John 9:13-22 Blind Man’s Parents

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?

Prayer

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.

Questions

  1. Why do the Pharisees seek the blind man’s parents?
  2. Why do the parents respond the way they do?
  3. Why are we give details about the man’s parents?
  4. How do you respond to the evidence that Jesus did great miracles?
  5. How would you respond to opposition directed at Jesus, or the idea that he worked wonders?
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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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21 Responses to John 9:13-22 Blind Man’s Parents

  1. Austin Brose says:

    The Pharisees sought out the blind man’s parents because they needed a testimony to make sure he was actually blind. The parents responded the way they do because they were afraid to confess Jesus as Lord in front of the Pharisees, so they put the pressure on their son! We are given details about the parents because it is a testimony that someone who experiences the life changing experiences of Christ, may have those close to Him who still reject Jesus because they are afraid of social stigmatism. I respond to the evidence of Jesus’ miracles as true, and as evidence of his Sonship.

  2. Ed says:

    Austin well said. A lot of blind people bumping into each other, the blind man was able to see twice as good. Through Christ and physically, poor parents like so many of us under pier pressure we fall. How can a man who is a sinner do such signs? What denial and because I can see from a far I scratch my head wondering. Why were his miracles going so unnoticed?

  3. Kathleen says:

    The Pharisees seek the blind mans parents because they want to know the truth. Was this man truly born blind? And if so, how was he healed? The man’s parents respond the way they do because they fear being kicked out of the synagogue if they aline themselves with Jesus. I believe we are given details about the parents to show how people are afraid to believe in all that Jesus did and claims to be. It also shows that when we come to Christ, those around us may be skeptical and not want to relate with us anymore. I believe Jesus did great miracles. I see him work in amazing ways today as well. I am truly thankful.

  4. Sara Cavitt says:

    1) They were skeptical that the man had not been born blind, so they wanted to question the man’s parents.
    2) They did not want to associate themselves with Jesus or speaking highly of Him, because they were afraid that they would be excluded and become outcasts of society.
    3) We see another side of when Jesus performed this miracle. Rather than the man’s parents rejoicing and praising Jesus for healing their son, they were fearful of what would happen if they confessed the name of Jesus.
    4) I respond in praise and worship!
    5) When there is opposition to Jesus, people must lay aside their fears and pride and come and get to know Him.

  5. Jenna says:

    1. The pharisees are unwilling to believe, so they look for evidence that the man wasn’t actually born blind and that Jesus’ miracle was a hoax.
    2. The parents respond out of fear of the synagogue leaders.
    3. John draws a contrast between the faith (sight) of the man born blind and the unbelief (blindness) of his parents, who can see.
    4. I believe.
    5. I would take them to God’s Word; if they’re willing to accept that the Bible is a true description of what happened 2000 years ago, then the things recorded in John leave no room for denying Jesus’ power.

  6. Beth Coale says:

    I wanted to share… Last Sunday, my Sunday school class and I thought of as many miracles of Jesus we could and then looked more deeply at some of them. Then, we talked about what they showed about Jesus – about Who He is and what He’s like. One thing they noticed that I hadn’t really thought about was that Jesus could do anything … but the thing was He didn’t do things to make life easier for Himself – He always did these miracles to make life better for others. What an example of someone so selfless and wonderful!

    • Beth Coale says:

      Even more, especially with this miracle, His motive couldn’t have been to make Himself look great – because He received just the opposite. He did something wonderful, and then received lots of unbelief AND criticism for it.

  7. karas says:

    it’s interesting how John narrates peoples thoughts, conversations, and opinions, almost more so than actual events. I really enjoy reading this gospel. Jesus here is still being evaluated by the people. Some think He is from God, some, a sinner. I believe most definitely that Jesus is God and want others to believe as well.

  8. Ashley says:

    1. The Pharisees wanted to see the man’s parents for them to prove that this was truly their son.
    2. They do not proclaim what Jesus has done. Instead, they say they do not know how their son has been healed.
    3. We are given details about them to show how faithless we are and to show how quickly we deny God.
    I believe in Jesus’ miracles and believe that he is alive today!

  9. How do you respond to the evidence that Jesus did great miracles?
    “It further magnifies how we know Him what what He does. Jesus shows. He exemplifies His identity as the Son of God by His actions. When I read of the miracles that He performs, I am profoundly reminded that the same Spirit by which God performs the greatest miracle of raising Jesus from the dead is the same Spirit which abides in us. Thus, I recognize that through Jesus’ miracles we catch glimpses of the power within the triune relationship of God, Jesus, Holy Spirit and how through Jesus, we are invited to take part in that power for the glory of God and His Son.”

  10. tim pruiett says:

    Why do the Pharisees seek the blind man’s parents? because they want to “prove Jesus was playing a trick on people
    Why do the parents respond the way they do? they do not want to be associated with Jesus
    How do you respond to the evidence that Jesus did great miracles? I believe it!
    How would you respond to opposition directed at Jesus, or the idea that he worked wonders? Tell people that what He has done is true and that He truly is the Messiah who has come to deliver us from our sin!

  11. Sarah Deurbrouck says:

    1. Why do the Pharisees seek the blind man’s parents?
    They do not believe the blind man, his testimony. Jewish law is to have two or three witnesses anyways.
    2. Why do the parents respond the way they do?
    They are afraid of being kicked out of the synagogue, so they tell the Pharisees to ask their son because he is of age.
    3. Why are we give details about the man’s parents?
    Maybe to show what was going on in society regarding people following Jesus verses following the Pharisees. There was social fear in following Jesus.
    4. How do you respond to the evidence that Jesus did great miracles?
    Hopefully praise him for truly being the Messiah.
    5. How would you respond to opposition directed at Jesus, or the idea that he worked wonders?
    Just quote CS Lewis; he was either a liar, a lunatic or Lord. It is hard to respond sometimes because we don’t feel that we know all the answers. Yet having the answers is not going to convince someone anyways. We must have faith in our Messiah.

