He’s Worth the Stand

Posted: June 15, 2015 in John

John 9:13-34, "He’s Worth the Stand"

Have you ever been put on the spot with Jesus? Has there ever come a moment where you have to make the choice to either stand with Jesus or be silent about Him?  If it hasn’t come yet, it will.  We have entered a post-Christian phase in American culture, where it is no longer simply expected that every stranger is a Christian, but rather secularism is the norm.  To be associated with Jesus is to be associated with positions that are often on the opposite side of "politically correct," and public stands for Christianity are more often reviled than rewarded.

Not that this ought to be a surprise.  The vast majority of Christians throughout history and around the world have been the minorities in their own cultures, and they have never had the option of anything except persecution for their faith.  When they come to faith in Jesus, it quite often means a break from their families and their communities, and a corresponding lack of job opportunities, finances, and general acceptance from their own people.  (Quite the opposite of what is so often preached through the false "prosperity gospel"!)

Don’t get the wrong idea.  Life is not sad or bleak for believers around the world…it’s joyful!  They know the fellowship of Jesus in ways that American Christians are just beginning to know.  They experience the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, they know the comfort of the Scriptures, and they know what it means to walk in the victorious joy of Jesus.  The apostle Paul had anything but a comfortable life free of persecution, yet his writings are abundantly full of joy!  He experience grace to the highest degree as he walked with Jesus even in the midst of profound trials.

But Paul (like others) were first willing to take a stand for Jesus.  We won’t know what the joy of that kind of fellowship with Jesus is like if we’re never willing to step out in faith and be publicly associated with Jesus.  There comes a point (sometimes many points) when we have to publicly side with Christ, and it’s in those moments that we experience the grace and joy that Jesus offers.

For the man in Jerusalem who had been healed from his lifelong blindness, he had not yet fully come to faith in Jesus, but he was certainly willing to take a stand for Him.  This man sided with Jesus against all odds and opposition.  Even when his parents abandoned him to the ire of the Pharisees, this man refused to back down.  He knew what Jesus had done for him, and he wasn’t about to deny it.  Jesus had completely changed his life; he would not abandon Jesus even if all others abandoned him.

We’re picking up in the middle of an event, so we need to ensure we remember the context of the Scripture.  After a lengthy interaction with the Jews of Jerusalem during the Feast of Tabernacles, Jesus had declared Himself to be the I AM – the One True God.  This was not a new claim for Jesus, but it was His clearest claim yet, and the Jews immediately recognized what He was saying, and picked up stones to cast at Him for blasphemy.  Yet Jesus did not die that day – He was not taken by the mob.  God’s timing had not come yet for Jesus to die, and God’s plan was for Jesus to die in a different way in Jerusalem: crucified as the perfect Passover Lamb of sacrifice.  Time passed, and Jesus is back in Jerusalem (whether or not He left in-between is left unsaid by John).  The mob is no longer hunting Him, though the Pharisees are still opposed to Him.  He’s able to freely walk through the streets of Jerusalem, and He comes to a man blind from birth.  His disciples look at the man with theological curiosity, wondering whose sin caused the man to be born blind.  Jesus, however, looked upon the man with compassion, and affirmed that it wasn’t sin that caused him to be born blind, but whatever the cause, it was ultimately an opportunity for God to be glorified.

And glorify God, Jesus did!  Without the man even asking for help, Jesus made mud, spread it on the man’s eyes, and instructed him to go wash in Jerusalem’s pool of Siloam.  There’s no record of Jesus saying anything further to the man, or making any promises to him, but there was obviously a heightened sense of expectation as the man followed through on Jesus’ command and washed.  As he did, his eyes were opened & for the first time in his life, the man was able to look around with actual sight.  So drastic and obvious was his healing that his neighbors were amazed.  They knew what he had been, but they could hardly believe what he had become.  The man born blind was now the man given sight.  He knew exactly what had been done to him, even if he didn’t know much about the One who did it.  Jesus had healed him, and it was amazing!

