By: Steve Shirley
"Christ Heals The Blind Man." All of John Chapter 9 is focused on this miracle of Jesus. Let's begin looking at this by reading (Jn 9:1-16).
(Verses 1-2) "a man which was blind from his birth...who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?"
As we discussed in John Chapter 5, there are times when sin "can" be the cause of sickness (Mic 6:13)(1 Cor 11:27-30)(Mk 2:3-12)(Acts 12:2-3)(Num 5:21-22). However, we do "not" want to make the leap that ALL sickness is the result of sin. The disciples made this "leap" here, and it was common in those days.
In addition, there was a belief that the children could be punished by God for the sin of their parents. There are numerous verses to refute this (Ezek 18:14-20)(Deut 24:16)(2 Chr 25:4)(Jer 31:29-30). God does not punish one generation for the sins of the previous generation (for those who love Him: Ex 20:5-6, Ex 34:7, Num 14:18).
(Verse 3) Note that Jesus did not refute the fact that sin can make a person sick, but rather, He replied that was not the case here: "Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents."
The man was born blind so that "the works of God should be made manifest in him." In other words, this man was "predestined" to be born blind for this very moment, so that God could be glorified in what was going to happen next.
(Verses 4-5) "I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work." What do you think Jesus is saying here?
(Verses 6-7) Jesus miraculously performs a miracle which restores the man's sight. Notice that in this healing, Jesus required "faith." Jesus could have instantly healed the man's eyes, but instead, He required him to go to the pool of Siloam and wash the clay off his eyes in order to be healed.
***History note: "The pool of Siloam" The word "Siloam" is Hebrew for "sent." Quoting my "Illustrated Dictionary of the Bible" by Herbert Lockyer: This was "a storage pool and water tunnel that provided a water supply for the early residents of the city of Jerusalem. The pool and tunnel drew water from the Gihon spring outside the city wall. Under the peril of an impending invasion by the armies of Sennacherib, king of Assyria (reigned about 705-681 B.C.), King Hezekiah of Judah "made a pool and a tunnel [or conduit] and brought water into the city" (2 Kin. 20:20).
***Note: The only other time we see the word "Siloam" is in (Lk 13:4), when it is mentioned that the "Tower in Siloam" fell and killed 18 people. It is interesting to note that in this verse, Jesus confronts a similar issue to the one above. Apparently, there was a belief that those killed when the tower fell upon them "were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem." Jesus said, "I tell you no."
(Verses 13-16) The blind man was brought to the Pharisees. We see again that Jesus performed a miracle of healing on the Sabbath (Also see: Jn 5:1-18, Lk 6:6-11, Lk 13:10-17, Lk 14:1-6). And of course, as we saw before in Chapter 5 when Jesus healed the paralytic man, they were not interested in the healing, but instead that it happened on the Sabbath. This shows where their heart was.
Next, let's read (Jn 9:17-29).
(Verse 17) "He is a prophet." As we first mentioned in John Chapter 1 (Jn 1:21), the expected Messiah was prophesied in the Old Testament to be a "Prophet" in (Deut 18:15-18). This pointed to Jesus (also see: Jn 6:14 Jn 7:40, Acts 3:19-26). However, it does not appear that the blind man is pointing to Jesus as the Messiah when he uses this phrase since he says "a prophet" and not "the prophet." (Small "p," not capital "P" shows that the translators thought this also.)
(Verses 18-23) The Pharisees refused to believe that the "blind man" had actually been blind! So, they called his parents to see if he was lying, and they confirmed that he was born blind. It also appears that they knew their son was healed by Christ, but they didn't want to say that for fear of being "put out of the synagogue" for confessing Christ. Therefore, they threw their son under the bus (so to speak), and said to ask him about that part (so he would get into trouble instead of them).
***Note: Most likely, being "put of out the synagogue" referred to excommunication.
According to the "Nelsons NKJV Study Bible" there were 3 types of
1. One lasting 30 days, during which the person could not come within six feet of anybody else.
2. One for an indefinite time, during which the person was excluded from all fellowship and worship.
3. One that meant absolute expulsion forever.
(Verses 24-25) As in a number of other places, Jesus is accused (by the Pharisees here) of being a sinner (other examples: Jn 5:18, Jn 10:30-33, Mt 9:1-8). They wanted the "blind man" to "give God the glory" by admitting this. This phrase, "give God the glory," might have been like putting a person under an oath (see: Josh 7:19). He confessed that he did not know if Jesus was sinless or not; he only knew that Jesus healed him. (Jesus was sinless 2 Cor 5:21, Heb 4:15, 1 Jn 3:5, 1 Pet 2:22.)
