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Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

John 9

Verses 1-12

  1. INTRO:
    1. My Title: “Here’s Mud in your Eye!” It means, "Cheers!" "Bottoms up!" "Here's a toast to you!" "Here's mud in your eye!"
      1. It’s exact origin is unknown, some suggestions: It originated when farmers clinked glasses just before plow-time, wishing each other a good season.
      2. Then, I came to the explanation, “this toast may have arisen from the Bible story found in the 9th chapter of the Gospel of John, where "mud in the eye" is a medium of healing & well-being, like that beverage that's about to go down!
      3. So journey with me, back to 1st-century Holy Land & to the possible roots of this toast. “Here’s Mud in your Eye!”
  2. HERE’S MUD IN YOUR EYE!
    1. A NEW LIGHT ON A DARK SUBJECT! (1-5)
    2. This is #6 out of the 7 signs/miracles in John.
      1. Jesus performed more miracles related to giving sight to the blind more than any other miracle. (Shepherdʼs Notes; pg.49)
      2. This was prophesied about Messiah when he would come.
        1. Is.35:5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, And the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. (Also, Is.29:18; 42:7)
      3. Jesus came to restore the sight of human beings who had become blinded to the things of God.
    3. Let’s first crawl behind this guys dark eyelids. It must have been terrifying as a kid. Sensing something in your room at night, afraid. Felt ostracized. Kids playing outside. Your life felt like hide & seek...except you were always “it”! What could I have done in the womb? Kick mom too hard? What trouble can you get in pre-womb experience?
      Other boys were talking about careers & providing for there own. I guess I’ll be a beggar so I don’t always have to lean on my father to care for me. I am ashamed, it’s disgraceful, but I seek not to burden my family forever. Why do some abuse this system, if I were well I wouldn’t beg, I’d work. The best spot was at the Temple. The best day was Sabbath. Teachers & students would walk by & have heightened compassion going in to be holy. But they also would be asking their rabbi questions. Most often I was the subject matter. I hated hearing the question, “who sinned?” As if I couldn’t hear their questions. They didn’t care. They would talk about me, never to me. Then one day...a rabbi & his students, the ugly question again! And I hate when they would only give 2 options. I would get so angry inside. But this teacher was different. He knew my parents sin & my sin. And this didn’t come up on His radar. I had hope. That in fact God was good, & this was in His will, & somehow God was going to use this as something beautiful! Then I heard him squat down in front of me. I heard spit. Hands moving the dust of the earth. It reminded me of the God of Genesis creating man out of the dust of the earth. Then I was startled when He touched me. You could say, “I really didn’t see that coming!” :) Then instructions to go & wash. I went, I walked, I found the pool. I knew exactly how many steps it was. I cupped my hands & washed. Ouch, such brightness, I guess? Water? They say it’s bluish/green but I’ve never witnessed color. I’ve tasted an orange but never seen orange. Never seeing shapes, colors, light, I’m overwhelmed, stunned. I hope it lasts. I hope it doesn’t go away. (Adapted & added to, Mark Driscoll Podcast)
    4. (2) Be careful not to look beyond the blind man!
      1. ​​​​​​​They asked out of curiosity not compassion!
        1. Like medieval theologians who argued over how many angels could fit on the head of a pin, these fledgling seminarians were moved to theological controversy rather than tenderhearted compassion. (Chuck Swindoll) [which do you get more excited about?]
        2. Jesus saw a man; the disciples asked about him.
        3. To the disciples the blind man was the occasion for theological speculation; To Jesus he was a human being to be pitied & helped.
        4. Even beggars are dear to God! [Practical help for a transient, or a homeless person: give them a word of encouragement; just visit with them to know someone cares; a meal; $; a gentle touch/comfort if appropriate; a blanket/pillow/other need(ask); a listening ear; what’s your story? How can you best be helped?]
    5. The question reflected a common belief of the day.
      1. This was really a self-revelation of “their” God. Does your God “act” like this? Do you act this way to your children? (If 1 child messes up, you punish the other 1?)
