The Blind Leading the Blind
Tim Temple


Open your Bibles to John, chapter 9, as we continue to study John's Gospel chapter by chapter. In this lesson, we come to chapter 9, and we want to begin our study with verse 8.

It is an interesting fact that many times people who are well educated in spiritual things only have a technical knowledge of those things, while people who have had a real experience with the Lord Jesus Christ know far more about the things of the Lord than the scholars do. In the passage that we come to in our study today, we have a very good example of that.

We have divided the chapter into four parts. In our last lesson, we looked at verses 1-7, which had to do with the involvement of Jesus. Jesus saw a man who was born blind, and He got involved in that man's need. Then, in verses 8-12, we see the interest of the neighbors. We have the insertion of the Pharisees into the situation, in verses 13-34, and then the intervention of Jesus, in verses 35-41. Jesus came and became involved in that situation again at the end of the chapter. The chapter begins and ends with the personal attention of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Neighbors' Attempt At Identification

In this lesson, we want to look at the interest which the neighbors demonstrated in this healing of the blind man, in verses 8-12. The first thing to notice is the identification which they try to make. Look at verse 8:

John 9

8The neighbours therefore, and they which before had seen him that he was blind, said, Is not this he that sat and begged?
9Some said, This is he: others said, He is like him: but he said, I am he.

Naturally, the first people to notice the change in this man were the people who saw him most often—his neighbors. This word neighbors does not necessarily mean the people who live next door; it means the people who had contact with him day-to-day. Some of them may have lived next door. In our day, some of the people that we have the most contact with are not our next door neighbors. This is a word in the Greek that means “those who had contact with him day-by-day.” It may have been the people on whose route he sat begging as they went to work every day. Whatever it may have been, the people around him began to notice a change.

Here was a man who had been helpless and, in that society, hopeless. Nothing was done in that day and time to try to make productive citizens out of people who had problems like this. They were always relegated to begging and being more or less a public spectacle. He was an object for pity on the part of everybody around him, but now, what a difference there was in him. The change which they saw was so remarkable that they began to question whether it was the same man or not. Some of them said, “It looks like him,” and others said, “Well, it is him.” He finally had to step in and say, “I am he.” He assured them, at the end of verse 9, that he was the same man.

Neighbors' Interrogation

In verses 10-12, we find their interrogation of him:

John 9

10Therefore said they unto him, How were thine eyes opened?
11He 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.
12Then said they unto him, Where is he? He said, I know not.

Notice that they asked him two questions, and he answered their questions, but it is obvious that he had limited knowledge. The first question was, “How were you healed?” In reply to that, he simply gave the method that we talked about in verses 1-7, by which he said that a man called Jesus had touched his eyes with clay and had given him sight.

The second question was, “Where is this man now?” He replied that he didn't know. These people were asking the normal questions about some situation that we hear about and are impressed with. They asked who and how and where. Those are the questions that they teach reporters and writers to ask, and those are the kinds of questions that are asked when a person finds spiritual sight. When a person becomes a believer and his life is changed, the people around him want to know what has happened. In one version or another, these are the questions that are asked.

Often, just like this man, when a person comes to Christ from a background of complete ignorance about Christianity and the person of Jesus Christ, his understanding of what has happened to him is very limited. Of course, at this point in the chapter, this was a physical healing that this man had undergone. Later in the chapter, he undergoes a spiritual healing as well; but the physical healing had some real pictures of of spiritual healing for us.

Many times, when a person gets saved, he doesn't really know very much, but he knows that he is saved. My dad was a good example of that. He was saved when he was a senior in high school out of a background of complete ignorance of spiritual things. He had not been in church that he could remember for a wedding or funeral or anything else. His family were good people, but just not religious people. I have often heard him say that in talking about how much you need to know to be saved that if somebody had asked him on the night that he got saved if he believed in the virgin birth, he would have said, “I don't even know any virgins. What are you talking about?” But he knew that he was saved, and this is the way this man was. “I don't know what His name is. I don't know where He is now, but I know one thing: I know that He healed me.” That is the case when a person hears the promise of God's Word of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ and applies it to himself. In faith He is immediately saved, no matter how much else he knows or doesn't know. He may be ignorant of many important truths, and he may not be able to answer the questions of his neighbors, but the fact is that he is saved just as this man could see. He couldn't tell you a lot of details about how and why that took place; however, this man did tell what he knew.

