Bible Study Notes: John 9
Purpose of the Gospel according to St. John: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name (John 20:31).
Healing The Man Born Blind
Jesus Gives Evidence That He Is God
Jesus was in the Temple from chapter 7:14 to 8:59. Now, He went out of the Temple but remains in Jerusalem. He is going to give evidence by a deed that He is the Light of the World as He did by a Word in 8:12. Those who reject Jesus remain in darkness.
1 And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.
The conversation to follow turns on this point that the man has been blind his whole life.
2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
The disciples would have learned from the Old Testament that the sins of the Father fall upon the children. However, the prophets also teach that individuals are accountable for their own sin. So the disciples are confused. Why would the parents be exempt from all punishment if the sin was done by them? How could the man have sinned before his birth to receive such a punishment? Who is responsible for the sin that caused this man’s blindness?
3 Jesus answered Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents:
Jesus corrects the disciples. Not all suffering can be traced back to a specific act of sin. Yes, all suffering comes from sin in some way or another. However, the Lord also oversees all this and may direct it differently than a simple cause and effect. Jesus never explains the details of this very complicated topic.
but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.
This is not going to be the work of God’s power over man’s weakness but the work of God’s grace and mercy revealed in healing this man.
4 I must work the works of him that sent me,
The “I” must work is a minor variant. The ESV has “We” must work and has much greater support. Jesus is including His disciples into the work of the Father. The Father sent Jesus (me; not the disciples) and what will follow from this is that Jesus will send the apostles.
while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
This refers to the time of Jesus’ earthly/public ministry that will cease at His death. The work He does after is of a different kind. Also, the apostles’ will be sent to work but that work will also be completed upon their death without a continuing afterward.
5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.
The work Jesus does after His resurrection depends on the work He accomplishes before it.
6 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,
7 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.
8 The neighbours therefore, and they which before had seen him that he was blind, said, Is not this he that sat and begged? 9 Some said, This is he: others said, He is like him: but he said, I am he. 10 Therefore said they unto him, How were thine eyes opened? 11 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. 12 Then said they unto him, Where is he? He said, I know not.