Monday, Apr 24th

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John 9

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The book of John is hard-hitting, filled with details not found elsewhere. In this Book we read of the fortitude of Christ and His refusal to stay quiet for the sake of peace or personal safety. Oh that modern Christians took note of this, instead of securing an ungodly cowardly silence!

The Pharisees try to build up more evidence against Jesus, and wait with great eagerness to catch Him out and then to arrest Him at last, as a ‘blasphemer’. In my own life I have observed my enemies waiting with barely-hidden joy and expectation, as they examine my life and ministry in detail; they hope to catch me out and to finally destroy me! I have sometimes said that the streets will be lined with people to see me off at my funeral... not with respect or sadness, but clapping for joy that I have finally been removed from their lives – and many of those will be supposed brethren! This is what genuine Christians can expect, because Christ said we should anticipate it. It is those silent Christians who should be called to task!

In this chapter we read a very clear warning – that God DOES NOT hear the prayers of sinners. So, if you are a believer who is sinning without repentance, do not expect an answer. If you are an unbeliever, there will NEVER be an answer. Christians who assure unbelievers that God will hear them if they pray, are therefore defying God and teaching heresy for the sake of emotionalism.

Verses 1-5

  1. And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.

  2. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?

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

  4. I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.

  5. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.

Jesus was out walking, probably accompanied by His disciples and, probably, the usual large crowd. He came across a blind man, who was sightless from birth. The disciples were curious, for, in their day, such ailments were viewed to be the result of sin. So, they asked Jesus if the blindness was caused by either himself or his parents. They did not even contemplate that Christ would heal a man whose affliction was caused by sin. (Many modern Christians hold to this view).

Jesus did not hesitate to answer: ‘None of them has sinned to cause this blindness!’ (Adam’s sin brought ruin upon all things, and gave rise to death and illness, and it is this ongoing effect on all of Creation that results in illness and conditions). He then said something remarkable, taking us back to the days of Pharaoh and Moses. God said that He deliberately created Pharaoh so that he would never repent, but die at God’s hand, to glorify His Name. In the same way, Jesus said that this man’s blindness was allowed by God so that His Name would be glorified when Jesus healed him. Have no doubt – God can and does create some to be destroyed (those not elect), and others to be glorified (in Christ: the elect).

So, this man was born blind for a specific purpose – to glorify God when Jesus healed him. Jesus said that He must work swiftly while it was still day, because darkness was coming fast and nothing more would be done. This was an indirect way of saying that He had little time left on earth, because the devil must have his way by killing Him; sin was closing in fast. Hence, while Jesus still lived on earth, there would be Light, the Light of knowledge and salvation, which would displace the darkness.

Unfortunately, many Christians believe as did the Jews, when they see another Christian suffering, that he ‘must have’ sinned in some way to ‘deserve’ it. I have had it said about myself, many times. Therefore, when God has been gracious to me, the same ‘Christians’ are surprised and perplexed; they ask, with the Pharisees, ‘Why should God help such a sinner?’. Reader, suffering is not always deserved or brought about by God.

Verses 6-9

  1. When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay,

  2. And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.

  3. The neighbours therefore, and they which before had seen him that he was blind, said, Is not this he that sat and begged?

  4. Some said, This is he: others said, He is like him: but he said, I am he.

Then, Jesus did something curious, not observed before (so long as we know). He bent down and spat on the earth. Then, He rolled the dirt in His fingers to make clay/mud, and placed it on both the man’s eyes. Why not simply utter a word to heal the man? Why use physical ‘props’? Maybe so that followers could see that God is not bound by convention or what people think should happen! Jesus used mud, which probably caused perplexity amongst the following crowd. He was God and could bring about healing by any means He wished. Only He could do this.

After smearing the man’s eyes with mud, Jesus told him to go to the Siloam pool, where He had previously healed a crippled man. The man was told to wash himself; whether this meant the whole body or just the eyes we cannot tell. When the man did as commanded, he immediately could see.

