The Character of Jesus 44

The Man Born Blind

John 9:1 – 41

Dealing with People, not Theories

  • Characteristic:  Dealing with real people, not theories
    • This could be during the same Feast of Tabernacles.  Some put it in the following December (10:22), Hanukkah.
    • (2)  The disciples treated the blind man as an object, representative of a theory.  Common theory was that bad things happened because of sin.
    • (3 – 5)  Many have assumed that God arranged for this man to be in that spot for this purpose, but that would be contrary to the point of the scene.  God would be making the blind man an object lesson, just like the disciples and the thinking of the time.  Rather, Jesus saw the man as an opportunity for good things to happen, and the time was now because the opportunity was now.
    • (6 – 7)  The reason for the clay is not given.  Perhaps this was to further incite the Pharisees since clay for medicinal use was forbidden on the Sabbath (verse 14).  Perhaps it was to get the man out of the way.  Perhaps it was to see if he would go.  The importance of “sent” is not given.  Perhaps it is just a co-incidental pun.
    • (8 – 12)  The man did not return to the place he had been begging, but went home (where his neighbors were).  Their confusion is understandable.  The man born blind was plain and straightforward.
    • (13 – 34)  The reason for bringing him to the Pharisees is not given.
      • The Pharisees stuck with theory and condemned a miracle-worker.  The formerly blind man came to the obvious conclusion, as did some of the crowd.
      • Investigating if this were a sham would be prudent.  Perhaps the man had not been blind.  However, the writing suggests that the Pharisees were not investigating honestly.
      • The parents feared being cast out of the synagogue because it meant financial ruin.  No one would sell to you or buy from you if cast out.  The parents seem to have been put in a bad light, but they were not there when the healing happened, so maybe they just did not say more than they knew.
      • (24)  The Pharisees declared Jesus to be a sinner because of their theories, not considering the person.
      • (25)  The formerly blind man stuck with the most important part; he could see.
      • (27)  The formerly blind man was intellectually quick, so he played with the Pharisees.  Perhaps he felt he had nothing to lose, and maligning one’s healer might not turn out well.
      • (28)  The Pharisees made the assumption that they were right, so openly condemned anyone with different conclusions.
      • (31)  The formerly blind man’s argument rests on the definition of “sinner.”  The Pharisees, when condemning anyone, assumed that one misstep classified one as a sinner, overlooking that they thereby condemned everyone.  The formerly blind man cited the whole verse (e.g., Proverbs 15:29, Isaiah 1:15, Micah 3:4, James 5:16 – 17), showing the contrast between sinner and worshipper.  Worshippers are not necessarily flawless.
      • (33)  The formerly blind man determined that miracles trump theories.
      • (34)  Clinging to theory, the Pharisees discarded the evidence because the man had been blind, therefore “obviously” a sinner, and because of that had nothing to teach them.
    • (35 – 41)  Jesus sought out the formerly blind man.  Several Pharisees were still present (40), so they likely heard the first part about Son of Man, also.
      • (35 – 37)  Probably, Jesus used “Son of Man” with reference to Daniel 7:13, which He referenced several times and, in those other scenes (Matthew 24:30, 26:64, Mark 13:26, 14:62, Luke 21:27), people understood the reference.
      • (38)  Note that Jesus accepted this worship.
      • (39)  Jesus came to enlighten those who were confused, and to confuse those who thought they understood.
      • (40 – 41)  Big point.  Those who cannot understand will get a pass at Judgment.  Those who think a lot of their explanations will not do well.
  • Application:  Dealing with real people, not theories
    • Do we define sin theoretically and condemn all who fit our definition, or do we help people overcome whatever is ruining their lives?  (Examples: divorce, working on Sunday, attire, smoking, drinking, music, entertainments, and so on)
    • Do we bring great events (like miracles) to the authorities for judgment, or do we just go with it?
    • Do we allow the theoretical to condemn obviously good works?  (Examples: Mother Theresa, large attendance at other places, faithful people in other groups, and so on)
    • Do we seek out those who have been condemned for keeping it simple?
    • Do we have understandable answers to common confusions?
    • Do we see the person and the person’s capabilities, or do we have one size fits all?
    • Are people with difficulties opportunities to reveal the work of God?