While there are many accounts of miraculous healings in the Gospels, there are only a few which give us a look at what came next. The healing of the man born blind in John 9 is one of those few. In our previous entry, we looked at John 9:1-12 and Jesus’ healing of the blind man. In that, we also recognized how it fit with this part of John’s Gospel and Jesus’ declaration of “I am the light of the world.” In John 9:13-41, we get the rest of the story.
What we didn’t know in verses 1-12 is that this all happened on the Sabbath. John recorded, “They brought to the Pharisees the man who was formerly blind. Now it was a Sabbath on the day when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. Then the Pharisees also were asking him again how he received his sight.” A division arose between various opinions. One side taking the stand that Jesus couldn’t be from God (i.e., a prophet of God) since He broke the Sabbath. The other standing on the opinion that a sinner couldn’t heal the blind man. So, a kind of mini-trial happened in verses 17-34.
First, the Pharisees questioned the man and what he knew. When they didn’t like his answer, the Pharisees called in the man’s parents. They did attest to his having been born blind but would not, out of fear, make any statement concerning Jesus. The Pharisees again questioned the man. “So a second time they called the man who had been blind, and said to him, “Give glory to God; we know that this man is a sinner.” 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 9:24–25, NASB95) The Pharisees then began peppering him with questions about the healing. “He (the man born blind) answered them, “I told you already and you did not listen; why do you want to hear it again? You do not want to become His disciples too, do you?” They reviled him and said, “You are His disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. “We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where He is from.”” (John 9:27–29, NASB95) Now we’re at the crossroads of the conflict. Who is Jesus?
At this point, the healed man pulls out some basic a=b=c logic. No one has ever healed his kind of blindness; God doesn’t hear sinners; therefore, Jesus is a prophet of God. The Pharisees didn’t like his conclusion and threw him out.
Let’s pause and consider the assumption that “God doesn’t hear sinners.” In the pre-cross era, that may have been the case. But now on this side of the cross, it seems that He does hear through the blood of Jesus. Anytime someone turns towards God, He hears them. It doesn’t mean that they get what they want or in the way they want it, but it does mean that God listens and responds. We were all sinners when we first talked to God, and He did hear us.
In the last scene, the healed man again encounters Jesus. “Jesus heard that they had put him out, and finding him, He said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?” Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him, and He is the one who is talking with you.” And he said, “Lord, I believe.” And he worshiped Him. The man born blind finally saw not just his world but the truth concerning Jesus. Earlier, he attested that Jesus was a prophet, now he worships him (something only reserved for God) as Lord.
Jesus responds, “For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.” That is a startling statement that is hard to grasp. Are we the blind now seeing reality through the light of Christ? Or are we the seeing ones which are blind to reality? Those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things and said to Him, “We are not blind too, are we?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.” (John 9:35–41, NASB95) That is a statement we must be careful with. If they acknowledge their spiritual blindness, then they could be free from sin. But if, while still being blind, maintain that “we’ve got this figured out, we see,” then the light within them is really darkness (Matthew 6:23).
That’s a lot to chew on. Too often, we get a little bit of understanding in Christ and think we have it all figured out. This leads us to strange places and false realities. But when we realize that we don’t have it all figured out then, we’ll see even more. But how do we know which light we are following? The answer is in the man born blind. First, he began to see his world, but by the end, he saw Jesus for who He really is. If we’re seeing in the light of Christ, it will always reveal His person in some way and lead us to worship God.