LIGHT FOR THE BLIND EYES (John 9:1-5)
9:1-5 As Jesus was passing by, he saw a man who was blind from the day of his birth. "Rabbi." his disciples said to him, "who was it who sinned that he was born blind--this man or his parents?" "It was neither he nor his parents who sinned," answered Jesus, "but it happened that in him there might be a demonstration of what God can do. We must do the works of him who sent me while day lasts; the night is coming when no man is able to work. So long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world."
This is the only miracle in the gospels in which the sufferer is said to have been afflicted from his birth. In Acts we twice hear of people who had been helpless from their birth (the lame man at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple in Acts 3:2, and the cripple at Lystra in Acts 14:8), but this is the only man in the gospel story who had been so afflicted. He must have been a well-known character, for the disciples knew all about him.
When they saw him, they used the opportunity to put to Jesus a problem with which Jewish thought had always been deeply concerned, and which is still a problem. The Jews connected suffering and sin. They worked on the assumption that wherever there was suffering, somewhere there was sin. So they asked Jesus their question. "This man," they said, "is blind. Is his blindness due to his own sin, or to the sin of his parents?"
How could the blindness possibly be due to his own sin, when he had been blind from his birth? To that question the Jewish theologians gave two answers.
(i) Some of them had the strange notion of prenatal sin. They actually believed that a man could begin to sin while still in his mother's womb. In the imaginary conversations between Antoninus and Rabbi Judah the Patriarch, Antoninus asks: "From what time does the evil influence bear sway over a man, from the formation of the embryo in the womb or from the moment of birth?" The Rabbi first answered: "From the formation of the embryo." Antoninus disagreed and convinced Judah by his arguments, for Judah admitted that, if the evil impulse began with the formation of the embryo, then the child would kick in the womb and break his way out. Judah found a text to support this view. He took the saying in Genesis 4:7 : "Sin is couching at the door." And he put the meaning into it that sin awaited man at the door of the womb, as soon as he was born. But the argument does show us that the idea of prenatal sin was known.
(ii) In the time of Jesus the Jews believed in the preexistence of the soul. They really got that idea from Plato and the Greeks. They believed that all souls existed before the creation of the world in the garden of Eden, or that they were in the seventh heaven, or in a certain chamber, waiting to enter into a body. The Greeks had believed that such souls were good, and that it was the entry into the body which contaminated them; but there were certain Jews who believed that these souls were already good and bad. The writer of The Book of Wisdom says: "Now I was a child good by nature, and a good soul fell to my lot" (Wisdom of Solomon 8:19).
In the time of Jesus certain Jews did believe that a man's affliction, even if it be from birth, might come from sin that he had committed before he was born. It is a strange idea, and it may seem to us almost fantastic; but at its heart lies the idea of a sin-infected universe.
The alternative was that the man's affliction was due to the sin of his parents. The idea that children inherit the consequences of their parents' sin is woven into the thought of the Old Testament. "I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and the fourth generation" (Exodus 20:5 : compare Exodus 34:7, Numbers 14:18). Of the wicked man the psalmist says: "May the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the Lord; and let not the sin of his mother be blotted out" (Psalms 109:14). Isaiah talks about their iniquities and the "iniquities of their fathers," and goes on to say: "I will measure into their bosom payment for their former doings" (Isaiah 65:6-7). One of the keynotes of the Old Testament is that the sins of the fathers are always visited upon the children. It must never be forgotten that no man lives to himself and no man dies to himself. When a man sins, he sets in motion a train of consequences which has no end.
LIGHT FOR THE BLIND EYES (John 9:1-5 continued)
In this passage there are two great eternal principles.
(i) Jesus does not try to follow out or to explain the connection of sin and suffering. He says that this man's affliction came to him to give an opportunity of showing what God can do. There are two senses in which that is true.
(a) For John the miracles are always a sign of the glory and the power of God. The writers of the other gospels had a different point of view; and regarded them as a demonstration of the compassion of Jesus. When Jesus looked on the hungry crowd he had compassion on them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd (Mark 6:34). When the leper came with his desperate request for cleansing Jesus was moved with compassion (Mark 1:41). It is often urged that in this the Fourth Gospel is quite different from the others. Surely there is no real contradiction here. It is simply two ways of looking at the same thing. At its heart is the supreme truth that the glory of God lies in his compassion, and that he never so fully reveals his glory as when he reveals his pity.
