Studies in the Gospel of John- The Sixth Sign
I. The Healing of the Man Born Blind
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. 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.” So they said to him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” 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.” They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.” They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. Now it was a Sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. 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.” 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. 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.” 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 and asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” His parents answered, “We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. 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.” (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.) Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.” 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.” He answered, “Whether he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” They said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” 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?” And they reviled him, saying, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.” The man answered, “Why, this is an amazing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. 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. Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” They answered him, “You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us?” And they cast him out. Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.” He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him. Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains. (John 9:1-41)
A. As we look at the signs recorded in the Gospel of John we will attempt to describe them, as Arthur Pink says, in three ways. 1. The Typical Significance 2. The Prophetic Application 3. The Practical Teaching.
B. When reading the Gospel of John always ask questions of the Holy Spirit, who is the author of the book through Apostle John. As this book records, He, the Holy Spirit, will lead us and guide us into all Truth.
II. The Practical Teaching
A. Jesus’ posse come upon a man born blind. Somehow they knew his blindness was from birth. It possibly could have been that he had no eyes or his eyelids revealed a birth defect. The disciples ask Jesus why that was the case. Was it his parent’s sin or his own in utero sin that caused his malady. Jesus quickly answers that it was neither but that the works of God should be revealed in him. Humans tend to categorize difficulty into cause and effect scenarios, and that is wise, however, we need to always consider the working of God in our figuring. “Many of the Jews thought that marks on the body were proofs of sin in the soul. From a like persuasion, probably arose that proverb among our northern neighbors(Scots)-Mark him whom God marks.”- Adam Clarke
B. Jesus, in the world, works the works of God and in this situation being the Light of the World He brings light to blind eyes. He spits in the dirt making mud and then he anoints the man’s eyes. There is a divine interaction taking place where heaven is literally touching earth and the result is a creative miracle. The man in obedience to Jesus words goes to the pool of Siloam and washes his eyes.
C. As soon as the man washes himself he can see. This causes problems because this healing occurred on the Sabbath. He is then questioned by the Pharisees. It is within this discourse that the Man expresses one of the most famous statements used in the church. “”Whether he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” Many times when God moves in our lives those who claim to know God and are no longer engaged in an active relationship with Him will elevate their old understanding of how God works over the new expression of His work. However, the new work never violates the principles of His expressed will through His Word.
D. Even with many witnesses to the healing those in charge refuse to recognize Jesus’ goodness or power. Instead they blaspheme his nature and character by calling Him a sinner and denying His origin.
E. The man accurately and logically defends the master. He becomes an effective apologist. His newfound understanding causes him to be an outcast from the religious life of the day, but Jesus reveals Himself to him and the result is true worship in spirit and truth.
III. The Typical Significance
A. We are talking about the types and symbols of the event.
B. It is a man born blind. He is unable to change himself. He had nothing to do with the cause or the result of his condition. He was unable to change himself. Any priestly descendant if born blind had no right to be involved in the religious structure or worship of the day. However, Jesus from His mouth spits and makes mud and anoints it on his eyes. He then tells him to go wash. in the Pool of Siloam, meaning Sent. Whether the mud was used to create new eyes or not we know that when that which is from heaven touches earth it causes creativity and sight.
C. Sent (Apostello)
The Hebrew word means outflow (of waters); missio, probably with reference to the fact that the temple-mount sends forth its spring-waters. Many expositors find a typical significance in the fact of Christ’s working through the pool of this name. Thus Milligan and Moulton, after noting the fact that the water was drawn from this pool for pouring upon the altar during the Feast of Tabernacles; that it was associated with the “wells of salvation” (Isa_12:3); and that the pouring out of the water symbolized the effusion of spiritual blessing in the days of the Messiah, go on to say: “With the most natural interest, therefore, the Evangelist observes that its very name corresponds to the Messiah; and by pointing out this fact indicates to us what was the object of Jesus in sending the man to these waters. In this, even more distinctly than in the other particulars that we have noted, Jesus, in sending the man away from Him, is keeping Himself before him in everything connected with his cure. Thus, throughout the whole narrative, all attention is concentrated on Jesus Himself, who is the Light of the world, who was ‘sent of God’ to open blind eyes.” -Vincent Word Pictures
D. The Man begins to testify of the Light to those who should be able to see the Light. This is how God works. He brings sight to the blind to help those who claim to see discover their own blindness.
E. As an outcast, Jesus reveals himself to the Man not just as a prophet or a healer, but as the Son of God. As a result the man believes and Worships God!
F. “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” Jesus’ very presence in the world draws a distinction for those that claim to be enlightened and those who know their blindness but through Him are given light.
IV. The Prophetic Application
A. With each sign we see the progression of the Gospel message within the time of the church age. We can track the events and significant markers that will take place during the time of Jesus’ heavenly intercessory ministry until the day He returns.
B. I believe this sign prophetically represents the Gospel of Jesus coming to the Gentiles who were born blind. Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands—remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. (Ephesians 2:11-13) We were strangers to the promises and covenants and were so not because of our parents’ sin or because of our own sin, but that the works of God should be revealed in us. Hopelessly unable to change our condition God did it for us through work of Christ.
C. We are the ones even now that proclaim this work to the rest of the world because we have been “Sent”. The Gentile nations have become disciples of Christ and we are still needed to proclaim God’s Work and Worker to the Jews. What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, as it is written, “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear, down to this very day.” And David says, “Let their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them; let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see, and bend their backs forever.” So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. (Romans 11:7-11)