What follows next is amazing in its own right, though it’s on the opposite end of the spectrum of joy.  This man had been healed, but instead of rejoicing in his healing and giving thanks and glory to God, the religious leaders turn this into an inquisition.  The day of joy became a day in religious court as the man was repeatedly deposed, doubted, debated, and denounced by the Pharisees.  Jesus will not appear again to the man until everything is done and the dust settles, but he already has begun to learn more about the Lord than what he knew when the day began.  When he was first healed, all he knew that it was the man called Jesus who healed him (9:11).  Although he does not yet come fully to saving faith, his knowledge of Jesus increases to knowing him as a prophet sent by God, doing the will of God, and empowered by God.  Already this formerly blind beggar knew vastly more than the so-called "educated" Pharisees!

In the end, even his partial knowledge of Jesus and loyalty to Christ would cost the man everything.  Yet Jesus was worth it.  The truth of what Jesus did could not be denied, and this man would not deny it for anyone or anything.  Neither should we.  For this man, Jesus was worth the stand.  He still is.

Interview #1 (13-17)
13 They brought him who formerly was blind to the Pharisees. 14 Now it was a Sabbath when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes.

  1. Notice the man was "brought."  He had not volunteered himself to the Pharisees – he seemingly did not come out of a willing heart. This is a difference between this particular healing and an earlier one Jesus had done around a different pool in Jerusalem, when He healed the lame man at the pool of Bethesda (Jn 5).  Then, the formerly lame man personally went and reported to the Jewish authorities what had been done; here the formerly blind man seemingly didn’t say anything about it.  It’s not that he was silent about the miracle he experienced – on the contrary, he was open with his testimony to his neighbors.  He simply didn’t go to the Jewish authorities about it.  (Considering how he was treated, it’s not difficult to imagine why!)
  2. He was brought to "the Pharisees."  John’s gospel uses the broad category of Pharisees to refer to the religious officials (which included the scribes and others).  It’s interesting that the man was not specifically brought to the priests, nor was the threat of being removed from the temple, but the synagogue.  Being in Jerusalem, the temple would be far more valuable than a different synagogue, but this seems to be John’s general way of referring to the basic worship life of the Jews.  Whatever the specifics of the politics of the day, the basic idea is plain: there had been an amazing miracle, and the man was brought to the religious authorities for them to check out the circumstances.
  3. There’s no question that a legitimate true healing took place.  This man "formerly was blind" – he is blind no longer!  The people knew him rightly to be healed, though this will be later called into question by the Pharisees.  The reason they question it is because of the circumstances.  This may have been a true healing, but it was a healing with a problem: it was done on "a Sabbath."  The same thing had happened with the lame man at the pool of Bethesda, and Jesus had likewise been accused by the Pharisees of breaking the Sabbath.  Then, Jesus simply spoke to the man who was healed; this time Jesus went a step further and made mud by spitting in the dirt, rubbing it in His hands, and spreading it on the man’s eyes.  If Jesus couldn’t be convicted for the healing itself, the Pharisees could try to nail Him on the labor that was involved.  There were 39 classes of labor considered illegal on the Sabbath, one of which was kneading bread.  Making mud was close enough to making dough, and it would seem they could get Jesus on a technicality.
    1. How sad is it that the Pharisees could not simply rejoice in the miracle?  They were so caught up in their opposition to Jesus that they could not rejoice with the man for what God had done in his life.  There had to be some angle by which to condemn and discredit Jesus, and they were grasping at straws for anything they could find.  Their own Sabbath traditions and legalism was more important to them than the authentic work of God in front of them.
    2. How careful we need to be not to fall into the same trap!  This is where legalism always leads.  We can be so caught up in our narrow interpretation that we miss the broader work that God is doing right in front of us.  That’s not to say that truth isn’t important – but what the Pharisees were seeking wasn’t truth; it was their own way.  If they were truly seeking God, they would have rejoiced in the work of God.  Likewise with us.  As long as we can agree on the essentials of the faith with other believers, we can rejoice with the work God is doing through them & among them.  We don’t have to agree on every minor point of doctrine or practice to give God praise for how He uses the Baptists, Pentecostals, Presbyterians, or whomever.

15 Then the Pharisees also asked him again how he had received his sight. He said to them, “He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.

