Spiritual knowledge comes only through faith in Jesus, the Christ, and

     his revelation of the grace and goodness of The God, our heavenly

     father.

 

# Another truth of this chapter concerns what happens to those who are

     cast out of the organized church for speaking the truth. When that

     happens, Jesus seeks them out, and his revelation of truth to them is

     their reward.

 

 

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September 2009