The Healing of the Blind Man- John 9:1-12

The Gospel of John is a revelation of who Jesus is. It is the most theological of the four Gospels. In our study in the Gospel of John, we have learned many things about Jesus. In learning those things about Jesus, we also learn many things about ourselves and our need for Jesus. Here in John chapter nine, we learn more valuable truths concerning Jesus that serves as an example for our own lives.

A Spiritual Vision (v. 1). Jesus had a spiritual vision. Notice how Jesus passed by and saw a man that was born blind. The first thing we see here is that He passed by. Think about it. Aren’t you glad that Jesus passed by you? Because of God’s great love for us, He came down to earth that we may go up to heaven. He pursued us. He came to us. He passed by. As we go about our daily lives, we too need to pass by. So often we are so focused on ourselves and our own agendas that we fail to engage with those around us. As the church, we tend to have it backwards. We think people are to come to us and when they come to us then we will preach the Gospel to them. However, the Bible teaches us that we are to ‘go into all the world and preach the Gospel.’ We are not to just sit in our comfortable pews while the world around us is going to hell. We are to go into the world and engage the world and pass by throughout the world with the purpose of bringing healing to those who are spiritually blind.

Jesus not only passed by, but He also saw. It is one thing to be in the world. It is one thing to walk the streets and explore the countryside. However, it is a far different thing to see. Jesus saw a man who was blind from birth. Jesus saw the need. You and I were also blind from birth. We were born in sin. We inherited a sin nature. We were sinners before we even committed our first sin. But, thanks be to God, Jesus saw us. He looked down and saw our need. He saw that we were helpless and hopeless and He did something about it. Dear Christian, do you see the need? Do you see those around you that are blind from birth? Too often we turn a blind eye from the world. We see the turmoil, we see the pain, we see the misery, but we look the other way. We need to see the world in all their lostness. Look at the pain, look at the suffering, look at the hopelessness in the eyes of those you pass by. As we see the need it will drive us to do something about it. Jesus had a spiritual vision, do you?

A Spiritual Perspective (v. 2-3). The disciples asked Jesus a very profound theological question. They asked Him if the man born blind had sinned or did his parents sin. The idea was that people who had some form of physical deformity or ailment must have committed some sin and that their physical problem was a punishment by God for their sin. The Bible Knowledge Commentary says, “The disciples faced a theological problem. Believing that sin directly caused all suffering, how could a person be born with a handicap? Therefore either this man … sinned in his mother’s womb (Ezek. 18:4) or his parents sinned (Ex. 20:5).”[1] This is a very interesting question, indeed. Is it true that having a handicap or disease or some other form of physical suffering is a result of a specific sin that we committed? Jesus responds by saying, ‘neither did this man or his parents sinned.’ In other words, there was no specific sin that caused this man to be born blind. Now, there is something we need to understand here. In some cases, there are physical deformities and ailments that comes as a direct result of sin. For example, if a couple is putting harmful substances in their bodies, it can cause deformities in the children that they conceive. Also, when we make wrong choices and we commit certain sins it can result in sickness and other bodily affects. However, not all deformities and ailments come as a direct result of a specific sin that we can commit. We live in a world that has been cursed. Ever since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, this earth has been on a downward spiral. As time goes on there is an increase in sickness, disease, pain, suffering, wars, division, and death. So, our physical deformities and ailments do come as a result of living in a sin cursed world, but not necessarily from a specific sin that we commit.

Jesus goes on to say that through the man’s blindness, the ‘works of God are manifest.’ In other words God will be glorified even in this man’s blindness. Lenski writes, “This, Jesus says, is not a case in which a specific sin either on the part of one or another person has produced a specific penalty. He corrects the general idea of the disciples to this extent that they must not consider every serious affliction the penalty for some equally marked and serious sin. At times this is the case (compare 5:14) but not always (compare Luke 13:1, etc.). Sin works out its painful and distressing results in many ways that are beyond our ability to trace. Jesus does not attempt enlightenment on this wide and intricate subject, either here or elsewhere. Instead, he opens up an entirely new view in connection with the particular case before him. The disciples are not in every case of suffering to look back to find a possible cause of sin but to look forward to the divine purpose which God may have in providentially permitting such suffering to come upon a person. To be sure, all suffering in this sinful world is the outcome of sin in some way or other, but this is only half of the story. The other half is that God governs even in this wide field, and in some instances we are able to trace his purpose, especially those of grace and mercy, in allowing certain afflictions to befall a man. Here, in the man born blind, we have a case of this kind.”[2] Does God cause suffering in our lives? No. Does God inflict us with sickness? No. Sickness is not of God. It is a part of living in a sin cursed world. However, God does in His providential purposes will allow suffering in our lives in order that He may be glorified. There is a spiritual purpose for suffering. God will work in and through your suffering to bring greater glory to Himself and to draw others to Christ. Therefore, we should have the right perspective when it comes to our suffering. We should be thankful that even in our suffering, God can turn it around and use it for good. God can take what was meant for evil and use it for our good. God can take our sufferings and use them to fulfill His greater purpose.

