John 9

2 Often we tend to associate mishaps and tragedies with punishments from God. It is true that there are many examples of God punishing people for their sins. In addition, several verses indicate that blessings and consequences can be linked with obedience and disobedience respectively. However, when this view is taken to its extreme, it becomes more superstition than sound doctrine. The disciples' question appears to be based on this superstition.

This lopsided view ignores the many verses and examples were the innocent suffer while the evil succeed. The Bible does not promise that every injustice will be resolved during one's lifetime, but it does promise that all issues will be settled fairly on Judgement Day.

3 Jesus indicates that not every tragedy (or blessing) can be associated with this kind of cause-and-effect mentality. True, without sin in the world this man would not have been born blind. However, there was not a specific sin that his parents did to cause God to punish them with a blind child. Children are always called blessings and gifts from God in the Bible. There is not a single recorded instance of God sending a baby as a curse or a burden. Those attitudes are human reactions, not God's intentions. Neither did the baby sin in the womb so that it was so born. A baby inherits the sin nature of Adam, but it cannot do anything in the womb that can be considered an "accountability" sin.

Why then was the man born blind? This was done so that God could work a great miracle in his life, as we are about to see. Does this apply to handicapped people today? We should first note that Jesus did not heal every handicapped or malformed person in the area. He picked out several special cases, and healed those who could actually get close to Him. Secondly, Jesus' miracle ministry was intended to substantiate His claims to divinity. His purpose was not to heal bodies but to heal spirits. Therefore, the greatest miracle a handicapped person can experience is the saving knowledge of Jesus. Each person should focus on God rather than their own limitations. Some have more physical and mental limitations than others do. These may make their victory more difficult, but it will definitely be sweeter. There is also hope in the knowledge that when we are resurrected we will receive fully functioning and eternal bodies.

4 Jesus' presence was like the day. The healing of this man was one of God's specified tasks for Jesus. Jesus seems to hint that after His ascension (when it becomes night) there will be a time when no more miracles (or generically, God's works) will occur. This may refer to the time during the rule of the antichrist spoken of in Revelation.
5 "Light" has several connotations. It refers to God's power and the dispelling of evil. It refers to the enlightenment of the mind and spirit with the knowledge of God. It refers to direction and guidance. Jesus represents all these things and more. This healing was specifically designed as a visual picture of how Jesus gives light. A blind man was about to see light for the first time. When a sinner repents and turns to Jesus for salvation, he sees the light of God for the first time.
6 Jesus could have simply spoke the words and had the man seeing, but there was more to this plan. Jesus performs a physical act so that there is no mistaking that He caused this to happen. Neither the clay nor the water the man later washed in was magical. It was a prop to help the disciples understand what was happening. The methodology also allowed the man to give testimony to the religious leaders with only the limited knowledge of Jesus that he had. Later he would come to know Jesus more fully.
7 Jesus did not ask this man if he wanted to be healed, He simply began the process. He then gives the man the test of faith. We do not even know if Jesus told the man that he was about to be healed. The man simply did what Jesus asked, and the miracle occurred.
8 The healing caused much confusion for those who had known the man only as a blind man. Not one thing changed about his physical appearance, but the fact that he could now see transformed him in the eyes of those who knew him.
10 When someone receives a great blessing, others generally want to know how it all occurred. We should desire to share in the joys of others around us.
11 The man's testimony is simple. He does not embellish it. When a Christian gives his testimony it should be factual, even if it sounds as unbelievable as this man's testimony was. Not many Christians have a testimony as flashy as this man's was, but we must not forget that the salvation experience is the greatest miracle anyone can have.
12 These people apparently had not met Jesus yet, and they wanted to see Him for themselves. Perhaps several of his friends were also handicapped in various ways and wanted healing as well. Others may have recognized this as a miracle from God and wanted to hear Jesus' message.
13 There were obvious spiritual implications with this healing, and the people wanted the interpretation of the religious leaders. The man may have had to be led there since he had formerly only known the world as dark. He would have to learn how to find things with his eyes now.
14 This case would be of particular interest to the Pharisees since this miraculous "work" was performed on the sacred day of rest. After a previous Sabbath healing, the religious leaders wanted to kill Jesus because they felt He had violated God's command to rest on that day.
15 Again, a simple, easy-to-understand, unembellished recount of the facts.
16 Some of the Pharisees again concluded that Jesus could not be from God because they felt that this miracle was a work that violated the Sabbath. However, others pointed out that the incredible nature of the miracle indicated that it was ordained by God. Would God use a sinner to perform such a work? We have no example of God doing so.
17 Since this man had the miracle performed on him, he was the most qualified to tell others about Jesus. To this man it was obvious that at the very least, Jesus was a prophet.

