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136 The Sixth Sign Part 1 Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind

In this sixth sign Jesus heals a man that had been born blind. Follow closely and you will discover that most translations would lead you to believe that God made him blind so that Jesus could heal him and bring good into his life. Is that what God does? Listen and find out.

136 Sign 6 The man born blind John 9
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Sign 6 The man born blind John 9

9:1 "As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man blind from birth."

This blind man was unaware of Jesus, he was blind. Jesus saw him, noticed him, and drew the attention of the disciples to him. When Jesus sees a man, he is going to bless the man because of Jesus’ heart of love. Because of his physical blindness this man was without vision, without an honourable income, without hope. Because we are born spiritually blind, we are without spiritual vision, without spiritual currency and without spiritual hope. These are given to us by Jesus and the Spirit just as certainly as the physical sight which is about to be given to this man.

This blind man, being blind from birth, did not actually know what he was missing. To be able to see was something he had heard others talk about. Yes, it was something that he wanted, but only in the same way that I want my own aircraft or an ocean-going yacht or a house in the Cayman Islands. These are wishes but not hopes. They are not part of my real world. I wish for a Ferrari, but I do not hope for one. But Jesus saw possibilities for this man that he had never imagined in his blind, colourless dreams.

Can you understand what is at stake here? This physical story is an illustration of a spiritual story that is repeated 8 billion times today! We do not imagine the possibilities for ourselves and others that God sees. Other healings had occurred in Israel, but no one had ever been healed who had been born blind. The blind man represents all of us who are blind in sin from our birth. This is the congenital blindness David identifies with in

Psalm 51:5 "In iniquity I was brought to birth and my mother conceived me in sin."

Historically this malady was regarded as incurable. No, it was worse than that. He was blind through no fault of his own. It is the same way with our heritage of sin. We are sinners because of Adam and the Devil NOT our choice.

9:2 "His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’”

The reason for this question is reflected in the Talmud, the body of Jewish civil and ceremonial law and legend, comprising the Mishnah and the Gemara. The Talmud is the source from which the code of Jewish Halakhah (law) is derived. The Mishnah is the original written version of the oral law and the Gemara is the record of the rabbinic discussions following this writing down. It includes their differences of view.

Here are some of their views relevant to this blind man.

"There is no death without sin, and there is no suffering without iniquity" (Talmud, Shabbat 55a, Soncino ed., p.255).

"A sick man does not recover from his sickness until all his sins are forgiven him" (Talmud, Nedarim 41a, Soncino ed., p. 130).

The rabbis further taught that God was careful that sin meets its punishment according to the rule, measure for measure. Several examples of the rule are given in the Mishna:

"Samson went after [the desire of] his eyes; therefore, the Philistines put out his eyes . . . Absalom gloried in his hair; therefore, he was hanged by his hair. And because he cohabited with the ten concubines of his father, therefore he was stabbed with ten lances. . . .And because he stole three hearts, the heart of his father, the heart of the court of justice, and the heart of Israel, . . . therefore three darts were thrust through him" (Sotah 1.7,8, Soncino ed. of the Talmud, pp. 37, 41).

The Jews did, however, make provision for what they called the chastisement of love. This they believed God sent for the purpose of testing and purification. However, these chastisements were the exception to the general rule, which meant that where there is suffering there is also guilt.

What do you believe about suffering? Do you believe that God sometimes causes suffering to develop character? Or do you believe that God uses suffering caused by sin and evil to bring about good in our lives?

9:2 "This man"

There are hints that the Jews considered prenatal sinning possible on the part of the sinner. Midrash Rabbah, on Genesis 25:22 [Soncino ed., pp. 559, 560] charges that Esau committed sin both before and during birth. This was, however, not the predominant view of the Jews.

9:2 "His parents"

This passage in the Old Testament suggests that some sin is punishment for familial failure,

"The Lord visits the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Him" [Ex 20:5].

Some of the rabbi's taught that epilepsy, lameness, dumbness, came as the result of the transgression of the most trivial rules [Talmud, Peshaim 112b, Soncino ed., p. 579].

Ezekiel 18:20 contradicts Ex 20:5. “The person who sins is the one who will die. The child will not be punished for the parent’s sins and the parent will not be punished for the child’s sins. Righteous people will be rewarded for their own righteous behaviour and wicked people with be punished for their own wickedness.” NLT

They (the disciples) had received this erroneous philosophy from Satan, for he, "the author of sin and all its results, had led men to look upon disease and death as proceeding from God—as punishment arbitrarily inflicted on account of sin" [DA 471]. They had not grasped the lesson from the book of Job which showed that "suffering is inflicted by Satan and is overruled by God for purposes of mercy" [DA 471].