  12. Stephanie Luck says:

    1. Why do the Pharisees seek the blind man’s parents?
    They had a hard time believing that this man was actually blind before Jesus “healed” him
    2. Why do the parents respond the way they do?
    They were more concerned about maintaining their place in society than they were about discovering or exposing the truth. It was risky and just not worth it to them.
    3. Why are we given details about the man’s parents?
    We are given details about the parents because this is a typical response, even today. Following Jesus and believing Him comes at a cost. We make decisions based on what we think is worth the pain.
    4. How do you respond to the evidence that Jesus did great miracles?
    I believe in Jesus and His works and am a follower of Him. I believe that the Bible is true.
    5. How would you respond to opposition directed at Jesus, or the idea that he worked wonders?
    I would try to stand up for Him and help the person directing the opposition to see the truth. However, ultimately I need to remain steadfast in belief and pray for those who do not believe.

  13. Dylan says:

    1. The Pharisees go to the blind man’s parents to find out if he was really born blind, if a miracle really did take place.
    2. The parents do not want to admit Jesus is who he says he is. They are afraid of being judged and probably of confessing their own sin.
    3. The details about the blind man’s parents are a picture of those who are afraid to take the next step toward God, because of fear of hurting their self image. We are going to be persecuted for our faith, we are going to be outcasts. But it is well worth it!
    4. The evidence reveals that Jesus actually performed real miracles with witnesses. However, for those who have hardened their hearts towards God, even a miracle may not suffice. God’s miracles are a demonstration of his awesome power, and the analogies they are intended to draw teach me and heal me.
    5. When people refute the claims and miracles of Jesus I ask them who they believe he really was. “Liar, lunatic or Lord” are really the only possibilities. Denying his existence would be historically inaccurate and goes against everything we know about biographies. Fun fact: the man in the booth next to me at the diner right now is blind.

  14. Amy McCashen says:

    1. Because they do not believe that he was really healed.
    2. Probably because they do not want the religious leaders after them because they believe Jesus is who he says he is.
    3. To show that the man was truly blind before and to show the faith of the man who was healed.
    4. I believe all the miracles that Jesus performed are true and that they really happened.
    5. We learn and know these miracles to be true from the Bible.

  15. Janice Lee says:

    1. The Pharisees are verifying the blind man’s healing.
    2. The parents are afraid the Pharisees will kick them out of the synagogue.
    3. We are given details about the man’s parents so that we can understand their response to Jesus healing their son.
    4. I praise God for Jesus’ miracles and trust in His omnipotence.
    5. I would still trust in Jesus’ power as the Son of God.

  16. Rachel says:

    The Pharisees were critical and skeptical of the miracle Jesus had done. I would probably have responded the same way. I even respond that way when the Lord works wonders in my life or my friends’ lives. I want to believe and fully rejoice in the healing He has done!

  17. Nick says:

    The Pharisees want to talk to the man’s parents because they want to confirm that this man that could now see was in fact the man that had born blind to them. Out of fear that they will be kicked out of the synagogue, the parents give a simple answer and leave it to the man to answer. Although the Pharisees seem to have power or control over these people based out of fear, it is comforting to know that Jesus’ power is absolute and divine and trumps any worldly power. Throughout this chapter he proves his divine power over and over again.

  18. Mary says:

    The Pharisees didn’t believe Jesus really healed the man because they thought he was a sinner, repeatedly breaking the Sabbath, and only someone appointed by God could have done such a miracle. They obviously don’t know what it means to be a sinner, and they are so focused on keeping the letter of the law they don’t even see God’s heart behind the law.

  19. nataliaria says:

    The Pharisees look for the blind man’s parents so that they might confirm that he was indeed blind from birth, as well ascertain how they feel about Jesus and the miraculous healing. However, while they do identify him as their son, the man’s parents seem to shrug rather evasively at the second inquiry; they were afraid to demonstrate anything besides ignorance or apathy towards Jesus.

    I believe the input here about the man’s parents allows the reader to gain greater insight into the way public opinion is slowly turning sour towards Jesus, mostly as a result of the Pharisees’ looming reputation and their vendetta against Him.

    My own response as I read this passage, especially in light of what I know is coming for Jesus in the garden and on the cross, is one of self-assessment and conviction. What I mean by this is that I would like to say that I am unlike the people who denied Jesus and the ones who were too afraid to follow Him outright, but I wonder at the strength of my own faith, and it convicts me that in that moment, amongst those people, I might as well have hung back, too scared to follow, even in the very presence of Jesus Christ.

    Well, we have the typical “liar, lunatic, or Lord” rational apologetic argument that can be levied against those who argue against Jesus as the incarnate Son of God. However, I believe that faith that changes lives comes from the heart, and it is only the Holy Spirit who can work in the heart. Therefore, I believe that I would tend to shy away from purely rational arguments, and lean towards touching the heart (and praying for the Holy Spirit to do just that) in conversation with people who do not believe in Jesus’ miraculous work.

  20. Rebekah Thompson (Bekah) says:

    1. to see if he was truly blind to begin with and that this wasn’t all a hokes
    2. Because they were afraid
    3. To show that a life after Christ is hard and can be scary and you have to just trust in God to provide
    4. I believe God still does great miracles and that He is God and he is amazing and wonderful
    5. I would treat them with respect but disagree and try to point them in the right direction to Christ

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