(b) But there is another sense in which the man's suffering shows what God can do. Affliction, sorrow, pain, disappointment, loss always are opportunities for displaying God's grace. First, it enables the sufferer to show God in action. When trouble and disaster fall upon a man who does not know God, that man may well collapse; but when they fall on a man who walks with God they bring out the strength and the beauty, and the endurance and the nobility, which are within a man's heart when God is there. It is told that when an old saint was dying in an agony of pain, he sent for his family, saying: "Come and see how a Christian can die." It is when life hits us a terrible blow that we can show the world how a Christian can live, and, if need be, die. Any kind of suffering is an opportunity to demonstrate the glory of God in our own lives. Second, by helping those who are in trouble or in pain, we can demonstrate to others the glory of God. Frank Laubach has the great thought that when Christ, who is the Way, enters into us "we become part of the Way. God's highway runs straight through us." When we spend ourselves to help those in trouble, in distress, in pain, in sorrow, in affliction, God is using us as the highway by which he sends his help into the lives of his people. To help a fellow-man in need is to manifest the glory of God, for it is to show what God is like.
Jesus goes on to say that he and all his followers must do God's work while there is time to do it. God gave men the day for work and the night for rest; the day comes to an end and the time for work is also ended. For Jesus it was true that he had to press on with God's work in the day for the night of the Cross lay close ahead. But it is true for every man. We are given only so much time. Whatever we are to do must be done within it. There is in Glasgow a sundial with the motto: "Tak' tent of time ere time be tint." "Take thought of time before time is ended." We should never put things off until another time, for another time may never come. The Christian's duty is to fill the time he has--and no man knows how much that will be--with the service of God and of his fellow-men. There is no more poignant sorrow than the tragic discovery that it is too late to do something which we might have done.
But there is another opportunity we may miss. Jesus said: "So long as I am in the world I am the light of the world." When Jesus said that, he did not mean that the time of his life and work were limited but that our opportunity of laying hold on him is limited. There comes to every man a chance to accept Christ as his Saviour, his Master and his Lord; and if that Starbuck in The Psychology of Religion has some interesting and warning statistics about the age at which conversion normally occurs. It can occur as early as seven or eight; it increases gradually to the age of ten or eleven; it increases rapidly to the age of sixteen; it declines steeply up to the age of twenty; and after thirty it is very rare. God is always saying to us: "Now is the time." It is not that the power of Jesus grows less, or that his light grows dim; it is that if we put off the great decision we become ever less able to take it as the years go on. Work must be done, decisions must be taken, while it is day, before the night comes down.
THE METHOD OF A MIRACLE (John 9:6-12)
9:6-12 When he had said this he spat on the ground, and made clay from the spittle, and he smeared the clay on his eyes and said to him: "Go, wash in the Pool of Siloam." (The word "Siloam" means "sent.") So he went away and washed, and he came able to see. So the neighbours and those who formerly knew him by sight and knew that he was a beggar, said: "Is this not the man who sat begging?" Some said: "It is he." Others said: "It is not he, but it is someone like him." The man himself said: "I am he." "How then," they said to him, "have your eyes been opened?" "The man they call Jesus made clay," he said, "and smeared it on my eyes, and said to me: 'Go to the Pool of Siloam and wash.' So I went and washed, and sight came to me." They said to him: "Where is this man you are talking about?" He said: "I don't know."
This is one of two miracles in which Jesus is said to have used spittle to effect a cure. The other is the miracle of the deaf stammerer (Mark 7:33). The use of spittle seems to us strange and repulsive and unhygienic; but in the ancient world it was quite common. Spittle, and especially the spittle of some distinguished person, was believed to possess certain curative qualities. Tacitus tells how, when Vespasian visited Alexandria, there came to him two men, one with diseased eyes and one with a diseased hand, who said that they had been advised by their god to come to him. The man with the diseased eyes wished Vespasian "to moisten his eye-balls with spittle"; the man with the diseased hand wished Vespasian "to trample on his hand with the sole of his foot." Vespasian was very unwilling to do so but was finally persuaded to do as the men asked. "The hand immediately recovered its power; the blind man saw once more. Both facts are attested to this day, when falsehood can bring no reward, by those who were present on the occasion" (Tacitus, Histories 4: 8 1).
