The Blind See and the Sighted are Blind
Sickness is universal. Ever since the Fall when Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, sin, death and decay have existed in this imperfect world. Health-related issues of all sorts afflict all humans no matter how careful or health-conscious we may try to be. Sickness and/or death in some form is ultimately inevitable for all of us.
We can look back throughout history and see that massive outbreaks of disease have destroyed the lives of millions of people. In the 14th Century, the infamous Black Death, or Bubonic Plague, killed an estimated one-third to one-half of Europe’s population. In the 19th Century, twice as many Civil War soldiers died of disease as were killed in combat. In the 20th Century, the influenza epidemic of 1918-19 claimed 30 to 50 million lives, dwarfing the number of those killed in the first World War. Today, thousands die from injuries, cancer and heart problems.
Despite all of the sophisticated technologies that modern medical professionals utilize, they are still limited in the amount of healing they can ultimately offer. Scientific advances may be impressive, but they can only do so much in delaying death. God, on the other hand, is not at all limited in His ability to heal. As with all of life, He is perfectly sovereign over illness and health.
We see throughout the pages of Scripture that at certain historical times, God has chosen to heal in supernatural ways. We see plenty of examples of God’s miraculous healing in the OT. God healed Naaman of leprosy. . Hezekiah was healed of a terminal illness. . God healed the Israelites of poisonous snake bites. , . Job was healed of a debilitating infirmity. . In addition to all of that, three people were raised from the dead.
We see plenty of examples of God’s miraculous healing in the OT. God healed Naaman of leprosy. . Hezekiah was healed of a terminal illness. . God healed the Israelites of poisonous snake bites. . Job was healed of a debilitating infirmity. .
We find the same thing in the NT. God used the apostles to do much healing during that time. He gave them that ability in order to authenticate them as messengers of the truth of God. In that way, God healed lame men. . A paralyzed individual in Samaria was made to walk. . In addition to that two people, Dorcas and Eutychus were both restored to life. .; . People in the NT were also raised from the dead.
Of course, the greatest manifestation of miraculous healing in history occurred during the earthly ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. Nothing even remotely close to the miraculous display through Him has ever occurred. Christ’s healing accomplished a number of things. They fulfilled messianic prophecy. . They authenticated His messianic ministry. . Christ’s healings glorified God, and they demonstrated His deity. .
We started looking at the ninth chapter of John last week, but we didn’t get very far into the chapter, looking at only the first five verses. Jesus and His disciples were going through Jerusalem and they saw a man born blind. The disciples thought either he or his parents must have sinned for him to be suffering like that. But Jesus corrected that faulty thinking and said he was blind so that God would be glorified.
Jesus is the true light. Because He has shone His light upon our lives, we need to live with a sense of urgency and make the most of the time we have on this earth because the days are evil. There is always something that we can do for the Lord. It is imperative that we get around to doing it while we still have the time.
This morning, we’re going to finish looking at John chapter 9 by reading a rather long section. Today’s passage helps us see that we need to live our lives according to the spiritual sight Jesus gives us. . Jesus’ healing of this blind man in this passage cannot be explained by anything other than His miraculous, divine power. It couldn’t have been a natural recovery of sight since the man was born blind and saw immediately. It couldn’t have been the result of medical treatment, since that type of treatment wasn’t available back then.
Jesus’ healing of this blind man in this passage cannot be explained by anything other than His miraculous, divine power. It couldn’t have been a natural recovery of sight since the man was born blind and saw immediately. It couldn’t have been the result of medical treatment, since that type of treatment wasn’t available back then.
This healing is a living parable. Jesus is the true light. The one who is the spiritual Light of the World also provided physical light for this man who lived his entire life in physical and spiritual darkness. This healing illustrates Jesus’ ministry as the Light shining in a spiritually darkened world.
At this point in the narrative, we have no indication that Jesus or the disciples have had any direct contact or conversation with this blind man. Then out of blue, apparently, Jesus stops, spits on the ground, makes some mud and puts it on the man’s eyes. He probably used the clay as an aid to develop the man’s faith, as opposed to some sort of medicine.
Jesus could have performed this miracle in any number of different ways. He could have done it more privately for a greater sense of safety since the Jewish leaders were actively looking to arrest Him. He could have done it more publicly in order to gain more personal honor, but that wasn’t what Jesus was about. He could have waited until the Sabbath was over so as not to offend anyone.
Jesus could have performed this miracle in any number of different ways. He could have done it more privately for a greater sense of safety since the Jewish leaders were actively looking to arrest Him. He could have done it more publicly in order to gain more personal honor. He could have waited until the Sabbath was over so as not to offend anyone.
But instead, Jesus did it just exactly like He did. That is the way that it needed to be done and it was the way that God wanted it to be done. The blind man was then and there and at that moment needing some help. To have waited for some reason would have been rather foolish and completely unnecessary.
