John 9:1-7 - The Healing of the Blind Man
*We are told that every 20 minutes, a person in this nation loses his or her eyesight, going blind completely. Every year 50,000 Americans go blind. Some 20 million people have lost the sight. For most people the thought of going blind is a terrifying thought. A recent pole had been taken saying that most people would rather lose any other sense or ability physically than to lose their ability to see. This is the only time in the Bible where a man who was born blind receives his sight. Many times in the gospels we see Jesus healing men who were blind (Mark 7:33; 8:23), but those were people who had sight & lost it, but this man in John 9 never had sight.
Healing the blind is both a work of God and a work of the Messiah:
The Lord said to Moses "Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord? (Exodus 4:11)
Psalm 146 declares "The Lord opens the eyes of the blind" (Psalm 146:8, NKJV)
So the healing of the man born blind is another testimony of the Deity of Christ and of the fact that Christ is the Jews' Messiah.
A. Jesus Passed By (v.1-3).
1. “Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was born blind from birth…” (v.1).
a) The grace of God.
(1) The blind man did not and could not see Jesus, but Jesus saw him and graciously had compassion upon him, came to him, and healed him without being asked to do so.
(2) It’s the grace of God that brings the Gospel to the sinner even though the sinner was not seeking the Gospel:
Paul said in Romans 3:11 that "There is none who seeks after God" (Romans 3:11) that is the condition of mans heart.
But grace says, "The Son of man has come to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10).
(3) If it were not for the grace of God, which causes Jesus to "pass by" where we are and save us, none would be saved.
(4) This also reminds me of how many other blessings we receive from God even though we did not seek them or pray for them. All of us owe much to God for the blessings He bestows upon us daily for which we have not even sought or prayed for even though they were vital to our lives.
(5) Important Note: the transition between the end of chapter 8 and the beginning of chapter 9:
(a) When we put these two verses together, we learn that Jesus performed this miracle for the blind man when He was in flight from danger. He didn’t let persecution keep Him from doing God’s work.
(b) You will not do much for God if you only serve when you are appreciated and applauded.
b) The heart of God.
(1) Jesus “Saw” Him, Which Indicated Interest, Care, Concern, & Compassion. Even though Jesus had his own problems people wanting to stone Him, He always had time for others, especially those who were in need.
When Jesus saw the multitude in Marks gospel, He “was moved with compassion for them, because they were like sheep not having a shepherd. So He began to teach them many things." (Mark 6:34)
(2) We Can Be Tempted To Get Rid Of The People God Wants Us To Help (Matt.15:21-28).
!!! 2. “A man who was blind from birth… who sat and begged…” (v.1, 8).
a) Examining the problem of being blind.
(1) The disability of the blindness: Blindness is a very serious disability. Even though many blind people have done great things in spite of their blindness, it does not take away the fact that blindness is a great disability.
(2) The disability of blindness is a good picture of the disability caused by sin:
(a) Without Christ the sinner walks in the darkness of sin unable to see and discern spiritual truths from the Word of God:
Paul said that the gospel "is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them" (2 Cor.4:4).
(b) But with Christ, the sinner is removed from that darkness into the light of glory. Christ's power removes the disability of sin:
The fact is… "He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love," (Colossians 1:13, NKJV)
(3) The duration of the blindness: The man was "blind from his birth.” In some cases of healing blindness, Jesus simply restored what the person once had in the area of sight. Here, the man never had sight at all. He had never seen anything with his eyes.
(4) Being blind from birth describes the condition of the sinner:
(a) Before birth we had a sinful nature:
David said "I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me" (Psalm 51:5)
Solomon put it right when he said "For there is not a just man on earth who does good And does not sin" (Ecclesiastes 7:20, NKJV)
We were spiritually dead "And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins," (Ephesians 2:1, NKJV)
(5) The destitution from the blindness: The blind man "sat and begged" (v. 8). He was unable to work any normal jobs, so he was simply a beggar.
(6) The sinner without Christ as his Savior is likewise destitute:
(a) But Jesus Christ is the remedy to our spiritual destitution:
Christ has made us rich in Him "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich" (2 Corinthians 8:9, NKJV)
3. “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind…” (v.2)?
a) They Assumed Blindness Was Much More Than Just A Physical Disability. Why?
(1) You Could Sin In The Womb, Jacob & Esau Struggling in the Womb (Genesis 25:21-23)
The writer of Provervbs says that The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies.” (Psalm 58:3, NKJV)
(2) He Was Being Punished For The Sin Of His Parents.
