The Pharisees Banish the Healed Man

They brought him who formerly was blind to the Pharisees. 14 Now it was a Sabbath when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. 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.”

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.

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.”

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

20 His parents answered them and said, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; 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.” 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. 23 Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”

24 So they again called the man who was blind, and said to him, “Give God the glory! We know that this Man is a sinner.”

25 He answered and said, “Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.”

26 Then they said to him again, “What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?”

27 He answered them, “I told you already, and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become His disciples?”

28 Then they reviled him and said, “You are His disciple, but we are Moses’ disciples. 29 We know that God spoke to Moses; as for this fellow, we do not know where He is from.”

30 The man answered and said to them, “Why, this is a marvelous thing, that you do not know where He is from; yet He has opened my eyes! 31 Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him. 32 Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind. 33 If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing.”

34 They answered and said to him, “You were completely born in sins, and are you teaching us?” And they cast him out. — John 9:13-34.

The Pharisees interrogate him and tell him that Jesus is not from God, and this is shown because He does not keep the Sabbath! Others ask how a sinful person can do such signs. The man himself declares Jesus to be a prophet. His frightened parents refer the Pharisees’ question to them back to their son. Their son simply states that ‘Though I was blind, now I see.’ The Pharisees again ask how it happened. He asks them if they want to know so they can become disciples of Jesus!

They revile him and tell him that Jesus cannot be from God. Because he tells them that he believes Jesus must be from God, he is accordingly cast out. His fresh and open stand for Christ leads to opposition to him and to his banishment.

“who sinned” (v.2). — Many Jews, like Job’s friends, believed that every temporal misfortune was God’s punishment for some specific sin. With a congenital affliction the explanation could be that the sin had been committed in the womb, or by the parents whose sinful act victimized their child. Jesus dismisses these as improper explanations (v. 3), but this is not to say that certain trials are not the God-ordained punishment for certain sins (e.g., the life of David after His adultery and murder, 2 Samuel 12–21). It is unwise and uncharitable to judge that the sufferings of others are specifically punitive (Matthew 7:1). The question put to Jesus presents a false dilemma. Only two possibilities were given as reasons for the man’s affliction, his own sin or the sin of his parents. Jesus offers a third option (v. 3).

Sabbath (v.16). — Instead of being grateful for this supernatural work of God’s grace, the Pharisees began to quibble about the observance of the Sabbath. Their concern was specifically about their traditional interpretation of what the fourth commandment required. Not one of the actions involved (spitting, applying mud, going as far as Siloam, washing one’s face, healing a blind man) was forbidden by the law. Rather than question their own understanding of the law, they rejected Jesus and His ministry.

An inquiry with the blind man’s parents establishes the reality of his blindness and the cure (vv.18-23).

A second investigation with the healed man brings no new facts to light, but the investigators’ position is hardened (vv.24-34). The Pharisees call Jesus a “sinner” (v. 24) whose origin is unknown (v. 29), and they banish the man whose replies only irritate them (vv. 27, 30). His replies are to the point: The man born blind had been healed, and “God does not listen to sinners” but “if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him.” (v. 31).

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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