Friends and neighbours saw the man healed of his blindness, but instead of accepting that it happened, they began to question it. ‘Isn’t this the blind beggar who sat by the gate?’ Some said ‘Yes, this is the same man’ and others said ‘No, he only looks like him.’ The healed man simply said ‘Yes, I am that man’. Christians will always question whether or not God has acted in someone’s life, even if it is for their good and the one affected testifies to what has happened! It is a form of unbelief, and it is rife in the churches today.

Verses 10-14

  1. Therefore said they unto him, How were thine eyes opened?

  2. He answered and said, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash: and I went and washed, and I received sight.

  3. Then said they unto him, Where is he? He said, I know not.

  4. They brought to the Pharisees him that aforetime was blind.

  5. And it was the sabbath day when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes.

The healed man became the centre of controversy and everyone wanted to know how it was possible for him to see again. The man patiently (and gladly) iterated the account of his healing by “a man that is called Jesus”, who spread clay on his eyes and told him to wash in Siloam. ‘As soon as I did that,’ he said, ‘I was healed’. Christians who obey the Lord WILL see things happening in their lives. But, few obey and trust in Him. So, they remain ‘blind’.

The crowd pressed him to say where this Jesus was, but he did not know. Then, the people took the healed man to the priests/Pharisees, as usually happened when a miraculous healing occurred. For Jesus, this was another momentous activity, for, once again, He had performed this miracle on the seventh day Sabbath! This added to the hateful ire of Jewish religious leaders. Truth and good do not matter to those who loathe God or His people – they just wish to hate and so call good ‘evil’!

Verses 15&16

  1. Then again the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. He said unto them, He put clay upon mine eyes, and I washed, and do see.

  2. Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them.

The Pharisees repeated the same questions, asking how he had his sight back. The man again gave his story. The reaction of the Pharisees was instant: ‘Because he did this thing on the Sabbath, he cannot possibly be of God!’ Their hateful comment was countered by others, who said ‘How can a sinner perform miracles such as this?’ So, the two groups bickered amongst themselves!

Today there are divisions, not just about Christ, but about what Christians say and do, mainly driven by denominationalism. Within this open antagonism is ignorance and even heresies. Scripturally, there is very little for genuine Christians to divide over. Yet, when there is a real need to divide from others, Christians refuse to divide! For example, we may not fellowship with those who reject the Sonship of Jesus Christ, or His divine nature; we may not fellowship with those whose behaviour is so sinful as to be known publicly. And so on.

Verses 17-21

  1. They say unto the blind man again, What sayest thou of him, that he hath opened thine eyes? He said, He is a prophet.

  2. But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind, and received his sight, until they called the parents of him that had received his sight.

  3. And they asked them, saying, Is this your son, who ye say was born blind? how then doth he now see?

  4. His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind:

  5. But by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself.

The Pharisees wanted to know more, not in order to praise God, but so that they could have a reason to arrest Jesus. They had asked others on previous occasions what they thought of the man Who healed them... and they did not like the answer. Again, they asked what the healed man thought of Jesus. The man did not hesitate to say “He is a prophet”. He might not have known that Jesus was God, but he definitely categorised Him as a prophet, sent by God with miraculous powers.

This is not what the Pharisees wanted to hear! They remind me of many ‘Christians’ I am contacted by who seek answers but do not like what I say, even when it is scriptural. They ‘prefer’ their own ‘interpretation’, though the Bible tells us that there cannot be personalised interpretations. This is because, logically, the word of God can only have ONE interpretation. That many ‘prefer’ their own interpretation is a shame upon them, for they reject what is actually said in scripture, and deliberately put their own ‘spin’ on what they read. By doing this they can steer meanings towards their preferred hypothesis, for any number of (sinful) reasons. This is what the Pharisees were doing.