  1. If this was the man’s first meeting with the Pharisees, how is it that they could ask him "again" about his healing?  It’s because they were repeatedly asking.  The grammar here implies a continual past action.  The Pharisee had asked the man "also" (in addition to his neighbors), and they asked him again & again & again.  They were basically interrogating the poor guy.  Keep in mind he hadn’t done anything…he hadn’t even asked Jesus to heal him.  Yet because of his mere association with Jesus, that was enough to draw the ire of the Pharisees.
  2. As with his previous testimony given to his neighbors, the man’s testimony before the Pharisees was short and sweet.  In fact, it’s even shorter in that the man leaves out the specific command from Jesus to go wash in the pool of Siloam.  But all of the basic facts are there: "He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and I see."  Jesus worked in the past, I responded, and now I see – my life has changed.  Simple, sweet, to the point, without embellishment.  When the work is truly of God, no embellishment is needed!
    1. This is the essence of a Christian testimony.  Jesus intervenes in our lives, we respond to His grace, and our life is forever changed.  It’s interesting that the man didn’t spend a lot of time talking about his past blindness.  That wasn’t the important part. (It became important to the Pharisees, but that was because they were trying to take away from Jesus; not further point to Him.)  His blindness was the stuff of the past – it was what he lived in all his life.  The important thing was how Jesus radically intervened with him, and what happened afterwards.  He was blind (past tense), but he now sees (present tense).  Too often, we make our testimonies to be stories of our past sins & past histories.  We try to paint a picture of how bad off we were.  None of that is necessary – it may even be a distraction.  People don’t need to hear all of the details about our past; they’re already well acquainted with it.  After all, they’re stuck in the same sins that we were!  What they need to know is who Jesus is, and what He’s able to do.  Our testimonies ought to point to Christ & the work of His grace.  "Jesus found me in my lostness, and now I’m forgiven!  He found me in my slavery, and now I’m free!"  What is it God has done in your life through the intervention and grace of Jesus Christ?  That’s your testimony!

16 Therefore some of the Pharisees said, “This Man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath.” Others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” And there was a division among them.

  1. The Pharisees were divided.  We might even translate this, "and there was a schism among them."  There was a difference of opinion among the learned scholars of Jerusalem.  On one hand were those who discounted Jesus’ entire ministry because of the question of the Sabbath.  It doesn’t even occur to them that their legalistic interpretation of the Sabbath laws (and their imposition of their manmade traditions) might be wrong; they simply demand Jesus do things their way or He could not possibly be "from God."  On the other hand, there were some who acknowledged the "signs" done by Jesus.  They knew these things could not be done by some common "sinner."  It’s been suggested that perhaps Nicodemus was among those making this argument, since this was the very thing Nicodemus had told Jesus when talking with Him earlier in His ministry. ("Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him," Jn 3:2b)  Nicodemus was right.  Even Jesus spoke of His works as a testimony of His identity and mission, saying that they "bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me." (Jn 5:36b)  Jesus did these miracles and signs for a reason: to bear witness that He is the Son of God!
  2. The works of Jesus continue to validate His ministry, one work in particular: the resurrection.  We can look to the resurrection and ask the same question that Nicodemus & a minority of Pharisees asked: "How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?"  The answer: He couldn’t – not if He was a sinner.  None who is a mere mortal man & sinner like the rest of us could die the death Jesus died and rise again from the dead.  When Mohammed died, he remained dead.  When Buddha died, he remained dead.  Even when Moses died, he remained dead (though he lives in the presence of the Lord).  Only Jesus physically rose from the dead by His own power and remains physically alive to this very day.  Jesus’ works set Him apart from everyone else!  His works testify to His greatness and His person.
    1. This is one more reason to keep our testimonies focused upon Jesus’ works, and not our past works of sin.  We want people to see HIM, and know who HE is, and what HE can do.  If people’s eyes are upon us, all they’ll hear is the story about just another sinner; they need to hear of the One who never sinned, and Who frees us from sin.  They need to hear of Jesus!

17 They said to the blind man again, “What do you say about Him because He opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.

