John 9:1-12

Henry Mahan

Pink points out that the sovereignty of Divine grace is exemplified in the early verses of this chapter. The Saviour saw the man; the man did not see Him. The man did not call upon the Lord to have mercy upon him; the Lord was the one to take the initiative. It is ever thus when sovereign grace acts.

(Vs. 1-2) The disciples' question indicated that they believed (1) that all bodily afflictions came upon people because of sins committed and (2) that some afflictions were for personal sins and some because of the sins of parents.

(Vs. 3) The Lord WAS NOT SAYING that the man and his parents were not sinners; for both were guilty of original sin, and both had committed actual transgressions (Rom. 3:23). But it was not his parents' particular sin nor his own that was the cause of his blindness, but "that the works of God might be made manifest in him." All suffering, affliction, and death are caused by man's sin; for if sin had not entered the world, there would be no suffering. But there is much uncommon suffering and affliction, which is not due especially to personal or parental transgression. 'Assuming such was the error of Job's friends. The same spirit is displayed by today's "faith-healers." They imply that if a person has better health than his fellows, it is because he is NOT as great a sinner as they! This is evil thinking. The Lord God has His own reasons for permitting various afflictions; it is that He may be glorified thereby. It was so in the case of LAZARUS (John 11:4), in the death of PETER (John 21:19), and in the afflictions of PAUL (II Cor. 12:9).

(Vs. 4) The Father, Who sent Christ into the world, gave Him a work to do – to glorify the Father (John 17:1), to redeem His elect (Gal. 4:4-5), to preach the gospel, and to give sight to the blind (Luke 4:18). Healing those who were physically blind is but a strong picture and type of our Lord's great mission, which is to give sight to the SPIRITUALLY BLIND. The apostles record more cases of blindness healed than of any other one affliction. It is more than coincidental that the healing of this blind man follows immediately His encounter with the spiritual ignorance and spiritual blindness demonstrated by the Jews in Chapter Eight. These works the Father sent Him to do, He must do "while it is day," or while the day of His life on earth lasts. The night of death comes which puts an end to ail such work. He left nothing undone of that which the Father gave Him to do (John 17:4-5).

(Vs. 5) These words, "as long as I am in the world," let us know what our Saviour meant by "while it is day." So long as I am in the world, it is a part of My work to show light to the world (John 14:8-9; II Cor. 4:6). Darkness and ignorance go together, so light and life and knowledge go together (I John 5:20).

(Vs. 6) Many writers spend a great amount of time discussing the spittle, the dust, the clay, and the meaning of each, for which we have no scriptural proof. But one thing is clear – our Lord used means, which had no virtue nor healing power at all in themselves, and means which were foolish and distasteful to the natural mind. So it is that by the preaching of the gospel of Christ, the spiritually blind and dead are made to see and live. It is foolishness to the world (I Cor. 1:21-24). The preacher and his words have no power to save; the power is of God!

(Vs. 7) There was no healing power in the water, only as a sign of the man's faith and obedience (as in the case of Naaman, the leper). It pleased our Lord to send the blind man to wash there. The simple obedience of the blind man is beautiful. He did not reason, argue, nor ask questions. As John Trapp put it, "He obeyed Christ blindly." He believed Christ and was healed (John 3:36).

(Vs. 8-10) He returned to his friends and they were astonished. Some asked if this were the same fellow that was a blind beggar; others said that he looked like the beggar, to which he replied, "I am he." They then asked, "How were your eyes opened?"

(Vs. 11-12) The man then told the story of his healing, and the people inquired of the whereabouts of Jesus Christ. One thing is interesting – the man did not overstate his experience nor try to tell what he did not know. He did not glamorize his experience nor claim knowledge he did not possess. There was no speculation, only the facts.

Henry Mahan
Ashland, Ky.