There is a lesson in that for us also, not only as new believers, but at whatever point we are in the Christian life. This new believer boldly spoke out of what he knew and what had happened to him and that resulted, in the long run, in Jesus' coming to him again and teaching him more. Here is an illustration of that principle that we have talked about many times: As we are growing in Christ, as we are learning more about Him and practicing more about Him, we are not responsible for what we don't know; we are responsible to act on what we do know. It is promised in various places in the Word of God and is illustrated in this chapter. The promise is that as we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another; and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sins, and we continue to be transformed into His image from glory to glory even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Someone illustrated this with the story of a little girl who was visiting her grandmother, and it got dark sooner than she or the grandmother either realized. The grandmother gave her a lantern to light her way back home, and the little girl said, “But Grandmother, it is dark just right out there. This light only goes a few feet.” The grandmother said, “Honey, you just walk to the edge of the light, and you will get home.”

That is a very valid biblical principle. You may not know as much as someone else. You may not know the answer to everyone's questions, but you walk to the edge of what you do know. God says, “You walk to the edge of what you do know, and as you walk to the edge of what you know, by faith, I will keep expanding that edge.” This was what this man was doing. He told them what he did know. He couldn't answer all of their questions; he didn't know much of the details, but he was able to tell them what he knew.

Healed Man Brought to the Pharisees

At this point, we find the insertion of the Pharisees, in verses 13-34. First we see the referral of this problem to them, in verse 13:

John 9

13They brought to the Pharisees him that aforetime was blind.

These people had never heard this story in Sunday School. They weren't very familiar with a person who had been born blind suddenly being able to see. Jesus had already done this probably at least one time. It is hard to keep the chronology together, but Jesus healed several people who were blind. In that day and time, the news probably wouldn't have traveled far enough for these people to have heard about it, so for them, this was a first time experience. Even though they couldn't deny that he could see, and even though they were interested in his answers about how that took place, they knew that this was something supernatural.

The Pharisees were that group of religious leaders who believed in supernatural things. The Sadducees did not believe in the supernatural even though they were religious leaders also. The people took this man to the Pharisees. They brought the Pharisees into the picture because they knew that at least those people believed in the supernatural. Here seems to be a case of the supernatural, so it would help these neighbors to understand the whole situation if they could get the input of these religious leaders who did believe in supernatural things. However, the Pharisees did not choose to believe the supernatural power of Jesus. They believed in the supernatural, but they weren't willing to believe that Jesus had supernatural power, because it interfered with their set ideas. If they were to recognize that Jesus Christ even might be the Messiah it would upset the apple-cart of their whole religious world.

In the next few verses, we are going to see that instead of objectively inquiring into the facts of this situation as a sign which might point them to the Messiah in which their own lives and ministries as leaders could be more powerful, they used every trick they could think of to discredit the work of Jesus and destroy this man's testimony. With that in mind, there is an interesting reminder, in verse 14. John just inserts this into the text, and it almost seems to be out of place:

John 9

14And it was the sabbath day when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes.

That seemingly innocent statement sets the stage for the rejection of truth by the Pharisees, which we are going to see in verses 15-18. In these verses, they are going to ask this man several questions. The neighbors ask him questions, and now the Pharisees are going to ask him questions, and all of these questions are because of their willful unbelief about what Jesus had done. Sadly, that unbelief was based on an obvious fact which they chose to reject. It was obvious that this man had been healed. It was obvious that Jesus had supernatural power, but these religious leaders were not going to believe that. God allowed John to be a witness to this and to record the facts to show how even though they professed to see spiritually, even though they professed to be guides, they actually chose to be blind to the truth. All of this was because, as I say, if they were to accept Jesus Christ for Who He claimed to be, it would completely destroy their way of living and the mainlines of their own teaching—therefore, their power in their world.