Pliny, the famous Roman collector of what was then called scientific information, has a whole chapter on the use of spittle. He says that it is a sovereign preservative against the poison of serpents; a protection against epilepsy; that lichens and leprous spots can be cured by the application of fasting spittle; that ophthalmia can be cured by anointing the eyes every morning with fasting spittle; that carcinomata and crick in the neck can be cured by the use of spittle. Spittle was held to be very effective in averting the evil eye. Perseus tells how the aunt or the grandmother, who fears the gods and is skilled in averting the evil eye, will lift the baby from his cradle and "with her middle finger apply the lustrous spittle to his forehead and slobbering lips." The use of spittle was very common in the ancient world. To this day, if we burn a finger our first instinct is to put it into our mouth; and there are many who believe that warts can be cured by licking them with fasting spittle.
The fact is that Jesus took the methods and customs of his time and used them. He was a wise physician; he had to gain the confidence of his patient. It was not that he believed in these things, but he kindled expectation by doing what the patient would expect a doctor to do. After all, to this day the efficacy of any medicine or treatment depends at least as much on the patient's faith in it as in the treatment or the drug itself.
After anointing the man's eyes with spittle, Jesus sent him to wash in the Pool of Siloam. The Pool of Siloam was one of the landmarks of Jerusalem; and it was the result of one of the great engineering feats of the ancient world. The water supply of Jerusalem had always been precarious in the event of a siege. It came mainly from the Virgin's Fountain or the Spring Gihon, which was situated in the Kidron Valley. A staircase of thirty-three rock-cut steps led down to it; and there, from a stone basin, people drew the water. But the spring was completely exposed and, in the event of a siege, could be completely cut off, with disastrous consequences.
When Hezekiah realized that Sennacherib was about to invade Palestine he determined to cut through the solid rock a tunnel or conduit from the spring into the city (2 Chronicles 32:2-8; 2 Chronicles 32:30; Isaiah 22:9-11; 2 Kings 20:20). If the engineers had cut straight it would have been a distance of 366 yards; but because they cut in a zig-zag, either because they were following a fissure in the rock, or to avoid sacred sites, the conduit is actually 583 yards. The tunnel is at places only about two feet wide, but its average height is about six feet. The engineers began their cutting from both ends and met in the middle--a truly amazing feat for the equipment of the time.
In 1880 a tablet was discovered commemorating the completion of the conduit. It was accidently discovered by two boys who were wading in the pool. It runs like this: "The boring through is completed. Now is the story of the boring through. While the workmen were still lifting pick to pick, each towards his neighbour, and while three cubits remained to be cut through, each heard the voice of the other who called his neighbour, since there was a crevice in the rock on the right side. And on the day of the boring through the stonecutters struck, each to meet his fellow, pick to pick; and there flowed the waters to the pool for a thousand and two hundred cubits, and a hundred cubits was the height of the rock above the heads of the stone-cutters."
The Pool of Siloam was the place where the conduit from the Virgin's Fountain issued in the city. It was an open air basin twenty by thirty feet. That is how the pool got its name. It was called Siloam, which, it was said, meant sent, because the water in it had been sent through the conduit into the city. Jesus sent this man to wash in this pool; and the man washed and saw.
Having been cured, he had some difficulty in persuading the people that a real cure had been effected. But he stoutly maintained the miracle which Jesus had wrought. Jesus is still doing things which seem to the unbeliever far too good and far too wonderful to be true.
PREJUDICE AND CONVICTION (John 9:13-16)
9:13-16 They brought him, the man who had been blind, to the Pharisees. The day on which Jesus had made the clay and opened his eyes was the Sabbath day. So the Pharisees asked him again how sight had come to him. He said to them: "He put clay on my eyes; and I washed; and now I can see." So some of the Pharisees said: "This man is not from God, because he does not observe the Sabbath." But others said: "How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?" And there was a division of opinion among them. So they said to the blind man: "What is your opinion about him, in view of the fact that he opened your eyes?" He said: "He is a prophet."
Now comes the inevitable trouble. It was the Sabbath day on which Jesus had made the clay and healed the man. Undoubtedly Jesus had broken the Sabbath law, as the scribes had worked it out, and done so in fact in three different ways.
