Sermon: A Blind Man Sees the Light of the World John 9

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 A Blind Man Sees the Light of the World

John 9

Primary Truth Taught- Jesus, the Light of the World takes the man born blind from spiritual darkness to spiritual light.


Last time we looked at John 9:1-7 as we saw Jesus heal the man born blind.  We learned that God had a purpose in creating the blind man the way He did.  The purpose was so that God would be glorified in the man’s seeing.

I want to remind us today that the disciples were trying to figure out whose sin caused this man’s blindness.
And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?

Jesus moves them from causality to purpose.[1]

The question Jesus wants them to ask instead of why did this happen is now what is God going to do?  There is a massive difference between whose fault is it which gets no one anywhere to God’s purpose in the event.  When we begin to look to God and His purpose we can begin to move forward.

This is true when things happen to us.  We can sit around all day saying woe is me or we can think through Romans 8:28
Romans 8:28 (ESV)

28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

The other big piece we must keep in mind as we work through John Chapter 9 is verse 3…

Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.

Jesus tells His disciples the purpose for this man’s blindness is God’s glory when God heals him.  Then, we see Jesus mixing mud, placing it on his eyes and sending him off to wash in the pool.  In other words Jesus heals him.  Only God can heal blindness and Jesus heals blindness, Jesus is God.  We see the rest of the chapter flows from this truth.

There is another “work of God” that we’ll see taking form in this man’s heart.  Jesus not only heals his eyesight but also heals his dead heart and causes him to believe and to worship Jesus.  Last time we looked at the man’s blindness being healed now I want to look at how God is working and healing him holistically, literally how God saves this man.

Human Need Met

God receives glory in ways we can’t even begin to imagine.  He alone can take the direst circumstances and bring glory to Himself.  Often what we must do is trust and wait and watch.

John 9:1–41 (ESV)

As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.

  1. Jesus Breaks The Sabbath

In examining this account, we notice that the healing of the blind man unleashes the Sabbath controversy again.  Remember He healed the man laying by the pool who was paralyzed on the Sabbath and here He does it again.
Last time we looked at why Jesus used the mud to heal this man.  We learned that spit and dirt were unclean but Jesus’ power overtook them and produced healing.  I also think there is another reason, a more basic reason.  He healed this way in order to break the law.  The Pharisees had created Sabbath laws that were over and above what God desired.  Jesus was NOT breaking God’s law here but man’s twisting of something God made for man’s good.

When Jesus stoops down and mixes spit with dirt to make mud He is kneading or working to mix something like you would mix something to cook.  This was strictly forbidden.  He intentionally breaks Sabbath tradition.

14 Now it was a Sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes.

Why does John tell us on both occasions that Jesus healed these people on the Sabbath?  It was intended to happen…Jesus waited until the Sabbath because He had a plan.  The Sabbath controversy between the Jews and Jesus would cause them to be stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Here’s the dilemma:  He’s breaking the Sabbath they said therefore He must be a sinner perhaps even possessed by a demon.  At the same time, they had to say that no demon or sinner could heal blindness.  So, when our Lord heals on the Sabbath He is creating a dilemma in which people are going to have to choose a side.  Are you on the He’s-a-sinner side or on the He’s-the-Son-of-God side?

Something is going to happen here in the passage.  The man born blind who can now see will receive more and more sight.  His spiritual vision will become more and more clear.  Remember, Jesus is the Light of the World.  We’ll also see that the Pharisees’ darkness becomes more and more dark.  We’ll see who is really blind.

  1. Jesus, the Man

The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar were saying, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” Some said, “It is he.” Others said, “No, but he is like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.” 10 So they said to him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” 11 He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed and received my sight.” 12 They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.”

This section begins with everyone trying to identify the man who used to be the blind beggar.  Is this the blind beggar?  He answers, it is me.  I can see now.  Then they asked how is it that you were blind from birth and now you can see?

In this the first recorded conversation John highlights the progression of this man’s sight.  He identifies our Lord as the Man, Jesus.

  1. Jesus, the Prophet

13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. 14 Now it was a Sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. 15 So the Pharisees again asked him how he had received his sight. And he said to them, “He put mud on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.” 16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” And there was a division among them. 17 So they said again to the blind man, “What do you say about him, since he has opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.”

Do you see the dilemma Jesus has created?

He can’t be from God because He doesn’t keep the Sabbath

He can’t be a sinful man who’s demon possessed because He healed the blind man.

We see that our Lord is creating a division among the religious elite.

Then they turn to the blind man and ask him who Jesus is and he answers, He is a prophet.  Do you see the progression from He is a man to He is a Prophet?
When the blind man answers, prophet he probably means that He must be some sort of prophet sent by God.  His eyes are open and the beggar knows that this is a work of God alone.

  1. Jesus, the Christ
    18 The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight, until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight 19 and asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” 20 His parents answered, “We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. 21 But how he now sees we do not know, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.” 22 (His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone should confess Jesus to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue.) 23 Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”

If you believe and confess that Jesus is the Christ you would be removed from the synagogue…

John 20:30–31 (ESV)

30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

Now the Jews bring the parents in to question them.  They ask them a series of questions; Is this your son?  Was he born blind?  How does he now see?  Yes this is our son…Yes he was born blind…now  John tells us that their answers stop because they do not want to admit that Jesus is the Christ because they would be removed from the synagogue, or more specifically, removed from Judaism.
What we are to see here is a contrast between the man and his parents.  He had been blind since birth.  Before a day or so ago, had never seen a human being.  He should have been the one afraid.  Instead his parents are afraid to admit anything about Jesus that could get them kicked out of the synagogue.  Do you see what stranglehold religion can have on its followers.  Rather than turning and telling the Jews the truth, they were afraid.

