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Articles

Healing a Blind Man

“But though He had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him” (John 12:37). So begins John’s conclusion to Jesus’ public ministry. The problem was not lack of evidence; it was how people approached the evidence. Nowhere is that better illustrated than when Jesus healed a man born blind (John 9).

Jesus worked this miracle by rather unusual means. He spat on the ground, made clay of the spittle, applied it to the man’s eyes, then told him to go wash in the pool of Siloam. Why do it this way? We do not know. Jesus frequently varied His procedure, perhaps to emphasize that the power was in Him, not in formulas or rituals. In this case, it tested the man’s faith. He obeyed and received his sight.

Initially, public discussion about this incident was whether a miracle had occurred or this was a case of mistaken identity. The blind man’s testimony settled that. When He attributed the miracle to Jesus, the neighbors brought the case to the Pharisees.

As was often the case, Jesus healed this man on a Sabbath. The Pharisees,  therefore, quickly divided. Some said Jesus could not be from God because He violated the Sabbath. Others countered that He must be from God because He could make the blind see.

The blind man could clearly see that Jesus was a prophet. Wishing to avoid that obvious conclusion, the Pharisees questioned the man’s parents, hoping to find some reason to deny the miracle. The parents were too afraid to confess Jesus and so deferred to their son’s testimony.

Further interrogation of the blind man only proved embarrassing for the Pharisees. The witness became the prosecutor. With wit and sarcasm he asked if they, too, wanted to become Jesus’ disciples, and expressed amazement at what these experts did not know. They ended the matter by putting him out, evidently putting him out of the synagogue (note v. 22).

This incident illustrates four reactions to Jesus and the truth He revealed.

Some, like the neighbors, are curious and ask questions, but they then blindly accept whatever religious leaders tell them.

Some, like the Pharisees, already have their minds made up. They spend their time trying to deny the obvious. Old beliefs are indeed hard to abandon. Nevertheless, no one in this account looks more foolish than these hard-headed enemies of truth.

Some, like the parents, know the truth but are too afraid to acknowledge it. No one can remain neutral; you are either for Jesus or against Him (Matthew 12:30).

Some, like the blind man, simply accept facts, objectively examine the evidence, and draw the only realistic conclusion: “Lord, I believe” (v. 38). Which group are you in?

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