John’s gospel records the account of Jesus healing the man who was born blind. This miraculous act of Jesus was questioned by the religious establishment of His day. Through this event we are taught some very valuable truths.
The Dilemma of the Blind Man. In verse one we find a man who was blind from birth. This confused the disciples of Jesus. They had been taught that physical issues come as a direct result of specific sin. They asked Jesus if this man sinned in his mother’s womb or if it was his parents that had sinned. Jesus responds by saying that it was neither the man nor his parents that sinned. Jesus explains that the purpose for this man being blind is so that God would be glorified. There are three basic fundamental truths that we need to understand here. First of all, the problems of life do not come as a result of specific sins that we commit. There are, however, natural consequences to sin that God allows. But, God does not punish us for our sins. Sickness and suffering in this life are not God’s punishment for sin. When you are faced with a physical problem, do not think that God is punishing you for something that you did. The idea that God punishes us for specific sins that we commit is a false teaching that needs to be brought to light. Jesus came to pay the price of sin. The sacrifice of Jesus was the propitiation for our sin; it appeased the wrath of God. Therefore, what we face in this life is not a punishment for our sins. Secondly, the problems of life do come as a result of the curse of sin on this earth. Since the fall of man in the garden, sin has entered into the world. The earth is cursed by the presence of sin. This curse brings sickness, suffering, and death. The man in our text was born blind, not because of some specific sin that he or his parents committed, but as a part of the curse on this earth that comes from the existence of sin. Everything we face in this life can be traced back to the original sin. We are living in a sin cursed world and as a result we all suffer in one way or another. A third fundamental truth that we need to understand about the dilemma of the blind man is that, we are all born blind. In other words, we are all born in darkness. We are born in sin. The Bible teaches us that we are conceived in sin. At the very moment of conception we are sinners. Sinning does not make one a sinner, mere existence makes a human being a sinner. We are not sinners because we sin; we sin because we are sinners. All of us have this problem. We are all sinners by birth. We have inherited a sin nature. We are born blind.
The Hope of the Blind Man. In verses 4-5 we see the hope of the blind man. Jesus came to bring light to the world. The work that he was called to do was the work of atonement. He came in order to pay the ultimate price for the sins of the whole world. He came to redeem this sin cursed world and to atone for its sin. Just as Jesus was the hope for this blind man, He is also the hope for you and me. Our only hope is in Jesus. He is the only way of salvation. Jesus said that He was the light of the world as long as He is in the world. We know that Jesus is not on this earth at this moment so who or what is the light of the world now? The light of the world today is the church, the body of Christ. It is the responsibility of true believers to bring the light of the Gospel into this sin cursed world. We are to give people hope by pointing them to Jesus.
The Obedience of the Blind Man. In verses 6-7 we find Jesus healing this man in a very strange way. He spits on the ground and makes clay and then rubs the clay on the blind man’s eyes. Jesus goes on to instruct the man to go to the pool of Siloam and wash himself. The pool of Siloam is located at the southeast corner of Jerusalem. The word ‘Siloam’ means ‘sent’. Jesus sends the blind man to this pool in order that He may be healed. The emphasis here, however, is not on how Jesus healed the man but on the obedience of the blind man. The man did just exactly as Jesus said for him to do. Obedience is the key to healing and salvation. We are told in scripture that if we believe on the name of Jesus, we shall be saved. This is not a belief found in mere knowledge or spoken word. This is a belief that is found in obedience to the Gospel. What does the Gospel tell us to do? The Gospel tells us to accept God’s gift of grace through faith and repentance. In order to be saved, one must obey the message of the Gospel. This same concept applies to the life of the believer. In order to receive healing or God’s blessings in this life, we must live a life of obedience. If we don’t obey the scriptures, we cannot expect God to bless our lives.
The Religious Rejection of the Healed. This account in history takes a very negative turn as the man who was blind is literally kicked out of the religious institution. This sad twist is found in verses 8-34. There were two basic issues that the religious leaders of that day had. One issue was that the man was healed on the Sabbath day. They felt that Jesus must not be of God since He did not keep the Sabbath as they interpreted it to be kept. The other issue was the fact that the man who was healed acknowledges Jesus as a prophet. The religious leaders became so confused and frustrated that they cast the man out from their presence. We must be very careful today that we do not become like one of these Pharisees. Too often the church is filled with people that have a Pharisaical attitude. They question everything and have hard time believing that God can do the miraculous. These are those who are quick to question, evaluate, examine, and even deny what God is doing rather than giving His praise. May God help us to not be a Pharisee.
