Summary: Jesus explains the characteristics of those that are spiritually blind.

Jesus, the God Man: The Gospel of John

“Who is Really Blind?”

John 9:13-23

Introduction: The definition of being legally blind according to the American Medical Association is someone with 20/200 eyesight. These are people that can only see objects from 2 feet where the average person could see them from 20 feet (3rd row vs. communion table away). The leading causes for blindness are accidents and diseases like cataracts, glaucoma, or macular degeneration. Usually people with blindness seek help from various people or agencies so that they can still function without their sight.

Actually there are many more blind people than most would realize. The main reason is because they can see physically but Scripture tells us that a greater blindness affects them. It is a spiritual blindness that although they can see they are really blind! In fact some that cannot physically see can actually see spiritually.

The man that was healed from his blindness by Jesus in John 9:1-12 will meet many of them and because his healing it will reveal their actual condition for all that care to examine their behavior. It will also help us better understand many of the people that we meet on a daily basis.

As we study this passage we will be able to answer the question: “who is really blind?”

1. The spiritually blind cannot see God’s work. (vv. 13-16)

“brought” – Perhaps not voluntarily. The Greek word suggest by force or laying hold of someone and taking.

He was being brought to the “principal’s office.”

v. 14 – Here’s why…another Sabbath healing. UH OH!

Spelled out the two reasons for problem: 1) Made clay on the Sabbath. It was against the Pharisee’s law to make clay on the Sabbath. Spit on a rock but not on the dirt lest you violate the law! 2) Healed on the Sabbath. You could only keep a person from dying but you could not make them well. Don’t use eye salve even if it did not work, it might so avoid it!

That is the way legalism operates. You get so bound up in following rules that you forget about the relationship.

Jesus said this about Pharisee’s law:

You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel. Matthew 23:24 (NIV)

They majored on the minors and overlooked that which was important.

Then he said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. Mark 2:27 (NIV)

Sabbath was meant to be used for rest and to focus on one’s relationship with God but had become the worst day of the week because you could accidentally break a law and get in trouble for it. It was drudgery not a delight.

Jesus kept healing on the Sabbath because they had not yet gotten that fact and so repetition is used to teach.

v. 15 – Ask blind man what happened – another chance to testify about Jesus! Here we find the former blind man explaining sight to those that were truly blind.

“Put clay on my eyes” – Did not know how it was made because he was blind at that point.

“washed” – practiced obedience

“I can see” – change has come physically. Spiritually he is still the same. Read on in v. 38 for real change!

v. 16 – Now the blind ones speak.

“This man” – Can’t even bring themselves to say His Name even though they know it!

“He’s not from God because He does not follow our laws.” In other words they could not keep Him in their box so the problem must be with Him and not them! BLIND!

Conflict arises in their ranks though. Some are not as completely blind as the rest.

“If He’s not from God then how can He do these marvelous signs or miracles?” Good question!

Some see or are starting to (perhaps Nic or Joe?). They see God at work, but the blind cannot.

2. The spiritually blind do not believe the truth. (vv. 17-18)

v. 17 – Amusing, they turn to the former blind man to settle the argument: “Clear this up for us, blind man. Who is He?”

“prophet” – Progression of his understanding too. Remember last time He was a Man called Jesus (v. 11). Now He is more than a Man! He is a prophet. Stick with this guy because he continues to progress in his understanding of Jesus.

Also a rather inspired answer because a prophet could dispense with the Sabbath law and do what he wanted!

v. 18 – “Jews” – hard-hearted Pharisees or those in opposition to Jesus.

They not only do not believe that Jesus is a prophet but they do not even believe the man was really born blind!

Spiritual blindness is so pervasive that people cannot even believe the truth when it is staring them in the face!

“We won’t believe until we drag his parents in here and talk to them!” This is not really true because the spiritually blind will not believe the truth no matter what. They just keep moving the goal post.

Reminds me of what Thomas said after Jesus’ resurrection:

So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”But he (Thomas) said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.”… Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:25, 29 (NIV)

If you really want to see don’t look with your eyes, but look with faith to Jesus and believe!

3. The spiritually blind intimidate others. (vv. 19-23)

Listen to how they phrase the question: “Is this your son that you say was born blind?” Unbelievable!

“How can he see?”

vv. 20-21 – Notice they answer the first two questions, but not the third. First two are easy and no trouble with the answers, but last one has trouble attached to it and they avoid answering it – WIMPS!

“Yep, he’s our son and he WAS born blind.”

“How or by who he was healed we don’t know. Why don’t you ask him?”

“Ask him. He’s old enough to speak for himself.” Being old enough usually meant you were at least 30 years old.

SAD. They won’t even defend their own son because of their fear of the Pharisees.

v. 22 – Here is why they are so scared. The intimidation by Pharisees was so great because if you were put out of the synagogue you were cut off from society. There were three levels of being “unsynagogued” (less than 30 days, more than 30 days, and lifetime banishment).

The fear of what man can do is a pretty big weapon in the arsenal of the spiritually blind.

The parents’ thought was this: “If I say what I know or what I really believe then I will get kicked out of the synagogue.”

What keeps you from following Jesus as Savior or obeying Him as His disciple? How would you complete the sentence “If I _________ then they will ________.”

Witness, fire me

Live for Jesus, stop being my friend.

Go to church, leave me.

When it comes right down to it, who do you really fear?

Do you fear God or man?

Take some hints from Scripture:

Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe. Proverbs 29:25 (NIV)

Are you snared or safe?

This is what the Lord says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the Lord… “But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.

Jeremiah 17:5, 7 (NIV)

Are you cursed or blessed?

Jesus: Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

Matthew 10:28 (NIV)


Conclusion: How is your eyesight? I am not talking about whether or not you can read an eye chart. Can you see God at work? Can you see the truth? Do you intimidate or are you intimidated by people?

Learn to trust God and follow Him in all that He tells you to do. That way you will know “who is really blind.”