Why do we fear the unknown? John 9:1-23 is the topic that will be discussed today on RIOT Podcast, a Christian Discipleship Podcast.
Today we will be reading John 9:1-23 the healing of the blind man. Up until this point in our study of John, we know Jesus performed miracles in order to meet human needs. But he also used miracles as a launching pad for a message of conveying spiritual truth. His miracles were His credentials to prove that He was indeed the Messiah. Matthew 11:15 says “the blind receive their sight” and we will see it demonstrated in this chapter.
We read that in the United States somebody goes blind every 20 minutes. The man we will meet today was born blind; he had never seen the beauty of God’s creation or the faces of loved ones. When Jesus arrives on the scene, everything changed, and man was made to see. However, that was not the greatest miracle we will read, we will also see the miracle of God opening this man’s heart to the Savior. The easiest way to grasp the message of this chapter is to note the stages in this man’s growing understanding of who Jesus is.
Read John 9:1-12
This first stage of growth was that the blind man was “called”. Before we ever believe in Jesus, He will call us unto Himself. The only means of survival was for this blind to beg for money and that is what he was doing when Jesus passed by.
No doubt there were many blind people who would have rejoiced to be healed, but Jesus selected this man. It appears from the text that this blind man and his parents were well known in the community. Notice that the healing was done on the Sabbath so that once again Jesus deliberately challenged the religious leaders.
Ultimately because of the fall of man and Adam's disobedience, sin and death are in the world. But to blame a specific disabled person, for a specific sin, committed by specific persons, is certainly beyond any person’s ability or authority. Only God knows why babies are born with disabilities, and only God can turn those disabilities into something that will bring good to the people and glory to His name.
Because we all fall short, we know with certainty that both the man and his parents have sinned at some point in their life. But Jesus did not see their sin, nor did He suggest that God deliberately made the man blind, so that years later, Jesus could perform a miracle. Since there is no punctuation in the original manuscripts, we are free to read John 9:3-4 this way: “Neither has this man sinned nor his parents. But that the works of God should be made manifest in him, I must work the works of Him who sent me, while it is the day.”
Why did Jesus use clay this time to heal the blind man? We can think of two reasons. First, it was a picture of the incarnation. God made the first man out of the dust, and God sent His son as a real man so the world could see. The second reason was irritation, it encouraged the man to believe and obey! If you have ever had irritation in your eyes, you quickly seek to rinse your eyes and remove the irritation. You might compare the irritation to the convicting work of the Holy Spirit as He uses God’s law to bring the lost sinner under Judgment.
The blind man told them about His experience and about the man named Jesus and what he did. The blind man was ignorant of Jesus’s identity and at this point, he was healed, but not saved. In the following verses 13-23, something changed within the man, as he wondered himself what had happened, it dawned on him that this was a miracle. This could only happen if the man was a prophet.
Read John 9:13-23
Since the man was born blind, the miracle was even greater, for blindness caused by sickness or injury might suddenly go away. And the miracle performed on the Sabbath gave the Pharisees great concern. In their eyes this was illegal. They should have been praising God for the miracle, but they instead sought evidence to prosecute Jesus.
Jesus was the cause of the division and the religious leaders were judging on the basis of one thing. Nobody who breaks the Sabbath could possibly be a true prophet of God. They were one-issue thinkers, not unlike other religious people today.
Notice that the beggar was not intimidated by the threats of the Pharisees. When asked who He thought Jesus was, he boldly told them He was a prophet. In the OT some of the prophets did miracles, including Moses, Elijah, and Elisha. The Jewish people would look on their prophets as men of God who could do wonderful things by the power of God. The religious leaders quickly shot this down and said this man is not of God. They knew they were in trouble and they did their best to hide the truth.
Proverbs 9:25 says that the fear of man brings a snare. The Pharisees were trying to trap Jesus, and the parents were trying to avoid a trap, but they were only ensnaring themselves. If we cannot accept Jesus as God when something new comes into our lives, we too might be ensnared by fear. We can easily miss what God is doing around us and only focus on the fear of the unknown.
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