After applying the clay to the man’s eyes, Jesus tells him to go to the pool of Siloam and wash. This pool was located in the older part of Jerusalem and was part of the city’s water system. It was from this pool that the high priest drew water during the Feast of Tabernacles. As Jesus instructed, the blind man obediently went away and washed in the pool and came back seeing.
After applying the clay to the man’s eyes, Jesus tells him to go to the pool of Siloam and wash. This pool was located in the older part of Jerusalem and was part of the city’s water system. It was from this pool that the high priest drew water during the Feast of Tabernacles. As Jesus instructed the blind man obediently went away and washed in the pool and came back seeing.
This man had no doubt been quite a fixture in this area for quite some time. Since he was blind, he couldn’t work so he resorted to begging. People who are used to seeing him are astonished at his healing. They were so astonished, in fact, that many of them even denied that it was the same man.
Since they saw what had happened yet didn’t really understand what it was that was going on, some of the people took the formerly blind man to the Pharisees. It would have been only natural for them to seek an explanation for this miracle from the religious authorities. After all, this was an unprecedented event. Since it appears that the Pharisees were meeting in some sort of official capacity, it must no longer be the Sabbath. They would never had held such an inquiry on the Sabbath.
We see the spiritual blindness of these men exemplified right off the bat. Their first, immediate and only reaction was to declare Jesus a sinner because He didn’t keep the Sabbath. We need to keep in mind that He had not violated any of the divine Sabbath regulations revealed from God in Scripture. No, Jesus had only broken the restrictions and extrabiblical applications of the Jewish rabbis.
What laws exactly did the Pharisees accuse Jesus of breaking? First of all, making clay from saliva and dust apparently violated a prohibition against kneading on the Sabbath. The rabbinic regulations also forbade giving medical treatment on the Sabbath unless a person’s life was in immediate danger, which wasn’t the case with this man. Additionally, some rabbis taught that it was not permitted to anoint the eyes with medicine on the Sabbath, although the leaders were divided on the application of that law.
Why did Jesus do it? He of course knew all of this and He could have done this any way that he wanted to do it, so why do it a time that caused more problems with the Jews? Why not take the easy way out and avoid the conflict, that’s why I always do. One reason why Jesus healed on the Sabbath was to display His divine authority as Lord of the Sabbath. He also did it to demonstrate that such extrabiblical standards were an unnecessary and oppressive burden on the people.
The Jewish leaders had perverted God’s design for the weekly day of rest. They were to honor the Sabbath day and keep it holy. It is good to take time off and worship God. But the Jews had gotten to the point where they were focused on minute points of the law while ignoring more important matters like mercy. They corrupted the Sabbath, turning it from a day of glorifying God into a means of legalistic self-glorification.
That’s because they were blinded. The Jews of Jesus’ day were blinded by their own self-righteous system. It was obvious to them that Jesus could not be from God. They believed that those from God would keep the Sabbath. Jesus didn’t, therefore He can’t be from God. Some of the others didn’t quite see it that way. They believed that only those who are from God can open blind eyes. Jesus opened blind eyes, therefore He must be from God.
In spite of the obvious evidence, the Pharisees refused to believe what the man was claiming. They didn’t think he could have possibly been healed of his blindness, so there must be another explanation. They continue their interrogation of the man by asking what he thought about the one who healed him. He declared that he thought Jesus must be a prophet. With that, he showed that he saw the reality that the spiritually blind Pharisees refused to see. Jesus was sent from God.
That wasn’t good enough. Then they came up with the possibility that it was a case of mistaken identity. So they bring in the man’s parents to testify. They ask: Is this your son? Was he born blind? How does he now see? They basically answer yes, he is our son. Yes, he was born blind. We don’t know how he was healed.
Then they add, “Ask him, he’s of age, he can answer for himself.” Apparently, the man’s parents did know that Jesus had healed their son, otherwise, they would have no reason to be afraid of being put out of the synagogue. To be banned from the synagogue was a very serious punishment. it means excommunication. They would be put under a ban and a curse. In addition, they would be banished and cut off from the religious and social life of Israel.
Getting nowhere, the Pharisees once again turn to the man who was healed and they ask him again how he was healed. No doubt, the man is starting to get a bit frustrated with the same question being asked over and over. Comprehending their animosity, he asked them sarcastically whether their repeated questions implied they wanted to become His disciples.
That struck a nerve with the religious leaders. As they always seemed to do, the man’s question pushed them to their age-old safe place: Moses. If an uneducated beggar like him wanted to follow an outcast sinner like Jesus, that was his choice. They were going to follow Moses. They saw Jesus as a deranged and untrained blasphemer from an insignificant family in the despised village of Nazareth.
