13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind. 14 Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man’s eyes was a Sabbath. 15 Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. “He put mud on my eyes,” the man replied, “and I washed, and now I see.”
16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.”
But others asked, “How can a sinner perform such signs?” So they were divided.
17 Then they turned again to the blind man, “What have you to say about him? It was your eyes he opened.”
The man replied, “He is a prophet.”
18 They still did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they sent for the man’s parents. 19 “Is this your son?” they asked. “Is this the one you say was born blind? How is it that now he can see?”
20 “We know he is our son,” the parents answered, “and we know he was born blind. 21 But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don’t know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself.” 22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who already had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. 23 That was why his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”
24 A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. “Give glory to God by telling the truth,” they said. “We know this man is a sinner.”
25 He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”
26 Then they asked him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?”
27 He answered, “I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?”
28 Then they hurled insults at him and said, “You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses! 29 We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.”
30 The man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will. 32 Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”
34 To this they replied, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out.
Questions & Commentary
There seems to be disagreement and confusion among the Pharisees about Jesus’ healing of the blind man.
1. Why was it so hard for the Pharisees to believe, when it seemed so easy for the blind man to show faith in Jesus?
2. What was so offensive to the Pharisees about Jesus’ healing on the Sabbath?
We see the formerly blind man’s parents don’t directly answer any of the Pharisees’ questions. They say their son had been born blind, but don’t clearly state why or how he had been healed; they tell the Pharisees to talk to their son about it. John tells us they were afraid of being kicked out of their community at the Synagogue, which would bring shame and embarrassment.
3. Do you relate more to the blind man or to the blind man’s parents?
4. Are there people or groups you are more hesitant sharing your faith with? Why?
The Pharisees keep bringing the formerly blind man back to question him about Jesus, trying to get him to say discrediting things about his healing. When asked about how he had been healed, though, the formerly blind man simply tells them what he knows: that he had been blind, but can now see. There are times that we feel like the blind man, when we are asked questions about God that we may not know the answer to.
5. How can the testimony of the formerly blind man reveal how to respond in one of those situations?
6. What can you tell others about what God has done in your life?
This passage doesn’t have a very happy ending; despite the man’s testimony about what Jesus had done, the Pharisees don’t get past their preconceptions about Jesus. They react in a very human way, calling the formerly blind man a terrible sinner and forbid him from associating with them any longer. Similarly, there are times when, as believers, we find ourselves ostracized from groups of people we care about because of our faith.
7. What would be something that would be hard for you to let go of if you were faced with a similar situation?
Finish reading John 9 (verses 35-41), and talk to God about your answers to the questions posted earlier throughout today. Do you believe in the Son of Man? Have you had a personal encounter with Him and seen His work in your life that reflects in your day-to-day actions? Or do your words and deeds reflect blindness? Wrestle with God with that today.