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Bible Commentaries

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

John 9

Verses 1-34

The Fifth Miracle: The Healing of a Blind Man - Jesus healed this man not because he believed in Jesus, but because Jesus was sent by the Father to manifest the works of God. Thus, Jesus was manifesting His calling of serving the Father by healing him. This miracle testifies of our need to obey Jesus Christ as He sends us out to serve Him during our spiritual journey, which reflects the part of our spiritual journey designated “calling.” The word “Siloam” means “sent.”

Why does the Gospel of John give such a lengthy story of one man’s healing? The key verses to this answer are in John 10:26-43.10.27. This healing glorified God and it bore witness of Jesus having come from God. However, the false sheep would not believe. Most of chapter 9 involved a discussion carried on by unbelieving Pharisees in order to show us how to recognize false believers. They have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof (2 Timothy 3:5). Jesus began chapter 9 by saying in verse 3, “that the works of God should be made manifest in him.” These two chapters show this exact thing happening during this lengthy story.

John 10:26, “But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:”

2 Timothy 3:5, “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”

John 9:1 Comments - The fact that this man was blind from birth implies that his eyes were never properly formed in the womb. This would explain why Jesus placed clay on his eyes before commanding him to go and wash, for Jesus was creating two new eyes for him.

John 9:3 Comments - We do know according to Scriptures that sin produces sickness. In this man's case, Jesus explains that God foreordained that this man be born blind in order to manifest the Lord Jesus Christ through this miracle. This is the reason Jesus chose a unique method of healing this man that was different from all others. By making a ball of clay and placing it in this man's eyes, God finished His work of creation on this poor humble soul.

John opens his Gospel by stating in John 1:14 that his Gospel is intended to reveal the glory that Christ Jesus had with the Heavenly Father. Each miracle that John recorded was done so to reveal His glory.

John 1:14, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”

We see Jesus making similar references to His glory being revealed by the miracles recorded in John (John 2:11; John 9:3; John 11:4; John 11:40).

John 2:11, “This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.”

John 9:3, “Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.”

John 11:4, “When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.”

John 11:40, “Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?”

John 9:4 I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.

John 9:4 Comments Within the context of the metaphor of light and darkness in John 9:4, Alexander MacLaren interprets the day to represent man’s earthly life, and the night to represent life after death. [210] In our earthly life, man toils while it is day, racing against time before darkness comes and his work ceases, and in the night a man’s soul is at rest from his labours. However, mankind leaves this world and his soul is either at rest in Heaven or tormented in hell.

[210] Alexander MacLaren, The Gospel According to St. John chapters IX to XIV, in Expositions of Holy Scripture (New York: A. C. Armstrong and Son, 1908), 1.

However, Andreas J. Kösterberger understands this metaphor in John 9:4 to refer specifically to Jesus’ work on earth as the Light of the World, so that the day represents His earthly ministry that is quickly coming to a close, and the darkness symbolic of the spiritual darkness that enshrouds mankind apart from the light of Jesus Christ. [211]

[211] Andreas J. Kösterberger, John, in Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2004), 282.

John 9:5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.

John 9:5 Comments The motif of Jesus being the light of the world is first mentioned in the prologue to John’s Gospel, and it is further developed throughout the Gospel. The four-fold testimony of the deity of Jesus Christ mentioned in John 5:19-43.5.47 as the Father, John the Baptist, the works of Jesus, and the Old Testament Scriptures are the testimonies that God uses to enlighten the world of redemption through faith in Jesus Christ. Within the context of Jesus healing the blind man (John 9:1-43.9.7), this miracle enlightens the world to the fact that Jesus is the light of the world.

John 9:6 When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay,

John 9:6 Comments The unique miracle of Jesus making clay and placing it upon the blind man’s eyes stimulates suggestions as to why He did this. We can reflect upon the fact that God originally made Adam from the clay of the earth (Genesis 2:7). Thus, in a sense Jesus was making this blind man new eyes that had not been made before.

Genesis 2:7, “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”

John 9:7 And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.

John 9:7 “And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.)” - Comments The pool of Siloam is frequently mentioned by Josephus. [212] The Copper Scroll of Qumran also mentions this pool (3Q15 John 10:16). [213]

[212] See Josephus, Wars 2.16.2; 5.4.1; 5.6.1; 5.9.4; 5.12.2; 6.7.2; 6.8.5.

[213] Andreas J. Kösterberger, John, in Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2004), 283.

Jesus asked the blind man to take journey to the pool of Siloam. This was a step of faith for this blind man as he had to believe that he could make it to this pool. He had to “look” for this pool. God often asks us to respond in faith to His command. For example, Jesus asked the paralytic to stand up and walk.

According to the Mosaic Law, washing was symbolic of the cleansing of sin.