  1. Because of the schism among their own ranks, they call the (formerly) blind man again and ask his opinion.  It’s a bit ironic actually, because it later becomes clear that they don’t really want it.  They wanted the man to affirm their own suspicions about Jesus; not disagree with them.  They certainly didn’t want the man proving that Jesus was a "prophet" or even someone far greater!
  2. Note the question: "What do you say about Him because He opened your eyes?"  IOW, what effect did Jesus’ miracle have upon your view of Him?  Without Jesus’ demonstration of power in the life of the blind man, the man had previously never given any thought to Jesus.  Remember that Jesus had been in Jerusalem many times in the past.  He had wrought other miracles there, and was well known among the Jews.  Yet this man seemed to know little about Him.  Unlike other men who were blind, this man did not cry out to Jesus asking to be healed.  He didn’t even know enough about Jesus to describe Him to his neighbors – the Person who healed him was simply "A Man called Jesus," (9:11).  It was Jesus’ intervention of grace into his life that caused the blind man to look at Him (figuratively speaking).  Without Jesus’ demonstration of power, there was no reason to pay attention to Him.  Jesus’ power makes all the difference.
    1. And it still does!  Again, no other prophet has risen from the dead.  Only Jesus!  No other holy man of religion still personally intervenes in the lives of people today.  Only Jesus.  What do YOU say about Him?  Prior to your own salvation, it’s doubtful that you gave Jesus too much attention.  Whatever your previous view of Jesus was, how did it change after you met Him in truth?  What do you say about Him now, after He has opened your eyes to the truth of the gospel?  How do you speak of Him because of His miraculous intervention in your life?
    2. Christians are changed by Christ, by definition.  Even if someone truly comes to faith as a 5 year old child, they are still personally changed by Jesus Christ, Who interacts in their lives by His continuing work of intercession, sanctification, and more.  A person who has no personal interaction with Jesus cannot be called a Christian.  What has been your interaction with Him?  Have you ever interacted with Him?  Is it all in the past?  It doesn’t have to be that way.  Jesus is still alive today, and He still opens spiritually blind eyes.  He still gives freedom from sin, and brings the spiritually dead to life.  Ask Him to act in your life today!

Parental Questioning (18-23)
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 who had received his sight. 19 And they asked them, saying, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?

  1. The Pharisees were so opposed to Jesus that they couldn’t (or wouldn’t) believe the man told the truth about his testimony.  Maybe he wasn’t really born blind – maybe he just had a slight eye problem – maybe he went blind later in life.  There had to be some other explanation – there had to be some way they could find fault with his story & thus find fault with Jesus.  So they basically subpoenaed the man’s parents and called them to testify.
    1. If skeptics can’t deny the present, they will try to discredit the past.  There will always be people looking to discredit Christians in order to deny Christ.  Be sure not to give them any reason to do so!  We cannot do anything about our past, but we can certainly do something about our present.  Be careful not to give someone ammunition against your testimony in order for them to dismiss Jesus and the gospel.
  2. The way the Pharisees phrased their question to the parents betrays their bias against them.  They don’t want to believe that the man was actually born blind, so they call the parents’ honesty into question: "…who you say was born blind."  If the man wasn’t actually born blind, then although the miracle of healing would still need to be addressed, at least the scope of the miracle would be diminished.  As the blind man himself later testifies, the miracle he experienced from Jesus was totally unique in Jewish history.  That was part of the challenge for the Pharisees – the scope of this miracle was too big for them to ignore.
  3. Why the Pharisees ask the parents about how their son could see is unclear.  The parents didn’t seem to be present for their son’s healing (at least John doesn’t record them as being there).  The Pharisees seem to be grasping at straws.  They’re looking for anything and everything they can use to somehow discredit and undermine the work of Christ.

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 sees we do not know, or who opened his eyes we do not know. He is of age; ask him. He will speak for himself.

  1. The parents affirm their son’s blindness from birth.  They could honestly and intelligently testify of that much.  They could not testify to how he was healed, and refused to speculate.
  2. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with what they initially told the Jews, but then they go a step further & pass the buck back to their son.  It wasn’t only that they couldn’t answer for their son’s healing; they didn’t want to answer.  They didn’t want to be held responsible for what their son might say.  Why?  Fear.  Vs. 22…

22 His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had agreed already that if anyone confessed that He was Christ, he would be put out of the synagogue. 23 Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.