(i) By making clay he had been guilty of working on the Sabbath when even the simplest acts constituted work. Here are some of the things which were forbidden on the Sabbath. "A man may not fill a dish with oil and put it beside a lamp and put the end of the wick in it." "If a man extinguishes a lamp on the Sabbath to spare the lamp or the oil or the wick, he is culpable." "A man may not go out on the Sabbath with sandals shod with nails." (The weight of the nails would have constituted a burden, and to carry a burden was to break the Sabbath.) A man might not cut his finger nails or pull out a hair of his head or his beard. Obviously in the eyes of such a law to make clay was to work and so to break the Sabbath.
(ii) It was forbidden to heal on the Sabbath. Medical attention could be given only if life was in actual danger. Even then it must be only such as to keep the patient from getting worse, not to make him any better. For instance, a man with toothache might not suck vinegar through his teeth. It was forbidden to set a broken limb. "If a man's hand or foot is dislocated he may not pour cold water over it." Clearly the man who was born blind was in no danger of his life; therefore Jesus broke the Sabbath when he healed him.
(iii) It was quite definitely laid down: "As to fasting spittle, it is not lawful to put it so much as upon the eyelids."
The Pharisees are typical of the people in every generation who condemn anyone whose idea of religion is not theirs. They thought that theirs was the only way of serving God. But some of them thought otherwise and declared that no one who did the things Jesus did could be a sinner.
They brought the man and examined him. When he was asked his opinion of Jesus, he gave it without hesitation. He said that Jesus was a prophet. In the Old Testament a prophet was often tested by the signs he could produce. Moses guaranteed to Pharaoh that he really was God's messenger by the signs and wonders which he performed (Exodus 4:1-17). Elijah proved that he was the prophet of the real God by doing things the prophets of Baal could not do (1 Kings 18:1-46 ). No doubt the man's thoughts were running on these things when he said that in his opinion Jesus was a prophet.
Whatever else, this was a brave man. He knew quite well what the Pharisees thought of Jesus. He knew quite well that if he came out on Jesus' side he was certain to be excommunicated. But he made his statement and took his stand. It was as if he said: "I am bound to believe in him, I am bound to stand by him because of all that he has done for me." Therein he is our great example.
THE PHARISEES DEFIED (John 9:17-34)
9:17-34 Now the Jews refused to believe that he had been blind and had become able to see, until they called the parents of the man who had become able to see, and asked them: "Is this your son? And do you say that he was born blind? How, then, can he now see?" His parents answered: "We know that this is our son; and we know that he was born blind; how he has now come to see we do not know; or who it was who opened his eyes we do not know. Ask himself. He is of age. He can answer his own questions." His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone acknowledged Jesus to be the Anointed One of God, he should be excommunicated from the synagogue. That is why his parents said: "He is of age. Ask him." A second time they called the man who used to be blind. "Give the glory to God" they said. "We know that this man is a sinner." "Whether he is a sinner or not," the man answered, "I do not know. One thing I do know--I used to be blind and now I can see." "What did he do to you?" they said. "How did he open your eyes?" "I have already told you," the man said, "and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear the story all over again? Surely you can't want to become his disciples?" They heaped abuse on him. "It is you who are his disciple," they said. "We are Moses' disciples. We know that God spoke to Moses; but, as for this man, we do not know where he comes from." The man answered: "It is an astonishing thing that you do not know where he comes from, when he opened my eyes. It is a fact known to all of us that God does not listen to sinners. But if a man is a reverent man and does his will, God hears him. Since time began no one has ever heard of anyone who opened the eyes of a man born blind. If this man was not from God, he could not have done anything." "You were altogether born in sin" they said to him, "and are you trying to teach us?" And they ordered him to get out.
There is no more vivid character drawing in all literature than this. With deft and revealing touches John causes the people involved to live before us.
(i) There was the blind man himself. He began by being irritated at the persistence of the Pharisees. "Say what you like," he said, "about this man; I don't know anything about him except that he made me able to see." It is the simple fact of Christian experience that many a man may not be able to put into theologically correct language what he believes Jesus to be, but in spite of that he can witness to what Jesus has done for his soul. Even when a man cannot understand with his intellect, he can still feel with his heart. It is better to love Jesus than to love theories about him.
