John 9:1-41 - Outline of John (Book Notes menu page)
Chapter 8 declares Jesus as the Light of the world (8:12), who is the eternal 'I am' (8:58).
Chapter 9 demonstrates that though the Light shines, it is not comprehended by darkness.
Sight requires two elements: (1) Light, and (2) functioning eyes (the ability to see).
The events of ch. 9 probably took place immediately after those of ch. 8...
perhaps on the eighth day of the Feast of Tabernacles, or at least within a few days of that feast.
9:1 And as [Jesus] passed by, he saw a man which was blind from [his] birth.
9:2 And his disciples asked him, saying,
Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
blind from birth.- Note that all men are spiritually blind from birth (Joh 3:6; 1Cor 2:14).
who did sin...? - The disciples mistakenly assumed that bodily ailments directly result from sin.
this man...? - A person may bring severe physical consequences upon himself due to
rebellion against God and disregard for His warnings. But this man was born blind. Perhaps they reasoned that since God knows the hearts of men, and the course of their lives even before they are born, He might punish a man, from birth, for a grievous sin which he had not yet committed (eg., Esau and Jacob, Gen 25:22,23).
his parents...? - The consequences of a parent's sins may be 'visited upon their children.' Ex 20:5
For example, a baby may be born with venereal disease, drug addiction, or birth defects due to the sins of its parents.
9:3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents:
but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.
9:4 I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day:
the night cometh, when no man can work.
9:5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.
neither hath this man sinned...- Jesus was not saying that they were not sinners (cp. Rom 3:23),
but that this man's blindness was not due to specific sin.
Perhaps this man and his parents had long grieved over his condition, wrestling within themselves with the questions of v.2. They did not understand, but God had His purpose for it (Ex 4:11).
but that the works of God should be made manifest {ie., made known, made to appear} in him.-
One reason that God allows human frailties is that men might see Him more clearly. cp. Joh 11:4; 2Cor 12:9
I must work the works of Him that sent me...- cp. Joh 4:34; 5:19,36
...while it is day...- ie., during the short period that He (the Light) was in the world. cp. 12:35,36
...the night cometh...- Death would soon close His earthly workday (as it does for every man).
He is moved with urgency. cp. Ecc 9:10; Col 4:5
as long as I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.-
He is, eternally, the Light (Joh 1:4,5). After His departure from the world, His disciples would carry His Light to the world. Mat 5:14; Eph 5:8-14
     But at that moment, while the disciples viewed this man's case as a subject for theoretical discussion, Jesus moved with compassion in behalf of a man, who needed His intervention.
9:6 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,
9:7 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.
he anointed the eyes... with clay.- Jesus identified and accentuated the man's area of need.
Until a man's blindness weighs upon him, he has no need to see. (cp. Mark 7:33; 8:23; Joh 4:16-18)
     You must know that you have need, before you will seek help.
Note that this man neither recognized Jesus, nor asked for sight (unlike other blind men who Jesus encountered, eg., Mat 9:27-29; 20:30-34; Mark 10:46-52). The Light of the world stood before him, but he was not moved to cry out to Him.
wash in the pool of Siloam...'Sent.'- Siloam speaks of the Lord Jesus.-
  • The pool of Siloam was the source of water for the ceremony on the seventh day of the Feast of Tabernacles.
    It was, as the water was being poured out in the Temple, that Jesus had cried out "If any man thirst, let him come unto me..." (see Joh 7:37-39 and the Notes at 7:37.)
  • Siloam means 'Sent.' - Jesus is the One sent from the Father (7:28,29; 8:42).
    Jerusalem had no natural source of water inside the city. However, there was a spring outside the walls. To provide the city with water in time of siege, an underground tunnel had been cut to bring water from the spring to the pool of Siloam. The spring water was 'Sent' to where it was needed. So, the Father sent the Son to meet the need of a dry and thirsty world.
  • The name 'Siloam' (or, Shiloah) is related to the word 'Shiloh' (meaning, 'the one whose right it is,' cp. Gen 49:10).
    Although the LORD was the only King and defender that they needed, Israel habitually looked for help elsewhere (cp. Isa 8:6; Jer 2:13). But there will come a day, when Israel will recognize the Lord Jesus Christ as Shiloh, their King.
         You must know who is able to satisfy your need, before you will seek Him.