In Exodus we read that For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me," (Exodus 20:5)
(3) The Pharisees Did What A Lot Of Christian Are Doing Today—It’s My Parents Fault!
The Scriptures speak exactly opposite of that sentiment, "All souls are Mine; The soul of the father As well as the soul of the son is Mine; The soul who sins shall die.” (Ezekiel 18:4, NKJV)
The people will no longer quote this proverb: ‘The parents eat sour grapes, but their children’s mouths pucker at the taste.’ All people will die for their own sins—those who eat the sour grapes will be the ones whose mouths will pucker.” (Jeremiah 31:29-30, NLT)
!!!!! (4) He Was Being Punished For The Sin Of His Parents, Premarital Sex!
Many would use 2 Samuel 12:13–14 where the sin of David and Bathsheba is forgiven, but results in the death of their adulterously conceived child.
(5) True, All Suffering, Sadness and Sorrow Is Indirectly A Result Of Sin—
God told Adam, the day that you eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall surely die "When Adam sinned, sin entered the entire human race. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.” (Romans 5:12, NLT)
b) Not All Physical Ailments or Disabilities Are A Direct Result of Sin.
(1) Sinful Lifestyle Choices May Lead To Disease (e.g., AIDS contracted through immoral behavior), but that certainly not all disease may be traced to sinful behavior (e.g., AIDS contracted through blood transfusion).
(2) We All Suffer Because Of Our Own Sins, but this does not mean that “degree of disability or illness is a measure of a person’s moral failure”. Jesus refuses to accept this theology (Luke 13:2-5)
The Lord said to Moses, “Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the Lord?" (Exodus 4:11, NIV)
4. “Neither this man nor his parents… but that the works of God should be revealed…” (v.3).
a) His blindness was an opportunity for God to be glorified.
(1) Therefore, we are told that sometimes men suffer in order that God may be glorified. You may think that is injustice to man!
(a) Didn’t Christ suffer greatly greatly on Calvary so that sinners might be saved and be glorified in heaven?
(b) If God suffered so we could obtain such great eternal glory, should we complain if we must suffer that God may be glorified?
(2) Many notable men in Scripture suffered that Christ might be glorified.
(a) Lazarus was sick and died so that Christ might be glorified (John 11:4).
(b) Peter suffered martyrdom that God might be glorified (John 21:19)
(c) Paul said his "infirmities" were to show the "power of Christ" (2 Cor.12:9; Acts 3:1-10).
b) Jesus’ explanation was limited to this one case.
(1) He was not giving an answer for all cases of sicknesses. Some cases of sickness are a result of some specific sin of a person as the disciples thought.
(2) This is found when Jesus healed the cripple:
In (Jn.5:14) after healing him Jesus "found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.”" (John 5:14, NKJV)
c) Afflictions Teach Us The Will Of God-Leading Us To Holiness
Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word." (Psalm 119:67, NIV)
It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees." (Psalm 119:71; Heb.5:8; 12:10)
d) Afflictions Lead Us To Confession Of Sin.
David said For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was turned into the drought of summer. I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord;” And You forgave the iniquity of my sin.” (Psalm 32:4-5; Num.21:7)
e) Afflictions Are Used To Humble Us (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). Tozer Said Before God Can Use A Man Greatly He Must First Wound Him Deeply - Joseph (Gen. 45:5,7,8)!
!! B. Jesus Came to Work the Works of God (v.4).
1. “I must work the works of Him who sent me…” (v.4).
a) The Urgency of the Mission… this is stressed by two things:
(1) The word “must” means compulsion and necissity, the works must be done.
The NLT renders it “All of us must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent me, because there is little time left before the night falls and all work comes to an end" (John 9:4, NLT)
(2) The time for work is limited. In other words, Christ and His followers don’t have forever to do the work. It has to be done now or the opportunity will be lost.
Jesus said “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work" (John 4:34, NKJV)
Listen to the way Paul puts it… He says "Now let me say this, dear brothers and sisters: The time that remains is very short, so husbands should not let marriage be their major concern. Happiness or sadness or wealth should not keep anyone from doing God’s work." (1 Corinthians 7:29-30, NLT)
b) It is necessary for us to work.
(1) The KJV & NKJV renders (9:4) as “I must work the works …” whereas most modern translations have something like the NIV’s “We must do the work …”
(2) If this is accurate, then Jesus ties us to His mission from the Father. We, too, are in the world to proclaim and do the works of God.