Blinded to the Truth

They began by having him give a review, in verse 15:

John 9

15Then 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.

Notice the Pharisees reaction:

John 9

16Therefore 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.

As soon as His opponents had heard that Jesus had made clay on the Sabbath day, they immediately said, “This man is not from God.” John reminded us, in verse 14, that it happened on the Sabbath. These men were aware of it already, and they said, “Anybody who would go to the trouble to make clay on the Sabbath day cannot be from God.” You see, when Jesus gave sight to this blind man, He infringed on their traditional law.

Of course, as you remember, this was always the point of question between the Pharisees, the Sadducees and Jesus all through His ministry—the difference between God's law and man's law. You know, there is still a problem with that down to this day. It's not nearly as pronounced as it was with Jesus, but there are many traditions, many lists of dos and don'ts that we as Christians have over the years vested almost with inspiration, and there are things that we as Christians do and don't do, in some cases, not even knowing why. We just assume that it is somewhere in the Bible. This was one of those things in a very major way that Jesus was having a problem with with these people.

Among many other simple actions that was called work by these traditionalists, it was forbidden to heal on the Sabbath day. The Rabbis had taken the Ten Commandments and had made a commentary on them and had defined what it meant to labor on the Sabbath day. The commandments said that you will not do any work on the Sabbath day, and so they had defined what was work and what was not work.

They remind me of the preacher a hundred years or so ago who wrote a commentary on John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress . He was calling on some new parishioners one day, and he saw that in their home they had Pilgrim's Progress on the coffee table. They also had the commentary that he had written about Pilgrim's Progress . He said to the people, “How do you like my commentary? I see that you have my commentary. What do you think of it?” The man said, “Well, you know, the more we read Pilgrim's Progress , the better we seem to be able to understand your commentary.

That is the way all of these ridiculous rules and regulations were. They obscured the very Word of God itself. So among the many things that they had listed as being work was healing on the sabbath day. They did have a codicil to that which said they could give medical attention, but it was only if life was in danger. Even at that, they were not allowed to do anything that would make the patient get better. They could only do things that would keep him from getting worse. They had this thing spelled out to the nth degree.

This is their reaction. “This man has broken the traditional law; therefore, He cannot be from God.” Again, let me say that even though we have not defined it to that much of an art, we need to be very careful that we do not reject other people who claim to know Christ and who seem to give evidence of knowing Christ just because they don't do some of the things that we think they should do and just because they may do things that we do not do.

I am not even going to give an example. I think you can understand that for yourself, but I think we are in some danger in terms at least of fellowship with each other as believers, in terms of working together for the furtherment of the spreading of the Gospel, in rejecting each other not over what the Word of God says but over what our traditions say and the way that we have always done things and what seems right to us. We need to be extremely careful that we have a word from God before we say that we are not going to fellowship with that person or before we say that that person is really not all that he should be as a Christian. Maybe he is not even saved because look at what he does or look at what he doesn't do. We need to always be sure that our standard is the Word of God and not just some tradition that we have had along the way.

Reverence On the Part of the Healed Man

By contrast to that we see the reverance on the part of the one who was healed. Look at verse 17:

John 9

17They say unto the blind man again, What sayest thou of him, that he hath opened thine eyes? He said, He is a prophet.

“There is something about this man.” He didn't hear Him prophesy, but he knew that He was a man from God. The word prophet was a general term that meant “a man of God.” No matter what the facts might look like, this Healer was someone special. He had his eyesight to prove it.

From that day to this, when a person has come face-to-face with the work of Jesus Christ in their life, it doesn't matter how someone else may try to explain it away; they know it is a work from God. Probably all of us have heard of miracles that have taken place. I know of several miracles that I believe are miracles from God, and yet often it will be a doctor or sometimes someone else who can explain it away.

