9. Blind Man

Jesus heals a man who was blind from birth (9:1-12).

As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind since birth. "Rabbi," we asked him, "was it the sins of his parents, or his own, that caused him to be born blind?"

Jesus said to us, "His blindness has nothing to do with his sins or those of his parents. He was born blind so that you might see God at work in him. As long as it is day we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is at hand when no one can work. As long as I am here in the world, I am the light of the world."

Having said this, he spat on the ground and made some mud with the saliva. Then he daubed it on the eyes of the blind man and said, "Now go and wash your face in the pool of Siloam (the name means "Sent"). So the blind man went away and washed in Siloam. When he returned he could see.

Mt. Hermon, north of Israel

The blind man's neighbors and others who used to see him sitting and begging, wondered whether this could be the same man. Some said, "Yes, he's the one." Others said, "No, but he certainly looks like the beggar." But he kept telling them, "Look, I am that man!"

"But how is it possible that you are now able to see?" they asked.

The blind man answered, "A man named Jesus made some mud, daubed it on my eyes, and said, 'Go to Siloam and wash your face.' When I went there and washed, suddenly I was able to see."

"Where is that man?" they asked.

"I don't know," he answered.

Since Jesus has performed the healing on a Sabbath, the Pharisees conclude that Jesus cannot be, as he claims, from God. We see the power of a personal testimony and people's refusal to believe the obvious when it doesn't agree with their beliefs (9:13-41).

The day on which Jesus had made mud and cured the blind man was a Sabbath. So the people brought the man to the Pharisees, who asked him how he had been cured of his blindness. He answered, "A man named Jesus put mud on my eyes. He told me to go and wash in Siloam, and when I did I was able to see."

Some of the Pharisees said, "This man Jesus can't be from God or he would not have broken the Sabbath laws."

But others said, "How could a man who is a sinner perform such a miracle?"

They turned to the blind man and asked, "What do you say about him? After all, it was your eyes that he opened."

"I consider him a prophet," answered the man.

Modern Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives

But the Jewish authorities still did not believe that the man who could now see had once been blind. So they sent for his parents and asked, "Is this your son? Are you sure that he was born blind, and if so, how is it that now he can see?"

"Of course he is our son," his parents answered, "and we know that he was born blind. But why he now can see or who it was that restored his sight, we do not know. Why don't you ask him? After all, he is of age and able to speak for himself."

The man's parents answered in this way because they were afraid of the religious authorities. It had already been decided that anyone who believed Jesus was the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. That is why his parents said, "He is of age, ask him."

So once again they called for the man who had been born blind. "Own up and tell the truth," they said. "This man Jesus is a sinner!"

The man replied, "I don't know if he is a sinner or not. But one thing I do know: once I was blind, andnow I see."

"What did he do to you?" they asked. "How did he cure your blindness?"

The man said, "I told you once and you paid no attention. Why do you want to hear it again? Could it be that you want to become his disciples?"

"No!" they responded in anger. "You may be his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses!  We know that God gave the law to Moses. But as for this Jesus, we don't even have the faintest idea where he came from."

Floating in the Dead Sea

"This is truly amazing." said the man. "I was blind and he restored my sight, yet you don't know where he came from. Everyone knows that God doesn't hear the prayers of sinners, but only the prayers of those who respect and obey him. Never in the history of the world have we heard of anyone able to heal the eyes of a person blind from birth. Jesus could have done nothing if he were not from God."

The Pharisees, hot with anger, blurted out, "You have been steeped in sin from birth. How dare you lecture us!" So they drove him out.

When Jesus heard what they had done, he found the man and asked, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?"

"Who is he, sir?" the man replied. "Let me know so I can believe in him."

"You have already met him," said Jesus. "What's more, he is the one talking with you right now."

The man said, "Lord, I believe," and bowed in reverence before Jesus.

Then Jesus told him, "By coming into the world I have brought judgment. As a result, those who are blind will see but those who see will become blind."

When some of the Pharisees standing by heard this, they asked, "Surely you're not implying that we are blind!"

Jesus answered, "If you were blind you would not be guilty, but as it is, you claim to see, so your guilt continues."

Mt. Sinai, where Moses received the Ten Commandments