I love what Jesus said in John 20 “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” " (John 20:21)
We need to be like the apostles in Acts 4 when they said "for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard." (Acts 4:20, NASB95)
Paul had this necessity laid upon him "For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel. " (1 Corinthians 9:16, NASB95)
c) Jesus Was Sent From God (v.4).
(1) Note the words “sent Me”. Jesus had come into the world on God’s mission.
Jesus said, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work." (John 4:34)… Jesus said, “as the Father has sent Me, I also send you (John 20:21).
d) Jesus Came To Do The Works Of God (v.4).
(1) The importance of His service to God: “I must work the works of Him who sent Me”. How important is our service to God? It should be given the highest priority! But in many Christians lives, service is not a “must” responsibility; service to God is optional to them.
(2) The steadfastness of His service to God: As I noted earlier, at the end of John 8 His enemies wanted to stone Him, but that did not stop His service for God. To often when we are mistreated we quit, but that was not the example that Christ set for us!
(3) The sweat of His service to God: “I must work…” Serving God is not a lazy mans job. Serving God requires much energy and effort. Remember, our Lord sweat drops of blood!
(4) The stewardship of His service to God: “I must work… while it is day, the night is coming...” We must grab hold of the opportunities to serve God when He gives them to us! Jesus was only passing by when He saw the blind man. He then stopped and healed the man. Christ recognized His opportunities and was a good steward of them.
!!! 2. “…the night is coming when no one can work…” (v.4).
a) The Urgency Of His Mission (v.4)
(1) The time is limited: We Don’t Have Forever To Do The Work!
It needs to be done now or the opportunity will be lost, “appointed unto man once to die (Heb 9:27).
Listen to the way the NLT renders Romans 13:11-14 "Another reason for right living is that you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for the coming of our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So don’t live in darkness. Get rid of your evil deeds. Shed them like dirty clothes. Clothe yourselves with the armor of right living, as those who live in the light. We should be decent and true in everything we do, so that everyone can approve of our behavior. Don’t participate in wild parties and getting drunk, or in adultery and immoral living, or in fighting and jealousy. But let the Lord Jesus Christ take control of you, and don’t think of ways to indulge your evil desires." (Romans 13:11-14, NLT… see also Eph.5:16 & Col.4:5 redeeming the time)
C. Jesus Came to be the Light of the World (v.5).
1. “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world…” (v.5).
a) Man is spiritually blind, and his eyes need to be opened (John 3:16-21)
Speaking about Jesus, John said “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it." (John 1:4-5, NKJV)
But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Corinthians 2:14)
The lost Having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart;" (Ephesians 4:18, NKJV)
Paul says that But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them." (2 Corinthians 4:3-4, NKJV)
This is why it is said, “Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”" (Ephesians 5:14, NLT)
b) As ministers of Jesus Christ we are to be lights to remove darkness (Acts 26:12-20)
(1) Paul was called to proclaim the good news of salvation from judgment through the work of Jesus Christ. That life-giving message would first open people’s eyes.
(2) The Holy Spirit uses the word of God to open the eyes of the spiritually blind
Speaking about the Holy Spirit, Jesus said "And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.” (John 16:8-11, NKJV)
(3) Genuine Conviction Will Result In Transformation Of Life. When?
(4) When those convicted: “turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God (26:18)
c) The bible teaches that unbelievers live in spiritual darkness.
(1) Paul described them as:
Their closed minds are full of darkness; they are far away from the life of God because they have shut their minds and hardened their hearts against him. They don’t care anymore about right and wrong, and they have given themselves over to immoral ways. Their lives are filled with all kinds of impurity and greed." (Ephesians 4:18-19, NLT)
(2) THE BLESSED RESULT OF TURNING FROM DARKNESS TO LIGHT IS the forgiveness of sins & receiving an inheritance among those who have been sanctified (v.18)
!! D. Jesus Came to Give Sight to Men (v.6-7).
1. Jesus anointed the eyes of the blind man with clay… he went and washed and came back seeing (John 9:6-7).
I. The Healing of the Blind Man (John 9:1-7).
A. Jesus Passed By (v.1-3).
B. Jesus Came to Work the Works of God (v.4).
C. Jesus Came to be the Light of the World (v.5).
D. Jesus Came to Give Sight to Men (v.6-7).