Lesson 53

The Gospel of John

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

9:1 As he passed by, he saw a man blind from his birth. 9:2 His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"

9:3 Jesus answered, "Neither did this man sin, nor his parents. But, that the works of God might be revealed in him, 9:4 I must work the works of him who sent me, while it is day. The night is coming, when no one can work. 9:5 When I am in the world, I am the light of the world." 9:6 When he had said this, he spat on the ground, made mud with the saliva, anointed the blind man's eyes with the mud, 9:7 and said to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam" (which means "Sent"). So he went away, washed, and came seeing. 9:8 The neighbors therefore, and those who saw that he was blind, before, said, "Isn't this he who sat and begged?" 9:9 Others said, "It is he." Still others said, "He is like him."

He said, "I am he." 9:10 They said therefore to him, "How were your eyes opened?"

9:11 He answered, "A man called Jesus made mud, anointed my eyes, and said to me, "Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash." So I went away and washed, and I received sight."

9:12 Then they asked him, "Where is he?"

He said, "I don't know."

 Today's Lesson

Chapter 9 begins another section in the Gospel of John. It begins in a way that seems completely unrelated to the previous chapter. Chapter 8 ends with the culmination of the discussion between Jesus and the Pharisees. He is in Jerusalem for the Feast of Booths and without His principle disciples. When Chapter 9 begins, He is in Jerusalem, but at least some of His disciples are with Him. For this reason, it is probably best to assume that some time has passed between Chapter 8 and Chapter 9.


His disciples see a man that has been blind since the time of His birth. They ask Jesus, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind. Jesus' answer is a wonderful statement on the mission of the Son of God. Neither this man nor his parent's sin caused his blindness. He was born blind that the works of God might be revealed. Jesus repeats what He has said in Chapter 8 (verse 12), "I am the light of the world." In bringing sight to this man born blind, Jesus was demonstrating the work of the Father in His life. He was displaying in vivid terms how God was using the Son to bring light into the world.


Jesus uses His saliva to make mud and placed the mud on the blind man's eyes. He told the man to go and wash his eyes in the pool of Siloam and when the man obeyed, he was able to see for the first time in his life. Just as when Jesus had healed the man by the Pool of Bethesda at the beginning of Chapter 5, this man does not know who Jesus is. Jesus chooses to act on this man in answer to a question from His disciples. The man does not do anything to merit this work and does not contribute anything to it. Jesus acts for His own purposes.


And, there is a method to the way in which Jesus heals this man. The reasoning belongs more to tomorrow's lesson, but apparently Jesus used care to intentionally violate Pharisaic sensitivities about the Sabbath. There is little doubt that Jesus could have healed this man in any way that He wished. He chose to make mud and place the mud on the man's eyes. There was nothing magical or medicinal in the mud or the preparation. Moreover, this was a man well known in Jerusalem who had been blind his whole life. His is an extreme case on which Jesus chooses to demonstrate.


But, we will see that this man has a special role to play. We are meant to empathize with him. We are very much like this man. We have been born without the eyes to see God's work in this life. Only by God's intervention can we be cured of our spiritual blindness. We will see that the character of this man grows throughout this entire chapter. He is the ideal example of those who come to follow the Lord.


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