John 9:13-34 “A Blind, Blind Man Sees the Light: The Pharisees refuse to see”

Introduction:  Jesus has done a wonderful thing for this young man who was born blind.  He has cured his physical blindness and in doing so has stirred up a hornets nest.  The events of the next few days will cause this young man and his family much grief and worry.  When a spiritually blind person receives his spiritual sight he to will discover that he will receive from the world hatred and persecution.  Let us learn from this brave blind man that the truth will make you free and God will indeed receive the glory for the change in your life.


(John 9:13)  They brought to the Pharisees him that aforetime was blind.

            The neighbors and those who were casually acquainted with the blind man have been cast into an argument and division which must be resolved for the two sides of this issue are diametrically opposed and so profound that the truth must be known.  Either Jesus is of God or He is not.  Jesus has done this miracle by the power of God or there is being propagated a great hoax.  The one side says that no miracle has occurred and that Jesus is not of God.  The other side says that Jesus is of God and sight this miracle as proof.  Who is right?  They choose to take this matter to their spiritual leaders for a resolution.  They take the formerly blind, blind man to the Pharisees for a hearing to determine the truth.

            The Pharisees are considered by the Jews to be the most righteous people on earth.  Jesus said of them “… except your righteousness shall exceed [the righteousness] of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. (Matt 5:20)  These men are famous for their righteousness and knowledge of the scriptures.  They were considered by the people of that day the best ones to consult for answers to just such questions as were being raised about Jesus.


(John 9:14)  And it was the Sabbath day when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes.

            Jesus had made clay on the Sabbath day.  This was considered inappropriate behavior on the Sabbath day.  There were very strict rules which had been set up by men for the proper observance of the Sabbath day law.  Notice that these were men’s rules not God’s.  God had allowed some exceptions to this rule of resting on the Sabbath day such as helping an ox which was stuck in the ditch.  Jesus once pointed out to the Pharisees “It is lawful to do good on the Sabbath day.”  Upon their silent response to this remark He proceeded to heal a withered hand on the Sabbath day. 

            Jesus did not break the law of the Sabbath as set forth by God.  The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath.  The Pharisees can not see beyond their own prejudice.  They have their minds made up that to make clay on the Sabbath is sin and those who do so are sinners who rebel against God. 

            Is the Sabbath Law still in effect today?  Does God intend for man to still work just six days and to rest on the seventh?  Does God still intend for man to have on this Sabbath day an holy convocation?   John referred to this day as the Lord’s Day in Revelation 1:10.  The early church met on the first day of each week to worship.  This was to them the Lord’s day.  Paul wrote to the Colossians this admonition “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath [days]”: (Colossians 2:16).  The Jerusalem counsel of Acts 15 said nothing of keeping the Sabbath day which was required of the Jews.  Therefore the Christians of the first century met on the first day of the week which was the day of Christ’s resurrection.             Jesus said that the Sabbath was made for man.  By this we understand that God, who made man, has for his benefit set forth this example that men should work six days and then rest on the seventh.  No more and no less than one day in seven should be set aside for rest and what a perfect time as we rest from our labors to worship and thank our God for His marvelous Grace.


(John 9:15)  Then again the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. He said unto them, He put clay upon mine eyes, and I washed, and do see.

            The formerly blind, blind man has been asked about his experience repeatedly.  He is well rehearsed in giving the answer.  The Pharisees begin their inquiry into this matter by calling the first witness which is the man himself.  They want to hear his testimony as to what has happened to him.  He tells them the story just the same has he has told everyone.  John has shortened the answer given for brevity but may assume that the formerly blind man gave them the details as he knew them.  He no doubt used the name Jesus instead of the pronoun He.  His testimony was true and accurate. 


(John 9:16)  Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them.

            Having heard the testimony of the man who was born blind and had been healed the Pharisees begin to debate and disagree about what has happened.  Some, not all, of the Pharisees said that Jesus was not of God.  We may rightly conclude that such a miracle was deemed an act of God.  The power behind this miracle and the nature of this miracle requires speaks to its source.  It was a kind, gracious, merciful, benevolent act.  James said “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights… (James 1:17)  Such kindness and goodness comes only from God. Satan can not be the source of this blessing for Satan and his demons seek to harm men not heal them. 

            The dispute does not seem to be the source of the miracle being from God but rather who should get the credit.  Did Jesus do this miracle or was it done by God through something or someone else? Some of the Pharisees say that Jesus could not do this for He is a sinner and God would not work through sinful men.  They sight as proof of His sin Jesus making clay on the Sabbath.  Their minds are closed and they are blind to any other possibility.  They will not consider the possibility that they are wrong.  They believe they have a firm grip on what is right and wrong and they are convinced that those who make clay on the Sabbath are sinners.

