John 9:1-41—As he [Jesus] 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 was born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6 Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud 7 and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.
8The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar were saying, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” 9 Some said, “It is he.” Others said, “No, but he is like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.” 10 So they said to him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” 11 He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed and received my sight.” 12 They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.”
13They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. 14 Now it was a Sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. 15 So the Pharisees again asked him how he had received his sight. And he said to them, “He put mud on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.” 16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” And there was a division among them. 17 So they said again to the blind man, “What do you say about him, since he has opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.”
18The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight, until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight 19 and asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” 20 His parents answered, “We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. 21 But how he now sees we do not know, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.” 22 (His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone should confess Jesus to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue.) 23 Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”
24So for the 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.” 25 He answered, “Whether he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” 26 They said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” 27 He answered them, “I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?” 28 And they reviled him, saying, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. 29 We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.” 30 The man answered, “Why, this is an amazing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him. 32 Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” 34 They answered him, “You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us?” And they cast him out.
35Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 36 He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” 37 Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.” 38 He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.
39Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” 40 Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?” 41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.”
In the name of Jesus. Amen.
The Pharisees sure claim to “know” a lot of things. Most importantly, they know that Jesus can’t be from God since He breaks the Sabbath. They know that Jesus is a sinner, a nobody.
The formerly blind man doesn’t know very much. He doesn’t know where Jesus is. He doesn’t know exactly how Jesus opened his eyes. He doesn’t know whether or not Jesus is a sinner. The only thing he knows is that he was blind, but now he sees.
The formerly blind man knows that Jesus has done something great for him. Something that had never been done before. “Never since the world began (from eternity/the aeons) has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind” (v. 32).
He is right. Nowhere in the Old Testament does any blind person have their sight restored. None of God’s prophets had ever done this before. Think of Moses, Joshua, Elijah, Elisha. They did some amazing things – parting seas, causing the sun to stand still, cleansing lepers, even raising the dead – but none of them opened the eyes of the blind.
Isaiah prophesized that the Messiah would open blind eyes (Is. 29:18, 35:5, 42:7, 18). The Pharisees knew these passages. But now, standing before them plain to see, is a man who had been blind from birth, but now, his eyes are opened.
But what do the Pharisees do? They blind themselves to what that means. Because of the hardness of their hearts they refuse to see what is going on. Their knowledge blinds them so that they cannot see who Jesus is. Even though they see, they chose to be blind.
As the Pharisees press the formerly blind man with their knowledge. They try to get him to accuse Jesus of being a sinner. But the blind man will not say that Jesus is a sinner. He says, “We know that God does not listen to sinners. And if this [Jesus] were not from God, He could do nothing” (v. 31, 33).
The Pharisees then accuse the formerly blind man of having been born in sin and throw him out of the synagogue. But in rejecting the formerly blind man, they reject Jesus, the only one who can cure their blindness.
But if you reject the only one who can help you, what hope is left for you?
Fellow sinners, we are not the man born blind; we are the Pharisees. God’s miracles constantly surround us, but we blind ourselves to them.
Husbands and wives, God has given you the perfect help mate. God has blessed you with a companion. But you blind yourself to that. You only see your spouse’s shortcomings.
Parents, God has given you the miracle of children. God has given you the responsibility to care for and raise His creation. But you blind yourself to that. You only see parasites.
Children, God has given you parents to care for you, provide for you, and protect you. God has given you a loving home. But you blind yourself to that. You only see tyrants.
God gives you all wonderful vocations so that you can serve and love your neighbor. But you blind yourself to that. You see drudgery.
Look, you blind!
Look at all the blessings God gives. Everything you see is from God your Father who always gives what is best. Everything you have is gift. Everything is grace. Yet, what do you do? You whine. You complain. You sin.
But that is precisely why Christ came and died. Jesus came to have mercy on sinners – even blind Pharisees like you. He has room at His table – especially for you blind sinners. Amen.
The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.