The entire ninth chapter of John is devoted to telling the story of a blind man. He was “blind from birth” (John 9:1). He had never seen his momma’s face, nor the sun that warmed his cheeks on a sunny morning. The vivid shades of wildflowers and the pink and orange hues of the clouds at sunset, these were a mystery to him.
His disability rendered him a beggar (John 9:8). Day after day, he sat beside the city gate and prayed upon the kindness of the passing strangers. That was bad enough, but the hypocritical prejudice of his neighbors was even worse. The common belief was that disability and disease were directly caused by sin. Surely, his neighbors whispered, “the blind man or his parents are being punished for some treacherous transgression. What malicious misconduct were they guilty of? Why had God been so punitive?”
The disciples shared the misconception, so they asked Jesus, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” (John 9:2). Jesus corrected their errant thinking and promised to illuminate God’s glorious plan and purpose. “I am the light of the world” (John 9:5). “This came about so that God’s works might be displayed in him” (John 9:3). I wonder if Jesus nodded at Peter and John and said, “Watch this!” “He spit on the ground, made some mud from the saliva, and spread the mud on his eyes. ‘Go,’ he told him, ‘wash in the pool of Siloam’ (which means ‘Sent’). So he left, washed, and came back seeing” (John 9:6-7).
He went from blind to twenty-twenty in a flash! The man’s physical healing was instantaneous, but his spiritual understanding was a progression. At first, the man answered the questions of the mob with, “The man called Jesus made mud, spread it on my eyes, and told me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So when I went and washed I received my sight” (John 9:11). Apparently, he didn’t know much about Jesus, but notice that he willingly obeyed the Master’s instruction. That’s a good place to start.
When the Pharisees badgered him for the details of the miraculous act, the man who had once been blind answered, “He is a prophet” (John 9:17). He must have reasoned, a man who can do God’s work in such a miraculous way must be like Elijah or Daniel or Jonah. He must be a prophet!
When the Pharisees continued their interrogation, he responded, “This is an amazing thing! ... You don’t know where he is from, and yet he opened my eyes. We know that God doesn’t listen to sinners, but if anyone is God-fearing and does his will, he listens to him. Throughout history no one has ever heard of someone opening the eyes of a person born blind. If this man were not from God, he wouldn’t be able to do anything” (John 9:30–33).
See the progression. “His name is Jesus.” Then, “He’s a prophet.” And then, “This God-fearing man, a miracle-worker sent from Heaven, is unique in human-history!”
When Jesus, the Savior who came to seek and save, “heard that (the Pharisees) had thrown the man out, and when he found him, he asked, ‘Do you believe in the Son of Man?’ ” (John 9:35). The “Son of Man” was a Messianic title (Daniel 7:13-14). Jesus pointedly asked the man, “Do you believe that God has fulfilled His Old Testament promises and sent the Messiah to redeem and restore?”
“ ‘Who is he, Sir, that I may believe in him?’ he asked. Jesus answered, ‘You have seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.’ ‘I believe, Lord!’ he said, and he worshiped him”(John 9:36–38). I can’t be sure, but I’d guess that the man didn’t worship with his eyes closed but gazed intently into the compassionate eyes of His Lord.
We don’t know the rest of the story, but we can be sure that this saint strolls the golden streets of Glory, eternally amazed at God’s technicolor grace!
All Scripture quotations, except as otherwise noted, are from
Holman Bible Publishers’ Christian Standard Bible.