Summary: He was born blind and there didn't seem to be anything he could do. Then Jesus came by, and, using an unusual "medicine", gave him his sight. Look at how the story ends, too.
Text: John 9:1-7 KJV 1 And as (Jesus) passed by, he saw a man which was blind from (his) birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? 3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. 4 I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. 6 When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, 7 And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.
Introduction: Jesus and the disciples had experienced several things in chapter 8. The scribes and Pharisees brought a woman directly to Jesus, (allegedly) caught in the very act of adultery. Then they asked Him if she should be stoned, or not, trying to force Jesus into a trap. Other commentaries and Bible teachers give more detailed explanations than possible here. Jesus then wrote on the ground, the accusers left, and the woman was left all by herself. Jesus forgave her, but also told her to stop living in her previous lifestyle (vv. 1-11).
After this, Jesus resumed teaching and the Pharisees began arguing with Jesus. Some of His listeners believed, but others did not, with the result that some wanted to stone Him to death. Jesus had told some of them plainly that they “. . .were of (their) father, the Devil (8:44)” and they would keep on doing the deeds of their father. When Jesus claimed (rightly and accurately) that He existed before Abraham (v. 58), they took up stones in order to stone Him to death. Yet, He was able to escape them and leave the Temple.
As He and the disciples left the Temple, they found a man born blind. This man didn’t know it, but after he met Jesus, and did as He commanded, his life would never be the same again!
I Unusual events before the healing
Several things about this encounter are unusual. First, why was the blind man placed (living?) near the Temple? John 4 speaks of people with any number of people with various ailments being placed near the Pool of Siloam and could be healed. (The blind man did eventually make it to the Pool of Siloam, as we will see.)
Second, John doesn’t say the man was begging or asking to be healed. Contrast this with the at least two encounters at Jericho, when Jesus healed two blind men (Matt 20:29-34) as well as Bartimaeus himself (Mark 10:46-52). Bartimaeus was begging when he heard Jesus was coming by. All of these men asked—pleaded!—for Jesus to heal them.
But not this man.
On at least two other occasions, in other places, people brought people to Jesus, asking Him to “touch” the one with the medical problem. At Bethsaida (Mark 8:22-26), the people brought a blind man to Jesus. It is not recorded if the man had been born blind, or when he became blind. Jesus led him out of town, healed him, and then gave him a warning to not even go back into the town and not even tell anybody about his healing.
Before that the people in one of the “Decapolis (Ten Cities)” brought to Jesus a man who was deaf and had a serious speech impediment. Jesus healed him also (see Mark 7:31-37) and told him to say nothing about it. The man, and others, promptly ignored this command and, in the words of the King James Version, they” published” the news “a great deal”.
But none of that was the case for this man. We are not told who took him to the Temple, how he was fed, who if anyone took him home—nothing like that. Nobody even cared enough about him to tell him about Jesus and His power to heal.
Even worse, his own parents seemed to want little of anything to do with him!
II Unusual means of healing
John says that Jesus “passed by” the man—and probably would have kept on going unless someone had brought something to the Lord’s attention. Remember, the blind man didn’t say a word when Jesus was in the area. The Lord will not go where He is not wanted, nor will He stay if there is no interest. Later, the disciples on the road to Emmaus found this out personally when the Lord would have kept on going if they had not asked Him to stay with them (see Luke 24).