Musings From the Gospel of John – Number 22

The Scriptures covered in this post are from John 9:13-34

John 9:13-17 NASB
“They brought to the Pharisees the man who was formerly blind. Now it was a Sabbath on the day when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. Then the Pharisees also were asking him again how he received his sight. And he said to them, “He applied clay to my eyes, and I washed, and I see.” Therefore some of the Pharisees were saying, “This man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath.” But others were saying, “How can a man who is a sinner perform such [a]signs?” And there was a division among them. So they said to the blind man again, “What do you say about Him, since He opened your eyes?” And he said, “He is a prophet.”

It’s not hard to see that Jesus seemed to have a habit of doing things on the Sabbath. For a quick refresher on the significance of the Sabbath click here.

And if you are curious why Jesus used spittle and some soil or dirt to make a clay, my friend Tom at the following link provided some updated interesting insight:

These two particular Scriptures as quoted in the Sabbath linked post just above are critically important.

Mark 2:27-28 NIV  “Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.

John 5:16-18 NIV  “So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him. In his defense Jesus said to them, My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.”

For me, this means that the Sabbath commandment was made by God for man, not for man to add burdens to the Sabbath which defeat the spirit of the Law, and not for the purpose of restricting God Himself from doing good, or even us for that matter, when we’re following God’s will to assist or help someone. Our rest is in God, our reliance and trust is in Him, we are commanded to rest and trust in Him because our efforts won’t work to make us holy, God Himself is not subject to the restrictions of the Sabbath because the whole point of the Sabbath is for man to come to the understanding and acknowledgement that we are to trust and rely on what God can and does for us.

Clearly, as noted, there was a division among the Pharisees as to how something obviously good, and extraordinary like this healing of a blind man (that had never before been done throughout the history of the Old Testament) that Jesus had just performed, could be done by someone who was a man and in their mind, subject to not “working”, but at the same time, this healing could not be accomplished by an ordinary man. I’m thinking that they knew instinctively what this healing was pointing to, that Jesus was not an ordinary man but they didn’t like the conclusion that was being drawn.

So they ask the man who was healed and he tells them that he thinks that Jesus is a prophet, because in the Old Testament, a prophet was someone who God acted and spoke through, which would obviously make sense. But you will note, the Jews even reject that.

John 9:18-34 NASB
“The Jews then did not believe it of him, that he had been blind and had received sight, until they called the parents of the very one who had received his sight, and questioned them, saying, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? Then how does he now see?” His parents answered them and said, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind;but how he now sees, we do not know; or who opened his eyes, we do not know. Ask him; he is of age, he will speak for himself.” His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone confessed Him to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue. For this reason his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”

So a second time they called the man who had been blind, and said to him, “Give glory to God; we know that this man is a sinner.” He then answered, “Whether He is a sinner, I do not know; one thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” So they said to him, “What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?” He answered them, “I told you already and you did not listen; why do you want to hear it again? You do not want to become His disciples too, do you? 

They reviled him and said, “You are His disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where He is from.” The man answered and said to them, “Well, here is an amazing thing, that you do not know where He is from, and yet He opened my eyes. We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears him. Since the beginning of time it has never been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. If this man were not from God, He could do nothing.” They answered him, “You were born entirely in sins, and are you teaching us?” So they put him out.

What follows next is we see that the Jews do not actually believe that this man who claims that Jesus healed him from blindness, was really blind, so they question his parents and his parents confirm that he was indeed born blind but that they themselves (his parents) do not know how he received his sight back. Evidently there had been discussion within the synagogue about who Jesus was previously and it had been agreed upon that if anyone confessed Jesus as being the Christ (the Messiah), he was to be put out of the synagogue.

Being put out of the synagogue was a serious situation and it was considered as a form of excommunication. The Jews had three types of excommunication: one lasting 30 days, during which the person could not come within six feet of anybody else; one for an indefinite time, during which the person was excluded from all fellowship and worship; and one that meant absolute expulsion forever. These judgements were very serious because no one could conduct business with a person who was excommunicated (as in buying food or other goods).

When they go back to question the man who had been healed, they (the Jews) let the man know that in their opinion, they know that Jesus is a sinner. The healed man repeats what happened and does not agree with them, indicating that he only knows that he was blind but now he sees. Because he has to repeat himself, there is some sarcasm uttered where he infers they are asking him to repeat himself again and again, so they must want to be one of Jesus’ disciples. It’s also interesting to note that they were all aware that Jesus had disciples. The Jews don’t take kindly to his inference.

The concluding dialogue notes that the healing of a blind man was basically unheard of and had never previously been observed or recorded. This was NOT just another healing, it was a very significant healing and one in which everyone would be talking about, which I am sure that Jesus knew would happen, when He healed him. It’s also interesting to note that the authoritative stance that the Jews refer back to is Moses, who the Jews acknowledged as a Prophet of God. And these are the words that initially Moses and later Peter, had uttered to Israel:

Deuteronomy 18:15-18 NASB
“The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him. This is according to all that you asked of the Lord your God in Horeb on the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, let me not see this great fire anymore, or I will die.’ The Lord said to me, ‘They have spoken well. I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him.”

Acts 3:19-23 NASB
“Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time. Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brethren; to Him you shall give heed to everything He says to you. And it will be that every soul that does not heed that prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.’

The final Scripture in this section reads as follows:

“If this man were not from God, He could do nothing.” They answered him, “You were born entirely in sins, and are you teaching us?” So they put him out.

The noteworthiness of this healing speaks for itself and the man who was healed states that. But the Jews reject his observation, noting that he is a sinner and who is he to teach them.

That sinner was a blind man who was healed by Jesus, the Son of God, the Messiah, the Christ, but they missed that. And to this very day, many Jews and Gentiles still do.

It is also noteworthy that this particular healing, returning sight to someone who was blind, had been reserved for Jesus to do and speaks of Israel, having eyes, but being blind to their Messiah and to their God.

Jeremiah 5:20-23 NASB
“Declare this in the house of Jacob;
 proclaim it in Judah:
 “Hear this, O foolish and senseless people,
    who have eyes, but see not,
    who have ears, but hear not.
Do you not fear me? declares the Lord.
    Do you not tremble before me?
I placed the sand as the boundary for the sea,
    a perpetual barrier that it cannot pass;
though the waves toss, they cannot prevail;
    though they roar, they cannot pass over it.
But this people has a stubborn and rebellious heart;
    they have turned aside and gone away.

Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!


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