Rather than accept the man’s own testimony, they turned to his parents and asked them to relate what happened to their son. They confirmed that their son was born blind, but they could not say much about the healing – they were not there. So, they said, ‘Ask our son what happened; he is old enough to give his own answer.’ This must have infuriated the Pharisees, as the discussion went around in circles!

In my ministry I have to read countless sources of information. But, they never form the core of my answers or arguments. The core must always be scripture. Everything else is mere ‘padding’, or added information at best. In everyday Christian witness there is no need for this academic-style padding. Just say what God says!

Verses 22-27

  1. These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.

  2. Therefore said his parents, He is of age; ask him.

  3. Then again called they the man that was blind, and said unto him, Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner.

  4. He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.

  5. Then said they to him again, What did he to thee? how opened he thine eyes?

  6. He answered them, I have told you already, and ye did not hear: wherefore would ye hear it again? will ye also be his disciples?

The young man’s parents feared the anger and intimidation of the Pharisees, and tried to deflect anger from themselves. They did not want to be banned from the synagogue, because that would effectively ban them from the nation of Israel. So, they threw their son to the dogs. Fear yes, but no excuse to cast off your own child! (This is how modern authorities work... they intimidate employees and citizens so they comply with wicked laws. Or, they lose their income, jobs and status. In my own case I had all three applied at once and my future ability to earn an income vanished. This is now commonplace).

While Jesus gathered more and more believers, the Sanhedrin was trying to counter His Gospel with threats, charges and intimidation. The Pharisees pressed home their wickedness and tried to get the man to praise ‘God’ the Father rather than this usurper called Jesus. To them, He was a sinner needing punishment, so no man should worship Him. The young man, knowing the possible consequences, and having experienced a miracle first-hand, did not play their game. ‘I don’t know if this man is a sinner; all I know is that he gave me back my sight!’

The Pharisees, like all bullies and fake ideologists, continued in their inane questioning, trying to get some kind of accusation from the young man’s lips. They demanded that he repeat what happened to him. But, he would have none of it. ‘Look! I’ve already told you what happened, but you seem to be deaf! WHY do you want me to repeat it again... so you can also be His disciples?’

Modern Christians should not feel obliged to keep answering stupid or persistent questions from unbelievers. Discernment can tell us if a questioner is just being awkward, or ridiculing, or if he is genuine. If not genuine, he deserves no answers.

Verses 28-34

  1. Then they reviled him, and said, Thou art his disciple; but we are Moses' disciples.

  2. We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is.

  3. The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes.

  4. Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.

  5. Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind.

  6. If this man were not of God, he could do nothing.

  7. They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out.

The Pharisees were now enraged and heaped abuse on the man, saying YOU are His disciple – but WE are Moses’ disciples. The implication was that they were acceptable to God whereas this young man must be a devil-worshipper for following Jesus. Note how this former blind man, a beggar with no education, could speak more truth than the religious leaders! (See article A/85 on railing accusations).

The Pharisees said they knew God spoke to Moses who then passed on His divine words to the people – but they had no idea where Jesus came from, or with what spirit! This was a lie wrought of self-deception. They knew Jesus’ human birth-place, and knew His family. And if they knew their scriptures as they claimed, they would have recognised Jesus to be the Messiah, Son of God. But, their hatred and preference for their earthly comforts, courtesy of obeying Roman authorities, made them blind to truth and facts. We find this time and again with our ministry’s critics: they have no interest in any answers we give; they are only interested in bullying, denying truth, and spitting out venom.

The young man must have felt very annoyed, given his answer: ‘I am amazed! You say you don’t know this man’s origin and spirit, yet He opened my eyes!’ Though blind until now and a beggar, the young man knew his theology better than the Pharisees did! Indeed, his words made the Pharisees look foolish: ‘We KNOW God never listens to sinners. He only listens to those who obey and worship Him. From the beginning of creation, no-one has heard of any man healing another who has been blind from birth! Only a man sent by God could heal such blindness.’ He thus testified from the basis of the Pharisees’ own theology – that if God does not listen to a sinner, how could this supposed sinner perform miracles from God?

