Study 7 GIVING SIGHT TO THE MAN BORN BLIND
OUR LORD’S MIRACLES
by Francis Dixon
(Scripture Portion: John 9:1-41)
In his Gospel, John records the seven “I AMs” of our Lord – John 6:35; 8:12; 9:5; 10:7,11,14; 11:25; 14:6; 15:1 – and the important thing to notice is that Jesus substantiated His claims and verified His statements. When He said, “I am the Bread of life”, He demonstrated the truth of His word by feeding the 5000 (John 6:2-13); when He said, “I am the resurrection and the life”, He raised Lazarus (John 11:43-44); and when He made the statements in John 8:12 and 9:5, He opened the eyes of a man who had been born blind. Let us see how the Lord dealt with this man and how the man reacted.
1. THE DARKNESS THAT OVERSHADOWED HIM
This man had been blind from birth and he was a beggar. Now it is a fundamental teaching of the Word of God that by nature we are all spiritually blind and that we were born that way – look up John 3:19-21; 1 Corinthians 2:14; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 4:18, and compare 1 Peter 2:9 – and see the marvellous thing that happens when the Lord saves us. Try to describe an object to a blind man and he will reply, “I cant see it!” That is what the unregenerate man says when you speak to him of the things of God. No-one can see and understand God’s truth until his eyes are opened by the Lord. Then he can say what the blind man said – verse 25. Many people around us are spiritually blind; they are overshadowed by a great pall of darkness.
2. THE SPECULATION THAT SURROUNDED HIM
In verse 2 the disciples asked a remarkable question. What did it mean? Were they referring to some theory of pre-existence, of the transmigration of souls? How could this man sin prior to his birth? Well, many of the Jews believed that even a child in the womb could sin – look up Genesis 25:26 and Hosea 12:3. Our Lord’s answer to this puzzling question, however, is indicated in verses 3-5. Blindness, as well as all disease and death itself, is the result of sin, and sometimes the result of personal sin, though it was not so in this case. Dr Campbell Morgan has suggested that verses 3 and 4 should read: “Neither did this man sin, nor his parents. But that the work of God should be made manifest in him, I must work the works of Him that sent Me while it is day.” In other words, the man was not born blind to show what God could do with a blind man; it would be difficult to reconcile that with the character of God. Blindness is not God’s will for any man, and our Lord made it clear that He was not here to explain the mystery of evil, but to remove the cause of it and to break the power of it. Thus, He healed the man.
3. THE MIRACLE THAT CURED HIM
We get this in verses 6 and 7, where we should note three things:-
- 1. What Jesus did – verse 6. Why did He place mud on the man’s eyes? Was there a symbolic value in this act? Maybe the mud was a type of the defilement of sin and needed to be cleansed away; perhaps it was to indicate that healing could only come from the Lord Himself; or, maybe it was a picture of the minds of men that were darkened by the things of earth.
- 2. What Jesus said – verse 7 (first part). Have you ever noticed how often Jesus said, “Go…” before He said, “Come…”? For example, the woman of Samaria (John 4:16); the rich young ruler (Matthew 19:21); the ten lepers (Luke 17:14); the nobleman (John 4:50). Here is the obedience of faith. The Lord alone can perform the miracle and open blind eyes, but He does it through the channel of faith in Him, and faith is simply taking Him at His word.
- 3. What the man did – verse 7 (second part). Here was complete obedience, for as he “went and washed”, he “came home seeing”. As he obeyed, he saw. What a miracle this was – verse 32!
4. THE OPPOSITION THAT ASSAILED HIM
This is an amazing thing. Here is a poor blind fellow whose eyes have just been opened by a miracle, but everyone seems to be so disturbed and distressed about it that in the end he is excommunicated from the synagogue! But is it not always so? When the Lord Jesus came from Heaven He was crucified; and prophets, apostles and martyrs can all add their testimony concerning the opposition that comes to the man who is determined to stand for God and to go through with Him. No-one ever becomes a Christian without experiencing some opposition. What exactly did this man have to face?
- 1. First, he had to face his neighbours, as verses 8-12 tell us. They saw the change that had been wrought in him, and they were sceptical. What a gem verse 9 is!
- 2. Then, the Pharisees openly opposed him, as verses 13-18 tell us. How pathetic it is to see religious leaders so blind! Frequently when people are converted, the greatest opposition they experience comes from the dead professors of religion.
- 3. Finally, his parents were called on to the scene, as verses 18-23 tell us, but they were too terrified to stand by their son, though inwardly they must have been overjoyed that he had been so wonderfully cured.
Most of all, however, it was the Pharisees who became infuriated about the miracle which our Lord had performed on the Sabbath Day – and we are told that “they hurled insults at” the one who had been cured (verse 28), and in spite of his wonderful courage (read verses 30-33 carefully), they excommunicated him (verse 34). Now read on to verse 35, and compare Matthew 5:10-12.
5. THE ASSURANCE THAT GRIPPED HIM
Verse 25 tells us of the man’s testimony concerning his physical healing, but in verses 35-38 we have the record of a far greater blessing that came to him, when the Light of the world shone within him – look up 2 Corinthians 4:6. Notice how he progressed in his knowledge of the Lord. In verse 11 he speaks of Him as “a man”; in verse 17 as “a prophet”; in verse 27 as one who is worthy of having disciples; in verse 33 as one upon whom the blessing of God was resting; and in verse 35 as the “Son of Man”. Look up the seven questions asked in this incident, and look at them in the following order: (1) verse 10; (2) verse 36: (3) verse 26; (4) verse 12; (5) verse 17; (6) verse 35; and what is your answer to (7) verse 40?