Looking at the Light through John - Chapter 9

God Has a Plan

The scene in the temple treasury ended with the Jewish hierarchy’s standing with stones in their hands and Jesus’ scurrying for safety. A lengthy discussion beginning with the Lord’s statement, “I am the light of the world,” and ending with His claim, “Before Abraham was born, I AM,” resulted in open warfare on the Jews’ part. Jesus could have called for His angels, but instead used an escape route out of the temple, humble in the form of a hiding man.

Making His way out of the temple buildings and on to the dusty streets of Jerusalem, Christ led His followers to safety. “And as He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth” (John 9:1). Startling events were to about to devolve from this “chance” passing of Jesus by this blind man, fleeing through town on a Sabbath day.

The plan of God centers about the mission and message of Jesus. May each of us voluntarily serve in this grand schematic of God, executing His will with joy and peace.



As Long As It Is Day

“The mind of man plans his way,” noted the wisdom of Solomon, “but the Lord directs his steps” (Proverbs 16:15). Man must plan, or he gets nothing done. This was true of the Lord Jesus during the years of His earthly sojourn also; without a plan He would not have accomplished His mission. “We must work the works of Him who sent Me,” He commented, “as long as it is day; night is coming, when no man can work” (John 9:4). Conscious of the shortness of time, the Master of disciples expressed the urgency of His mission to the apostles; in His expressions, He laid the foundation for stewardship of “the day” for all who would claim His name in the age of the church.

The harvest of souls was the great concern of Jesus, tiller of the fields of humanity. “Lift up your eyes,” He had told the apostles earlier, in a passage through Samaria, “and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest” (John 4:35). Those with a love for the lost will see with uplifted eyes, and, straining with every fiber of their beings, will make the most of the time, bringing in the harvest while it is yet day. The time for rest — the night — will come.



Washing in Siloam

The blind man sat in his place as the apostles of Jesus passed by. But this was not your average blind man; this man was one who would stand for truth in the face of the strongest opposition. He did not yet know this about himself, and the apostles certainly were not cognizant of how special this cast off from the nation of Israel was. Jesus, however, did know. In answer to the disciples’ query about whether the man himself was a terrible sinner or whether it was his parents who had grievously transgressed, the Son of Man responded, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was in order that the works of God might be displayed in him” (John 9:3). In the providence of God, the right man was in the right place at the right time, in the right condition!

The washing of this man is instructive, pointing to the washing away of believer’s sins in the waters of immersion. No one would seriously claim that this man earned his sight by walking to the pool of Siloam and washing the mud out of his eyes; this was a healing that Jesus performed out of His great mercy, and the man simply followed instructions. In the same way, no one could seriously claim that by walking to a pool and being lowered into the water a person would be earning his salvation. The Lord out of His great mercy offers opportunity for remission of sins for all, and those desirous of His blessings simply follow instructions.



More Controversy

Those who associate themselves with Jesus often find themselves involved in controversy, because the agenda of the Lord runs counter to the agenda of this world, and the world in reaction becomes hostile. Consider the case of the innocent man healed by Jesus when he followed instructions by washing his eyes in the pool of Siloam. After he received back his sight, his neighbors were confused and argumentative. Some said that he was the one who used to sit and beg; others said that he could not be. When the man then gave the details about Jesus’ healing him, they then asked, “Where is He?” As he had gone one way and the Lord another, the formerly blind man had to answer: “I do not know” (John 9:12).

The truth of God was especially revealed in Jesus Christ. The god of this world – Satan – wants to wipe the image of Jesus off the earth, and envelope mankind in a plastic layer of falsehood. Consequently, those who stand for the Lord and for the truth are constantly in the middle of controversy. Thus it was, thus it is, and thus it shall be, until Jesus comes again.



Crumpling Under Pressure

The forces of darkness use intimidation, incarceration, or annihilation to pressure people into molds that do not support the truth. The scripture records the unfolding of the plan of God in the matrix of human history, and dutifully notes the efforts of Satan’s minions to shut down the forward movement of God. These are written for our instruction and edification, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.

A blind man was healed when he, at the instruction of Jesus, washed a spitball mudpack from his eyes in the pool of Siloam. Because this was done on a Sabbath, the Pharisees hauled him before their tribunal, trying to find out what was going on and to intimidate the Jewish people in general no longer to participate in any such activities on the Sabbath. He who was formerly blind caused consternation among the ranking Pharisees by indicating that he thought Jesus to be a prophet. His parents, however, were not so bold on the witness stand.

The blind man’s parents crumpled under pressure, caving in when intimidation showed its face. We, as Christians, empowered by the Spirit, “are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul” (Hebrews 10:39). Jesus is indeed “Apostle and High Priest of our confession” (Hebrews 3:1).



Cross Examination

First, the man who had been formerly blind appeared before the Pharisees’ kangaroo court. When he stated that he believed Jesus to be a prophet, they immediately drew the conclusion that the man had an agenda of promoting Jesus, and had made up the story of his being healed. The parents of the man did not give them much satisfaction either, for when the key question came as to how this man had been healed, they would not answer. “Ask him,” they said. “He is of age, he shall speak for himself.”

This man was grateful to Jesus for His having given him sight. It was not a mere passing “thank You.” This individual was willing to stand before the ranking Jews and firmly defend the Lord, and even press on their minds the idea that they should become Jesus’ disciples.

