Now I See

Now I See

John 9

Who Sinned?

Jesus encounters a man blind from birth. The disciples assume that some sin of either the blind man or his parents resulted in his being born blind. Jesus explains the man’s blindness resulted neither from his sin nor from that of his parents but was given so that God’s works could be manifested in him.

John presents the reaction to the giving of sight to the man born blind. The blind man’s neighbors respond to his sight, then take him to the Pharisees. The Pharisees call in his parents and then interact again with the man born blind. Just as the ways of referring to Jesus grow more and more reverent across the passage, so does the hostility to the man born blind increase more and more fierce.

This Man Is Not From God

The neighbors ask how the man sees, he rehearses the details, and they ask where Jesus is, which the man cannot answer. The neighbors take the now-seeing man to the Pharisees, and it is revealed that Jesus performed the miracle of giving sight on the Sabbath, and they assert that Jesus can be neither good nor from God because “he does not keep the Sabbath.” Other Pharisees, however, ask how such a sign could be done by a sinner doing sin, reflecting division in Pharisaic opinion.

This man now boldly stands before the religious authorities and confesses truthfully. The Pharisees again asked how he came to see, but the man recognized their pretense and hypocrisy. He seems to realize that the opponents of Jesus are not looking for facts but are trying to intimidate him, so he asserts that he has already answered, but they did not listen. Then he sarcastically asks whether they want to become disciples of Jesus.

The Pharisees nevertheless assert that their disagreement with the blind man and Jesus arises from their adherence to Moses (9:28). The opposition to Jesus is incoherent and self-contradictory. The man born blind sees right through the arguments of the Pharisees. He reinforces the truth that God does not listen to the prayers of sinners, whereas God hears the prayers of the righteous. The Pharisees cannot refute the arguments of this man who now sees physically and spiritually, so they pursue an ad hominem attack. They allege that he was “born in utter sin” and appeal to their authority when they ask how he dares to think he can teach them. Unable to refute his arguments with either logic or Scripture, they can only expel him from the synagogue.

Jesus identifies himself as the Son of Man, and worshiping him is the proper response to that revelation. Jesus does not refuse to receive worship, as angels do in Revelation. Jesus is God. Jesus is to be worshiped. Jesus is to be trusted. Jesus is Lord. The Pharisees have physical sight but are blind to the glory of Jesus. When Jesus says the Pharisees would have no guilt if they were blind, he seems to mean that they would not have been exposed to the things Jesus had done among them. They claim to perceive the truth. They claim to understand. They have come, however, to the wrong conclusion, which merely establishes their guilt.





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