Lessons from John 9: Skepticism Concerning the Sign
Skepticism Concerning the Sign~John 9:8-34
It appears that the new sight of the man born blind caused quite a stir amongst the people.
After returning home to his neighborhood, verse 8 tells us that when his neighbors and those who had seen him begging all those years saw him they couldn’t believe their eyes (no pun intended). And they began talking among themselves. They asked if this was the same man who used to sit and beg.
We are told that some believed he was, yet others said, “No, he only looks like him.” Meaning they didn’t believe it could be the same man. Yet in verse 9, the man who was given both new sight and new life insisted he was indeed the same man they had known before.
This kind of reminds me of one of those shows where they do a make-over and you see the person before and then some time later, they reappear looking completely different.
Though they are the same people, they reappear totally transformed. They not only look different but they also seem to walk and talk a little differently. It’s like there is a little more freedom. They walk with their shoulders held back, forcing their chest to open up, causing their heads to stand taller.
Their face is just beaming with a smile from ear to ear and their eyes appear to glisten and sparkle. There is a joy in their hearts that hasn’t been there before and there is a certain sense of renewed confidence after experiencing such an event.
And though these things are often short lived, the man in this story remained different forever.
I can only imagine how different this man appeared as he saw things for the very first time and witnessed their beauty. What it must have been like to see the faces of the people for the first time! I’m sure there was inexpressible joy.
We are not told these things, however, because the man is not the point here.
The point was and always is Jesus and His transforming work.
So when asked by the people in verse 10, “How then were your eyes opened?” the man simply said, “The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.”
It was truly a miracle and an act of God! So the people then asked, “Where is this man?” And the man answered honestly, “I don’t know.”
Remember, Jesus did not accompany the man to the Pool of Siloam. So the only thing the man knew was that His name was Jesus and He had performed a miracle. In their excitement, those who knew the man asked if he knew where this man Jesus was. Sadly, the man said he did not know.
Now those who knew the man who had been blind since birth were so moved by the miracle that they took him to see the Pharisees to tell them the good news. Yet all the Pharisees could focus on was their hatred of Jesus and their goal of trying to entrap Him.
And so the Pharisees began to interrogate the man by asking him a series of questions.
First, they asked in verse 15 how he had received his new sight. The man told them that this man Jesus put mud on his eyes and then told him to go and wash. As a result, he could now see for the first time in his life.
It is apparent that these religious leaders cared very little about the miracle that had taken place. They were more concerned that it happened on the Sabbath. This could only work in their favor as they thought they had grounds to discredit the claims of Jesus on the basis that He was a law breaker and an insurrectionist against Moses and the Jewish people.
So immediately they began to discredit Jesus and the miracle He had performed. Yet, others saw it differently and they asked, “How could a sinner do such a miraculous sign?” And so we are told in verse 16 that they were divided. Which I’m sure infuriated those who were set on discrediting, denying, and destroying Jesus and His ministry.
And so in verse 17 we find the words, “Finally.” After getting nowhere with those who were beginning to question Jesus’ origin and believe in His claims to be God, the Pharisees turned to the man and asked, “What have you to say about him? It was your eyes he opened.” And the man replied, “He is a prophet.”
It’s funny, though the man knew nothing about Jesus before his healing, God led him and expanded his understanding of who exactly had healed him.
Well, this was not the answer the Jews were searching for. It did not fit their idea of who God was. And so they refused the testimony of the man and sent for his parents. The Pharisees thought they could clear things up. So the parents were brought in and interrogated also. They admitted that this man was indeed their son and they confirmed that he was born blind. But how he could see or who had opened his eyes they did not know.
The parents were afraid, we are told in verse 22. They were afraid of the Jews, because the Jews had already made it quite clear that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Christ would be put out of the synagogue.
This meant that they would basically lose their life as they knew it. To be separated from the temple meant complete and total social ostracism. And so the parents tried to defer their questioning by turning the focus back onto their son and his testimony.
In verse 24, again the Jews summoned the man and demanded that he give glory to God by admitting that Jesus was a sinner. Yet the man replied that whether a sinner or not, he did not know. What he did know was that he was blind and now he could see and it was Jesus who made it possible.
Still trying to trip up the man’s testimony, the Jewish religious leaders continued to interrogate the man by asking the same questions over again. And in verse 27, the man who was given new sight and a new life answered their interrogating questions by asking if the reason they wanted to hear it again was because they too wanted to become Jesus’ disciples.
Now can’t you just see their fiery red faces filled with hatred and anger as they hurled insult after insult at the man?! Calling him a disciple of Jesus and declaring that they were instead disciples of Moses! Then they said of Jesus that they didn’t even know where He came from.
And then in verse 30 the man boldly comments how remarkable their statement was.
Amazed at their spiritual blindness, he said, “You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes.”
Basically he was saying, I was blind and now I see, and nothing like this has ever happened before and you still are denying that this man Jesus is from God. Who else could He be?
He states in verse 33, “If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”
Because they had no concrete answer to the man’s claims about Jesus, again they hurled insults at him and accused him of being steeped in sin from birth. Then they threw him out of the temple.
The longer this man experienced his new life through Christ, the more confident he became in the one who had healed him. He gained not only physical sight but he was also gaining spiritual insight as he moved from recognizing Jesus, not only as a man, but as a prophet.
Then he posed the question to the Pharisees that if this man was not God, who was He?
Jesus is who He says He is!