    6. Many parents have asked this very same question, when they’ve had a child born with a disability?
      1. That may make sense with the Chinese/Taoism’s, Yin/Yang, “for every action there is a reaction”; or Islam’s God willed it” philosophy (i.e. tsunami); or the rabbis taught that no one died unless there had been sin. Even a child could sin in the womb, they suggested, or even in the preexistent state prior to conception. (Shepherdʼs Notes; pg.50)
      2. The disciples held this common view, that was as old as the philosophizing of Eliphaz, Bildad, & Zophar (book of Job).
      3. But Jesus here refutes this entire system of thought in vs.3.
    7. (3) That the works of God should be revealed in him!
      1. (NIV) That the work of God might be displayed in his life.
      2. This man is here, for God to work in His life, in order to glorify Jesus!
      3. Some people are sick/hurt from: sin(accident drunk driving); from their parents sin(crack babies); from adam sins; heredity diseases are passed down; & some just because...& we don’t know why(Job).
      4. What’s your handicap? You were born what? so the power of God could be seen in you. What’s your obstacle, impairment, hinderance, disadvantage?
        1. Where do you find yourself weak, so He can show Himself strong?
        2. Where do you find yourself utterly useless, where God wants to make you incredibly useful?
      5. Ok, so then God always heals like this man? Obviously not. Then how does God receive glory in someone, if He doesn’t heal them? Ask Joni Erickson Toda who still sits paralyzed. Ask Paul the apostle who had to live w/his thorn in the flesh. Ask Job who’s children didn’t come back to life. Ask Pete & Marcia Falconeri in our fellowship, if God has been glorified in any way though Morgan who hasn’t been fully healed yet. [She has A.L.L. Acute lymphocytic Leukemia; her journal had Job 5:9, He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted] lim-fuh-sih-tik
    8. ​​​​​​​(4) When is He talking about? “the night is coming when no one can work”?
      1. When the consummation of the age takes place.
      2. Meanwhile, we are chasing daylight! We must be combating evil & doing good in the name of Christ!
    9. (5) This verse is key on which aspect of Jesus’ work that it points to.
      1. This theme is continued from 8:12. Here it receives demonstration!
      2. What does he reveal about Himself using it here? There is no sight w/o light!
    10. I wish instead of always wanting to escape this world, we’d own the Jesus model, as long as I’m in the world I am the light of the world! [Our prayer, as long as You have me here Lord, let me shine brightly!]
    11. THE HEALING! (6,7)
    12. (6) Putting clay on the man’s eyes Jesus encouraged him to obey & wash on the Sab.(14)
      1. Sometimes the Lord irritates us before He illuminates us. (Warren Wiersbe; With The word; pg.695.)
    13. Here’s what we wonder(w/hands raised)...Jesus, Jesus, why clay? why spittle? why that pool specifically?
    14. The mud exercise was not medicinal but served as a means for the blind man to put his faith to a severe test. Would he obey? [cf. Naaman’s healing]
