And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.
When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.)
He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing. The neighbours therefore, and they which before had seen him that he was blind, said, Is not this he that sat and begged? Some said, This is he: others said, He is like him: but he said, I am he. Therefore said they unto him, How were thine eyes opened?
He answered and said, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash: and I went and washed, and I received sight. Then said they unto him, Where is he? He said, I know not.
They brought to the Pharisees him that aforetime was blind. And it was the sabbath day when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes. Then again the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. He said unto them, He put clay upon mine eyes, and I washed, and do see.
Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them. They say unto the blind man again, What sayest thou of him, that he hath opened thine eyes? He said, He is a prophet. But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind, and received his sight, until they called the parents of him that had received his sight. And they asked them, saying, Is this your son, who ye say was born blind? how then doth he now see?
His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind: But by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself.
These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue. Therefore said his parents, He is of age; ask him.
Then again called they the man that was blind, and said unto him, Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner. He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.
Then said they to him again, What did he to thee? how opened he thine eyes? He answered them, I have told you already, and ye did not hear: wherefore would ye hear it again? will ye also be his disciples?
Then they reviled him, and said, Thou art his disciple; but we are Moses’ disciples. We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is.
The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes. Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth. Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. If this man were not of God, he could do nothing.
They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out.
Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?
And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee. And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.
And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind. And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also?
Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.
I love this chapter of John. Jesus really makes a point against the pharisees here, and also paints a more complete picture of just how stubborn, pride filled and tyrannical they were. It also paints a different picture of Jesus, and the matter of illness, physical disabilities and diseases.
Notice what Jesus replies to his disciples about the blind man. Not everything suffered in this world is due to sin. Yes a lot of it is, but God allows things sometimes so He can be glorified through it. That Jesus implies here that the man was born and lived into adulthood with blindness, specifically so Jesus could come and heal, that the Work of God would be made manifest at that specific time.
One could argue that being born with a severe disability such as blindness, deafness or Cerebral Palsy, Down’s Syndrome- especially something that causes severe mental retardation aren’t worth the life they’re given. And yet, what could the world learn through their lives, and how God’s work is shown through them? Anne Sullivan comes to mind- although she wasn’t born blind, she contracted a disease which took her eyesight when she was five. Yet she grew up and became beloved teacher to her deaf and blind student Helen Keller.
Keller who gave the world wisdom in remembrances such as, “We could never learn to be brave and patient if there were only joy in the world.”
Where would the world be without hymns of praise and worship from Fannie Crosby who remarked about her blindness, ” If perfect earth sight were offered me tomorrow I would not accept it. I might not have sung hymns to the praise of God if I had been distracted by the beautiful and interesting things about me.”
Not all are born with disabilities, some contract illnesses or through accidents are disabled later in life. Joni Eareckson Tada has been featured here a couple of times. She just celebrated her 70th birthday last week. What an incredible life of letting God’s work and the love of Christ shine!
God’s Work made manifest is an amazing thing to see.
OK moving on, so now we have the blind man who has been healed and can see. Notice the Pharisees now in questioning him about the One who healed him, they didn’t believe him, that he had been blind all his life, so they called in his parents.
So the parents basically told them the truth, their son had been blind since birth, but that’s all they’d say about it- directing them to ask him about the healing. The parents wanted to be careful not to give much praise to Jesus because they feared being kicked out of the synagogue by the pharisees. Pharisees couldn’t stand the thought of Jesus’s Name being mentioned for fear of Him, and losing their own esteemed positions.
They had heard everything Jesus had said earlier, being from before Abraham, from the Father, yet they still claim now that they don’t know from where He came. The blind man in his innocence and wonder at being able to see Saw Jesus for Who He is. And He ‘schooled’ the Pharisees pretty good here! “Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth. Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. If this man were not of God, he could do nothing.”
I have to wonder if this was, like Peter’s declaration, a direct revelation from God because it seems like it. Whatever the case may be, the work of God being made manifest through this healing, the truth of Jesus was proclaimed to the pharisees, and what did they do?
They cast him out. You can almost imagine the absolute shock and anger of them- Who do you think you are to dare teach us?! You are nothing but a blind, begging, uneducated pion! We are highly and perfectly learned in all things- how dare you! Get out of here….
How often the high and mighty look down on the simple truths uttered by those ‘lower’ than them and wave their superiority and authority in the face of truth.
The blind man was healed physically but he had his spiritual eyes opened that day and worshiped Jesus. This man, a poor blind beggar was more in tune with Jesus than those who had the teaching, revelation and scriptures which spoke of the coming Messiah and remained willfully blind to Him.
Are we blind also?
Oh boy they must have both been seething and frightened when Jesus told them that they can see, have seen and “therefore your sin remaineth.”
The attitude of the pharisees and other Jewish leaders are not that different than many attitudes of highly educated people these days. While they have sight, they remain in their sin because they refuse to see. It reminds me of those of the Laodicean church… “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked”
Trials, infirmities, disease and all the other things that came onto us from the fall are hard, but somehow those who believe and worship Jesus who heals our spiritual blindness are able to allow Him to work through them in spite of all the trials.
That truly is Amazing Grace.
Have a blessed day all.