Summary: Jesus explains the characteristics of those that are spiritually blind.
Jesus, the God Man: The Gospel of John
“Who is Really Blind?”
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!