Just recently, I heard about someone who had had medical tests done that seemed to indicate a problem. Finally a more definitive test was done by a doctor who was a personal friend of the patient. As I understand it, the patient asked for this particular doctor to read the results of the test because he did know him personally. They found that apparently between the taking of the first test and the taking of this more definitive test, all of the evidence of anything being wrong had disappeared. Of course, the patient said, “That is a miracle.” The doctor, his good friend, said, “Well, there are a lot of ways to explain this kind of thing. A miracle is one of them, but maybe it is not a miracle. Maybe it is something that just happens sometimes.”

The Pharisees' Refusal to Believe

You have all heard stories like that, haven't you? It doesn't matter what the scientific explanation may be for the change in a person's life. When Christ has touched a person's life in salvation or in restoration to fellowship, the person who is touched knows that it is the work of God. But the Pharisees were not about to accept that. In verse 18, we see their refusal to believe:

John 9

18But 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.

If he was crediting this new vision that he had simply and only to this man, Jesus, whom they despised, then there had to be some other explanation. Perhaps he was not really blind from birth in the first place. They were just grasping at straws for some explanation other than the simple truth, so they called the parents of the person who had received his sight. They felt they could maybe some way prove that this was a miracle that was faked between this man and Jesus. After all, false prophets in those days did sometimes produce false miracles for their own ends. Of course, if they could prove that Jesus was a false prophet, then they would be able to put Him to death. Deuteronomy, chapter 13, gives a specific statement of that. What a coup it would be if they could prove that Jesus and this man had set this thing up.

Reticence of the Parents

They called the parents, but in verses 19-23, we see the reticence of the parents to even get involved. Look at verse 19:

John 9

19And they asked them, saying, Is this your son, who ye say was born blind? how then doth he now see?
20His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind:
21But 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.
22These 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.
23Therefore said his parents, He is of age; ask him.

Here is the New Testament version of name, rank, and serial number only. The man had answered the questions of his neighbors in a very short way because he only had a little bit of information, but these parents didn't want to be put out of the synagogue. What a sad thing this is. What a good thing it is for them that their names are not given, because when we run across them in Heaven, if they wound up getting to Heaven, it would be really embarrassing for them and us both. Here are some of the biggest chickens that ever lived, and all for religious purposes. Think about this. These were parents who had the heartbreak of a baby born without sight and who, no doubt, had watched the struggles that that boy went through as he was rejected by everybody in that society. There was no provision for trying to accept him as a normal person like has happened in the last few generations in our country and other parts of the world. These people must have been through many struggles, but for fear of losing their place in the religious society of that day, they did not give testimony to the One who they knew had brought this about. They simply said, “He is our son. He was born blind. Obviously, he can see now, but beyond that, you will just have to ask him.”

What a sad spectacle that is, but again there is a parallel to that. There are people who know of a work of God who really can find no other explanation for it, and yet they are afraid to give credit to the Lord for that kind of thing. Maybe it is a secondhand kind of thing. Maybe they have seen it happen in someone else's life or maybe it is something that has happened in their own life, but for fear of what people might think about them, they don't want to be considered a fanatic. They don't want to be considered on the lunatic fringe, and so they just give the bare minimum of information. They won't openly stand up and give credit to the Lord. The ritual, the tradition and the externalism of the synagogue was so important to them that they couldn't come to grips with something in the middle of their own family that was an obvious work of God.

You know, we can't have it both ways. We have to either give the glory to God and suffer whatever consequences might come, or we have to stay in the shadows of His blessing and His use of our lives. Our actions prove that either we fear God more than men or we fear men more than God.

Pharisees' Examination of the Healed Man

Having run into a dead end with the parents, in verse 24-34, the Pharisees return to the patient, and their examination of him is in verses 24-26:

John 9

24Then again called they the man that was blind, and said unto him, Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner.
25He 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.

I think that that is one of the biggest understatements in the whole Bible—one of the funniest statements. “I don't know whether he is a sinner or not, but I know I used to be blind, and now I can see. I know that.” In verse 26:

John 9

26Then said they to him again, What did he to thee? how opened he thine eyes?

