Blind

The darkess of The Blind Man is both phtsical and spiritual. He will be cured of both by the ‘sent’ one.  The darkness of those around him is merely spiritual, but it will have far deeper consequences.  Although the Jewish leaders and the disciples lack the understanding in one domain, the Bible points out that the spiritual blindness is much more serious than the physical blindness in the chapter.

The blind assumption of the disciples is that the man they encounter can not see because of sin.  If he was born blind the sin can not be his, he hadn’t done anything.  The sin must have been his parents’ sin.  Jesus sees what they can not.  He points out that the man’s blindness will bring glory to God.

The Jewish leaders’ vision is obscured by the fact that the miracle of restoring sight was done on a Sabbath.  They condemn everyone involved (except themselves).  The result is that the formerly blind man is left seeing their blindnes and the true nature of the ‘sent’ one and his redemption.

Is it possible something precious to you is making you blind?  Sometimes love for a child can make you blind to their very real faults, fear of loneliness can make you blind to a fiancee’s incompatibility, familiarity with a way of doing things can make us blind to new ways.  Alternatively, do you see a fresh work of God for what it is?

John 9:1-41

1 As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

   3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

6 After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. 7“Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.

8 His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, “Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?” 9Some claimed that he was.

   Others said, “No, he only looks like him.”

   But he himself insisted, “I am the man.”

10“How then were your eyes opened?” they asked.

11He replied, “The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.”

12“Where is this man?” they asked him.

   “I don’t know,” he said.

The Pharisees Investigate the Healing

13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind. 14 Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man’s eyes was a Sabbath. 15Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. “He put mud on my eyes,” the man replied, “and I washed, and now I see.”

16Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.”

   But others asked, “How can a sinner perform such signs?” So they were divided.

17Then they turned again to the blind man, “What have you to say about him? It was your eyes he opened.”

   The man replied, “He is a prophet.”

18 They still did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they sent for the man’s parents. 19“Is this your son?” they asked. “Is this the one you say was born blind? How is it that now he can see?”

20 “We know he is our son,” the parents answered, “and we know he was born blind. 21 But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don’t know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself.” 22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who already had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. 23That was why his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”

24A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. “Give glory to God by telling the truth,” they said. “We know this man is a sinner.”

25He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”

26Then they asked him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?”

27He answered, “I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?”

28 Then they hurled insults at him and said, “You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses! 29We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.”

30 The man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will. 32 Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. 33If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”

34To this they replied, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out.

Spiritual Blindness

35Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”

36“Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.”

37Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.”

38Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.

39 Jesus said,[a]“For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”

40Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?”

41 Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.

Questions

  1. How do blindness and sight play out through the passage?
  2. How is ‘sent’ used?
  3. How is persistence in sin condemned?
  4. When have you seen someone persistently blind to their own issues?
  5. How can you show gratitude for what you are able to see about God?

Going Deeper

The State of Illinois has given government agencies permission to cease funding agencies that do not place children with homosexual families.  Is there a blindness on the part of the agencies, the government, or no-one?  Explain your answer.

Here is a Catholic report:

http://www.pjstar.com/news/x919541271/Illinois-judge-rules-against-Catholics-on-foster-care

Here is a liberal perspective:

http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2011/08/19/299470/illinois-catholic-charities-lose-right-to-discriminate-against-same-sex-couples/

 

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About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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