Text: John 9
Events: A man born blind receives sight, Pharisees excommunicate the healed man, Jesus speaks about true vision and true blindness
John 9:3 “Neither…” So often when things go wrong, we can be quick to ether blame ourselves, blame others, or even claim demonic attack. But this account is a great example of why it is important to pray from heaven to earth. Had the disciples not known the real issue, they could have prayed for the repentance of the mother and father of their sin. They could have even rebuked the man falsely and accused him of hidden sin in his life. They could have gathered “two or three to touch and agree with them.” Of course, blindness is a condition that is not found in heaven, but in our broken, fallen nature of a world. But when they got “heavens perspective”, they learned that God had simply allowed this so that His power could be made evident.
“Notice the positive viewpoint of Jesus. The disciples viewed the man’s condition as an indication of divine displeasure, but Jesus saw it as an opportunity for divine grace.”
-Dr. Thomas Constable
John 9:6 “and made clay with the saliva” We can’t be completely sure as to why Jesus chose this method as the way to bring healing to this man. That, in itself, may be the point – that God may choose whatever method He wishes to bring glory to His name. However, it is interesting to point out that back in this day, saliva was thought to have healing qualities and to this, Jesus added dust from the ground, from which man was originally made. (Genesis 2:7) The other verse that came to mind upon reading this, given the disciples beginning question in vs 1 about the cause of the blindness, was Romans 9:20b-21 “Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?” Jesus indeed restored this man and made him a vessel of honor for His name.
John 9:31 “but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him.” The fact that the Pharisees were so unbelieving in light of the evidence and proof standing right before them was startling to this man. And rightly so.
John 9:34 “And they cast him out.” The man was literally excommunicated from the synagogue which meant that now, he would now be ostracized by everyone. He had already been looked down on his whole life for being blind and now religion attempted to put him back in that corner of life again.
John 9:37 “it is He who is talking with you” Another way of saying this is, “don’t you recognize My voice?” This man had not seen Jesus yet, but He had heard Him. Jesus was training him to recognize and connect what he heard and saw, for “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27
Today’s Takeaway: I’d like to go back to the point I made in my notes on verse 3. So often when things go wrong, we can be quick to either blame ourselves, blame others, or even claim demonic attack, can’t we? Chances are, you may be facing a challenge right now that you may not have answers for. Perhaps you’re not even sure how it started or what got you to the point you’re at now and all you can ask yourself is, “How did I end up here?” I want to encourage you to think in a new way and pray in a new way. Make it your hearts desire – above all – that God would be glorified. As He said in verse 5, He is the light of the world and will bring light into any situation. This is not to say that we brush off any personal responsibility. Should there be something we did to cause or contribute to the difficulty, God in His love and His grace will make that clear. But let’s shift our mindset and start approaching our challenges with a belief that they are an opportunity for “the works of God to be revealed in them…”
Additional (optional) reading: The event in today’s passage is only recorded in the Gospel of John. However, a great passage to read alongside today’s text would be Ezekiel 18 which reminds us that God deals with us each individually and does not lay the trespasses of our ancestors upon us. There may be behavioral patterns which must be broken and relearned according to God’s righteous standards, but in Jesus we are given the grace – the empowerment – to do just that.