9:3 "Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents but that the works of God should be made manifest in him."

This verse does not mean that the man was born blind so that Jesus would have the opportunity of healing him 38 years later. The key word in this understanding is "that" (Gr. hina). "Hina" (conjunction) can also express result rather than cause. The Contemporary English Version (CEV) reflects this understanding.

John 9:3 “No, it wasn’t!” Jesus answered. “But because of his blindness, you will see God work a miracle for him.”

9:4 “We must work while it is day.”

Jesus will be taken away at his ascension and this man might have never had this opportunity again unless the disciples healed him later.

9:5 “I am the light of the world.”

There is no seeing in darkness. There is no vision of eternity without Jesus Christ who brought the light of eternity into our world. It is because of Jesus that we see the future by faith. Without Jesus we are in the darkness of self-serving and wickedness. Jesus shed light on the fact that God never causes sin. He is the life giver.

Jesus will now perform one of the “so called” Messianic Miracles, miracles by which the Messiah would be recognized. These four miracles were: Heal a Jewish leper, heal a congenital birth defect, exorcise a dumb person and raise someone dead for more than three days. The man blind from birth was a great example of a congenital birth defect. Jesus will accomplish all four in his ministry but the spiritually blind will not “see.”

9:6 "He spat on the ground and made a paste with the spittle; He spread it on the man's eyes."

The pool of Siloam was where people washed before going into the temple. The people of those times also regarded spittle or saliva as having healing properties. Did Jesus do this to give the man reason for hope? Was He meeting the man in his ignorance? The man could not see Jesus’ actions, but he could sense the mud on his eyes.

Have you ever noticed Mark 7:33? (NIV) After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man's ears. Then he spat and touched the man's tongue.


Mark 8:23 (NIV) He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spat on the man's eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, "Do you see anything?"

Was Jesus making it easy for the man to have faith? “Let me kiss it better.”

Would you be comfortable with a cold mud and warm saliva all over your face? I would have wanted to wash it off!

The soil and the saliva was of no avail. Nothing good came of the manmade, man invented, man concocted solutions. Saliva, even from the mouth of Jesus, is of no avail. Vision, the healing of our congenital problems, or salvation comes from another source.

9:7 "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent)."

Siloam was where the worshippers going to the temple cleansed themselves. It was in the city of David, a thousand steps from the temple.

Cleansing comes from the One who is sent from heaven. Jesus is drawing the parallel for those who will understand. The sent One sends the blind man to the pool called Sent. We are also sent. It was when the blind man washed the earth off his eyes with the water of "sent" that he received his vision. Can you hear? There were no magical properties in the pool of Siloam, but the grace of God has dawned on the world through an ordinary human body (Titus 3:1-5).

While the man was going to the pool Jesus had time to move on.

Jesus, when talking to the woman at the well said: "I will give you water that will never run dry." The water Jesus gives us washes earthly selfishness off our eyes.

Water represents the Grace of God streaming over us from His Word—His Precious Word. Time to be with the Word, but the Word is about Jesus. We are washed in the blood. Our eyes now see the grace of God towards us and others.

The man could have said: "I don't have time to go to the pool, I must get on with my begging It’s getting late" He could have reasoned: "How can I find my way there? It is difficult!" 9:7 So the man went and washed and came back seeing!

The man was desperate to see! He made a decision. He made the choice of his life. He would go to the pool. The chance was worth taking. He gambled a few hours of inconvenience for possible sight! Is that a gamble? Is it a risk worth taking every day?

9:8-9 The neighbours therefore, and they which before had seen him that was blind, said, `Is this not he that sat and begged?' Some said, `This is he': others said, `He is like him': but he said `I am he.'"

The helpless blind beggar, the parasite on society, now becomes a contributing member of the community. He is so different with his new vision that some could not even recognise him. He could feed himself. He could see if his buttons were fastened correctly, he could see if his hair was neat, if his face was clean. He was now able to help others who were blind. It was a new and different world. The old world was gone forever! Was gone forever!

Do you long to see the goodness of God? The longings of our hearts have a way of coming true. Is there a longing in your heart to see the coming king in all His kindness and grace? Do you want the grace of God to remove the cataracts of your selfishness? I wish, no I hope it for myself and for you!

Rev 3:17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

God is wanting and waiting to give us new vision so that we can see the grace of God in all that we read and study. The Laodiceans are in a terrible condition, but they think they are rich and prosperous. Thomas the disciple could not see very well in faith matters.

Ian Hartley, 2009


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