Let's think about this paragraph for a minute. In verse 24, they said, “Give God the praise. We know that this man is a sinner.” What a total oxymoron. What a total contradiction of terms. “Give God the glory. This man is a sinner,” talking about the Son of God Himself. But more than that, this phrase, give God the praise , is a technical statement used in cross examination in courts in those days. It would be something like, “I swear to tell the truth,” or “swear on the Bible,” or something like that. In fact, in the Old Testament, Joshua used this very same term in the case of Achan, who had stolen an article from Jericho. When they went out to attack Ai the next day, God dealt with them in discipline, and they came back and examined everybody to see who was the culprit. God revealed that somebody had done it, and Joshua said these very words to Achan when his family was selected, “Give God the glory, and make confession to Him.” That is the kind of phrase that this is. It really meant, “Confess now what really happened. We know this man is not a prophet. He is a sinner, and we want you to swear to that.”

However, this man knew the truth, and they were not going to change his testimony. Instead, he grows bolder and bolder. I think by now you see another parallel coming, don't you? As we seek to walk with the Lord and as we are faithful to give testimony to Him even under pressure, God gives us more boldness. The more boldly we speak for Him, the more boldness He gives us.

In verse 25, ignoring their theological arguments—he doesn't understand all that kind of thing anyway—he just again states the facts that he does know. “I don't know whether he is a sinner or not. That is a theological argument, but I do know this: I was blind, but now I see. That is a miracle that has been performed.”

Those words are an encouragement to every new Christian, or they ought to be. A person who has just come to Jesus Christ may not yet know how to explain his conversion in theological terminology, but he can always tell others about what Jesus has done for him and how it happened. Often that is a lot more powerful than a logical argument anyway.

A few weeks ago we were talking with a missionary about a new kind of work that he is going to be doing that involves everyday Christians on the mission field. It involves getting people in churches up out of their pews and into the mission field. In the course of that discussion, he said, “We have found in doing this project that the best thing to do is just have these people give their story about how they were saved.”

That is a beautiful summary about what it means to witness to others about Christ. We don't have to go into all the technical details. If we know those things, it is important to be able to bring them into play, perhaps, but what people really want to hear is what happened to you. That is what this man was saying: “Let me tell you something. I was blind, and now I can see, and Jesus did it.” That is a powerful argument, and the same thing is true of you and me. You don't need to worry whether you can understand predestination and election and eternal security and other things that are a legimate part of God's overall plan of salvation. All you need to be able to do is to tell somebody, “I was a sinner and God changed my life through faith in Jesus Christ.” That is really what the Gospel is, and that is what this man was doing on this smaller scale of what happened to him physically.

Healed Man Challenges the Pharisees

In verses 27-34, the Pharisees keep demanding him to recant his story, and he gets irritated. He can see by now that they are absolutely not going to accept the truth and so instead of defending himself, now he gets bold enough to challenge them. Look at his exchange with them, beginning in verse 27:

John 9

27He answered them, I have told you already, and ye did not hear: wherefore would ye hear it again? will ye also be his disciples?

That's pretty bold, isn't it? Remember, he was speaking to the ministerial alliance of his city. Notice verse 28:

John 9

28Then they reviled him, and said, Thou art his disciple; but we are Moses' disciples.
29We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is.
30The 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.
31Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.
32Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind.
33If this man were not of God, he could do nothing.
34They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out.

How amazing. This man gave an ironclad, well-reasoned argument. He said, “How can this man be a sinner when he can do the supernatural?” Their analysis was, “You are so sinful that you can't even see the truth.” Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. That is exactly what they were doing. That infuriated the Pharisees. They said, “You are a disciple of Jesus, but we by contrast are disciples of Moses.” In verse 29, they said, “We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don't even know where he comes from.” This man knows the truth about his restored sight, and he reasons that it has to be from God, and he puts them on the defensive. The end result was that they cast him out of the synagogue.

