John 9:12-17 COURAGE TO STAND FOR JESUS
In our text last Sunday the man who had been born blind
and to whom Jesus gave sight was seen and recognized by his
neighbors. They were astounded that he was able to see and
they inquired of him how he was now able to see. He told
them that a man called Jesus had anointed his eyes with clay
and had told him to wash in the Pool of Siloam. He said, "I
went and washed and I received sight," verse 11.
In our text today we will see events develop which would
require a great deal of courage on his part to stand up for
Jesus. But we will also see that he had the courage. He
spoke out boldly in behalf of Jesus.
I. The man questioned further by the neighbors
V. 12, "Then said they unto him, Where is he?..." Upon
learning that the man called Jesus had given sight to this
man the neighbors asked him to tell them where Jesus is.
It might seem at first that out of curiosity they wanted
to know more about this man who could do such great
miracles. Perhaps, they, too, wanted to benefit from His
It would seem quite reasonable if this had been their
motive in asking where Jesus is. But in the light of the
fact that these men are going to bring him to the court for
an official hearing, we must conclude that this was not
their motive. They must have made inquiry about the
location of Jesus because what they really wanted was to
bring Jesus before the court.
At any rate, the man did not know where Jesus was and
that was his answer to them. (V. 12), "...He said, I know
not." He had been sitting at the gate of the temple and
Jesus was just passing by departing from the temple. Jesus
had stopped just long enough to anoint his eyes and tell him
to go to the Pool of Siloam and wash. While the blind man
was being led to the Pool of Siloam and while he washed,
Jesus left. This man had no idea where Jesus went. He gave
he only answer he could give: He did not know where Jesus
II. The man questioned by the court
But he must not have been prepared for what happened
next. V. 13, "They brought to the Pharisees him that
aforetime was blind." The neighbors caught the blind man by
his arms. Some probably got behind him and pushed. They
carried him to the court of the Pharisees. This was the
very court that had made every effort to kill Jesus. From
the time that the very first people had started arriving in
Jerusalem for the observance of the Feast of The Tabernacles
the Jewish Sanhedrin Court had been trying to capture Jesus
and kill Him. Even immediately before Jesus left the temple
and gave sight to the blind man they had taken up stones
there within the temple courtyard to stone Him. Jesus had
somehow used His supernatural powers to walk unseen right
through their midst and out the temple gate. It was right
outside the gate that He had stopped and anointed the eyes
of the blind man.
The Jewish leaders in the Sanhedrin Court were already
bitter enemies of Jesus and now this man who had been given
his eyesight by Jesus was hauled before their court as if
somehow he was guilty of wrong doing by allowing Jesus to
give him his sight.
He could possibly be accused as being a disciple of
Jesus and if so he would be excluded from the Jewish
synagogue and would not be allowed to enter into any
synagogue anywhere. That was like being cut off from all
Jewish life. He would be treated not merely as a stranger
by them, but worse than a stranger. The Jews were kind to
strangers among them, but they would not be kind to one who
had been excluded from their synagogue. The very least he
could expect from them in this hearing was to try to extract
some kind of evidence from him that they could use against
Jesus. They wanted him to give them some kind of evidence
that they could use to put to death the man who had given
him his sight. He had been blind all of his life and Jesus
had given him his sight. Now the Jewish court wanted him to
give them evidence that they could use to put Jesus to
death. It was going to take a lot of courage on his part if
he would speak in favor of Jesus. There was one big
complication. V. 14, "And it was the sabbath day when Jesus
made the clay, and opened his eyes." The day on which Jesus
had healed this man's eyes was a sabbath day. It was not a
regular sabbath day. It was a special sabbath day because
it followed immediately after the Feast of Tabernacles. The
day following the Feast of Tabernacles was always a special
sabbath day in which no work was to be done.
The Jewish leaders considered that to apply any kind of
medicine on a sabbath day except in a case of life or death
was breaking the sabbath day. They considered the act of
healing a man on the sabbath to be work. This was not God's
idea; this was their idea. The Jews would consider the
anointing of the blind man's eyes with a salve on the
sabbath day as breaking the law of the sabbath. They
considered giving sight to the blind man on the sabbath to
be breaking the law of the sabbath. They wanted this man to
go on record and testify against Jesus that Jesus had broken
the law of the sabbath.
Listen to the question which the court asked him. V.
15, "Then again the Pharisees also asked him how he had
received his sight..." The neighbors had already asked him
this question and we can be sure that someone has told the
members of the court what he had said. So the court is not
asking for information. What they want is for this man to
officially give this account to them so that they can use
his testimony against Jesus.
There was nothing he could do but answer their question.
(V. 15), "...He said unto them, He put clay upon mine eyes,
and I washed, and do see."
V. 16, "Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man
is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day..."
Now let me clarify a point right here. They were wrong
about Jesus. They were wrong when they said that Jesus is
not of God. They were wring about Him when they said that
He did not keep the sabbath. Jesus never committed any kind
of sin all of His life. The Scripture specifically says
that Jesus fulfilled the law. He kept every jot and tittle
of the law. If He had not done so, He could not be the
Savior of men. He would, Himself, be a lawbreaker and would
have to be punished for His own sin. It is true that Jesus
did not follow their interpretation of the law, because they
had misinterpreted the law. Jesus followed God's
understanding of the law -- not man's misinterpretation.
But the point that John, the writer of this Scripture,
is making here is that the Jewish leaders wanted this former
blind man to believe that Jesus had broken the law of the
sabbath. They wanted to alienate him from Jesus so as to
make him a more cooperative witness against Jesus.