A Spiritual Determination (v. 4-5). Jesus says that He must do the work of the Father. He also says that as long as He was in the world, He is the light of the world. Jesus had a spiritual determination. He was determined to do the work that God sent Him to do. Just as Jesus is the light of the world, we too have been called to be the light of the world. Look at Matthew 5:13-16. We are called by God to make a difference. We are to be salt and light in the world. As long as we are on this earth, this is our purpose. Just like Jesus, we need to have a spiritual determination to do the work that He has called us to do.

A Spiritual Creativity (v. 6-7). Jesus was no ordinary man. He did not do things normal. As a matter of fact, sometimes He would do things that were just plain weird. Jesus uses a very unconventional method in order to heal this blind man. The Bible Knowledge Commentary says, “Jesus probably used the clay as an aid to develop the man’s faith, not as a medicine. Jesus’ making of clay broke the Rabbinic regulations against kneading clay on the Sabbath (cf. John 9:14). Jesus then told the man, Wash in the pool of Siloam (this word means Sent). This is located at the southeast corner of Jerusalem (see the map), where Hezekiah’s tunnel channeled water inside the city walls from the Gihon Spring. The man was “sent” there and Jesus was the One “sent” by the Father. The man … washed and went home seeing!”[3] Jesus broke all of the religious rules of His day. Was it a coincidence that Jesus used clay on the Sabbath? No. He did it on purpose. Was it a coincidence that Jesus sent the man to the pool to wash? No. He did it on purpose. He did it in order to show that His way is the best way. He did it to show that helping the blind to see may require some unconventional and non-religious methods. Too often we get caught up in doing the same things over and over again and we wonder why nothing is working. Think about it. For example, door-to-door evangelism may have worked well in our past ‘Christianized’ culture. But, in today’s culture it simply does not work like it use to. Inviting lost people to church so they can hear the Gospel is a very noble endeavor. But, my friend, let’s be honest, of all the lost people that you have invited to church, how many of them have showed up? We need a spiritual creativity. Let me tell you something, it is okay to think outside the box. It is okay to use unconventional ministry methods. Using various creative methods is not going to violate your standards and your fundamental or conservatism. Be creative. Start a Good News Bible Club in your local school, have a trunk or treat or fall festival at your church, build amazing inventions that will ‘wow’ people and get their attention, buy an ice cream truck and drive through neighborhoods and give out free ice cream with the condition that they see a creative presentation that introduces them to the Gospel. The list can go on and on. There are no bad ideas. Be creative. Get out of your religious churchiness and have some spiritual creativity.

A Spiritual Humility (v. 8-12). Notice, how that after Jesus performed this miracle, He was nowhere to be seen. Jesus did not stay around for the fanfare. He did what He was called to do and then stepped away. This serves as a lesson in humility for us today. I enjoy going to pastor meetings and conferences. I have been to many over the years. However, there is one thing that I do not like about gathering with a group of pastors or going to a conference. It is all the pride that is evident. Everyone is comparing churches. Everyone is bragging on what their church is doing or how big their church is. Let me tell you something, it is not about me and it is not about you, it is all about Jesus. When you do great things for the Kingdom of God, when you serve the Lord, it should be done in humility. Do the work that God has called you to do and quietly step aside. It’s not you doing the work anyways, it is Him. You are just the instrument that He uses to carry out His work. One thing I have learned in ministry is to try and be quick to keep the attention off of myself and put the attention on Jesus. Give credit where credit is due. Give all the glory to God!

[1] Blum, E. A. (1985). John. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 307). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[2] Lenski, R. C. H. (1961). The interpretation of St. John’s gospel (p. 676). Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing House.

[3] Blum, E. A. (1985). John. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 307). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

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