John 9 – Jesus Heals Blindness

  • Read John 9 here.
  • If you missed Sunday’s sermon (22 March) on this text you can listen to it here.

This is one of my favorite Bible stories.  There’s a lot of drama and not of the joy that a reader would expect when Jesus heals a man who has been blind since birth.  However, the whole story is a kind of metaphor for spiritual blindness, which Jesus discusses in v35-41.

In my sermon I identified several blind people found in this chapter.  I’ve listed them below:

  • v2 – Jesus’ disciples were blind to the “blind man’s” plight.  They only saw his condition, not his suffering, and turned it into an intellectual puzzle.
  • v8 – The “blind man’s” neigbours had seen him begging for years, but indifference to him blinded them to his identity.  They couldn’t even recognise him after he’d been healed.  Surely this wouldn’t have  been an issue if they’d made the effort to get to know him before.
  • v20-23 – The “blind man’s ” parents were intimidated by the religious leaders and refused defend their son.  Their fear blinded them and they couldn’t see how they could help him.
  • v28-29 – The Pharisees’ loyalty to Moses and confidence in the truth of their teaching blinded them to the fact that God had performed a miraculous healing through Jesus.
  • v34 – The Pharisees’ prejudice against the “blind man”, who they regarded as sinful and ignorant, blinded them to the truth of his words.

Thus, by the end of the chapter, the man who starts out as blind is the only one who can truly see, and everyone else is blind.  Only the blind begger has seen the power of God and identified Jesus as the Son of Man.

Either as a church or individually, what sort of things might blind us to seeing people the way God sees them?  What prevents us from seeing God’s power at work around us?  Please share your comments.


Advertisements

4 comments

  1. Steve

    Hi Peter,
    I’ve always enjoyed this chapter especially for the transformation of the original blind man from a silent begger to a practical person who verbally spars with the Jewish leaders and seems to be in no way intimidated by them. The scripture does not indicate whether he had any emotional reaction at all after being able to see for the first time – no joy, no gratefulness, or no praise. There is even no indication that he recognizes Jesus’ voice or acknowledges Him as the healer when they meet the second time.

    I’ve wondered if the man’s answer would have been the same had the question been asked before he was given his sight. The important thing is that he was first hand witness to a miracle, recognized it as the work of God, believed in Jesus as His Son, and worshipped Him. John 20:29 offers this for us – “blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

  2. Mark Wagner

    Overfamiliarity can blind us to seeing God working around us. We can’t possibly think that God could use someone close to us in a special way.
    The story I’m thinking of is Jesus teaching his hometown folk in Luke 4. After he finishes teaching he says in verse 24:
    “I tell you the truth,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown.
    and in verses 28-29….
    All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him down the cliff.

  3. ben overby

    We see what we’re trained to see. We inherit a worldview from our parents and the broader culture around us (church, etc.). We’re all in the dark until we get some of Jesus’ light on our map. Sadly, His light only serves to make many squint and turn back into themselves, their traditional way of seeing the world. His light didn’t penetrate the view of the religious bosses of His day so they stuck Him up on a tree. What would we do with Jesus if he came calling on us today?

  4. ozziepete

    Thanks for your comments guys. All good stuff to think about. The blind man’s transformation demonstrates God’s power as much as just healing the eyes.
    I think Mark’s answer of overfamiliarity is a good one. God sees people for who they can become, we often just see people for who they are, or sometimes, when we don’t recognize change, for who they were.
    Two of the situations hit me particularly hard:
    1. The Townspeople: How many people do I regularly encounter but wouldn’t recognise them if they were in a different role. I never take the time to get to know them and therefore can’t know their needs or how the Gospel is most relevant to their lives.
    2. The Pharisees: We encourage people to be confident in Christ, in their faith, not to doubt. Yet in this situation the Pharisees were overconfident/familiar with their beliefs and wouldn’t consider another option that turned out to be the truth. This is not a place I want to find myself in.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s