“He then answered, ‘Whether He is a sinner, I do not know; one thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see’” (John 9:25).
Have you ever had someone with less experience or knowledge than you try and advise or correct you in something? Like when the worst player on the basketball team tries calling the shots and running the plays? Or when a freshmen tries tutoring you, a junior, in geometry? Or when a person with no fashion sense whatsoever tells you that what you’re wearing is so 2009? Or even worse, is when your little brother or sister tries telling you what to do. People and situations like this are annoying for sure—mostly because it takes a jab at your ego—no matter how humble you might be.
The story in John 9 has a similar undertone. There was a blind man that was healed by Jesus. When the religious experts questioned him, he told them the truth of what happened. You see, they were upset that Jesus had healed him on the Sabbath, a day when there was to be no work done according to their custom. For that reason, they were unable to accept this as a miracle from God. But the problem was that they misunderstood the purposes of the Sabbath and the plan of God.
The irony in this story is the fact that a man born blind came to a point where he had more spiritual sight than men who could see physically. Think about what this man must have been feeling: seeing the sky, trees, loved ones, and even his own reflection for the very first time—life changing! But more than that, this man was able to see Jesus for who he truly was, the Christ (v.33). The human eye works when light passes through the cornea, iris, lens, and into the retina; from there, it continues on to the optic nerve and to the brain. Light is the key component needed for us to see. Jesus, in John 8:12 tells his disciples,
“I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
In order to be healed of spiritual blindness, the light of Jesus Christ must come into the mind and heart. Until then, a person may be able to see physically, but their souls are blind and in darkness.
The Pharisees, however, were not impressed by this miracle. Bad theology and an inflated ego had blinded them to the truth. Ironically, God sent a man who was previously blind, to teach these religious experts about their own spiritual blindness. In this passage, he begins by saying he knew nothing of Jesus, then he calls him a prophet, and concludes by saying that Jesus is from God. A man untrained in the Scriptures is teaching men who devoted their whole lives to it. Needless to say, they were not happy. As a result, they cast him out of the synagogue, which essentially meant that he was excommunicated from fellowship and ostracized from society.
In the beginning of the story, Jesus’ disciples brought up the doctrinal issues of whether this man’s blindness was caused by his own sin or the consequence of his parent’s sin. Jesus quickly responds by saying that it was neither of these things. Instead, his handicap was God-ordained to show the person of Christ and the power of God. Rarely do we think of physical or mental inabilities in this way. The truth is, God wants to use weak and broken people in order to show himself as great and gracious.
The take away from this story is this: Jesus is the light of the world that came to bring sight to the spiritually blind. He uses unpredictable means and unlikely people to prove that he is the Son of God and to show his power and grace. The testimony of this man was simple and it is the testimony of every believer: to be amazed by grace.
Search the Scriptures:
- Mark 10:46-52
- Exodus 20:5
- John 3:12-13
- Matthew 13:13
Questions to Consider:
- Has there been a situation in your Christian walk where you had to defend your faith? If so, what was it?
- The blind man didn’t prove Jesus’ deity theologically; he simply pointed to the miracle of his sight being restored. What is it about a personal testimony that shuts up the arguments of our accusers?
- Do you think the reply of Jesus (v. 3) is a satisfactory explanation for physical or mental impairment from birth? If not, how do you account for it?
- Where is there spiritual blindness today? How is it characterized?
- How does the man born blind provide a model for true discipleship? What elements of his character are shown in this story?