Summary: The miracle of the blind beggar receiving sight from Jesus a picture of how God works sovereignly in the salvation of sinners.
11 22 2015 “A Blind Beggar Receives Sight” John 9:1-12
Today we examine the sixth sign chosen by John to demonstrate Jesus’ Messiahship, recorded in John 9:1-12. There we read: “Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. 2 And His disciples asked Him, saying, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" 3 Jesus answered, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. 4 I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; (Jesus’ life on earth would only be around 3 months more.) the night is coming when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world."
6 When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. 7 And He said to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam" (which is translated, Sent). So he went and washed, and came back seeing. 8 Therefore the neighbors and those who previously had seen that he was blind said, "Is not this he who sat and begged?" 9 Some said, "This is he." Others said, "He is like him." He said, "I am he." 10 Therefore they said to him, "How were your eyes opened?" 11 He answered and said, "A Man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, 'Go to the pool of Siloam and wash.' So I went and washed, and I received sight." 12 Then they said to him, "Where is He?" He said, "I do not know."
The Cause and Condition of the Blind Beggar
Jesus comes upon a man who was blind from birth and His disciples ask if his blindness was a result of the sin of the man or his parents and Jesus responds that their assumptions are incorrect; Jesus’ answer concerning this man’s sickness relates to God’s divine purposes and not to the cause of his suffering: The reason for the man’s blindness is that the works of God should be revealed in him. This is an astounding statement which tells us that God is Sovereign even over evil and evil ultimately contributes to God’s glory. God is the one who works all things to His glory, including blindness from birth AND spiritual blindness from birth.
Here’s an aside: We are created by God FOR HIS GOOD PLEASURE and Glory (Rev. 4:11); HE DOES not exist for our glory. If suffering comes our way by divine sovereignty, He promises that His grace is sufficient (2 Cor. 12:9-10) Often people raise the question “why do bad things happen to good people, but that is not really the issue. Since we are all sinful and evil people the question to consider is “why more bad things don’t happen to sinful people?” The answer is- THE GRACE OF GOD.
The fact that the man was blind from birth demonstrated a hopeless situation from a human societal standpoint. He never knew anything BUT blindness and blind people became beggars and relied on the good will of passers-by. Because he was born in darkness and never possessed sight, he had no experiential knowledge of “light”; he had never seen it. But his hopeless condition is not solely about the physical.
Symbolically the man’s condition reveals mankind’s sinful condition apart from God’s Salvation in Christ: We are all spiritually blind and dead in our sins from birth. According to John’s gospel, lacking “light” (being blind) would be the same as being without life. People sin, not because they learn to sin, not because they are exposed to sin, but they sin because at their very core, they are sinful. Everyone born since Adam has been born a sinner except the Lord Jesus.
Suffering and sickness are not always the results of individual or personal sin. His blindness was not the result of his sin or because of his parents’ sin; he was born in sin. It is true that he inherited his sinful nature from his parents, but first and foremost he inherited his sinful nature from our first parents, Adam and Eve. The beggar, like all people of the world, was born in sin and spiritual blindness and would remain in darkness without the gracious illumination of the Lord Jesus who is the Light of the World.
Jesus reasserts His previous claim in verse 5, that He alone could give life and light as the “Light of the World” as Jesus shines His Light. His ability to heal physically but more importantly spiritually as the Messiah was clearly proclaimed in the book of Isaiah: Isa. 35:4-6: “Say to those who are fearful-hearted, "Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God; He will come and save you." 5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. 6 Then the lame shall leap like a deer, And the tongue of the dumb sing. For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, And streams in the desert.”