Exodus 30:18-2.30.20, “Thou shalt also make a laver of brass, and his foot also of brass, to wash withal: and thou shalt put it between the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar, and thou shalt put water therein. For Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet thereat: When they go into the tabernacle of the congregation, they shall wash with water, that they die not ; or when they come near to the altar to minister, to burn offering made by fire unto the LORD:”

Leviticus 13:6, “And the priest shall look on him again the seventh day: and, behold, if the plague be somewhat dark, and the plague spread not in the skin, the priest shall pronounce him clean: it is but a scab: and he shall wash his clothes, and be clean .”

Leviticus 16:4, “He shall put on the holy linen coat, and he shall have the linen breeches upon his flesh, and shall be girded with a linen girdle, and with the linen mitre shall he be attired: these are holy garments; therefore shall he wash his flesh in water, and so put them on .”

Leviticus 16:26, “And he that let go the goat for the scapegoat shall wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in water, and afterward come into the camp.”

Leviticus 17:16, “But if he wash them not, nor bathe his flesh; then he shall bear his iniquity.”

Jesus alluded to this meaning in John 13:10.

John 13:10, “Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.”

We see this meaning in Acts 22:16.

Acts 22:16, “And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.”

“He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing” - Comments Jesus was not there when the man healed of blindness returned, because the witnesses asked him where Jesus was, and he said he did not know (John 9:12).

John 9:12 Comments The repetition of the activity of Jesus in healing the blind on the Sabbath precludes the accusations by the Pharisees in John 9:16 that Jesus broke the Law by working on the Sabbath.

John 9:16 Comments The Pharisees were divided as to the identify of Jesus Christ, among them would have been Nicodemus (John 7:50).

John 7:50, “Nicodemus saith unto them, (he that came to Jesus by night, being one of them,)”

John 9:22 “for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue” Comments - Robert Gundry says that the Jews during the last part of the first century, when John wrote his Gospel, incorporated a Benediction against Heretics into the liturgy of their services in an effort to ostracize all Jewish Christians from synagogues. Since it was possible that many Jewish converts were expelled from these synagogues, he suggests that John may have included the story of the healing of the blind man and the response from the Pharisees (John 9:1-43.9.34) as a source of encouragement to these persecuted Jewish Christians. [214]

[214] The benediction reads, “For the excommunicate let there be no hope, and the kingdom of pride do Thou quickly root out in our days. And let the Christians and the heretics perish as in a moment. Let them be blotted out of the book of life, and with the righteous let them not be written. Blessed art Thou, O Lord, who subdueth the proud.” See Robert H. Gundry, A Survey of the New Testament, revised edition (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House), 104.

Scripture Reference - Note a similar verse:

John 16:2, “They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.”

John 9:22 Comments As the tension between Jesus Christ as the Jewish leaders rises in the course of John’s Gospel, the author begins to insert comments about the people’s fear of the Jews, and he will do so on six occasions (John 7:13; John 9:22; John 12:42; John 19:7-43.19.8; John 19:38; John 20:19). The Jews who held the most authority would have been the Sanhedrin, whom the people would have most feared. [215]

[215] Andreas J. Kösterberger, John, in Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2004), 232.

John 7:13, “Howbeit no man spake openly of him for fear of the Jews.”

John 9:22, “These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.”

John 12:42, “Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue:”

John 19:7-43.19.8, “The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God. When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid;”

John 19:38, “And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.”

John 20:19, “Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.”

John 9:31 “Now we know that God heareth not sinners” - Comments - John 9:31 is preceded by much talk of whether Jesus was a sinner or not (John 9:16; John 9:25).

John 9:16, “Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them.”

John 9:25, “He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.”

John 9:32 Comments The miracle of healing the blind is not found in the Old Testament. This is therefore the first miracle of its kind in Jewish history.

Verses 1-41

The Fifth Miracle: The Testimony of Our Divine Service in Christ John 9:1-43.9.34 gives us the fifth miracle that John records in his Gospel. It is the story of the healing of a blind and his interrogation by the Jewish leaders. This is followed by the testimony of Jesus Christ to the Jews that He is the Good Shepherd whom men should follow (John 9:35 to John 10:21). The emphasis in this passage of Scripture is on Jesus guiding God’s children into divine service, a motif recognized among scholars. [209]

[209] In his sermon on John 9:4 entitled “The Gifts to the Flock,” Alexander MacLaren interprets the metaphor of “going in and out” to describe man’s two-fold relationship to God. He says, “The one side is the contemplative life of interior union with God by faith and love; the other, the active life of practical obedience in the field of work which God provides for us.” See Alexander MacLaren, The Gospel According to St. John chapters IX to XIV, in Expositions of Holy Scripture (New York: A. C. Armstrong and Son, 1908), 29.

Outline Here is a proposed outline:

1. The Healing of the Blind Man John 9:1-43.9.34

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Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on John 9". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. 2013.