(Verse 27)(NKJV) The "blind man" asks the Pharisees: "Do you also want to become His disciples" At this point, the tone of the blind man appears to turn to sarcasm.
Finally, let's read (Jn 9:30-41).
***Since this is a short chapter, we are heading down a rabbit trail!!***
(Verse 31) "We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears him."
First, let me get your opinions here. What does this verse mean to you? What is it that God doesn't "hear?"
Let's look at some parallel verses to (Jn 9:31):
(1 Pet 3:12) For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.
(Isa 59:2) But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
(Prov 15:29) The Lord is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous.
(Isa 1:15) And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.
(Ps 66:18) If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.
(Lam 3:44) Thou hast covered thyself with a cloud, that our prayer should not pass through.
(Lam 3:8) Also when I cry and shout, he shutteth out my prayer.
Also see: (Jer 7:16)(Mic 3:4)(Prov 21:13)(Prov 15:8)(Prov 28:9)(Ps 4:3)(Heb 5:7)(1 Pet 3:7)
Can we agree, based upon the above verses, that God doesn't hear ALL prayers? So, then the question becomes, why?
Because we are ALL sinners (1 Jn 1:8,10)(Rom 3:10,23)(Eccl 7:20)(Prov 20:9)(1 Kin 8:6), and as we can see in these verses above, our sin separates us from God. The method that God has chosen to be cleansed from our sin is that a life must be sacrificed and the blood of the sacrifice be shed (Lev 17:11)(Heb 9:22). Without this atonement being made for our sin, no man can enter into God's presence.
This was pictured in the Old Testament when the blood of animals was shed for sins, and the High Priest, chosen from the tribe of Levi, would make atonement once a year for all of the people's sins by entering into the "Holy of Holies" (God's presence). These things pointed forward to what Christ would later do when He came down from Heaven to become a man.
When Jesus did come, He became our High Priest FOREVER (Heb 7:23-25). He gave His life and shed His blood on the cross to pay for our sins for eternity. When we surrender our lives to Jesus by faith, we become a child of God (Gal 3:26), and we are cleansed by His blood (Mt 26:28)(Col 1:14)(Eph 1:7).
Jesus told us that He is the way to the Father (Jn 14:6)(Mt 11:27). He is the mediator between God (the Father) and man (1 Tim 2:5)(Heb 9:15). He allows us to enter into the Father's presence (the Holy of Holies)(Heb 10:19-20). This was why when Jesus died on the cross, the curtain in the Temple separating God from the people was torn in two (Mt 27:51)(Mk 15:38)(Lk 23:45).
Jesus told us to pray to the Father (Mt 6:6)(Jn 15:16), with the Lord's Prayer being one example (Mt 6:9-13)(Lk 11:2-4). I believe the Bible makes it quite clear that we cannot pray to the Father unless we have been cleansed by blood that has been shed to cover our sins. Jesus has made this payment for us. I am unaware of any case in the New Testament where the prayer of any unbeliever was accepted apart from Cornelius, who God used providentially to bring salvation to the Gentiles (you and me). [However, I also strongly suspect Cornelius WAS a believer in Jesus, but salvation had not yet been offered to the Gentiles at that point.]
This being the case, the first prayer that is accepted is the prayer to Jesus, calling upon Him in faith, trust, confession of sin, and repentance. Once we do this, we can be ASSURED that our every prayer will be heard.
*** Note: I realize this is a controversial point, however, I truly felt it necessary to address this because I have heard so many people say over the years that they decided God was not real because He never answered their prayers at some point in their lives. This may well be the reason why.
(Verses 32-34) "Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind." The 'blind man" was correct here; prior to this incident, there is not one recorded incidence in the Bible of a blind person being given sight! He rightly saw this as proof this "Man was from God." After this statement, he was "cast out" of the Temple (just as his parents feared they would be above).
***Note: Jesus giving sight to the blind was prophesied in the Old Testament: (Isa 29:18-19, Isa 35:5 / connect to: Mt 11:4-6).
(Verses 35-38) Jesus finds the man after he had been "cast out," and the man "believes in Him." We see in verse 38 that he "worships" Jesus. The Bible is clear that only God can be worshipped (not men Acts 10:25-26, Acts 14:11-15 or angels Rev 19:10, Rev 22:8-9). Since Jesus allowed Himself to be worshipped, it is clearly a sign of His deity. (Other places Jesus allowed Himself to be worshipped while on Earth: Mt 8:2, Mt 9:18, Mt 14:33, Mt 15:25, Mt 20:20, Mt 28:9,17.)
(Verses 39-41) "And 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." What do you think Jesus is saying here?