Summary: Jesus confronts the willful unbelief of the Pharisees after the miracle of the man who had been blind from birth. The aftermath conveys the journey from spiritual blindness to saving faith.
11 29 2015 A Journey from Blindness to Sight: John 9:13-41
Today we look at John 9:13-41, the follow-up to the miracle given to the man who was blind from birth, and we read: They brought him who formerly was blind to the Pharisees. 14 Now it was a Sabbath when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. 15 Then the Pharisees also asked him again how he had received his sight. He said to them, "He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and I see." 16 Therefore some of the Pharisees said, "This Man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath." Others said, "How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?" And there was a division among them.”
Jesus warned in Luke 12:51 “Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division.” We see that the division in the Gospel of John is over the very person of Jesus: Who is this man? People who are steeped in unbelief wanted to kill Him but those who were being saved, received Him and the grace that He offers.
Verse 17: They said to the blind man again, "What do you say about Him because He opened your eyes?" He said, "He is a prophet." 18 But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind and received his sight, until they called the parents of him who had received his sight. 19 And they asked them, saying, "Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?" 20 His parents answered them and said, "We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; 21 but by what means he now sees we do not know, or who opened his eyes we do not know. He is of age; ask him. He will speak for himself." 22 His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had agreed already that if anyone confessed that He was Christ, he would be put out of the synagogue. 23 Therefore his parents said, "He is of age; ask him."
The parents of the blind man don’t want to answer for their son for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; they want to separate themselves from the judgement of the religious leaders. You see how faith in the Lord Jesus divides families, but the division is actually between “belief” and “unbelief” concerning the Lord Jesus.
Verse 24 “So they again called the man who was blind, and said to him, "Give God the glory! We know that this Man is a sinner." 25 He answered and said, "Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see."
26 Then they said to him again, "What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?" 27 He answered them, "I told you already, and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become His disciples?" 28 Then they reviled him and said, "You are His disciple, but we are Moses' disciples. 29 We know that God spoke to Moses; as for this fellow, we do not know where He is from."
They knew where Jesus was from, namely, Nazareth, but they refused to acknowledge that He was sent from God. They willfully refused the testimony of Jesus’ signs and miracles and the testimony which He, Himself, proclaimed: That He was the Messiah. To acknowledge this, they would have to admit that their “tradition of the elders”, their human interpretations were wrong.
Verse 30 “The man answered and said to them, "Why, this is a marvelous thing, that you do not know where He is from; yet He has opened my eyes! 31 Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him. 32 Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind. 33 If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing." 34 They answered and said to him, "You were completely born in sins, and are you teaching us?" And they cast him out.”
The leaders were convinced that Jesus was merely a charlatan and that He was leading Israel astray, not being able spiritually to discern the evidence, but the man who was given sight appeals to “common sense.” Since Jesus had performed a miracle that had been unheard of in all of history, that He had done the unthinkable, namely that He restored the sight of a person born blind, the man’s common sense urges him that God DOES listen to the righteous but not to sinners and if Jesus were a sinner, He could not be from God and He would be powerless to perform such a miracle. The leaders could not admit such a great miracle had taken plan and so they were forced to keep their own word concerning Jesus, and they “put him out”: They excommunicated Him from the synagogue.