Typically, like all deceived blind teachers, the Pharisees were further angered by this apparent impudence, even though it was all true. They must have spluttered in the young man’s face as they resorted to their self-maintained dignity: ‘How dare you! You were born in sin, yet you dare to teach us, the leaders of Israel?’

Then, like anyone who has no argument, they threw him out of the synagogue! Though he was now cast out, he stood tall as a true disciple of the Lord. Though a one-time beggar, he was now a prince amongst men, a genuine believer in the Father, soon to believe in the Son also. He answered and stood firm, more than most today who claim to be followers of Jesus!

Verses 35-39

  1. Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God?

  2. He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?

  3. And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee.

  4. And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.

  5. And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.

The incident was reported to Jesus, Who immediately tried to find the young man. He asked him a direct question: ‘Do you believe on the Son of God?’ The young man was honest, showing himself ready to believe in the Lord. ‘Who is the Son, that I might believe on Him?’

Jesus answered, ‘You have previously seen Him – He is now in front of you talking to you’. The young man did not hesitate: ‘Lord, I believe’. We can sense this in the way he answered the Pharisees, but here he was proving it. Then, the man worshipped Christ, in that exact spot. In this passage ‘worshipped’, proskyneō, may be taken to mean that the man kissed Jesus’ hand in reverence, before falling to his knees and touching the ground with his forehead. He may even have stretch out on his face before Jesus as a sign of his homage. This was a man whose heart had been genuinely touched by God. In our modern language, he was saved!

Jesus told the man that His reason for coming into the world was to make the Jews see, spiritually. But, those who rejected Him were made blind. Thus, the Pharisees would not see God truly, because their hard hearts caused Jesus to make them permanently spiritually blind. There was no hint of the modern Christian pseudo-theological idea of ‘loving them into the Kingdom’! We have no business chasing unbelievers or sinning Christians until they turn back to God!

Notice that beforehand Jesus said He did not come into the world to judge? But, here He said He came into the world “For judgment”, krima. In context He means He would decide to punish those guilty of spiritual deception and sin. That is, He came to condemn those who hated God, and to save those who loved Him. The earlier statement (e.g. John 12:48) uses a different word for ‘judge’, krinō, which in context referred to dividing one from another, and settling right from wrong.

Verses 40&41

  1. And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also?

  2. Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.

Pharisees ‘happened’ (!) to be close enough to hear the conversation between Jesus and the once-blind young man. Petulantly, they demanded to know from Jesus if they, too, were blind. Jesus was quite straightforward in His reply... if they were blind they would not be sinners. But, He said, they claimed to be all-wise and holy, able to see the things of God truly – therefore, they were still sinners.

What did Jesus mean by this? He meant that those who are genuinely ignorant of something cannot be held fully responsible and can be approached with mercy. They would still be responsible to a degree, but not as much as if they acted deliberately. So, Jesus was NOT saying that an ignorant man is sinless. It could not mean that, because otherwise He would be saying that a man who is unsaved will still enter Heaven because of his ignorance! (Romans 1 dispels that idea).

On the other hand, if they said they could see the things of God truly and understood, they would be charged fully with their sin, because they claimed to be genuine and yet sinned against the Son of God.

There are many today who are like the Pharisees; they hate those who are genuine and claim to be genuine themselves. But, when they do, we can ask the same question as Christ: ‘If, then, you are holy and obey God, WHY do you hate me?’ In my ministry (and outside it) I have experienced great hatred and total disdain, by those who call themselves my brethren. They loathe it when I show them their errors, and, instead, try to bring accusations against me – a kind of smokescreen – or just cat-call names. Their accusations never contain substance, and they reject any biblical truth. All they want is to harm, or to dismiss. Then, they have the temerity to ask me “Are we blind also?” My answer would have to be “Yes”, though they would then accuse me of arrogance! Oh well!

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Published on www.christiandoctrine.com

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