But the receiving of physical sight is small and temporary as compared to receiving spiritual sight. Those who have had the veil of their flesh removed in Christ and can thus the see the glory of God in the face of Christ should be infinitely more grateful. This man could now see the green grass and flowers, kittens and baby goats, and the faces of those who loved him. But what are these compared to the glories of the eternal city and the face of the God who loved us enough to give us His Son?

If this man had the courage to confess Jesus to be the Christ, how much more those who have received the indwelling Holy Spirit? If this man pressed a hostile audience to become disciples of Jesus, how much more those who have the opportunity to spread the word among family, friends, neighbors, and work associates? May our attitude of gratitude be reflected in our earnest desire to make disciples!




Disciples of Whom?

The man, formerly blind but of great courage, challenged the Pharisees even while he was on trial. When they asked him one more time how Jesus had opened his eyes, he responded, “Why do you want to hear it again?” Then he boldly suggested, “You do not want to become His disciples too, do you?”

At this point in His ministry Jesus was very controversial; indeed, He was the most controversial figure to ever appear on this earth. He just been nearly stoned and run out of the temple for claiming to be the great I AM, and the other preachments of the Christ had generated a crescendo of opposition that was not going to be satisfied until Jesus was dead and gone. So when he who was formerly blind suggested that these Pharisees might want to become disciples of the Lord also, they scurried for verbal cover.

The reasoning was clear and the conclusion was inescapable: Jesus was a teacher come from God. Blinded by their position and ambition, the Pharisees could not think clearly, forcing their minds down the road to conclude, in spite of the evidence, that Jesus was a pretender. The blind man, however, reasoned accurately, and gladly became a disciple of Jesus.

The same scenario goes on today. People either think clearly and become disciples of Jesus, or they are blinded by personal passions, and refuse to let their minds draw the conclusion that Jesus brought the message from God to man. Listen to the Bible, and obey!



They Put Him Out!

Like all honest men, the man healed at Siloam’s pool drew the conclusion that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God. “If this Man were not from God,” he noted in his testimony before the Pharisaical court, “He could do nothing.” But the court had a hidden agenda. It’s purpose was not really to get to the truth or establish the facts of the case; it’s purpose was really to find more grounds for condemning the One sent from God as a teacher. Consequently, when the man’s testimony and statements were not consistent with the aims of the court, they censured the witness.

These things are written for our instruction. One of the great lessons from this passage in the record of the life of Jesus on earth is His great compassion for each of those who follow Him. He is with every Christian, and makes great efforts to sustain and encourage every one of His spiritual children. Secondly, the cost of becoming a disciple of Christ is never too great. The blind man of record lost everything to take a stand for the truth; no one today has any reasonable excuse for not making his whole-hearted commitment to the cause of Christ. Let each of us press on, then, fighting our personal battles, and carrying the message to the lost, knowing that each of them will have his own personal challenges to deal with also.



Prostration before Jesus

The outcasts of this world are often the ones who come to Jesus. The smug and self-satisfied often feel they have no need of God, and are not interested in pursuing truth. But the blind, the halt, the deaf and dumb, seeing more clearly the futility of chasing earthly fame and fortune, are many times more willing to examine the claims of Christ upon their souls and willing to yield themselves humbly to His will.

Such a man was the one healed at Siloam. Blind from birth, but able to reason clearly in the spiritual realm, this man stood firm against the pressures of the Pharisees in defending the Messenger of God sent to earth. He knew that Jesus had come from God and was willing to be put out of the synagogue rather than deny Christ. Jesus, in concern and with compassion, backtracked to find the man and encourage him.

How are people to be moved from an emphasis on the physical to recognizing the importance of the spiritual? This man had been blind physically, and when healed by the Lord, was willing to stand on trial for Him, to be cut off from Jewish society for Him, and humbly to worship Him. How much more those who have been blind spiritually and who receive their spiritual sight through the gospel? How much more should they be willing to be tried for the sake of Jesus, to be cast off from friends and family? How much more should they be willing to assemble with the saints, and to worship King Jesus in spirit and in truth, exhibited in the commitment of their whole lives? Where is the humble thanksgiving to the Son of Man?



Who’s Blind Here?

The compassionate Christ tracked down him who had been thrown out of the synagogue. In this reunion of the Healer and the healed, the formerly blind man was informed that Jesus was indeed the Son of Man, and that he was seeing with his own eyes the Christ of God. Upon receiving this confirmation, the man fell at Jesus’ feet in worship of the King, saying, “Lord, I believe.”

A crowd of people was, as usual, with Jesus, some of them being Pharisees. (Jesus had some tough problems to deal with: a stoning of His person had just been attempted by the Pharisees, a man who had been healed by the Lord was put on trial and disfellowshiped by the Pharisees, and now, as He comes back to the man who was healed, He has to put up with Pharisees in His entourage!) But our Lord continued to teach and to teach and to teach, even using this situation as a teaching opportunity.

The Lord was in no way fooled by the Pharisees traveling among the ranks of His followers. He read their hearts and knew that they were more interested in maintaining their positions than in learning the ways of God from the One who knew. The divine analysis was that those men were blind and in sin.

May we with humble hearts put aside any pride or position and learn from the Great Teacher, and consequently “see.”