A Blindman Sees But the Pharisees Don’t

“And His disciples asked Him, saying, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ Jesus answered, ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.’ ” John 9:2–3

On the Sabbath day Jesus and his disciples were passing through the streets of Jerusalem, and they passed by a man who had been blind since birth. Turning to Jesus his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

The people of Jesus’ day were, so often, just like we are. They wanted to know why things happened and who to assign the blame to when things went wrong. They were at a bit of a dilemma though in cases like this man’s knowing who to assign the blame to. Should the blame fall on the person born with the affliction or upon his parents? For some reason they couldn’t see that sometimes sin’s degrading affect working in this world produces pain and suffering all by itself, and that God allows this because it serves his purpose and allows him to glorify himself by demonstrating his sovereignty and love.

Jesus answered the disciples, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.” Then stooping down Jesus spat on the ground, mixed the clay and the spittle together, applied the mixture to the man’s eyes, and then commanded him to go to the Pool of Siloam and wash.

The man immediately obeyed and when he had washed he could see.

At first his neighbors couldn’t believe that this was the same man who had for all his life been blind, but finally being convinced they took him to the Pharisees to give his account of the miracle, since it had been performed on the Sabbath.

Once the Pharisees had heard the evidence they couldn’t decided if Jesus was a sinner or not. They wanted to declare him a sinner because he’d healed on the Sabbath, but they didn’t believe anyone could heal a person born blind without the power of God working through him, and God would never work through a sinner. Round and round they went. Calling the man’s parents in to testify and repeatedly asking the, formerly, blindman to recount his healing. Finally in frustration the blindman declares, “Why, this is a marvelous thing, that you do not know where He is from; yet He has opened my eyes! … Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind. If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing.”

These words enraged the Pharisees, that he, someone born in sin should assert himself to teach them, and they cast the man out of the synagogue. Now he was effectively cut off from Jewish society and worship.

Jesus then, hearing that he’d been “cast out”, went to the man, revealed himself to him and asked him the question that every person must answer, “Do you believe on the Son of God?” And the man who’d gained and lost so much in that one Sabbath day gives Jesus the answer I pray we all will give, “I believe.”

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