      1. This sign pointed to Jesus as the giver of spiritual sight!
    15. (7) Went & washed, & came back seeing –
      1. The clay now washed away, awakened: wonder, hope, expectation, & faith.
      2. It was a ladder by which he climbed from the pit of despair to the mount of joy.
    16. NOSEY NEIGHBORS! (8-12)
    17. Hey wait, you look different. We gave money to you & you’re not blind? Were you ever blind? I think it’s him?
    18. A Man called Jesus - has a wonderful ring to it.
      1. Yet, wait & watch this little seed of knowledge of Jesus, sprout before the chapters end. [Homework: find the other terms he uses, & note there development]
    19. End Story: Wycliff Bible translators Bob and Jan Smutherman were assigned to the Macuna people of southeast Colombia, South America. Progress was going well in putting the Bible into the Macuna language. The chief’s son was engaged as the language helper. Each portion of the Scripture had to be checked and double-checked for meaning and clarity. After 5 years of labor, the Gospel of John was being finalized for publication. Gathered together to hear the Word of God, the tribe sat patiently.Beginning at John 9:1, the son read about Jesus’ encounter with the man born blind. When he got to the verse where Jesus says that this man was born blind “in order that the works of God might be put on display,” the old chief stood to his feet. Requiring silence by his uplifted right hand, he said, “We must stop killing our babies.”To a people steeped in animism, the normal process was to take their deformed babies to a desolate place. There the babies were deserted and exposed until dead. The implications of the gospel became shockingly clear upon hearing of a better way. Philip L. McKown
      1. What works of God might be put on display from your life this week?

Verses 13-41

  1. INTRO:
    1. We were probably 1st introduced to blindness when we were very young, in a very weird Nursery Rhyme called “3 Blind Mice” [now referred to as “The Tale of the 3 visually impaired small domestic rodents!”]
      1. Three blind mice, three blind mice. See how they run! See how they run! They all ran after a farmer's wife, Who cut off their tails with a carving knife. Did you ever see such a thing in your life, As three blind mice?
    2. Where did this slasher tale come from? Many nursery rhymes started out as social commentary or political cartoons in verse. In this case, the "farmer's wife" was Queen Mary I of England, so called because her estates included a lot of farmland.
      1. She was displeased with 3 ratty noblemen, but she didn't dismember them as the rhyme suggests. She simply had them burned at the stake!
    3. Q: Would God allow a brand new seeker get pummeled by hard questions? Would God allow a brand new believer get thrown out of church? And if He would, why would He?
    4. Recap the miracle of the man blind from birth –
      1. He must have thought “wait till everyone hears what happened!”...but that wasn’t the story! :(
      2. The man was questioned by his Nearby Nearsighted Neighbors who Need to Know!(10) & now from the Pharisees.
  2. BELIEVING IS SEEING!
    1. INTERROGATION! (13-34)
    2. The Blind Man Questioned (13-17)
    3. (14) Rabbis taught you could spit on a rock, but not on the ground, for that would be working (i.e. it might roll on the dirt & make mud).
      1. By this time, years of legalistic accretion had encrusted the original Sabbath laws like barnacles. (William Barclay)
    4. The Parents Questioned! (18-23)
    5. They answered questions 1 & 2, but not #3 for fear of being kicked out of the synagogue.
      1. So they Plead the 5th on the grounds that would incriminate them.
    6. The Blind Man Recalled for Further Questioning! (24-34)
    7. (24) Give God the Glory – was putting him under oath to extract truth.
      1. It was used in Josh 7:19 Now Joshua said to Achan, “My son, I beg you, give glory to the LORD God of Israel, and make confession to Him, and tell me now what you have done; do not hide it from me.”
    8. (25) Even if you are 1 day old in the Lord, & feel you don’t know anything yet, you can say with assurance, “One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see!”.
      1. Many are afraid of saying anything about the Lord for fear of getting into a theological argument over their head.
      2. Just witness what God has done in your life!
        1. You may not be an authority on Theology, but you are the world’s greatest authority on what has happened to You! (Kent Hughes)
        2. “A man w/an experience is never at the mercy of a man w/only an argument!”
      3. People can argue theology & interpretations but are speechless when confronted w/the reality of a changed life.
        1. Live in such a way that one’s life would not make sense if God didn’t exist! (Cardinal Suhard)
        2. Chuck Swindoll asks, “Is your life a cold monument to religious duty, or is it a living mystery?”
    9. (30-33) From the mouth of babes!
    10. It’s interesting that the Pharisees hostility, forced this healed man to realize the moral majesty of Jesus!
      1. So might God give you a pagan professor in college, who loves trashing Christianity...for the purpose of growing your faith roots deeper?
      2. Might God give you an ungodly co-worker, who constantly tries to shipwreck your faith... so you can learn how to make fast your anchor?
      3. God did it for this brand new believer.
      4. Suffering is permitted to fall, for wise & good reasons, which are compatible w/the character of God, & it provides a platform on which the grace & power of God may manifest themselves.
