The Pharisees had just ex-communicated the man who had been born blind because he would not condemn Jesus. To be ex-communicated was a terrible thing to a Jew. It meant no further touch from God.
“Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, he said to him, ‘Do you believe in the Son of God?’” (John 9:35). Note that nothing escapes His gaze. Jesus understands everything unfair that has happened. There are no secrets with Him.
Note also that Jesus went searching for the dis-fellowshiped man, and “when He had found him” took special time with him. He may have been kicked out of the church, but He was never closer to God than in his hurt and rejection. The only way I’ve found to get really close to God is to die to something within. Then God draws close to heal the wound.
Are you dying inside right now? Close your eyes and put your complaint into God’s hands. He will comfort you.
The man born blind, who had received nothing but acceptance and mercy from Jesus, was being hammered by the Pharisees until he could take no more. He boldly defended Jesus in an outburst of wisdom they couldn’t refute. “They answered and said unto him, ‘You were altogether born in sins, and do you teach us? And they cast him out’” (John 9:34).
Their statement about the man being altogether born in sins reveals the attitude of the Jews in their day. The disciples who asked Jesus whether it was this man or his parents who sinned were simply coming from the common reference point of the day: if you have a problem, its because there is sin in your life. Jesus said that was not the case here (vv. 2-3).
The point I want us to take home from this verse is that the Pharisees kicked the man out of the synagogue. The most valuable testimony of God’s grace is out of the church walking the streets. What must have devastated the healed man, just might have been a gain to the lost outside. But that all depends upon how the healed man responds to this rejection. How do you do when people reject you? That’s when your light can shine brightest…but its up to you.
The Pharisees incessantly hounded the healed blind man because he would not declare Jesus to be a sinner. Finally this quiet and humble man opened his mouth: “Why, here is a marvelous thing, that you don’t know from where He is come, and yet He has opened my eyes. Now we know that God doesn’t hear sinners: but if any man be a worshiper of God, and does His will, him He hears. Since the world began it was not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. If this man were not of God, He could do nothing” (John 9:30b-33).
That’s pretty bold talk for a man who had spent his entire life feeling insecure and depending upon others for everything. Most people with his background would have backed down under such pressure. Sometimes when a person has a handicap, he/she learns to sharpen other senses. This guy seemed to have a pretty sharp mind and clear theological thinking for someone with no formal education. He just entangled the educated Pharisees in their own theology.
I love what God can do with a new Christian. When my spiritual eyes were first opened, I became a little radical myself. I didn’t know much about the Jesus of the Bible, but I knew I had to diligently search until I knew more. Thank God for people who stand up to religious hypocrites when its called for.
The Pharisees were pressuring the healed man to declare Jesus a sinner. “He answered and said, ‘Whether He be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that once I was blind, but now I see’” (John 9:25).
There is no explanation to how God opens the eyes of blind men, nor brings spiritual revelation to sinners. He just does it. When asked to pass judgment on someone who had been merciful to him, the blind man refused to pass blame. He refused to be entangled in the religious game these Pharisees were playing.
When others try to pull us into their religious arguments, let’s just stay neutral. Here’s a good comeback to anyone’s childish effort to get us divided: “I don’t know; all I know is once I was blind, but now I see”. How can anyone argue with that?
The opposition Pharisees were pressuring the man healed of blindness: “A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. ‘Give glory to God,’ they said. ‘We know this man is a sinner’” (John 9:24). Here are two opposing terms that don’t go together. You cannot give glory to God while calling His sinless Son a sinner. It reveals the spiritual darkness that ruled in the Pharisee’s hearts.
There had been a 400 year silence since God last revealed Himself to Israel in the book of Malachi. This generation didn’t know God spoke or interacted with humans. Suddenly, Jesus came on the scene and began speaking God’s words and setting people free. It rocked their world. The Pharisees thought they could somehow give glory to Father God by resisting the Son, Jesus. Jesus is how God reveals Himself. “No man comes to the Father except through Me,” Jesus said in John 14:6b. He is the bridge.
As you admire the works of God today, remember that it is Jesus, His Son, that gives you sight to see it.
The opposition group in Jerusalem were interrogating the parents of the man born blind. They replied, “‘Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself.’ His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews, for already the Jews had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Christ would be put out of the synagogue. That was why his parents said, ‘He is of age; ask him’” (John 9:21b-23).
Now, this account unfairly uses the term “the Jews” to identify the Pharisees in opposition to Jesus. They were all Jews, including Jesus and those who defended Him. The one thing that’s clear is that these religious leaders ruled by fear. If you didn’t agree with their philosophy, you were “put out”, or disfellowshipped, or excommunicated. No one wanted to be kicked out of the synagogue, just as no one wants to be kicked out of a church.
But, we can’t control people in church by fear. That’s how tyrants seek to control opposition groups in countries like Iran and North Korea. God’s people should be influencing one another by love, not fear. Let’s each work hard to love people into the Kingdom.
“‘Is this your son?’ they asked. ‘Is this the one you say was born blind? How is it that now he can see?’ ‘We know he is our son,’ the parents answered, ‘and we know he was born blind. But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don’t know’” (John 9:19-21a).
How could such wonderful news bring about such suspicion? Why weren’t people celebrating? An awesome breakthrough had just happened. Why weren’t these people praising God for the breakthrough?
I remember years ago someone began attending our church from another church in the area. He reported that people in his previous church were complaining about New Hope. “Any church that grows that fast has got to be doing something wrong. Good churches just don’t grow like that!” they were saying. Other churches were suspicious of our growth and the excitement within. Other pastors were also saying negative things about our church and kept the pot stirred.
Perhaps there is more than one way to do something. And if the old way doesn’t work anymore, perhaps we should try something different. The Jews were critical of this new result that made them look inept. But who was rejoicing that someone was healed? Jesus said, “Do not forbid him, for he who is not against us is on our side” (Luke 9:50). In this dark world, let’s rejoice in any spiritual breakthrough, regardless of the source.