Faithlife Sermons

The Man Born Blind

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The New American Commentary: John 1–11 (5) The Powerful Example of the Blind Man (9:1–41)

Human beings generally seek for answers or a rationale that can help them deal with the hard questions of pain, suffering, and evil.213 Like most confused human beings, the disciples assumed that the problem would be more tolerable if they could probe the questions of why. Accordingly, they sought to assign blame for the man’s unhappy state in life.

In this story we see a remarkable contrast, a contrast that is striking. The man was blind, he was born that way. His whole life, he was in darkness, unable to see the sun, to understand colors, or beauty, or to know what the sky looked like.
In his day, to be disabled was to be labeled a sinner. That’s why the disciples ask, “Whose parents sinned, this man’s or his parents?” Sin was the culprit and it was because of this sin that the man was blind. But when the man meets Jesus, everything changes. In a scene reminiscent of Elisha’s healing of Namaan by commanding him to was seven times in the Jordan, Jesus commands the beggar to go to Siloam and wash in the pool. He does and he receives a wonderful miracle.
Now if the story ended here, it would just be an interesting story of the display of Jesus’ sovereign power and his control over even nature and creation. This is important, but John goes on from here.
The man is brought before the Pharisees and this is where the story begins to get interesting. Why? Because we see the contrast I talked about. On the one hand you have the man born blind who can now see, and on the other hand you have the Pharisees who have always seen with their eyes but who cannot see the truth of Who Jesus is.
You see, when Jesus met this man, he did more than just remove his physical blindness:

Jesus Removes our Spiritual Blindness

The man was born blind, but the greater blindness wasn’t the man’s but the blindness of the Pharisees. D. A. Carson notes with great clarity:
In his day, to be disabled was to be labeled a sinner. That’s why the disciples ask, “Whose parents sinned, this man’s or his parents?” Sin was the culprit and it was because of this sin that the man was blind. But when the man meets Jesus, everything changes. In a scene reminiscent of Elisha’s healing of Namaan by commanding him to was seven times in the Jordan, Jesus commands the beggar to go to Siloam and wash in the pool. He does and he receives a wonderful miracle.
Now if the story ended here, it would just be an interesting story of the display of Jesus’ sovereign power.
But the greater blindness wasn’t the man’s but the blindness of the Pharisees. D. A. Carson notes with great clarity:
This chapter portrays what happens when the light shines: some are made to see, like this man born blind, while others, who think they see, turn away, blinded by the light. - D. A. Carson
Here we have a beggar, the dregs of society standing before their culture’s elite, and they ask him to proclaim that Jesus is a sinner. Why? Because they are spiritually blind. They cannot understand the gospel, their eyes are darkened in the same way that Pharaoh’s heart was hardened in Exodus.
But for the blind man, and for others around us, the Gospel is life. It is a sweet smelling aroma and when we hear it, our eyes are opened and we see!
That’s why, the testimony of this new Christian is so powerful. The Pharisees ask him to proclaim Jesus’ sinfulness and his answer is simply this:
“I don’t know if he’s a sinner or not, but one thing I do know: I was blind, and now I see.”
It is this proclamation, that would inspire

Jesus Sends us to Bring Light to the Darkness

Like the blind man, we are called to proclaim the truth of God’s glorious light. This is exactly what the blind man does. He is confronted with the hostile Pharisees. It would have been easy to back down, to say, “Well, you have your own opinion and I value it.” But he doesn’t. In fact, he really goads them and picks fun at them.
John 9:27 ESV
He answered them, “I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?”
Notice what he does here. He points out their own blindness to them. He knows they don’t want to follow him, and so he points to their sin. They are incensed.
John 9:30–33 ESV
The man answered, “Why, this is an amazing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him. Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”
John 9:30-3

Jesus Calls us to Obedient Faith

The Jews cast him out of the Temple; the Lord of the Temple found him. - John Chrysostom.
Finally, we find Jesus calling this man to faithful obedience.
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