Christians have been miraculously saved from eternal condemnation. Since God has done this work in us, we are the most qualified to witness to others about it.

18 Some of the Pharisees were suspicious that this was a staged miracle. Despite the testimony of friends and neighbors, the Pharisees insisted on confirming the initial condition with the man's parents.
22 It is a shame that religious leaders can stifle the work of God the way these did. It is hinted that the parents believed what happened, but they were afraid they would be excommunicated from the synagogue. In the Jewish culture, to be put out of the synagogue was the same as being shunned from society. The religious leaders set a high price for faith in Christ. Even today, people in some cultures risk their lives when they accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
23 When a man was of age, his testimony could legally stand by itself. His parents were not responsible to testify for him as they would a minor.
24 The man had already given his testimony, but this was not the answer the Pharisees wanted. They tried to pressure the man into changing his testimony so that Jesus would be seen as a sinner instead of a godly man. They seem to imply that the man is lying and can only "give glory to God" by retracting his testimony. The Pharisees did not really know that Jesus was a sinner, but they had already decided this in their hearts.
25 The man was not going to judge Jesus' character. He did not know much about Jesus, and he was not going to engage in an argument concerning matters he did not understand. The only thing he could do was tell about what he did know: he was bind but now he sees.

Christians are often afraid to witness to others because God does not give us all the answers. When we give our testimony we can only tell people about what we have experienced. If a non-Christian asks us a question we can not answer, we should not feel that we have to make something up. We can indicate that we do not know and attempt to find out, but whether we know something or not can not detract from the testimony of which we are certain. It is also important to realize that explaining the detailed and philosophical aspects of Christianity will never convince people who have not had a salvation experience. When we explain the Good News we must start with the basics and testify of what we know about. This man knew only one thing, but his testimony was solid and powerful.

27 The man becomes frustrated and irritated at this "third degree" questioning. Something wonderful had happened to him, but others were trying to make it into something terrible. They were trying to steal the joy that this man now felt. The man retorts with a question that he knew would raise the ire of the Pharisees. Since it was obvious that the Pharisees considered Jesus a sinner, they would not consider following Him. They considered it an insult that the man would even suggest this.

We would hope that those who are truly seeking God would feel free to ask us about Jesus. We can then give our testimony, but we must leave the work of salvation to God. If the person becomes abusive, harasses us, or tries to trick us, we are not obligated to continue the conversation. A Christian must not become involved in arguments because they rarely result in progress towards salvation.

28 The Pharisees lashed out at the man. Since they considered it insulting to be associated with Jesus, they mistakenly thought that accusing the man of being Jesus' disciple would insult him. To the contrary, this is a high compliment for a Christian.
29 The Pharisees then contrast their faith in Moses to Jesus. Moses had a recorded history, evidence that God worked through him. Jesus, however, was not a book they could study. They had the real, touchable evidence that Jesus was from God, but because He did not match their preconceived notion of the Messiah, they would not believe Him. To them, it was debatable whether Jesus was from God or the devil since He performed miracles on the Sabbath.
30 The man is now exasperated at the Pharisees' stubborn disbelief, but he tries once more to reason with them.
31 The miracle of opening the eyes of a man born blind had never happened before and it was obviously a work of God. God does not use active sinners to perform His miracles. Therefore, we must conclude that Jesus was indeed from God.
34 The logic was irrefutable, so they resorted to name calling and character bashing. They arrogantly judged the matter against the evidence, asserting their political authority to do so. They also cast the man out, hoping to limit the influence of his testimony. They reasoned that others would be reluctant to believe his testimony if the religious leaders rejected it. They probably also knew that others would be intimidated by the Pharisees' authority and decide that believing in Jesus was not worth the price (e.g., the man's parents).
35 After these things happened, Jesus searched for the man to comfort him and educate him further.
36 The man had not seen Jesus before and did not recognize Him as the one who healed him.
38 The man's faith was confirmed. Since Jesus had done such a great miracle, the man had no trouble believing that Jesus was the Son of God as indicated in verse 35. The appropriate response was to worship Jesus. This is a clear indication of Jesus' divinity.
39 Jesus' judgement can truly determine who sees and who is blind.
40 Apparently, some of the Pharisees were close by keeping an eye on the man. Jesus apparently meant for them to hear what He just said. They were appalled at the implication that they, the religious leaders, were spiritually blind while common people, like this former beggar, had gained spiritual insight.
41 The Pharisees had developed a self-righteous attitude. They felt that they followed the Law of God adequately and were infallible in their interpretations. To the contrary, Jesus indicates that sin blinds everyone from birth. If one thinks he can discern spiritual matters on his own, then his situation is hopeless -- he can not be saved. Once one recognizes he is spiritually blind, he will turn to God and repent of sin. Only then does he see spiritually for the first time.