As believers, we must not be afraid of those who would question us.  We must always put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ.

Here we go again…

  1. Jesus, the Disciple Maker

24 So for the second time they called the man who had been blind and said to him, “Give glory to God. We know that this man is a sinner.” 25 He answered, “Whether he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” 26 They said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” 27 He answered them, “I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?” 28 And they reviled him, saying, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. 29 We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.” 30 The man answered, “Why, this is an amazing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him. 32 Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” 34 They answered him, “You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us?” And they cast him out.

One mark of a disciple is that he/she has had a firsthand experience with Jesus Christ.   This former blind man, this former beggar, this man who doesn’t know much at all about Jesus knows this.  Only God can heal the blind so Jesus must be God.  In his amazing reply he shuts the mouths of these Jews.  He doesn’t engage in a theological argument because he can’t.  He doesn’t know any theology.  He can’t out argue these educated religious experts.  They think he is a moron.  Notice he really doesn’t have to.  He has something they don’t have and something they cant argue against, a personal testimony.

Notice his response…I don’t know about all that but I know this much, I was blind and now I can see.  The sad reality is they know it too.
He was faced with superior intellect and rather than argue with these religious elites, he simply says what they could not deny…I used to be blind and now I can see.  His testimony was of massive importance.  His statement was true on two levels…he could see physically and was beginning to see spiritually.

Look at what else he tells these Jews…
30 The man answered, “Why, this is an amazing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him. 32 Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”

At this point, this man is teaching the religious experts of Israel.  He’s a fearless disciple who is not backing down.  He has seen in Jesus, whom he hasn’t yet actually seen, something real and life changing.
We should highlight here that what is life changing in this man’s encounter with Jesus does not only include receiving his sight but receiving real sight as well.

The inevitable takes place…they kick him out of Judaism.

I want you to see who is really blind here.  The proof is right before their eyes.  No sinner can restore sight.  Only a man from God can do a miracle like this, according to the blind man.  Only God can give sight to the blind.  Only God can give spiritual sight to those who are blind as well.

Now, notice how clearly this man can see…

  1. Jesus, the Lord

35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 36 He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” 37 Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.” 38 He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him. 39 Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” 40 Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?” 41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.

This is the second time Jesus found this man.  We also realize, it was the first time the man saw Jesus.  Remember, our Lord mixed mud and placed in his eyes and then told him to go and wash in the Pool of Solame and he came back seeing but didn’t see Jesus until now.
Jesus asks this man, Do you believe in the Son of Man?  Literally, Do you (in contrast to the unbelieving Jews) believe or rely completely on the Son of Man.  The reply of the beggar…who is He, please tell me so I can believe.
Jesus then says, basically, the One you’re looking at, I’m Him.
Let’s think about this man’s response to Jesus.  38 He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.
John 3:36 (ESV)

36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

He calls Jesus Lord.  This is an amazing work of God.  What perception…what sight this man now has.  He is seeing Jesus as the Messiah, Lord, Son of Man and fully believes every word Jesus says.
Then the proper action when God grants us belief is to worship.
This man is now seeing everything more clearly than all the religious leaders who deny Jesus’ claims.  They prove to be the ones who are blind.
Do you see how quickly Jesus came running to this man’s rescue?  The Jews cast him out of the synagogue and Jesus finds him again.

John 6:37 (ESV)

37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.

Why?  Our Lord is not finished with this man yet.  He was not satisfied in merely giving him sight.  Jesus was out to save his soul.  What good would it have been to cure his blindness only to have him die in his sins?  No, our Lord is out to save us completely.
The absolute best thing that could happen to this man was to be kicked out of the temple…
2 Corinthians 6:14–18 (ESV)

14 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,

       “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them,

and I will be their God,

and they shall be my people.

17    Therefore go out from their midst,

and be separate from them, says the Lord,

       and touch no unclean thing;

then I will welcome you,

18    and I will be a father to you,

and you shall be sons and daughters to me,

       says the Lord Almighty.”

Another thing we should notice is how bold this man was before the Jewish religious experts and how meek and humble he is when Jesus addresses him.  This man is different than he was.
38 He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.
Do you see how the pinnacle of the account is worship? Jesus came to seek and save the lost because there are men and women who are not worshippers of God.  Curing the blind was small when compared to remaking a heart so that it can worship.
Our Lord takes this blind beggar and gives him sight opens his heart to believe and He has created a child of God who falls down in divine worship of the Messiah.

Romans 10:17 (ESV)

17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

How is your vision?  Do you believe Jesus is all He said He is?
How is your worship?  Are you practicing humble worship of King Jesus?
We see here a connection between belief and worship.  We must understand to the degree we believe all Jesus said and is for us, we will worship Him.  If your worship is weak your belief is also, probably weak as well.
I pray we all learn from the example of this blind beggar turned to a bold witness for Jesus…Saying to the Jewish Sanhedrin… would you like to be His disciple too?
So, at the end of the day the Jews proved to be the ones who were blind and all along they thought they were seeing God clearly.  So, we see what real blindness looks like.
40 Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?” 41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.


Declaration of Grace

In the mercy and grace of Almighty God, Jesus Christ was given to die for us, and for His sake God forgives us all our sins. To those who believe in Jesus Christ He gives the power to become the children of God and gives to them the Holy Spirit. May the Lord, who has begun this good work in us, bring it to completion in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen


[1] This thought from John Piper’s sermon on the same text

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