  • On the day after Jesus, the Sent One, invited the thirsty to come to Him for spiritual life, the adulterous woman was dragged before Him, by her accusers. Everyone present was convicted of sin, yet only one had found cleansing and refreshment. Joh 8:4,9,11
    Now, Jesus encounters another needy person...
Go, wash in the pool of Siloam... he went... therefore...-
The man believed and obeyed Jesus' word. Have you entrusted yourself to Him? cp. 3:14-18
He did not need to understand everything about light, or about who Jesus is.
He needed simply to place his trust in Jesus. His obedience gave evidence of his trust.
and washed... and came seeing.- Have you submitted to His washing that makes new? cp. Titus 3:5
  • Eyes, once dead to light, became alive and receptive to light,
    not by the act of washing, but by the power of the Sent One (see 1:4).
  • Eyes, which previously could not recognize Jesus,
    were prepared to know him (v.35-38).
9:8 The neighbours therefore,
and they which before had seen him that he was blind, said,
Is not this he that sat and begged?
9:9 Some said, This is he: others [said], He is like him:
[but] he said, I am [he].
9:10 Therefore said they unto him, How were thine eyes opened?
9:11 He answered and said,
A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes,
and said unto me, Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash:
and I went and washed, and I received sight.
9:12 Then said they unto him, Where is he? He said, I know not.
the neighbors...- The effect of Jesus' relationship to this man was profound.
The man's acquaintances were not sure he was the same man.
He had to identify himself and give testimony to what had happened to him. cp. 1Pet 3:15; 4:1-4
A man that is called Jesus- This man's understanding of Jesus' identity is very limited,
but notice how his knowldedge increases. cp. v.17; v.31; v.38; cp. Joh 7:17
9:13 They brought to the Pharisees him that aforetime was blind.
9:14 And it was the sabbath day when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes.
9:15 Then again the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight.
He said unto them, He put clay upon mine eyes, and I washed, and do see.
9:16 Therefore said some of the Pharisees,
This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day.
Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles?
And there was a division among them.
{cp. 7:40-43}
they brought {him} to the Pharisees.-
The blind man's neighbors feared to decide for themselves that Jesus is the Light of the world.
Rather, they deferred to the religious authorities. Sadly, the experts had already decided against Jesus.
Instead of weighing the evidence...
  1. they attempted to discredit Jesus (v.16).
  2. they sought to disprove the miracle (v.18,19).
  3. they disallowed the former blind man's testimony (v.28,29,34).
the sabbath day - The eighth day of the Feast of Tabernacles was considered a sabbath.
he keepeth not the sabbath.- Jesus had already spoken to their misinterpretation of sabbath law,
and had warned them to 'judge righteous judgment.' (5:9,16-20; 7:21-24; Mat 12:1-14)
9:17 They say unto the blind man again,
What sayest thou of him, that he hath opened thine eyes?
He said, He is a prophet.
{cp. v.11; Joh 4:19; 6:14; Acts 2:22; 3:22}
9:18 But the Jews did not believe concerning him,
that he had been blind, and received his sight,
until they called the parents of him that had received his sight.
did not believe...until...- After hearing the parents' testimony,
the religious leaders could no longer deny that a miracle had occurred.
9:19 And they asked them, saying,
Is this your son, who ye say was born blind?
how then doth he now see?
9:20 His parents answered them and said,
We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind:
9:21 But by what means he now seeth, we know not;
or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age;
ask him: he shall speak for himself.
9:22 These [words] spake his parents, because they feared the Jews:
for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ,
he should be put out of the synagogue.
9:23 Therefore said his parents, He is of age; ask him.
the Jews had agreed already...- They had already decided that Jesus was not the Messiah.
They had published the penalty for anyone who disagreed with them:
he should be put out of the synagogue.- ie., excommunication.
Exclusion from Jewish religious fellowship would mean social ostracism and economic ruin. cp. Joh 7:13; 16:2,3
9:24 Then again called they the man that was blind, and said unto him,
Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner.
9:25 He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner [or no], I know not:
one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.
give God the praise...- In other words,
"Just say, 'God healed me.' Stop talking about Jesus. We know He is no good."
one thing I know...- This man knew only one thing by which to judge Jesus.
The leaders seeing that the man would not change his story, begin to cross-examine him,
seeking to find some flaw in his story to disallow his testimony.
9:26 Then said they to him again,
What did he to thee? how opened he thine eyes?