  1. The parents were shut down by fear of the Jewish leaders.  There was a threat of excommunication from the synagogue, and the parents didn’t want to take the risk.  Apparently, there were three different levels of excommunication, the first two being various lengths of temporary excommunication, and the third being permanent.  It seems that the threat here was permanent.  To be cast out of the Jewish synagogue would be to basically cast out of the Jewish community.  They would be viewed as the Gentiles, and unwelcome among the rest of their people.  This was too great a risk for the parents, and they were afraid.
  2. They may have had an understandable fear, but Jesus is worth the risk!  Every day, people all over the world face a similar risk (and some, far worse).  When they confess Jesus as Christ, they face exclusion from their families, loss of their careers and property – even physical harm and death.  Just 5 days ago (June 9), 88 Christians from Eritrea were kidnapped by Islamic terrorists from ISIS.  Persecution is on the rise, and in certain areas around the world, a confession of Christ can lead to death.  But again (and those in Eritrea & elsewhere would agree), Jesus is worth the risk.  Jesus is worth it all!  What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and lose his soul? Those who face persecution face very real danger (and we need to pray for them!) – but they also face joyous eternity with the Lord Jesus.  As Jesus had written to the church of Smyrna in Revelation, to those Christians who stand fast in persecution, He promises "the crown of life" (Rev 2:10).  As to the church of Philadelphia to those who hold fast to Jesus, He promises to "make him a pillar in the temple" of God, and to write on him the name of God (Rev 3:11-12).  Jesus will never abandon them, and He not only sustains them in the present, but will forever sustain and bless them in the eternal future.
    1. That isn’t a promise only for those in the Middle East and North Africa; that’s a promise for ALL believers everywhere in Christ.  Stand firm in the gospel!  Stand firm for Jesus!  We look forward to an eternal future with our eternal Lord.  Keep your eyes on the prize, and don’t let fear turn you aside.

Interview #2 (24-27)
24 So they again called the man who was blind, and said to him, “Give God the glory! We know that this Man is a sinner.

  1. Once more the Pharisees call the formerly blind man to testify.  Where he was during his parents’ interview is unsaid.  The length of time that has passed is unsaid.  This could have all happened in an afternoon, or it could have taken several days.  However long it took, it’s dragging on & on as the Pharisees refuse to admit the obvious that Jesus is blessed and sent by God, doing the work and will of God.
  2. This time, the Pharisees demand the man to give glory to God.  This was a common oath among the Jews, commanding a person to tell the truth (re: Josh 7:19, Achan).  The idea here is that the Pharisees tell the man to stop siding with a (supposedly) known "sinner," and to glorify God with the real story of what happened with his healing.  Of course, that’s exactly what the man had been doing all along!  He was telling the truth, and he was giving God the glory.

25 He answered and said, “Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.”"

  1. "…I do not know…"  The man didn’t have all the answers about Jesus, nor did he claim that he did.  He didn’t know anything about Jesus’ past – he barely knew Jesus’ name when first asked about it!  He couldn’t answer the demands of the Pharisees to acknowledge Jesus as a sinner, and wasn’t going to speak to that.
  2. "One thing I know…"  The man didn’t know the past, but he certainly knew the present!  He knew the results of Jesus’ actions, and they were undeniable.  The man had been blind, but now he could see.  The work of Jesus spoke for itself.
  3. This is what was so frustrating to the Pharisees.  The results of Jesus’ work in this man’s life could not be denied – it had to be acknowledged.  There just was no way of avoiding it.  This is the way it is with all of us.  When Jesus intervenes in our lives & showers us with His grace, His work is undeniable.  Our lives change in ways that cannot be hidden or ignored.  The things we used to love to do, we now hate.  The things we used to avoid, we now love.  How many of us bristled at even the thought of walking into a church building, and now can’t wait to be around the people of God?  How many used to love to go out carousing with our friends, but now can’t think of doing the same?  We’re simply different, and Jesus is the only reason as to why.  Our lives are changed because Jesus showed up in our lives & changed us.  Other people see this, and they take notice.  They know when a conversion is true, and when it’s a hypocritical show of religion…and it’s the true conversion that cannot be ignored.

26 Then they said to him again, “What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?” 27 He answered them, “I told you already, and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become His disciples?

  1. The Pharisees kept hounding the man over & over again, and it’s understandable that he got frustrated and lost his patience with them.  His mockery (however funny) was unwise.  They may have been hypocrites, but they were still the religious leaders of the people, and the man should have answered them with respect.
  2. From the perspective of the Pharisees, they had to keep on asking questions.  After all, there simply had to be an alternate explanation.  Perhaps there was some medicine or salve that Jesus used – perhaps there was some demonic explanation – perhaps there was some lie on the part of the blind man in a type of cover-up – there had to be anything other than the one conclusion that Jesus was actually used of God to work a miracle of God.  If that conclusion was true, it meant that the Pharisees would have to come to Jesus on His terms, and their pride would not allow them to do that.