        1. But this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life! (vs.3)
        2. Don’t look at the pain, but at its results!
    11. (34) Ouch! The low blow. The very thing that hurt him the most before his healing, “who sinned this man or his parents?”
    12. Excommunication. Some churches/synagogues you want to be kicked out of!
    13. IDENTIFICATION! (35-41)
    14. (35) Jesus does Follow up! [Jesus always takes the initiative!]
    15. The men of the Temple threw him out, but the Lord of the temple searches him out!
    16. Jesus found him!!! - Where was he cast out?...right into the arms of Jesus!
      1. Being thrown out isn’t always a bad thing. [Read Is.53:3a]
      2. It is better to be cast out, or to come out(from among them) then be spued out!
    17. Now for the 1st time the man born in darkness comes face to face w/the light of the word!
      1. It is not enough to believe that He is a man called Jesus, or even a prophet, or a man of God. But Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God.
    18. (38) The healing of the blind man took place on 2 levels:
      1. [1] at the physical level his sight was restored; and
      2. [2] on the spiritual level he came to faith on Christ. (Shepherd’s Notes; John; pg.50)
        1. Now he sees w/his heart as well as w/his eyes!
        2. He really becomes the model for Jesus’ entire ministry.
    19. Let’s look at this man’s progression of faith:
      1. Prov. 4:18(NIV) states, The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.
      2. His 1st gleam of light was in vs.11 stating He was, “a Man called Jesus”.
      3. It got brighter in vs.17 when he said Jesus was, “a Prophet”.
      4. It got brighter still in vs.33 when he said Jesus was, “a Man from God”.
      5. Then the full light of day occurred when he understood Jesus to be, “The Son of God”, in vs.35,38.
        1. The man’s “Lord, I believe!” was the turning point in his life.
    20. (39) Does this come against what was said in Jn.3:17? For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
      1. No, The reason for our Lord’s coming was salvation, but the result of His coming was condemnation of those who would not believe.
      2. Our guilt is proportioned to our refusal of the light.
    21. The Old axiom goes, Seeing is Believing, but here we read that Believing is Seeing!
    22. (40,41) Are we blind also? - Hey, if the darkened glasses fit, wear em!
      1. So now we have seen perfectly illustrated what John said in 1:5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
    23. Well, let’s just judge them by their own testimony so far:
      1. This Man is not from God(16a); He does not keep the Sabbath(16b);
        This Man is a sinner(24) & they claim to not be Jesus’ disciple, but Moses’(28)
        1. So yeah, I’d say you’re pretty spiritually blind.
        2. He doesn’t condemn them by making them blind; they blind themselves by rejecting Him!
    24. The same light that leads one person, can blind another!
      1. The Gospel brings about different reactions from different kinds of hearts:
        1. The blind sinner receives the truth and sees;
        2. The self-righteous religious person rejects the truth and becomes even more blind spiritually.
          1. It is a dangerous thing to reject the light. (Warren Wiersbe; Outlines of the NT.)
    25. Believers, have you examined your spiritual eyesight lately?
      1. Any spiritual blindness that may be dimming your ability to see & follow The Light of the World?
      2. Any spiritual blind spots in your life?
    26. There are none so blind as those who won't see!
      1. Because you are self-satisfied you are un-healable!
      2. Sometimes Religious men are often the blindest of all!
        1. Spurgeon “It is not our littleness that hinders Christ; but our bigness. It is not our weakness that hinders Christ; it is our strength. It is not our darkness that hinders Christ; it is our supposed light that holds back His hand.”
      3. Open our eyes, Lord. We want to see Jesus. To reach out and touch him, and say that we love him. Open our ears, Lord, and help us to listen. Open our eyes, Lord. We want to see Jesus. Bob Cull
    27. End: Today you either claim “to see” (i.e. Understand spiritual things, but really don’t); or you realize your “sp blindness”, & have asked, or are ready to ask, Jesus to restore your sight.
      1. None come in contact w/Christ w/o being blinded or enlightened!
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on John 9". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/john-9.html. 2017.