In the passage below we see a blind man that can now see, and seeing men that are blind.
As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”6 After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. 7 “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.
8 His neighbours and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, “Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?” 9 Some claimed that he was. Others said, “No, he only looks like him.” But he himself insisted, “I am the man.” 10 “How then were your eyes opened?” they asked.11 He replied, “The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.” 12 “Where is this man?” they asked him. “I don’t know,” he said.
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.
35 Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 36 “Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.” 37 Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.” 38 Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him. 39 Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”
40 Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?” 41 Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.
In this passage we once again find Jesus getting into trouble for showing compassion and healing someone on the Sabbath. The Jewish leaders thought that was a big no-no. They cared more for rules than people. They cared more for law than love.
But this time it’s almost like John – or the blind man himself – is intentionally making fun of them. The dialogue between the man (who was blind but now can see) and the Jewish leaders reads almost like a scene out of Monty Python or The Office (see especially verses 24-34 – feel free to read those verses again with some comical voices in your head).
The facts are clear. The testimonial of the man in question is crystal clear: “One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” and “If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” Something miraculous has happened, that is far bigger than any man-made and rotten rule about healing on the wrong day of the week.
As happens a number of times throughout Scripture, here is a blind man that can see (both physically and spiritually), and seeing men that are blind (spiritually). The blind man sees Jesus and testifies about him even under pressure; the Jewish leaders see Jesus but are blind to who he really is. John holds the blind and the seeing side by side in order that we will see for ourselves the truth about Jesus.
Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” (v39)Do you see?
Head: Read through the passage again and contrast what is said about the blind and seeing.
Heart: How does Jesus’ compassion on the blind man, along with his willingness to disobey the social customs of his time, make you feel?
Hands: What rules are you obeying that you should be spurning in order to show compassion on those around them, and help them to see the gospel? (For example – ‘You shouldn’t talk about your faith.’)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I love that Jesus cares more about people than about rules. He is flawless and compassionate. He is good and kind. He is merciful. He helped physically blind men to see; and he helps spiritually blind people like me to see that he is my Saviour. Help me to trust him. To love him. To follow him. Forgive me for obeying unnecessary rules instead of showing compassion. Help me instead to be more like Jesus.
A song to listen to: Broken Vessels (Amazing Grace)
This Grow Daily was originally posted as part of a previous series called the Spirit of Jesus in 2016. During the School Holidays we take the opportunity to look back at the best of Grow Dailys over the years.