Confrontation and Condemnation (28-34)
28 Then they reviled him and said, “You are His disciple, but we are Moses disciples. 29 We know that God spoke to Moses; as for this fellow, we do not know where He is from.

  1. Once the man insulted them, the Pharisees turned it back around and heaped it upon him.  The word used for "reviled" implies abuse, curses, and defamation.  Apparently much more was spoken (or shouted) than what John actually recorded.  Their scorn is palpable, in that the man accused them of being the very thing they detested.  They had already threatened disciples of Jesus of excommunication from the synagogue, and now that’s what the man (mockingly) said of them.  That’s when the Pharisees graduated from interrogation to abuse of the man.  They were not about to be lectured by this beggar.  Who did he think he was?  He was the disciple of Jesus; not them!  (Actually, to this point, the blind man never once claimed to follow Jesus as a disciple.  He doesn’t seem to truly come to faith until after these events are done.)  In any case, they were disciples of "Moses;" not Jesus.  They were too educated & enlightened for that!
    1. Replace "Moses" with "Darwin," and we see the exact same attitude today among the religion of atheistic evolution.  They "know" that Darwin and his followers spoke the truth, but they don’t know anything about the historical Jesus.  They don’t even know if He even said anything the Bible actually records of Him.  It’s all a smokescreen based upon their own faith.  Like the Pharisees, they cannot afford the idea of Jesus actually being God in the flesh, so they have to cling to whatever they can to dismiss Him.  No matter how much proof exists of creation, Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, and the reliability of Scripture, it will always be ignored under the guise of "enlightened thinking."
  2. The irony is that the Pharisees didn’t know Moses nearly as well as they claimed.  If they truly knew and understood his writings, they would have seen Jesus as the fulfillment of Mosaic prophecy.  Jesus personally appealed to Moses as testifying in His favor.  John 5:45-47, "(45) Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you – Moses; in whom you trust. (46) For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. (47) But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?"  Moses had written of the Prophet to come (Deut 18:15-19), not to mention his records of the various Messianic prophecies given throughout Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers (found in various forms & types through the sacrificial system).  Moses had written extensively of the prophecy and ministry of the future Messiah, and the Pharisees should have known exactly what to expect of the Christ when they saw Him.  And yet here Jesus was, according to all Moses had written, and the Pharisees didn’t acknowledge Him at all.  As Jesus said, even Moses would stand in condemnation of his so-called "disciples"
    1. The point?  The Pharisees had no excuse.  Jesus will later point this out to them (9:41).  They knew what they were ignoring, and they would be held accountable for it.
    2. Many people will find themselves in a similar position on the day of judgment.  They know the truth of Jesus; they simply choose to deny it.  A denial of the truth doesn’t change the truth.  A dismissal of Jesus doesn’t make Him any less than God.  He’s given us the opportunity to respond to Him today…take it!

30 The man answered and said to them, “Why, this is a marvelous thing, that you do not know where He is from; yet He has opened my eyes!

  1. The man points out their obvious error.  The Pharisees claimed not to know anything about Jesus, all the while witnessing a verified miracle of Jesus right in front of their eyes.  If anything, they knew that Jesus was a miracle worker!  It would be like doubting the existence of the Ford Motor Company while staring at a Ford logo on an F-150.  It was simply too obvious to be ignored.  If the blind man could come to the right conclusion about Jesus, surely these educated religious teachers could do the same. 

31 Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him. 32 Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind.

