A word for the heart

by Peter Solomon

John 9:1-23 - Cured of being blind leads to trouble - Part 1

Bible study

Blind man and friend


Welcome to this Bible Study. I hope that you will enjoy this lesson and that it will be a blessing to you spiritually. Read what I have written slowly. If you have a Bible look up the reference verses given, and allow the Holy Spirit to minister to your soul through them.

John 9:1-41 (Part 1)

When you expose people as being wrong you can expect opposition and this was the case with Jesus. Everything Jesus did was criticized by the Pharisees. Nowhere in the Old Testament or in any other ancient writings is restoring of sight to the blind mentioned. In the New Testament the only case, other than Jesus, was when Ananias healed Paul of temporary blindness. The Pharisees overlooked the miracle here, concentrating only on the fact that the healing took place on the Sabbath, our Saturday.

Verse 1 Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth.

We do not know when this event took place, possibly on the last day of the feast of tabernacles, in early October. The blind man sat at the temple gate begging during the day and was led back to his parents’ home at night.

Verse 2 And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

The man did not go blind as a result of cataracts or a damaged retina, etc but he was born blind. The Jews believed that physical disasters such as blindness were a punishment for sins committed either by the man, (that would mean before he was born, which is impossible), or sins committed by his parents. Numbers 14:18 “The Lord is longsuffering and abundant in mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He by no means clears the guilty, visiting the iniquity (sins) of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation.”

Verse 3 Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.

Jesus rules out sin, the sin of the man or his parents, as the cause of the blindness. Ultimately God has a purpose in all things, even suffering and disasters. In this case it was to bring glory to God.

Verse 4 “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.

Whilst Jesus was on earth He did exactly what the Father (God) told Him to do. By referring to the night Jesus meant His crucifixion and departure from this earth. Even we as Christians must do what God directs us to do while we have the opportunity (while we are alive).

Verse 5 “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

Jesus came to open the eyes of the spiritually blind who because of sin lacked spiritual vision. Here however as Jesus would not be in the world much longer He healed the blind man.

Verse 6 When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay.

Spit was considered by the Jews to be vulgar and gross, or repulsive. With everyone watching Jesus took spit and clay, mixed them together and placed them on the unknown blind man’s eyes.

Verse 7 And He said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went and washed, and came back seeing.

Then Jesus says something that really annoyed the Pharisees. The pool of Siloam was south east of the city and was fed by a tunnel made by King Hezekiah. The Jews considered the water holy as on the last day of the feast the chief priest drew water from that pool for use in temple ceremonies. To this pool Jesus sent the man and it required great faith by the blind man to obey Jesus.

Questioned by his neighbours

Verse 8 Therefore the neighbours and those who previously had seen that he was blind said, “Is not this he who sat and begged?”

But the man’s faith and the man’s obedience to Jesus was rewarded by having his sight restored. When he walked home after having his sight restored all his neighbours knew what had happened to him.

Verse 9 Some said, “This is he.” Others said, “He is like him.” He said, “I am he.”

This caused division or rather a difference of opinion amongst the neighbours. It’s him, it’s not him, for blind people cannot be cured of their blindness, so it must be someone who looks like him.

Verse 10 Therefore they said to him, “How were your eyes opened?”

Mankind is always curious to find out how things happen, so the neighbours asked him — who made you see?

Verse 11 He answered and said, “A Man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed, and I received sight.”

Someone told the blind man that the person who put clay on his eyes was Jesus, and he knew nothing else about Jesus.

Verse 12 Then they said to him, “Where is He?” He said, “I do not know.”

The neighbours wanted to see this person, Jesus, who had done this miracle, but the man had never seen Jesus since he was blind at the time and also Jesus did not accompany him to the pool. So the formerly blind man had no idea who Jesus was or where He was at that moment.

Questioned by the Pharisees

Verse 13 They brought him who formerly was blind to the Pharisees.

A day or two later the neighbours took the man to the local leaders and priests who served as the local court, in order that a formal inquiry could be made as to what had happened to the blind man.

Verse 14 Now it was a Sabbath when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes.

The Pharisees taught that it was wrong to knead bread on the Sabbath day and so making wet clay to put on the man’s eyes was also wrong. Secondly they taught that no one, not even a doctor, was allowed to perform acts of healing on the Sabbath except in cases of extreme emergency.

Verse 15 Then the Pharisees also asked him again how he had received his sight. He said to them, “He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.”

How did it happen? So the man explained briefly what had happened on that Sabbath day.

Verse 16 Therefore some of the Pharisees said, “This Man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath.” Others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” And there was a division among them.

The Pharisees believed that all people who were from God would keep their “man-made” Sabbath regulations. Since Jesus did such signs or miracles on the Sabbath day He could not be from God.

Verse 17 They said to the blind man again, “What do you say about Him because He opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.”

The Pharisees then put a religious question to the uneducated formerly blind man. To the man’s reasoning, the prophets of the Old Testament did miracles, so in doing such miracles Jesus must be a prophet.

Verse 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 who had received his sight.

The Jewish leaders conducting that inquiry in the local court did not believe that the man before them had been born blind — they needed proof.

Verse 19 And they asked them, saying, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?”

As some of the neighbours had queried the man’s identity, only the parents could prove if he really was their son or not, to tell the court how he could now see.

Verse 20 His parents answered them and said, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind;

His parents confirmed that he was their son and that he had been blind from birth.

Verse 21 “but by what means he now sees we do not know, or who opened his eyes we do not know. He is of age; ask him. He will speak for himself.”

If a boy was 13 years and one day old, he was considered a man. Ask the man — for he can speak for himself.

Verse 22 His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had agreed already that if anyone confessed that He was Christ, he would be put out of the synagogue.

The parents were scared of the Jewish authorities for all knew that if anyone claimed or acknowledged Jesus was the Messiah he would be put out of the synagogue for 30, 60, or 90 days. For example if you were put out of the synagogue for 30 days then you were not allowed to speak to anyone unless you were at least 2 metres away from them, further you were not allowed to shave and for the whole period you had to wear mourning clothes.

Verse 23 Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”

Scared of being put out of the synagogue which would mean being cut off from religious and social life, made the parents say again, “Ask him,” or in other words let him take responsibility for his words.

Points for consideration

  1. Is it possible for me to suffer because of my parents’ sin?
  2. Jesus always causes people to have different opinions about Him. What is your opinion about Jesus??
  3. The Pharisees were very strict about keeping the Sabbath. How should we as Christians treat our Sundays?
  4. Do real miracles still take place today?
  5. Is something making you scared of speaking about your faith in Jesus?

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In this article all Scripture references are taken from the Holy Bible, New King James Version, Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used with permission.

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