Reading the Gospel of John (11) Day Eleven
[If you have been reading this blog while studying the Gospel of John, you may have noticed that this 11th reading was missing. Here it is, with my apologies for failing to include it in its proper sequence.]
Jesus Heals A Man Born Blind (John 9:1-41)
John chapter 9 continues Jesus’ emphasis on light by working a miracle to show that He is the Light of the world. Remember, all miracles are signs pointing to a truth about God. Whenever we see or experience a miracle, our first question should be, “What does this teach me about Jesus, about the nature and character of God?” Of course, Jesus did not work these miracles merely to teach about God; He healed the sick, turned water into wine, and fed the hungry because He cared for them and wanted to restore them to their rightful dignity in God. Miracles are a sign of God’s great love.
The Blindness of Jesus’ Disciples
Jesus’ disciples are certain that the man is blind because of some sin. Was it the man’s parents’ sin that caused him to be blind? Or was it because of the man’s own sin that caused his blindness? It was neither, replied Jesus; it was so that God’s glory could be revealed, that His nature be manifest. We are born into a sinful world, and suffering is the result of sin. Nevertheless, we cannot trace sickness to sin; we should not attempt to do so.
At this point, the disciples still believed the rabbinic teaching that all sickness is due to some sin. Even they are blind to the mystery of God’s Kingdom. They do not yet understand the new Kingdom that Jesus brought to the world; they still consider everything that happens to be the result of human cause and effect. Jesus wants them to know and believe that they no longer are bound to hopeless acceptance of things as they are. A New Age has dawned upon the world, the Kingdom of Light, and Jesus wants His disciples to become faithful workers in His Kingdom.
At this point, Jesus has only a few weeks left to live in the world. Daylight is disappearing and night is coming. He is pleading with them to become agents of light. Jesus wants desperately not only to instill in them His vision and compassion for people in darkness, but also to create in them a sense of urgency. We must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. (John 9:4)
Jesus sent the man to wash in the pool of Siloam (which means “sent”). It is possible that the water for this pool came from Hezekiah’s tunnel, which gave life when the city was besieged. (2 Chronicles 32) When the man returned, he “came back seeing.”
The Blindness of the Religious Leaders
The issue here in chapter 9 is legalism. Jesus deliberately healed this man on the Sabbath. The Pharisees questioned the man, asking four times “how” this miracle happened. They had no compassion on the man; they did not care that he was healed. They were interested only in whether Jesus worked or not on the Sabbath. They missed the point that this healing was an act of the grace of God! The man’s parents washed their hands of the whole matter, out of fear of the Pharisees. They still believed that the Pharisees “held the keys to the Kingdom.”
The New Evangelist
In contrast to the Pharisees and Sadducees, the blind man who regained his sight now becomes a great evangelist for Jesus, even before he fully realizes who Jesus is. He walks in the light both physically and spiritually. He testifies to the Pharisees that Jesus healed him, and that Jesus is a prophet and a good man. When they continued to ask him how Jesus healed them, he issued an invitation to them: Do you also want to become His disciple?
John 9:30-34 The Pharisees told the man to give glory to God. “We know that this man is a sinner.” In essence, they were saying that sickness couldn’t be healed until sins are forgiven. So the formerly blind man used their own theology against them and agreed with them by saying, “We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, God listens to him.” He agreed with them that if Jesus were not from God, He could do nothing. So Jesus must be a good man. This was his argument.
What do teachers and overseers of the law do when they are confronted with such truth as this man was speaking? They cast him out!
The Man Comes to Full Faith (John 9:35-38)
Jesus asks the man if he believes in the Son of Man. The man does not know who the Son of Man is, so he asked him who he is. Then Jesus reveals Himself to the man.
Lord, I believe. And he worshiped Jesus. He leaves a life of total darkness and now begins his walk in the Great Light.
The Pharisees ask Jesus a question. (John 9:39-41)
The Pharisees asked Jesus if they also were blind. His answer was that if they were blind, they would not be guilty. But because they say, “We see,” their guilt remains.