This was a very serious thing to a devout Jew. It was the very thing that this man's parents feared. It meant the loss of both religious and social acceptance. These people knew so little of the truth of God's Word, and they had been so mislead by the religious leaders that they thought if they did not have a place in the synagogue, they could not know God. So it was a terrible thing to be cast out of the synagogue.

The Intervention of Jesus

But God did not cast him out, and that leads to the next point. In the last six verses of this chapter, we find the intervention of Jesus, in verses 35-41. First, Jesus has a conversation with the healed man. Look at verse 35:

John 9

35Jesus 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?
36He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?
37And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee.
38And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.

When the Pharisees, the religious leaders of Israel, cast this former blind man out of the synagogue, in verse 35, Jesus Himself found him. Do you see that? That is a beautiful statement of truth. This man didn't say, “Oh, what am I going to do now, God? God help me. They have cast me out of the synagogue. I'm cut off from my religion. Oh, God please help me.” Apparently, he didn't say anything like that. Jesus knew that they had cast him out of the synagogue, and Jesus found him. This is something that we so easily overlook. I have been guilty of this so much and I think that subconsciously all of us are guilty of overlooking the fact that God is looking out for us. We don't have to seek God. In fact, the Scripture tells us that there is nobody who naturally seeks after God. There is none righteous, no not one. God is seeking us. Technically speaking, we don't come to Christ for salvation. He comes to us. “No man can come to the Father unless the Spirit draws him,” Jesus said. “He that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.”

A few years ago, one group had a big evangelism campaign. I don't in any way mean to criticize evangelism, but theologically they were incorrect. They called it the I Found It campaign. Remember that? They had bumper stickers on cars: I found it. Ask me about it . That was incorrect. They didn't find it. It found them. Here is an example of it on the physical level. Jesus came and found this man. Let me tell you that if you know Jesus Christ as your Savior, it is because Jesus came and found you. Praise His name!

If you have been out of fellowship with the Lord, and you have come back to fellowship with Him, it is because He came and found you. He stands at the door and knocks. We have the right to keep the door closed, but He is there knocking on the door. One of the buzz words that I am hearing more and more of and I am just beginning to get used to is, God is pro-active . He is on the move. We don't have to somehow impress God with our need. He comes to us, and when He comes to us, He makes us aware of our need, and we cry out to Him. For many of us, we think that is where it all started, but it all started with His coming to us, His finding us. What a wonderful Savior! What a wonderful God!

Prevenient Grace

You see, Jesus revealed Himself to this man when the man didn't even know Who Jesus was. All this man knew was that He must be a man of God because He was able to heal, but He didn't know that He was the Savior. Again, to use the technical theological term, this is what theologians call prevenient grace . God is at work in the world, getting people ready to hear the Gospel. He does things in people's lives in subtle ways that they may not even recognize until after they know the Lord that prepared them to hear the Gospel and to receive it as truth when they did hear it.

If you were saved at a very early age, as I was, you probably can't remember those things, but I believe on the basis of how the principle works that God did in some way prime me to hear the Gospel and to prepare me, but those of you who were saved later in life can probably think of specific things that happened before you were saved that got you ready to hear the Gospel and that helped you accept the truth when you did hear it.

Jesus Christ came into his life and did this miraculous thing for him, but he did not know that He was Jesus the Christ. He just knew that He had a special power. That was God's working in this man's life ahead of time to get him ready to hear the Gospel, so that when Jesus came to him at the end of the chapter and said, “Do you believe in the Son of God?”, he said, “Who is He, Lord?” Jesus said, “I who speak unto you am He,” and he was ready to believe because God had already worked in his life.

I believe that God uses you and me a great many times in a prevenient way in the lives of other people, and this is why we need to be careful to be faithfully living for the Lord even around people who we may not have the opportunity to say anything to. It may be that just the way that we live for the Lord in their presence is some prevenient work that God is doing in their lives to prepare them to hear the Gospel and to accept it when they hear it even though they may hear it from someone else. Everything that we do in the Christian life has importance of which we may not even be aware because God is at work in people's hearts preparing them for that time which He in His wisdom knows is the right time for them to come to Him in faith.