9:27 He answered them, I have told you already, and ye did not hear:
wherefore would ye hear [it] again? will ye also be his disciples?
9:28 Then they reviled him, and said,
{cp. Mat 5:11}
Thou art his disciple; but we are Moses' disciples.
9:29 We know that God spake unto Moses:
{Joh 5:45-47}
[as for] this [fellow], we know not from whence he is.
they reviled {verbally abused} him.- He was a nobody: a beggar, a disciple of a heretic.
we know not from whence he is.- They assumed Jesus was from Nazareth.
But they did not recognize the origin and authority of His words and actions.
They did not know more, because they did not want to know. 7:27-29; 7:47-52; 8:14
9:30 The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing,
that ye know not from whence he is, and [yet] he hath opened mine eyes.
9:31 Now we know that God heareth not sinners:
but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.
9:32 Since the world began was it not heard
that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind.
9:33 If this man were not of God, he could do nothing.
{cp. Joh 3:2}
9:34 They answered and said unto him,
Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us?
And they cast him out.
herein is a marvelous thing...-
The 'wisdom of the wise' is confounded by a beggar who argues simply and logically from what he knows. ('Now I see.' v.25) cp. 3:10; 1Cor 1:19,20; Isa 29:14; Mat 11:25
The spiritual understanding, of the formerly blind man, has also been opened.
Now, he sees that Jesus -
  • was more than just another man (v.11),
  • was certainly not a sinner (v.24,25),
  • must have come from God (cf. v.29,30,33).
thou wast altogether {entirely} born in sins.- The leaders branded him as a sinner.
To them, this was obvious, since he had been born blind. cp. v.2,3
Yet, while the formerly blind man's faith was growing,
their unbelief was proactive and progressively deepening:
  • They had doubted his former blindness (v.18).
  • They sought to disprove the miracle (v.26,27).
  • They sought to discredit his healer (v.16,24).
  • They disregarded a prophetic sign of the Messiah's presence. v.32; Isa 29:18; 35:5
  • They dismissed the man's astonished admonition, because he had once been blind (v.34).
they cast him out.- He suffered the consequences that his parents had feared (v.22).
9:35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him,
he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God?
9:36 He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?
9:37 And Jesus said unto him,
Thou hast both seen him
{v.7}, and it is he that talketh with thee.
9:38 And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.
Jesus heard...- How beautiful this is! Here is a man suffering for Jesus' sake... all alone.
Jesus takes notice, comes to him and comforts him. cp. Psa 27:10
How does He comfort? By further revealing Himself to him. cp. Joh 14:21-23
dost thou believe on the Son of God? - Some MSS have 'the Son of man.'
However, these terms are nearly equivalent as applied to the Messiah. (See Dan 7:13,14.)
I believe.- "Faith involves an act of the will, based on information." [TBKC]
he worshipped Him.- What a change has taken place in this man!
Once he was blind and disinterested in the Light of the World.
But as the Lord Jesus opened his eyes (physically and spiritually),
his understanding grew concerning who Jesus is...
  • a man called Jesus (v.11).
  • he is a prophet (v.17).
  • he is a worshipper of God, who does God's will (v.31).
  • He is God the Son and therefore, to be worshipped (v.35,38).
    Notice that Jesus accepted his worship.
9:39 And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world,
that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.
9:40 And [some] of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words,
and said unto him, Are we blind also?
{lit., We also are not blind, are we?}
9:41 Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin:
{cp. Joh 15:22-24}
but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.
{cp. Rom 2:19}
for judgment I am come...- cp. Joh 3:17; 12:47
At His first coming, Jesus did not come to condemn the world.
But as the Light of the World, He discerns between those who see and those who are blind.
He does not make men blind (condemning them to darkness), but rather He gives sight to those who confess their blindness. cp. Luk 4:18; Acts 26:18
Those who reject His Light, demonstrate themselves to be spiritually blind. cp. Eze 12:2
What is your condition? Perhaps you cannot honestly say, 'I believe.'
If you know you don't see clearly, then ask with sincerity, 'Who is He Lord, that I may believe?'
The Lord has the power to open your eyes, also.
     But beware of the proud heart boasting of wisdom that excludes faith in the Son of God. Such wisdom is popular, but blind and self-destructive because it intentionally shuts out the Light who came into the world to save us from our sin (Mat 6:23; Joh 8:12).

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