            The rest of the Pharisees are more open minded.  I fully suspect that Nicodemus was in this group.  Nicodemus had told Jesus that “we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.”  These see this miracle as from God and thus this man Jesus must be from God.  This would mean that Jesus is not a sinner.  Their interpretation of what Jesus has done by making clay on the Sabbath must be incorrect.  Perhaps it is not a violation to the Law of the Sabbath after all.  Maybe Jesus is right that it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath day.

            The division persists with those Pharisees who are blind to the truth and arrogant in there attitude though unable to give a proper answer must seek for some other explanation so they again question the formerly blind, blind man.


(John 9:17)  They say unto the blind man again, What sayest thou of him, that he hath opened thine eyes? He said, He is a prophet.

            It is interesting here that they ask this young man what he thinks of Jesus.  They want to know since Jesus has opened his eyes what he has to say about Him.  The answer he gives is both appropriate and correct though not complete.  Jesus is a prophet.  He is a priest.  He is the king.  He is God almighty.  He is the savior of men.  This young man will know all of this, full well, by the end of this chapter.  To say that He is a prophet is to agree with at least some of the Pharisees such as Nicodemus. 


(John 9:18)  But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind, and received his sight, until they called the parents of him that had received his sight.

            Continuing in their blindness these Pharisees still seek some other explanation.  They now question whether a miracle has occurred at all.  They refuse to believe that the man was born blind but this fact is confirmed by two witnesses.  They call the man’s parents before them and inquire as to whether this is their son and was he indeed born blind.


(John 9:19)  And they asked them, saying, Is this your son, who ye say was born blind? how then doth he now see? (20)  His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind: (21)  But by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself.

            They are asked two questions the first is simple and easily answered.  Yes this is our son and yes he was born blind.  The next question is more difficult to answer.  How then does he now see?  They had been told by their son that a man named Jesus made clay and put it on his eyes and told him to go and wash and when he did as he was instructed he received his sight.  They know only what they have been told.  They were not present when this took place.  They are right in their answer and a safe answer it was. 




(John 9:22)  These [words] spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue. (23)  Therefore said his parents, He is of age; ask him.

            These parents have been criticized down through the ages for not standing by their child during this ordeal.  They surely believed his account and accepted his story.  They did not say to the counsel “we believe our son and agree with his words.”  They were afraid.  To be put out of the synagogue was a terrifying thing.  It was to be ostracized by the Jewish society.  You would not be allowed to buy or sell anything to a Jew.  You would not be allowed to intermarry with your Jewish neighbors.  You would be considered and outcast and no one would even speak to you.  It was a terrible price to pay for admitting publicly that you could now see.




(John 9:24)  Then again called they the man that was blind, and said unto him, Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner.

            Those Pharisees, who were in charge of this hearing, believed that Jesus was a sinner and could not have done this miracle.  They are looking for some other explanation.  They seek to hear from this young man some hint that something else happened which caused him to see.  Perhaps it was God working in some other way or through some other person that the blind man had encountered that day.  They will give this young man a chance to change his story or to propose some other possible explanation for his sight.  They make sure that this young man understands that Jesus could not have done this miracle for He is a sinner.  With this fact in mind what other explanation can he give as to why he has received his sight. 


(John 9:25)  He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner [or no], I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.

            This answer shall ring through out all history until the coming of our Lord.  This man’s wisdom excels that of his judges as far as the ant is above the sluggard.  He states the one undeniable fact which can not be contested “whereas I was blind, now I see.”

He does not know the status of any other person on earth as to the condition of their life and heart he only knows what has been his experience and that it is real and undeniable.


(John 9:26)  Then said they to him again, What did he to thee? how opened he thine eyes?

            They say to the young man again that it was not a miracle for this man is a sinner so what medicine did he give you or what surgery did he perform on you that caused you to be able to see.  There must have cured you by some means other than a miracle so what is it?  What did he do to you?


(John 9:27)  He answered them, I have told you already, and ye did not hear: wherefore would ye hear [it] again? will ye also be his disciples?

            The since of the phrase “ye did not hear” is this: “my words went in one ear and out the other.”  His words had the same effect on the Pharisees as if they had not even been spoken.   His question is then why do you want me to say it again.  If I do will you be persuaded and accept Jesus as a prophet and follow his teachings as his disciples?  The young man is finished with these unreasonable blind guides.  To continue with them is a waste of time.  He is now casting his pearls before swine.  It is time to shake the dust off and depart.

            The question he raises as to “will ye also be his disciples” is sarcastic.

(John 9:28)  Then they reviled him, and said, Thou art his disciple; but we are Moses' disciples.


(John 9:29)  We know that God spake unto Moses: [as for] this [fellow], we know not from whence he is.


(John 9:30)  The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and [yet] he hath opened mine eyes.


(John 9:31)  Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.


(John 9:32)  Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind.


(John 9:33)  If this man were not of God, he could do nothing.


(John 9:34)  They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out.