  1. He continues to point out the obvious, saying that God has no reason to respond to sinners or false prophets.  Why would God give a healing that brings glory to Himself through a person who was an obvious sinner? 
  2. Keep in mind that the man was speaking from his own knowledge; not necessarily giving inspired doctrine.  This was a common teaching among the Jews, and the general principle is true.  However, it’s not to say that God can’t work miracles through false teachers – Jesus specifically prophesied that there will be signs and wonders done through false prophets during the years of the Great Tribulation (Mt 24:24).  Even today, there are people who have experienced miracles through all kinds of false or questionable "Christian" teachers (several of which have famous TV programs).  In the past, God even used flat-out pagans to give valid prophecy (i.e. Balaam).  But even in those cases, God is the One who received the glory.  Generally speaking, those who seek and worship God are the ones who are heard by Him; not those who actively work against Him.
  3. The proof in this case was the scope of the miracle the man received.  No one had ever heard of a man born blind having received his sight.  This wasn’t an act of restoration; this was an act of creation.  We read accounts of people being given their sight, and it tends not to impress us too much.  We have the benefit of modern technology in the form of glasses, contact lenses, lasik surgery & more.  Many of us know people who are considered legally blind, even though they have some sight & the right corrective lenses help them enough to get around.  Yet that’s not what this man is speaking of.  He was blind since birth, and there was no help or hope for him to have his sight restored, because he never had any in the first place.  There was not even any precedent for it given in the Hebrew Scriptures.  The miracle he experienced was on the level of manna appearing in the desert, or water coming from a rock – it was something completely unique & possible only by the hand of God Himself.
    1. This miracle was too amazing to deny.  This couldn’t be written off to trickery or deception.  This wasn’t like the false crusades when able-bodied people are put in wheelchairs & later stand up on stage; this was someone who experienced a true miracle of God.  There was no pretending or shortcuts with this man.  He had been completely blind, and now he was completely whole.
    2. That’s the power of a testimony of a life changed by Jesus.  It’s something so amazing that it can only be attributed to the work of God.  (That’s the effect of the resurrection!  There simply can be no other explanation.)

33 If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing.

  1. His conclusion? All power comes from God.  Without God’s enabling, nothing is possible.  With God, all things are possible.  (Amen!)
  2. Because Jesus is from God, He CAN do something.  He can give sight to the blind, and He can save us from our sin. He has the power to do so, and He has personally promised to do so, for all who come to Him in faith.

34 They answered and said to him, “You were completely born in sins, and are you teaching us?” And they cast him out.

  1. The Pharisees revert to a final insult & throw him out of the building.  Most likely, he was judicially excommunicated from the synagogue, though that official process would have taken more time with the whole Sanhedrin council.  For now, they reacted in their anger & expelled him from their presence.
  2. As they did so, they reverted back to the very false theology Jesus denied among His disciples (9:3), saying that the man was "completely born in sin."  Jesus had expressly denied this, saying that the man’s blindness had nothing to do with sin, but was an opportunity for God’s glory to be revealed.  In any case, the man was insulted & condemned.  Unlike his parents, he had taken a stand for Jesus, and paid a price for doing so.  Was it worth it?  Yes – as he’ll find out when he later meets Jesus again.

It’s a rare section of Scripture in the Gospel of John that doesn’t record any acts or words by Jesus, yet that’s exactly what we have here.  Jesus had already acted in the past, and He is about to speak again to the man in the future, but for now all that we have is the testimony of this formerly blind man and his interrogation by the religious authorities of Jerusalem.  Even without Jesus physically there, His presence is keenly felt!  His work was undeniable, and it left an impression on even the most skeptical of Pharisees.

The work of Jesus always leaves an impression, because the work of Jesus cannot be denied.  The Pharisees couldn’t deny Jesus’ work, so they tried to discredit it.  The parents couldn’t deny Jesus’ work, but they were unwilling to take a stand for Him.  Only the formerly blind man both affirmed the work of Jesus and affirmed the Person of Jesus.  There was great personal cost for his stand, but although he still had much to learn about Jesus, he knew this much: Jesus is worth the risk.  Jesus is worth the stand.

Jesus is still worth the risk.  He’s will worthy of taking a stand.  We have entered a time in our own culture when it’s no longer easy to be a Christian.  Around the world, it’s always been hard & is only getting harder.  But Jesus is still worth the cost of discipleship.  He is the Christ, the Son of God, and His identity is proven by His work and resurrection from the dead.  His ongoing work is seen in the lives of millions of Christians around the world. He has personally intervened in our lives through a dramatic demonstration of His power and grace.  We cannot turn our backs upon Him – we dare not deny Him.

Beloved, what is it that Jesus has done in your life?  Think upon your own testimony.  "What do you say about Him because He has opened your eyes?"  How has He freed you from sin?  How has He shown you His grace?  How has He introduced you to the One True God?  That is the work of Jesus in your life.  Stand for Him – live for Him – testify of Him through your words and actions.  He is worth it, whatever it takes.


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