Summary: The one who was blind was able to see but the ones who thought they could see were proven to be blind.
BUT NOW I SEE
1) Here’s mud in your eye! (1-12).
• Who sinned? (1-3) It was a popular misconception that one could actually sin in the womb, and would thus suffer by having some birth defect. It was also a misconception that all human suffering was the result of either a parent’s sin or the person’s. Although in Exodus 20:5 it does say that God will punish the children for the sins of the father what that means is that the sins of the father can be carried down and continued upon the next generation and thus, the children will end up suffering because they had poor examples as fathers. That’s why we see verses like Deut. 24:16, “Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their fathers; each is to die for his own sin.” Nonetheless, the misconception remained that suffering was a result of sin. No room was left for another possibility. This was the problem with Job’s friends. God had to make things clear to them and Jesus is making things clear for his disciples. We need to understand this as well. We can automatically conclude that our afflictions are the result of God punishing us for something we did. Although it’s true that God will enact discipline for our ungodly behavior, we shouldn’t conclude that all suffering is due to sin. The danger in this erroneous assumption is that it can drive a wedge between us and God. I will paint this picture of God as this tyrannical beast who is just looking for me to mess up so he can punish me. Or I conclude that because I’m suffering God doesn’t love me. This will bring me to the place to become angry and resentful at God and it will push me into depression concluding that my situation is hopeless with God turning his back on me. I believe if you are suffering because of sin God will make that clear to you.
• Spit+mud+Jesus=miracle! (4-7) Here we see that God had allowed this man to be born blind to demonstrate miraculous power. The blindness was needed in order for the miracle to occur and the testimony that followed. One of the biggest questions is why does God allow suffering? Here we see that God allowed this man’s blindness for the purpose of divine power and for the testimony to that power. You may be asking, “why me”? If you would trust that God wants to do something great in your life through your affliction you will see why and instead of saying ‘why me’ you’ll be saying, ‘thank you’. But notice that this man didn’t receive the miracle until he obeyed the miracle worker. He wasn’t able to see until he completed the process. I’m sure this man thought it perplexing. Here’s this stranger spitting in dirt and smearing it all over my eyes and then telling me to go and wash in a pool. Now perhaps he thought, “Eh, what have I got to lose?” More likely he had the faith that believed that he was going to experience a miracle. We have the saying, “seeing is believing”. Well, for this man, and for the rest of us who wish to be cured from our blindness-believing is seeing. It’s a lesson for us. God may ask you to do something pretty strange. Go with it. If we dismiss it because it sounds too absurd we could miss out on the miracle.
• The testimony (8-12). Jesus giving sight to the blind was a prophesied Messianic work. Isa. 42:1, 6-7. Thus this miracle was further evidence for Jesus’ validity. Vs. 1-‘this man was born blind’. This man must’ve been well known at least to the disciples since they knew this man to be blind from birth. This would be important so as to provide validity to the miracle. There would be testimonial proof that this man was not faking it since it was known that he had been blind since birth. Then the man’s neighbors were wondering about what had taken place. Some were in disbelief saying, ‘no, it can’t be him. It must be a look-alike’. Then we see the man clarifying things, “No, it’s me alright”. Then they ask him for an explanation and he gives it. We who were once blind but now we see need to tell others who will listen how it came about for Jesus to cure our blindness.
2) The investigation (13-23).
• Jesus-sinner or saint? (13-17). Here we see a hot debate going. The Pharisees concluded that Jesus must be a sinner since he did this wonderful work on the Sabbath. Jesus dealt with them before on this subject when he healed the cripple by the pool in chapter five. The Pharisees had so corrupted the law and had added stipulation upon stipulation regarding breaking the Sabbath that they had said that if anyone used saliva for medicinal purposes on the Sabbath it constituted work and was therefore a violation of the Sabbath. Saliva was known for some medicinal properties back then (although healing a blind person wasn’t one of them). Some were arguing that there was no way a sinner could do such things. So they ask the blind man what he thought about this man and he answered-‘he is a prophet’; which is to say, ‘he is sent from God’. He saw what they didn’t see.