John 9.13-41 — Who is really blind?

Doing good just makes trouble for oneself, especially for Jesus. Ah, the day he healed the man who was born blind? You guessed it: the Sabbath. Again, it was no accident. Jesus loved to challenge their religious rules, especially the ones that put a higher priority on traditions than on godly values. You see, Jesus had made a mud paste to put on the blind man’s eyes, and that falls under the definition of “work,” and is therefore forbidden on the Sabbath. When the Pharisees found that out, they condemned Jesus outright. “He obviously has no respect for God, so he can’t be from God.”

The people were quick thinkers, though: “If he’s a sinner, how can he do such miraculous things by the power of God?” Hm.

So they asked the formerly blind man, “What do you think? You were there.”

“I think he’s a prophet,” he said.

There were people around who didn’t think he was the guy who had been born blind, or that maybe he wasn’t really blind, or maybe he really wasn’t born that way, or maybe, or maybe, or just maybe we can snake out of the idea that Jesus healed a man born blind! There must be a misunderstanding, or a trick, or a hoax going on. So they sent for the man’s parents: they needed better evidence than a blind-man-now-seeing standing right in front of them.

“Is this your son? Was he born blind? How is that he can now see?”

“Um, we know our son,” they said. “This is he, and, yep, he was born blind alright. But we don’t know how he can see now. Ask him. He’s an adult.”

So they cross-examined the formerly blind man again. “Tell us the truth this time. We know Jesus is a sinner, so something is really fishy here.”

The man replied, “I don’t know anything about his moral or spiritual life. But I can tell you this: I was blind, and now I can see.”

“But what did he do? How did he do it?”

“I already told you, but you didn’t listen then. Do you want to become his disciples, too?”

Oh, they were angry at that. “You’re just biased. You’re his disciple, too. But we are Jews of the highest order: we follow Moses! We know God spoke to Moses, but we don’t know much at all about this Jesus guy.”

The “blind” man was quick to see: “That’s amazing. He does what only God can do by healing my blindness, and you claim not to know where he gets his power?”

“Well,” he continued, “we know that God doesn’t listen to sinners, but he does empower people who are obedient to him. But nobody ever healed a blind man before. Nobody. If this man weren’t from God, he wouldn’t be able to do anything like this.” He’s answering their question, but they’re too blind to see it.

As you know, when you don’t have a rational answer, you attack the person. The Pharisees said, “You’re just an uneducated peasant, and a sinner at that. How dare you try to teach us!” And they threw him out.

After that ordeal, Jesus found the man to talk to him. “What do you believe about the Messiah?”

The man replied, “Who is he? Tell me so that I may believe in him.”

“I am he,” Jesus said. “You have seen the Messiah, and talked with him.” The man worshipped Jesus, and Jesus didn’t stop him.

Jesus said, “It’s ironic how things work out. I come into the world, and blind people see, but seeing people are blind.”

Some Pharisees were within earshot. “Are you calling us blind?”

“See for yourselves,” Jesus said. If they were not blind, they would be able to see. But can they? If they can’t see, then their shortcoming, and therefore their guilt, is obvious.

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