(ii) There were the man's parents. They were obviously uncooperative, but at the same time they were afraid. The synagogue authorities had a powerful weapon, the weapon of excommunication, whereby a man was shut off from the congregation of God's people. Away back in the days of Ezra we read of a decree that whosoever did not obey the command of the authorities "his property should be forfeited and he himself banned from the congregation" (Ezra 10:8). Jesus warned his disciples that their name would be cast out for evil (Luke 6:22). He told them that they would be put out of the synagogues (John 16:2). Many of the rulers in Jerusalem really believed in Jesus, but were afraid to say so "lest they should be put out of the synagogue" (John 12:42).
There were two kinds of excommunication. There was the ban, the cherem (Hebrew #2764), by which a man was banished from the synagogue for life. In such a case he was publicly anathematized. He was cursed in the presence of the people, and he was cut off from God and from man. There was sentence of temporary excommunication which might last for a month, or for some other fixed period. The terror of such a situation was that a Jew would regard it as shutting him out, not only from the synagogue but from God. That is why the man's parents answered that their son was quite old enough to be a legal witness and to answer his own questions. The Pharisees were so venomously embittered against Jesus that they were prepared to do what ecclesiastics at their worst have sometimes done--to use ecclesiastical procedure to further their own ends.
(iii) There were the Pharisees. They did not believe at first that the man had been blind. That is to say, they suspected that this was a miracle faked between Jesus and him. Further, they were well aware that the law recognized that a false prophet could produce false miracles for his own false purposes (Deuteronomy 13:1-5 warns against the false prophet who produces false signs in order to lead people away after strange gods). So the Pharisees began with suspicion. They went on to try to browbeat the man. "Give the glory to God," they said. "We know that this man is a sinner." "Give the glory to God," was a phrase used in cross-examination which really meant: "Speak the truth in the presence and the name of God." When Joshua was cross-examining Achan about the sin which had brought disaster to Israel, he said to him: "Give glory to the Lord God of Israel, and render praise to him; and tell me now what you have done; do not hide it from me" (Joshua 7:19).
They were annoyed because they could not meet the man's argument which was based on scripture It was: "Jesus has done a very wonderful thing; the fact that he has done it means that God hears him; now God never hears the prayers of a bad man; therefore Jesus cannot be a bad man." The fact that God did not hear the prayer of a bad man is a basic thought of the Old Testament. When Job is speaking of the hypocrite, he says: "Will God hear his cry when trouble comes upon him?" (Job 27:9). The psalmist says: "If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened." (Psalms 66:18). Isaiah hears God say to the sinning people: "When you spread forth your hands (the Jews prayed with the hands stretched out, palms upwards), I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood" (Isaiah 1:15). Ezekiel says of the disobedient people: "Though they cry in my ears with a loud voice, I will not hear them" (Ezekiel 8:18). Conversely they believed that the prayer of a good man was always heard. "The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous, and his ears toward their cry" (Psalms 34:15). "He fulfils the desire of all who fear him, he also hears their cry, and saves them." (Psalms 145:19). "The Lord is far from the wicked; but he hears the prayer of the righteous" (Proverbs 15:29). The man who had been blind presented the Pharisees with an argument which they could not answer.
When they were confronted with such an argument, see what they did. First, they resorted to abuse. "They heaped abuse on him." Second, they resorted to insult. They accused the man of being born in sin. That is to say, they accused him of prenatal sin. Third, they resorted to threatened force. They ordered him out of their presence.
Often we have our differences with people, and it is well that it should be so. But the moment insult and abuse and threat enter into an argument, it ceases to be an argument and becomes a contest in bitterness. If we become angry and resort to wild words and hot threats, all we prove is that our case is disturbingly weak.
REVELATION AND CONDEMNATION (John 9:35-41)
9:35-41 Jesus heard that they had put him out, so he found him and said to him: "Do you believe in the Son of God?" "But who is he, sir," he answered him, "that I might believe in him?" Jesus said to him: "You have both seen him, and he who is talking with you is he." "Lord," he said, "I believe." And he knelt before him. Jesus said: "It was for judgment that I came into this world that those who do not see might see, and that those who see might become blind." Some of the Pharisees who were with him heard this. "Surely," they said, "we are not blind?" Jesus said to them: "If you were blind, you would not have sin. As it is, your claim is, 'We see.' Your sin remains."
