Irrefutable Logic: John 9:1-41

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As we continue moving through John’s gospel, we come to a longer event that contains another significant healing. However, as I read this event, the healing is not the detail that stands out to me. Instead, I am amazed at the truth Jesus shares as this event opens, at something the formerly blind man says to the religious leaders, and at Jesus’ concluding statement.

With that said, let’s read this passage together. Our passage is found in John’s gospel, chapter 9, and we will be reading from the New Living Translation. Starting in verse 1, John tells us that:

As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?”

“It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him. We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work. But while I am here in the world, I am the light of the world.”

Pausing here, I want to draw out the truth that sometimes God lets bad things happen because He wants to work through His people in powerful ways. While it is not pleasant to think about, sometimes the bad in the world, whether it is a tragic event, a natural disaster, or something similar, opens the door for God’s people to show love, kindness, and help to those who would otherwise be closed to receiving help.

In the case of this miracle, the man who was born blind was not born blind because of the sins of anyone connected with him. Instead, it was so God could be glorified. Continuing in verse 6:

Then he [Jesus] spit on the ground, made mud with the saliva, and spread the mud over the blind man’s eyes. He told him, “Go wash yourself in the pool of Siloam” (Siloam means “sent”). So the man went and washed and came back seeing!

His neighbors and others who knew him as a blind beggar asked each other, “Isn’t this the man who used to sit and beg?” Some said he was, and others said, “No, he just looks like him!”

But the beggar kept saying, “Yes, I am the same one!”

10 They asked, “Who healed you? What happened?”

11 He told them, “The man they call Jesus made mud and spread it over my eyes and told me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash yourself.’ So I went and washed, and now I can see!”

12 “Where is he now?” they asked.

“I don’t know,” he replied.

13 Then they took the man who had been blind to the Pharisees, 14 because it was on the Sabbath that Jesus had made the mud and healed him. 15 The Pharisees asked the man all about it. So he told them, “He put the mud over my eyes, and when I washed it away, I could see!”

16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man Jesus is not from God, for he is working on the Sabbath.” Others said, “But how could an ordinary sinner do such miraculous signs?” So there was a deep division of opinion among them.

17 Then the Pharisees again questioned the man who had been blind and demanded, “What’s your opinion about this man who healed you?”

The man replied, “I think he must be a prophet.”

18 The Jewish leaders still refused to believe the man had been blind and could now see, so they called in his parents. 19 They asked them, “Is this your son? Was he born blind? If so, how can he now see?”

20 His parents replied, “We know this is our son and that he was born blind, 21 but we don’t know how he can see or who healed him. Ask him. He is old enough to speak for himself.” 22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who had announced that anyone saying Jesus was the Messiah would be expelled from the synagogue. 23 That’s why they said, “He is old enough. Ask him.”

24 So for the second time they called in the man who had been blind and told him, “God should get the glory for this, because we know this man Jesus is a sinner.”

25 “I don’t know whether he is a sinner,” the man replied. “But I know this: I was blind, and now I can see!”

26 “But what did he do?” they asked. “How did he heal you?”

27 “Look!” the man exclaimed. “I told you once. Didn’t you listen? Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples, too?”

28 Then they cursed him and said, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses! 29 We know God spoke to Moses, but we don’t even know where this man comes from.”

30 “Why, that’s very strange!” the man replied. “He healed my eyes, and yet you don’t know where he comes from? 31 We know that God doesn’t listen to sinners, but he is ready to hear those who worship him and do his will. 32 Ever since the world began, no one has been able to open the eyes of someone born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he couldn’t have done it.”

34 “You were born a total sinner!” they answered. “Are you trying to teach us?” And they threw him out of the synagogue.

Pausing again, I love the emphasis this formerly blind man challenges the religious leaders with. It doesn’t take much to realize that the religious leaders had judged Jesus based on their own perspective and tradition and not on what He was actually doing. The religious leaders clearly disliked Jesus for helping people on the Sabbath, and for what appears to be this singular reason, they openly opposed and rejected Him.

However, there is no good response to the solid logic the formerly blind man challenges the religious leaders with. One of the most powerful statements about Jesus in the whole Bible is the key argument given at the end of this challenge. In verse 33, the formerly blind man challenges the religious leaders with the logic: “If this man [Jesus] were not from God, he couldn’t have done it.If Jesus was not from God, there would be no way He could have done the amazing miracles that He did. Not being able to counter this logic, the Pharisees and religious leaders resort to calling the formerly blind man a sinner and kicking him out of the synagogue.

But this man’s story isn’t finished yet. Continuing in verse 35, John tells us that:

35 When Jesus heard what had happened, he found the man and asked, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”

36 The man answered, “Who is he, sir? I want to believe in him.”

37 “You have seen him,” Jesus said, “and he is speaking to you!”

38 “Yes, Lord, I believe!” the man said. And he worshiped Jesus.

39 Then Jesus told him, “I entered this world to render judgment—to give sight to the blind and to show those who think they see that they are blind.”

40 Some Pharisees who were standing nearby heard him and asked, “Are you saying we’re blind?”

41 “If you were blind, you wouldn’t be guilty,” Jesus replied. “But you remain guilty because you claim you can see.

The last verse in our passage is powerful. Jesus tells the nearby Pharisees that they remain guilty because they claim they can see.

While this speaks in a subtle way against being arrogant, this is also a subtle hint for where our focus should be. If we were to take the topic of blindness and replace it with the topic of sin, Jesus’ statement would read something like, “If you realized you were sinners, you wouldn’t be guilty, but you remain guilty because you claim to be righteous.”

We could substitute many different topics into this framework, but at the heart of this message is the challenge and truth that realizing our weakness pushes us to need a Savior. When we believe we are good enough, smart enough, or skilled enough on our own, we reject God and the help He sent to us.

If we have any doubt or humility in our mind, and we should have at least some of each, we should acknowledge that we are all sinners, that we are all blind, but that with God’s help, and Jesus’ truth, we are saved. Only through Jesus can we do anything, and when we stand up to proclaim truth, we don’t focus on us, but on Jesus, the One who redeemed us!

As we come to the end of another podcast episode, here are the challenges I will leave you with:

As always, intentionally seek God first in your life and recognize and acknowledge that we need Jesus because we cannot be spiritually successful in life on our own. We need Jesus to redeem us and to wash us clean of sin.

Also, continue praying and studying the Bible for yourself to remind yourself who we are and who Jesus is. Through the pages of the Bible, discover just what God thinks of you and why Jesus came for you and me.

And as I end every set of challenges by saying in one way or another, never stop short of, back away from, chicken out of, or turn away from where God wants to lead you to in your life with Him!

Year in John – Episode 22: When Jesus heals a blind man one Sabbath, discover in the discussion/debate that happens a powerful truth about Jesus and how the religious leaders cannot answer the solid logic of the formerly blind man.

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