C. S. Lewis wrote in his book, The Problem of Pain, “If God were good, he would wish to make his creatures perfectly happy, and if God were almighty he would be able to do what he wished. But the creatures are not happy. Therefore God lacks either goodness, or power, or both.”
The problem of suffering and disability is an issue every human confronts, whether a believer in God or not. We live in a world where everything is a cause or and effect. John could have recorded John 9:1 NKJV Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth and continued to John 9:5 NKJV As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” and the miracle to follow. Yet here we have one of the two times (Luke 13:1-5, John 9) Jesus directly confronted and idea common in the Jewish circles – namely, the notion suffering and sin are directly related. Specifically, many believed when people suffered from a major disease such as leprosy, or blindness it was punishment for sin, either the one with, or the parents of the one with the disease.
Jesus own disciples also suffered from this above-mentioned notion, as they were the ones who asked. It is difficult, if not impossible to know why they asked the question. Perhaps, Jesus has said something only they were aware of and was seeking further understanding. Or they were aware of the Luke 13 miracle and wanted to know more. But what ever the reason Jesus sought to correct the notion at least among His disciples. John 9:3 NKJV Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.
Certainly, the miracles of Jesus were in a verity of places, on a number of issues and or maladies and addressed in many different ways. Here mud made with spit seems to be the method chosen. Yet as was the fact in each of the other miracles the method was important to Jesus alone. The blind man did not know from where the mud came only that he was to wash in the pool of Silo-am (which is translated Sent). When he returned he was able to see.
The reminder of the text concerns the reactions of various groups. Interesting is the account of various people familiar with the man described as “blind from birth.” Some thought his begging was merely a ploy, some thought he only looked like the man, John 9:9 NKJV Some said, “This is he.” Others said, “He is like him.” He said, “I am he.” Whatever was said the man fully owned up to the fact he was born blind and now he could see. He did not know what had happened to Jesus only describing what Jesus had done and told him to do.
As there was a difference of opinion as to this Sign they brought him to the Pharisees. Surely these learned men of God would know the truth of the matter. Yet after much questioning of the man they were as divided as the towns people. They called for his parents to interrogate as to if he was really born blind or not and were told he was and they did not know how he could now see. The Jews had put into effect a plan to degrade Jesus by putting any who claimed he was the Christ out of the synagogue.
The cross examining continues to the end of the chapter. The religious officials put the blind man out of the synagogue. When Jesus heard this He found the man just like the infirm man at Bethesda, neither of which were healed due to their faith. John 9:35-39 NKJV Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said to him, “Do you believe in the Son of God?” 36 He answered and said, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?” 37 And Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you.” 38 Then he said, “Lord, I believe!” And he worshiped Him. 39 And Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.”
The Pharisees, “like a dog on a bone,” had hear Jesus conversation about the blind and knew Jesus was talking concerning spiritual blindness. John 9:40-41 NKJV Then some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these words, and said to Him, “Are we blind also?” 41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, ‘We see.’ Therefore, your sin remains. Jesus informs them if they were simply ignorant of His Signs and corresponding authoritative word they would not be held accountable for rejecting Jesus. But such was not the case they clearly and boldly rejected Jesus Signs and doctrine and that was imputed to them as sin.
Just as it was in Jesus time on this earth it remains even to today. There will be many who will witnesses the deeds of our Lord and Savior and obey and many many more who will reject. Some will reject outright like the Pharisees and others will reject as time passes like the Jews on Pentecost. But like the man born blind that now could see those who believe will not be surprised by the failings of so many.
- Where did both the healing of the infirm man at Bethesda pool and the blind man take place?
- What question did the disciples ask Jesus when they saw the blind beggar?
- What purpose did Jesus say the blindness of this man would serve?
- What happened to the blind man after washing the dirt from his eyes?
- Why did the Pharisees object to the healing of the blind man?
- How did the blind man explain his sight to his neighbors? To the Pharisees?
- To Whom did the Pharisees turn to disprove the blind man’s healing?
- Why did the parents refuse to become involved with the Pharisees question?
- Describe what Jesus physically did for the blind man.
- Describe the difference in the reaction of the infirm man and the blind man.
- Describe the reaction of the neighbors to his healing.