This section begins with two great spiritual truths.
(i) Jesus looked for the man. As Chrysostom put it: "The Jews cast him out of the Temple; the Lord of the Temple found him." If any man's Christian witness separates him from his fellow-men, it brings him nearer to Jesus Christ. Jesus is always true to the man who is true to him.
(ii) To this man there was made the great revelation that Jesus was the Son of God. Loyalty always brings revelation; it is to the man who is true to him that Jesus most fully reveals himself. The penalty of loyalty may well be persecution and ostracism at the hands of men; its reward is a closer walk with Christ, and an increasing knowledge of his wonder.
John finishes this story with two of his favourite thoughts.
(i) Jesus came into this world for judgment. Whenever a man is confronted with Jesus, that man at once passes a judgment on himself. If he sees in Jesus nothing to desire, nothing to admire, nothing to love, then he has condemned himself. If he sees in Jesus something to wonder at, something to respond to, something to reach out to, then he is on the way to God. The man who is conscious of his own blindness, and who longs to see better and to know more, is the man whose eyes can be opened and who can be led more and more deeply into the truth. The man who thinks he knows it all, the man who does not realize that he cannot see, is the man who is truly blind and beyond hope and help. Only the man who realizes his own weakness can become strong. Only the man who realizes his own blindness can learn to see. Only the man who realizes his own sin can be forgiven.
(ii) The more knowledge a man has the more he is to be condemned if he does not recognize the good when he sees it. If the Pharisees had been brought up in ignorance, they could not have been condemned. Their condemnation lay in the fact that they knew so much and claimed to see so well, and yet failed to recognize God's Son when he came. The law that responsibility is the other side of privilege is written into life.
GREATER AND GREATER (John 9:1-41)
Before we leave this very wonderful chapter we would do well to read it again, this time straight through from start to finish. If we do so read it with care and attention, we will see the loveliest progression in the blind man's idea of Jesus. It goes through three stages, each one higher than the last.
(i) He began by calling Jesus a man. "A man that is called Jesus opened mine eyes" (John 9:11). He began by thinking of Jesus as a wonderful man. He had never met anyone who could do the kind of things Jesus did; and he began by thinking of Jesus as supreme among men.
We do well sometimes to think of the sheer magnificence of the manhood of Jesus. In any gallery of the world's heroes he must find a place. In any anthology of the loveliest lives ever lived, his would have to be included. In any collection of the world's greatest literature his parables would have to be listed. Shakespeare makes Mark Antony say of Brutus:
"His life was gentle, and the elements
So mix'd in him that Nature might stand up
And say to all the world, 'This was a man!'"
Whatever else is in doubt, there is never any doubt that Jesus was a man among men.
(ii) He went on to call Jesus a prophet. When asked his opinion of Jesus in view of the fact that he had given him his sight, his answer was: "He is a prophet" (John 9:17). Now a prophet is a man who brings God's message to men. "Surely the Lord God does nothing," said Amos, "without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets" (Amos 3:7). A prophet is a man who lives close to God and has penetrated into his inner councils. When we read the wisdom of the words of Jesus, we are bound to say: "This is a prophet!" Whatever else may be in doubt, this is true--if men followed the teachings of Jesus, all personal, all social, all national, all international problems would be solved. If ever any man had the right to be called a prophet, Jesus has.
(iii) Finally the blind man came to confess that Jesus was the Son of God He came to see that human categories were not adequate to describe him. Napoleon was once in a company in which a number of clever skeptics were discussing Jesus. They dismissed him as a very great man and nothing more. "Gentlemen." said Napoleon, "I know men, and Jesus Christ was more than a man."
"If Jesus Christ is a man
And only a man--I say
That of all mankind I cleave to him
And to him will I cleave alway.
If Jesus Christ is a god--
And the only God--I swear
I will follow him through heaven and hell,
The earth, the sea, and the air!"
It is a tremendous thing about Jesus that the more we know him the greater he becomes. The trouble with human relationships is that often the better we know a person the more we know his weaknesses and his failings; but the more we know Jesus, the greater the wonder becomes; and that will be true, not only in time, but also in eternity.
-Barclay's Daily Study Bible (NT)
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Barclay, William. "Commentary on John 9". "William Barclay's Daily Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Sunday after Epiphany