The Gospel of John
Healing the Man Born Blind

J. Deering,

The Gospel of John
John 9:1-12

Healing the Man Born Blind



John 9      (NASB)


Healing the Man Born Blind

9 As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. 2 And His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.


Harrison points out that it is interesting that Jesus’ disciples, like the friends of Job, assume that this man’s misfortune must be the result of sin. Yet this man was born blind. His sin must have occurred before birth – according to their logic. Often, we too, hide the inner belief that illness and misfortune befall those who sin and rarely turn to the truth of Jesus’ words: “It was neighbor that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” We also fall into the trap of seeing the work of God through illness and misfortune as some kind of retribution from God. “Poor me, what have I done to deserve this?”


Jesus speaks to His disciples prefiguring a miraculous event that is about to display His Glory and Power as the Son of God. He tells them that this man, born blind, is about to be used to confirm both the disciples and those witnesses standing around, that Jesus is the Messiah and that He is able to cure even in the most difficult of situations.


4 We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work. 5 While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.”


Jesus continues His dialog with His disciples by using the pronoun “We.” In the midst of discussing this ‘man born blind’ Jesus addresses his disciples and includes Himself as those who “must work the works of Him who sent Me.” In every instance Jesus tries to make it clear that He is dependent upon His heavenly Father. Jesus is a voluntary servant of His Father and He asks His disciples to do the same. “Not my will, but Thine.” That’s the message to all who are called into the family of God. We are called to be willing servants to God and to do His work so that all with whom we come in contact can witness God in us through our work and our testimony.


Jesus goes on to tell His disciples that the amount of time for witnessing and testifying on behalf of Jesus and His works is limited. Now is the day, but only as long as it is day. The night is coming for Jesus and them. The time is coming when the Disciples will no longer have Jesus as their physical leader. The time is coming when Jesus will be captured, tortured, crucified, and dead. The disciples will be alone and “in the night.” But, right now… Jesus is “the Light of the world.”


This term, “the Light of the world,” takes on an even broader meaning if we place the time of this incident closer to chapter 10, than to chapter 9. For Chapter ten ushers us into the Feast of Dedication, or the Feast of Lights. It’s at this feast that the Jews celebrated the re-dedication of the Temple following the victory they had over the Syrian king Antiochus Epiphanes, the self-proclaimed god king who was put down by the Jews in the Maccabean revolt about 167 B.C. Today many Jews celebrate this feast as Hanukkah with the 9 light menorah and the tradition of the lamp oil in the Holy Place that did not run dry. So with this festival of “Lights,” Jesus uses it as an illustration of His being the Light of the world.


6 When He had said this, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and applied the clay to his eyes, 7 and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went away and washed, and came back seeing. 8 Therefore the neighbors, and those who previously saw him as a beggar, were saying, “Is not this the one who used to sit and beg?” 9 Others were saying, “This is he,” still others were saying, “No, but he is like him.” He kept saying, “I am the one.” 10 So they were saying to him, “How then were your eyes opened?” 11 He answered, “The man who is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes, and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash’; so I went away and washed, and I received sight.” 12 They said to him, “Where is He?” He *said, “I do not know.”


This miracle was performed in four steps. First, Jesus spat on the ground. Second, He reached down and made a clay (mud) from the ground and the spittle. Third, He applied the clay to the eyes of the ‘man born blind.’ And fourth, He instructed the man to go to the pool of Siloam and wash. There’s many theories out there about the method Jesus used, and it could be as simple as using the materials man was created with in the first place to restore his eyes. But we need not spend our time on the method – but the results. When the man returned to Jesus--he was no longer blind. The promise that “the works of God might be displayed in him” are here true and evident. No doctor or healer had ever cured a man born blind before.