III. A division among the members of the court
(V. 16), "...Others said, How can a man that is a
sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among
them." Here is a surprising turn of events. Some of the
members of the court did not agree with the thinking of the
majority on the court. Some of them argued that if Jesus
had broken the law of the sabbath by attempting to heal this
man on the sabbath day, that God would not have cooperated.
God would not have healed him. After all, it was apparent
that the man had been healed and it was equally as apparent
that it was the power of God which had healed him. How
could God have enabled Jesus to heal the man if Jesus was
actually guilty of breaking the law of the sabbath by
anointing the man's eyes?
This turn of events must have also surprised and
irritated the leaders who were pressing the case against
Jesus. Faced with opposition right from within their own
ranks, they turn to the man who had been blind with another
question. They apparently think that his answer to this
question might help their case against Jesus.
John 9:17, "They say unto the blind man again, What
sayest thou of him, that he hath opened thine eyes?..." The
idea is, "What is your opinion of this man who has opened
your eyes?" They had already stated in his presence that
they thought Jesus is not of God. They just did not think
that this man had the nerve to contradict what they had just
IV. The courage it would require for the man to stand up
What I want you to see is that it was going to take a
lot of courage on this man's part to go against the word of
the highest leaders of the Sanhedrin Council. Other members
of the council could more freely voice an opposing view
because they were on the council. They were on more of an
equal standing with others on the council. But for this man
to take a stand against them risked the possibility that he
would be barred from ever attending a Jewish synagogue
again. It could cripple his life among the Jews almost as
much as his blindness had done. Did he have the kind of
courage that it took to speak up for Jesus?
The answer is: Absolutely! Thank God, this man had the
courage that it took! Without any hesitancy whatsoever he
spoke up for Jesus. (V. 17), "...He said, He is a prophet."
He did not know at this time that Jesus is more than a
prophet. He did not know that Jesus is also the Christ, the
very Son of God. But he did know that Jesus could not have
given him his sight if He did not have the approval of God
in heaven. He knew that Jesus is a prophet of God and he
had the courage to say so.
V. The kind of courage it takes to stand up for Jesus today
But what I want you to see in this passage is not just
that it took a lot of courage for that man to stand up for
Jesus. It takes a lot of courage today for men, women, boys
and girls to stand up for Jesus.
In the first place, it takes a lot of courage just to
step out and walk down the aisle of a church and make a
public profession of faith in Jesus. And this is among the
friendlies! It takes courage to make your profession public
even among people who approve because they love the Lord.
It takes even more courage to take a stand for Jesus out in
the world among the unfriendlies --- among the enemies of
the Lord. They are not only enemies of the Lord, but you
know that they may become your enemies if you take a stand
for the Lord.
It takes a lot of courage to get up every Sunday morning
and come to church. This is especially true when you have
neighbors who go fishing or golfing or visiting or just stay
in bed and sleep or watch TV and you know that they think
you are somewhat strange because you go to Sunday school and
church every Sunday morning. It is also especially true
when the are trying to get you to go fishing with them
instead of going to church.
It takes a lot of courage to say "No" to those who try
to entice you to join them in some sinful activity. It
takes courage to say "No" to a drinking buddy that you used
to drink with regularly. It is not easy so say, "No, I am
trying to live for Jesus now and I just don't do those
things any more."
It takes a lot of courage for a Christian to take a
stand for Jesus on moral or doctrinal ground. When people
are discussing religion or discussing the Bible or some
moral issue. It is especially difficult when they state
emphatically that they believe something which you know to
be totally contrary to the Bible it takes a lot of courage
for you to take a stand for Bible truth. Let me say that
you should do it with kindness and not animosity, but you
should take a stand for Jesus on the issues of life.
It takes more courage to stand up for Jesus in some
circumstances than it does in others. When you are
surrounded in church by people who love the Lord and agree
with you on the issue, it is not so difficult to take a
stand for Jesus. But when you are surrounded by a majority
who are hostile toward Christ and toward Christians then it
takes more courage to stand for Jesus.
Yet that is the time when your testimony for Jesus may
do the most good. When that man spoke up and stated that he
believed Jesus to be a prophet of God he must have given
encouragement to those minority members of the council who
had spoken out for Jesus. I do not know for sure who those
minority men were, but I strongly suspect that Nicodemus and
Joseph of Aramathea was among them. These were men who were
actually believers in Jesus as the Christ, but they had
never publicly identified themselves as Christians at this
time. I think that man helped these weak Christians by his
witness for Jesus and I think that every time you stand up
for Jesus you will help some Christian.
Furthermore, by taking his stand for Jesus, that man
probably helped some unsaved person to place his faith in
Jesus and be saved. He may not have changed the minds of
any others on the Council, but he probably did change the
thinking of some among the onlookers. Your testimony for
Jesus can not only strengthen weaker Christians, but it may
win lost souls to Jesus. Someone who is on the road to hell
may get saved because you take a stand for Jesus.
So in closing, let me challenge you who are unsaved to
repent of your sins and place your trust in Jesus to save
your soul. Stop being against Jesus. Start right now and
be for Him. Let Him be your Savior. Then give your life in
service to Him. Take your stand for Him and serve Him.
If you have been somewhat fearful to take your stand for
Him, I do not criticize you. Rather I just remind you of
what He has done for you. He died on the cross of Calvary
for you that you might be saved. So now I call on you and
ask you to take your stand for Jesus. Take it publicly.
Come forward and surrender your life to Jesus.