Jesus was able to do what only God’s power can do. He healed congenital blindness and created new seeing eyes. Yet the religious authorities claimed to be totally ignorant of His origin. Such was the irrational folly that resulted from their stubborn rejection of the facts. It is like that for those who know the gospel truth, but are spiritually blind to it. They are also spiritually blind to their own condition and don’t see their sin and unbelief.
Christ’s miraculous healing of the man born blind was an astounding display of His divine power. It was a life-changing event for the formerly blind man. But Jesus wasn’t going to stop with only giving this man physical sight. He was going to do something even more amazing: give him spiritual sight.
Throughout Scripture, blindness is used metaphorically to represent fallen man’s inability to comprehend divine truth. Isaiah says, “Bring out a people who are blind, yet have eyes, and are deaf, yet have ears.” Jeremiah says something almost exactly the same. “Hear this, you foolish and senseless people. They have eyes, but they don’t see. They have ears, but they don’t hear.” Jesus said in Matthew, “Leave them alone! They are blind guides. And if the blind guide the blind, both will fall into a pit.”
The whole point of what we’re talking about here this morning is that the Jewish religious leaders were blind. We should know, understand and expect the pagan nations of the world to be blind. That’s why Paul was sent to preach to the Gentiles. . The church can also suffer from spiritual blindness. . No matter if you’re a religious Jew, a pagan or even someone who professes the name of Christ, we are not exempt from spiritual blindness.
Spiritual sight is vitally important to our lives. We must be able to see and understand the things of God. We must be able to comprehend what God is saying to us and what that practically means for our lives. There are a few points regarding spiritual sight that we need to make this morning.
First of all, spiritual sight requires divine initiative. (v. 35). After Jesus had healed the man of his blindness, He disappeared for a time. He wasn’t there while the Pharisees were interrogating him. But after the man was finally put out of the synagogue, Jesus went and found him. Just as He did in granting him his physical sight, the Lord took the initiative in opening his spiritual eyes.
If God didn’t take the initiative in salvation, no one would be saved. Sinners cannot seek Him on their own. . Just as the physically blind are incapable of restoring their own sight, so the spiritually blind cannot live or see by their own will or power.
By using the pronoun “you” Jesus emphasized the man’s need to respond. He was asking if the man believed in Him not just as a miracle worker with power from God, but if he believed that Jesus is the Messiah. In this way, the man was confronted with his need to place his trust for forgiveness and salvation in Christ as his Lord and Savior.
Spiritual sight also responds in faith to Christ. (vv. 36-38a). The man’s reply revealed a heart divinely prepared to believe in Jesus. He already saw Him as a prophet. He recognized He had been sent by God and had experienced His supernatural power in his miraculous healing. His trust illustrates the truth that though divinely initiated, salvation is never apart from a faith response.
There are many different verses that we could go to that would highlight this fact for us. But we’re only going to look at one right now. . That kind of sums up nicely for us just what we’ve been saying. In other words, God sovereignly chose those who would be empowered, awakened and enabled to respond in faith.
Lastly, we see here where spiritual sight results in worship. (v. 38b). As the spiritual darkness was dispelled, the eyes of the man’s heart were opened and he saw clearly who Jesus is. The inevitable result of such a revelation is always worship. ; .
So we ask this morning: are you blind or do you see? The answer to that all depends upon what Christ has done for us in our lives. This account of Jesus’ healing of a blind man beautifully illustrates the salvation process. Blinded by sin, lost sinners have no capacity to recognize the Savior or find Him on their own. The blind man would not have been healed had Jesus not sought him and revealed Himself to Him.
So it is in salvation. If God did not reach out to spiritually blind sinners, like you and me, no one would be saved. Just as the blind man was healed only when he obeyed Jesus’ command and washed in the pool of Siloam, so also are sinners saved only when they humbly and obediently embrace the truth of the gospel.
We see further illustration with this formerly blind man of what Jesus does in our lives. When we are saved by grace, we are changed. We come to the Savior weak, but we leave strong; we may come doubting, but we leave strong and satisfied; we come mourning over our sin and we leave rejoicing over our salvation; we come trembling, we leave triumphing; we come blind, we leave seeing.
Jesus is the light of the world. He shines His light on us and leads us to Him and to the cross. He also shines His light on our sin and sinfulness. We need to be aware of that sin; we need to understand we are wretched, wicked sinners who deserve eternal punishment. Don’t be blind to the truth of who you truly are. Don’t be blind to who Christ is, either. He shines His light on who He is and what He has done for us.
As our singers and musicians come now, we invite you to see. See who you are; see who Christ is; see what He’s done for you; see what you need to do in response. If you are here this morning and you’re not sure about you’re eternal salvation or with your relationship with God, we invite you to come now and respond in faith to the work that Christ has already done for you on the cross. Come share with us what God is doing in your life. Repent of your sins; walk in faith with Christ. Come now as we stand and sing.