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A. (:1-5) The Darker the Situation, the Greater the Opportunity for the Light to Make an Impact

1. (:1-2) Hopeless and Humiliating Condition

a. (:1) Hopeless

“And as He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth”

b. (:2) Humiliating

“And His disciples asked Him, saying, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind?’”

Cobb: How did Jesus view this person compared to His disciples? We tend to see people as interruptions, problems . . . We need to see people in ways we can meet their needs.

2. (:3-4) Opportunity for Works of God to be Manifest

a. (:3) Correction Regarding Cause of Blind Condition

1) Negatively: Not due to sin

“It was neither that this man sinned, not his parents”

Theological, moral issue: Is disease (especially major problems like this) always caused by some sort of direct relationship to personal sin?

2) Positively: Opportunity to glorify God

“but it was in order that the works of God might be displayed in him.”

b. (:4) Exhortation Regarding Seizing Every Opportunity

“We must work the works of Him who sent Me, as long as it is day; night is coming, when no man can work.”

3. (:5) Christ’s Role as the Light of the World

“While I am in the world, I am the light of the world”

B. (:6-7) Christ Combines His Divine Miracle Healing Power with Human Responsibility and Mundane Earthly Elements

1. Mundane Earthly Elements

“When He had said this, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and applied the clay to his eyes”

Stedman: What does clay symbolize in Scripture? In Genesis we are told that God formed man from the dust of the ground, from the clay of the earth. That symbolism is used many times in Scripture. God is the Potter, we read in Jeremiah {Jer 18:4-6}. We are the clay. He molds us and shapes us into what he wants us to be. Believers, the Apostle Paul declares, “have this treasure in earthen vessels” {2 Cor 4:7} — clay pots. And the pots are not very strong. Clay is not a very powerful substance. It is malleable and weak. Thus, all through Scripture, clay is used as a symbol of the weakness and fragility of human nature. We are all made of clay. We are clay pots. Some of us are even a little cracked! There is a science being developed here in California called “psycho-ceramics” to deal with cracked pots! This is what clay symbolizes.

2. Human Responsibility

“and said to him, ‘Go, wash in the pool of Siloam’ (which is translated, Sent). And so he went away and washed”

Would have been easier for the man to first be able to see before he was asked to Go to the pool of Siloam; but that is not how Jesus chose to do it.

Stedman: Clearly this is a description of what follows in this man’s life. Our Lord has worked it out in this beautiful object lesson to indicate what it takes to open blinded spiritual eyes. Physical eyes can easily be opened by his power, but to open spiritual eyes takes a process of overcoming obstacles that lie in the way. Only as that process is completed, and men come to the place where at last they see who Jesus is, are spiritual eyes opened. This is the story of the remaining verses of this chapter. It is a story of the resistance that this man met, the obstacles to faith that he overcame, and the gradual insight that he gained as he learned more and more about Jesus until he found himself at last at Jesus’ feet and his spiritual eyes were opened. It is all worked out in a most dramatic way.

3. Divine Miracle Healing Power

“and came back seeing”

C. (:8-12) Natural Reactions to the Miracle Fall Far Short of Worship and Glorifying God

1. (:8-9) Questioning the Reality of the Miracle –

Do We Even Have the Same Man?

a. (:8) Posing the Question of Identity

“The neighbors therefore, and those who previously saw him as a beggar, were saying, ‘Is not this the one who used to sit and beg?’”

b. Some Say “Yes”

“Others were saying, ‘This is he’”

c. Some Say “No”

“still others were saying, ‘No, but he is like him.’”

d. Definitive Answer Still Not Easily Accepted

“He kept saying, ‘I am the one.’”

2. (:10-11) Questioning the Logistics of the Miracle –

How was it done?

1. (:10) Posing the Question of Logistics (with skeptical attitude)

“How then were your eyes opened?”

2. (:11) Definitive Answer Still Not Easily Accepted

“The man who is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes, and said to my, ‘Go to Siloam, and wash’; so I went away and washed, and I received sight.”

3. (:12) Desire to Confront Jesus

“And they said to him, ‘Where is He?’ He said, ‘I do not know.’”



A. (:13-23) Interrogation #1 (Of the man and his parents) – Initial Fact Finding

1. (:13-14) The Pharisees Pursue Their Own Agenda of Discrediting Christ

a. (:13) They Have the Opportunity to Grill the Right Man

“They brought to the Pharisees him who was formerly blind.”

b. (:14) They Sense the Challenge to Their Legalistic House of Cards

“Now it was a Sabbath on the day when Jesus made the clay, and

opened his eyes.”

