13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. 14 Now it was a Sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. 15 So the Pharisees again asked him how he had received his sight. And he said to them, “He put mud on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.” 16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” And there was a division among them. 17 So they said again to the blind man, “What do you say about him, since he has opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.”
18 The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight, until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight 19 and asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” 20 His parents answered, “We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. 21 But how he now sees we do not know, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.” 22 (His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone should confess Jesus to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue.) 23 Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”
Blind Man’s Parents
There is a contrast with the blind man who sees and the seeing people who are blind in this passage in John. Jesus’ followers didn’t quite understand who he was. However, the leaders of the nation were willfully blind to Jesus’ true identity. They were using fear to propagate their opinion. We see in this passage that the Jewish leadership had decided that followers of Jesus were to be cast from the synagogue. This does not just mean that they would have more time to play soccer on a Saturday. This means that they would be outcasts from the social centre of society. They would be shunned and excluded.
This is why the parents of the blind man try and dodge the bullet. The Pharisees don’t want to hear positive things about Jesus and so the blind man’s parents tell them the truth about his birth defects, but they do not tell them anything about Jesus. Although their son has been healed, they do not want to ally themselves with his healer. Lines are being drawn in the sand and self-interest persuades people to distance themselves from Jesus.
The blind man himself, as we shall see, does not take the same stance as his parents. His experience of Jesus overcomes his fear. However, the fear of reprisal limits thew extent that his parents enter into this scenario.
How much does fear affect us? Do we have the courage to align our lives with Jesus’ will for us? Do we trust him to help us overcome risks?
Sometimes allying with you, Jesus, is a risk. Sometimes the consequences of following you are severe. Help us to take risks in owning you whenever the opportunity arises.
- Why do the Pharisees seek the blind man’s parents?
- Why do the parents respond the way they do?
- Why are we give details about the man’s parents?
- How do you respond to the evidence that Jesus did great miracles?
- How would you respond to opposition directed at Jesus, or the idea that he worked wonders?