The Faith of the Healed. Jesus hears about what happened between the man who was healed and the Pharisees. He goes to the man and reveals to him that He is the Savior of the world. At that moment, the man believes in Jesus and worships Him. There are two lessons we learn here about saving faith. First of all, faith involves an act of the will. Ephesians 2:8 tells us that it is ‘by grace through faith’ that we are saved. Grace is a free gift given to us by God. There is nothing that we can do to deserve that gift. The obtaining of such a wonderful gift cannot be achieved by our works. Unfortunately, this idea of not being saved by works has brought much confusion to the church over the years. There are those who will say that God chooses certain individuals for salvation and that there is nothing that person can do to accept or reject it. In other words, it is said, that we as human beings are so depraved that it is impossible for us to decide whether or not we will be saved, so God has to decide for us. To make a conscience choice to accept Christ is considered as a work, therefore, we have no say in the matter. This, my friend, is a false doctrine. It is a lie from the pits of hell. Faith is a verb. It is an action word. Faith in Christ involves doing. It is an act of the will. It is a conscience choice that we have to make. This act, however, is not a work. You can do something without it being considered a work. For example, I am sitting in a chair. I am doing something (seating in a chair), but I am not ‘working.’ I may get in my car and drive down the road, but is driving a work? To work is to perform a task in order to receive something in return. We work to make money. We work in order to accomplish something. For you to make a conscience choice to receive Christ through faith is not a work, but it is something that you must do. It is an action, but not a work. Faith is surrender. It is forsaking everything and trusting in Jesus. When two armies are in battle and one of those armies is losing and needs to surrender; when they lay down their arms and surrender it is a choice that they are making to no longer fight the battle, but to give up. This is an action, is it something that must be done, but not a work. Faith in Christ is to come to a point in your life when you stop fighting. You stop trying to achieve God’s grace in your own power. Instead, you willfully and consciously surrender to Jesus. You choose to turn away from your sin and turn to Jesus. Faith is an act of the will. A second lesson we learn here is that the goal of salvation is worship of the one who saves. You see, we do not choose to accept Christ simply to have His grace and to miss hell. We place our faith in Jesus and are saved as an act of humble acknowledgment of Jesus as the king. Jesus came to this earth in order to save sinners so that He may be glorified. It is a wonderful thing to know that God loves us so much that He came to this earth and died so that we may live. However, the ultimate purpose of the cross was not the saving of the souls of men, but for the glory of God. We benefit from the cross. Our sins are atoned for at the cross. We live eternally with Jesus when we believe in Him and accept His gift of grace through faith. However, the main purpose of salvation is not so that we would be saved, but so that God may be glorified. When the blind man who was healed believes in Jesus, He immediately worships Jesus. He does not say, ‘look what I did for Jesus, I gave my life to Him.’ Instead he says, ‘look what Jesus did for me; praise the Lord!’ One of the sure signs that someone has come to genuine faith in Christ is when God is glorified.
The Explanation of Jesus. In verses 39-41, we see Jesus giving an explanation as to what it means be born blind and then healed by the grace of God. There are three things we see here. First of all, Jesus came for those who are blind from birth. Jesus said that He came in order that those who cannot see; may see. There is a very fundamental truth here that we need to understand. Who are those who cannot see? Who has been born blind? Everyone. Every single person that is ever conceived is blind by sin. We are born with a sin nature. “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Now, if everyone is born blind and Jesus came to give sight to the blind, who did Jesus die for? He did not die for a limited portion of the earth’s population. He died for the sins of the whole world. He paid the price of sin for everyone. He atoned for the sins of everyone. There is not a single person on the face of this planet that Jesus did not die for. There is not a single person on the face of this planet that is out of the reach of the grace of God. There is not a single person on the face of this planet that the blood of Jesus is not sufficient enough to save. That, my friend, includes you. It does not matter how far you have gone. It does not matter how great your sin is. Jesus loves you, and He has already died for you. He has already paid the price for your sins. He has already given to you the gift of salvation. Now, the ball is in your court. You don’t have to sit around and wonder whether not you have been chosen by God, because you already have. God chose to give you the gift of salvation before the very foundation of the world. Now, the choice is up to you. It is not a work. There is nothing you must do to earn favor with God. All you have to is, by faith, choose to accept God’s gift of grace. Jesus gave His life in order that all may be saved. There is second thing we see here in the explanation of Jesus. Those who trust in their self imposed religion remain blind. In verse 39, Jesus also says that He came so that those who can see may be made blind. These are those who can see the truth. They know and even understand the scriptures. They may even do a lot of good deeds and be some of the most religious people you have ever met. But, they will not place their faith and trust in Jesus because they are too filled with themselves. They think they are saved because of what they have done. Their faith is not in Christ, but in themselves. It is these people that remain blind. The scripture says in one place, “It is easier for a camel to enter into the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” This passage is specifically referring to those who are rich in money and material things. This is so true. People who have great wealth tend to hold on to their material things rather than surrendering to Jesus. However, people can be rich in other areas as well and not just in material things. For example, one may be rich in knowledge. He or she may know a lot of information. They may even know a lot about the Bible. They can quote many Bible verses; they know all the great doctrines. They may be very well educated. The same concept applies to these people as well. It is very hard for someone who has such knowledge (they can see) to come to faith in Christ, because they trust in their mind rather than giving Jesus their heart. Others are rich in religion. They are wonderful church members. They do a lot of good things. They are well respected. It is also hard for them to come to genuine faith in Christ, because they trust in themselves and in their good works rather than having faith in Jesus. Jesus came in order to save everyone, but He knows that there are those who will not be saved, because they have the capacity to know and understand the truth, yet they refuse to believe. A final though we see from the explanation of Jesus is that being able to understand or see the scriptures without faith in Christ is dangerous. It would be better if you were totally blind. In verse 41, Jesus explains to the Pharisees that it would have been better for them if they knew nothing. It is much easier for someone who has nothing and knows nothing to come to faith in Christ than for those who seem to know it all. This does not mean it is impossible for someone with self knowledge to be saved; it is just more difficult for them. Why? Because they have more to surrender. To be saved, you must surrender everything to Jesus. You must give Him your mind, your heart, your body, everything.
What about you? Have you surrendered all to Jesus? Have you through faith accepted His gift of grace? Have you made that choice to trust in Jesus alone or are you still holding on to your own mind, religion, and wealth?