2. (:15-17) Grilling the Healed Man – Problem: Limited Knowledge

a. (:15) Reviewing the Logistics of the Miracle

“Again, therefore, the Pharisees also were asking him how he received his sight. And he said to them, ‘He applied clay to my eyes, and I washed, and I see.’”

b. (:16) Divided Reaction from the Pharisees

1) Negative – Centering on Legalistic Sabbath Violation

“This man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath.”

2) Positive – Centering on Power of the Sign Miracle

“How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?”

3) No Consensus

“And there was a division among them.”

c. (:17) Drawing Out the Witness — Based on Personal Experience

1) Asking his Opinion – fuller testimony; apply the facts as you know them and draw your own conclusion

“What do you say about Him, since He opened your eyes?”

2) Receiving his Limited Endorsement

“He is a prophet.”

3. (:18-23) Grilling His Parents –

Strategy: Cautious Answers and Deferring All Questions

a. (:18-19) Verification Sought from Parents

1) (:18) Initial Denial of the Miracle

“The Jews therefore did not believe it of him, that he had been blind, and had received sight, until they called the parents of the very one who had received his sight.”

2) (:19) Investigating the Details

“Is this your son, who you say was born blind? Then how does he now see?”

b. (:20-23) Cautious Answers and Deferred Questions

1) Cautious Answers

“We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; but how he now sees, we do not know; or who opened his eyes, we do not know.”

2) Deferred Questions

“Ask him; he is of age, he shall speak for himself.”

3) (:22-23) Fear of the Jews = Reason for their Strategy

“His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed, that is anyone should confess Him to be Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue. For this reason his parents said, ‘He is of age; ask him.’”

Deffinbaugh: The Pharisees initially refuse to believe that this man is truly healed of blindness. Then, forced to acknowledge his healing by the compelling evidence of this fact, they concentrate their efforts on the method Jesus employed. Somehow this method doesn’t fit into any of their preconceived categories, and so they are perplexed. It is almost as though they assume Jesus has committed a crime, but they can’t figure out what the crime is, or how He accomplished it.

B. (:24-34) Interrogation #2 (just of the man himself) – Intensive Fault Finding

“So a second time they called the man who had been blind”

1. (:24) Right Issue / Wrong Presupposition

a. Right Issue – they correctly nailed what this incident is all about

“Give glory to God”

b. Wrong Presupposition – blinded by their prejudice and traditions

“we know that this man is a sinner”

2. (:25-27) Futility of Rehashing the Same Issues – their minds are made up

a. (:25) Sticking to the Simple Facts

“Whether He is a sinner, I do not know; one thing I do know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.”

cf. description of the operation of the Spirit in work of regeneration in John 3 – nobody can really describe in technical terms how that wind works with such power; beyond the control of man; but we see the results

b. (:26) Subverting Previously Clear Testimony

“What did He do to you?

How did He open your eyes?”

c. (:27) Sarcastic — Tired of the Whole Process

“I told you already, and you did not listen; why do you want to hear it again? You do not want to become His disciples too, do you?”

Deffinbaugh: I believe John chapter 9 is one of those places where we are expected to laugh at the blindness of the Pharisees, and at the “spunk” and wittiness of the man once blind. Here is a man for whom the Pharisees have no compassion and no regard; yet he shows them how they are inconsistent with their own theology. He amuses us as he pokes fun at the folly of the Pharisees. He alone (so far as the account informs us) comes to faith in Jesus as the Messiah. I believe we are intended to laugh at the Pharisees, because their folly should not be dignified by taking them too seriously. I believe as well that the most terrible experience for a prideful Pharisee would be to become the laughingstock of Jerusalem.

3. (:28-29) Attack Mode – trying to elevate Moses about Jesus

a. Attacking the Healed Man

“You are his disciple”

b. Appealing to Moses

“but we are disciples of Moses”

c. Asserting their Authority

“We know that God has spoken to Moses; but as for this man, we do not know where He is from.”

4. (:30-33) The Facts Don’t Lie

a. (:30) Disconnect between your Supposed Spiritual Authority and Your Ignorance of Physical Reality

“Well, here is an amazing thing, that you do not know where He is from, and yet He opened my eyes.”

Hard to refute the testimony of a changed life.