When Jesus disclosed His true identity to this man whose physical need He had already met, the man immediately believed and worshiped Him, in verse 38. Now he has received spiritual sight as well as physical sight. The Jews had cast this man out of the synagogue which belonged to God, but Jesus who was the true Lord of the temple, found him and brought him in reality into God's own family. I think that probably that day it didn't matter too much that he was cast out of the synagogue or not. He was personally aquainted with the Son of God. Why bother with the synagogue?

That is not to discount the synagogue and that is not to discount the religious activities that God uses, but it is to say that the synagogue—in this day and time we might say the church —is not important if God is not there. All of the religious activities that we are involved in are totally meaningless unless we are involved in those things in response to the work of the Lord Jesus Christ in our hearts and lives. It is just as pointless as it would have been for this man to be in or out of the synagogue not knowing the Son of God as he now does.

It is interesting to trace this man's development in his spiritual seeing of Jesus. Back in verse 11, he refers to Jesus as a man . He says, “A man made clay and put it on my eyes and told me to go wash in the pool of Siloam.” Then, as he realized more fully the significance of what happened to him, he called Him a prophet . In verse 36, he calls him Lord. In verse 38, he came to recognize Him as Jesus the Son of God and worshiped Him as he worshiped God.

Jesus' Commentary

Finally, in verse 39, we find the commentary of Jesus about this whole situation. He said:

John 9

39And 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.

When Jesus spoke of coming into the world for judgment, He was talking about His pre-existence and His unique place in the eternal plan of God. The language used in these last verses of John, chapter 9, is partly borrowed from Isaiah, chapter 6, which speaks of God's judicial blinding of those who choose not to see. I think He had these Pharisees and others like them in mind. In that chapter, Isaiah said, “Here am I, LORD. Send me.” He didn't even ask for a job description, and after he said he would go, God began to describe the situation, saying, “You are going to go, and you are going to warn people who will not listen and you are going to show people who will not see.” He had these kind of people in mind. All down through the years, there have been people like these Pharisees, and there are people like that today who have all kinds of evidence and simply refuse to accept it.

These men refused to see the true Light when it shined on them, and by that, they lost what little light they already had. There are people today who are in that same kind of situation. We should be faithful and keep showing them the truth, but recognize that God allows people to make a choice about what they are going to do with the truth. That is what this last phrase of the chapter means, in verse 41:

John 9

41Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.

They said, “We see it this way. We see it our way. That is what we see.” Jesus said, “Your sin remains with you.” If you are not going to see what God opens your eyes to, if you are going to insist on seeing things the way you have always seen them, your sin remains with you.

As we have seen, the experiences of this formerly blind man are the experiences of many people today. When a person receives his spiritual sight, and he is transformed and boldly witnesses for Christ, very often it means that some people, even in some cases his former friends, will cast him out. However, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who has never let the believer down, Who Himself said, “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out,” does not let the person who witnesses for Him suffer true loss. He may lose some friends. He may lose some things that he thought were privileges, such as the synagogue, but Jesus replaces all of that with the personal presence of Himself. This man lost his place in the synagogue, but he found a personal relationship with the Lord of the synagogue. Which is more important? To have the true approval and personal companionship of Jesus Christ is worth any loss.

A few years later, the Apostle Paul was going to write that very thing. He wrote it as instruction to us, that to know Christ is so important that it makes those things that we formerly counted as important like garbage, not that they are not important any longer, but that by comparison to the privilege of walking with and knowing Jesus Christ, those things mean nothing.


Where do you stand in this sequence of events spiritually? Have you received your sight spiritually? Do you know Christ as Savior? Are you becoming more and more willing to stand up for Him and boldly proclaim Him for Who He is and, as you do that, coming to know Him all the better and cherish Him all the more? That is the sequence that God lays out before us, that God provides for us.

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