Deffinbaugh: The miracle man is now nearly up to full speed. Are these Pharisees saying they don’t know where Jesus has come from? That is about like the CIA saying they don’t know who the President of Russia is or that they can’t find Cuba on a map. It is like the IRS saying they can’t find the President’s income tax return. The Pharisees are the folks who claim to “know everything,” and now they are saying they don’t know where Jesus has come from. How can those whose job it is to know, who boast of knowing everything, not know this? It isn’t as though Jesus is some unknown stranger to them. This One, whose origins they don’t know, is the very One who gave the blind man his sight, something no Pharisee has ever done, and no Israelite has ever witnessed. How incredible that these Pharisees don’t know about our Lord’s origins!

b. (:31) Criteria for Power in Prayer

“We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God- fearing, and does His will, He hears him.”

c. (:32-33) Obvious Exercise of Divine Power

1) (:32) Appeal to History

“Since the beginning of time it has never been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind.”

2) (:33) Final Conclusion

“If this man were not from God, He could no nothing.”

5. (:34) Final Frustration and Excommunication

a. Another False Presupposition

“You were born entirely in sins”

b. Expression of Pride / Unteachable Spirit

“and are you teaching us?”

c. Judgment of Excommunication

“And they put him out.”

Serious matter to be put out of the synagogue; obviously his parents had reacted the way that they did because of their fear of this same punishment.


A. (:35-38) Initiating Faith in the Son of Man

1. (:35) Seeking out the Prepared Heart

“Jesus heard that they had put him out; and finding him, He said, ‘Do you believe in the Son of Man?’”

Isolation of being excommunicated from family and friends more than compensated for by privilege of becoming intimate disciple of Christ.

Note how God takes the initiative to draw us to Himself in saving faith.

Public title used for Messiah: Daniel 7:13; John 6:27, 53, 62

Deffinbaugh: It is only at this low point in the once-blind man’s life that Jesus seeks to bring him to salvation. Our Lord does not give this man the gospel (telling him that He is the Messiah) immediately, because he is not yet ready for it. This man’s years of blindness and begging have given him much time to reflect on the relationship between sin and his physical infirmities. Jesus heals the man just after He claims to be the “Light of the world” (9:5-6). This man’s interrogation by stiff-necked Pharisees, his abandonment by his parents, and finally his expulsion from the synagogue are all instrumental in preparing this man for salvation. God knocks all the props out from under this man, so that he has to trust in Jesus as his Messiah. Lest this man cling to Pharisaism for salvation, like many are doing, Jesus orchestrates his excommunication from the tabernacle. Now he has nothing to cling to but Jesus, and Jesus is more than enough.

2. (:36-37) Satisfying the Sincere Questions of an Inquiring Mind

“’And who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?’ Jesus said to him, ‘You have both seen Him, and He is the one who is talking with you.’”

3. (:38) Soliciting Saving Faith and Genuine Worship

“And he said, ‘Lord, I believe.’ And he worshiped Him.”

Cobb: Response to cults: If Jesus was not truly claiming to be God, how could both encourage and receive worship?

B. (:39) Identifying the Need for Humble Repentance

“For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see; and that those who see may become blind”

C. (:40-41) Indicting the Self Righteous, Unrepentant

“Those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things, and said to Him, ‘We are not blind too, are we?’ Jesus said to them, ‘If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.’”

French: The miracle ends up being a parable: the blind man sees and the seeing Pharisees are blind.

Cobb: Blinded by pride and prejudice.

Deffinbaugh: What I am about to say has taken a long time for me to grasp. The time to preach this message was almost upon me when it came to me: this whole chapter is about judgment. That’s the way the chapter begins. The Pharisees (verse 34) and our Lord’s disciples (verse 2) conclude that this man’s blindness is divine judgment. Jesus wants us to understand that while this man’s blindness is not divine judgment, the gift of sight is judgment—judgment upon the very ones who judge (condemn) him. The Pharisees assume that blindness is God’s judgment upon sin, and the disciples believe virtually the same thing. Then, after this blind man begins to see too clearly, rebuking the Pharisees, these religious leaders excommunicate him—they condemn him. The one whom they condemn and put out, Jesus seeks out and saves. . .

And so it is that judgment and salvation are not two separate, unrelated matters; they are very much inter-related. The salvation of those who are unworthy, by the mercy and grace of God, is closely related to God’s judgment upon those who deem themselves worthy of God’s blessings and who look down upon the lowly. The giving of sight to the blind man is salvation for him and judgment for the Pharisees. The one who is considered cursed of God by the Pharisees is indeed blessed by God. Those who considered themselves blessed by God are the very ones who received His judgment.