Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

John 9

Verses 1-5

John 9:1-41. The opening of the eyes of one born blind, and what followed on it.

as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from birth — and who “sat begging” (John 9:8).

Verse 2

who did sin, this man or his parents, that he was born blind — not in a former state of existence, in which, as respects the wicked, the Jews did not believe; but, perhaps, expressing loosely that sin somewhere had surely been the cause of this calamity.

Verse 3

Neither … this man, etc. — The cause was neither in himself nor his parents, but, in order to the manifestation of “the works of God,” in his cure.

Verse 4

I must work the works of him that sent me, etc. — a most interesting statement from the mouth of Christ; intimating, (1) that He had a precise work to do upon earth, with every particular of it arranged and laid out to Him; (2) that all He did upon earth was just “the works of God” - particularly “going about doing good,” though not exclusively by miracles; (3) that each work had its precise time and place in His program of instructions, so to speak; hence, (4) that as His period for work had definite termination, so by letting any one service pass by its allotted time, the whole would be disarranged, marred, and driven beyond its destined period for completion; (5) that He acted ever under the impulse of these considerations, as man - “the night cometh when no man (or no one) can work.” What lessons are here for others, and what encouragement from such Example!

Verse 5

As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world — not as if He would cease, after that, to be so; but that He must make full proof of His fidelity while His earthly career lasted by displaying His glory. “As before the raising of Lazarus (John 11:25), He announces Himself as the Resurrection and the Life, so now He sets Himself forth as the source of the archetypal spiritual light, of which the natural, now about to be conferred, is only a derivation and symbol” [Alford].

Verse 6-7

and he anointed the eyes of the blind man — These operations were not so incongruous in their nature as might appear, though it were absurd to imagine that they contributed in the least degree to the effect which followed. (See Mark 6:13 and see on John 7:33.)

Verse 7

Sent, etc. — (See 2 Kings 5:10, 2 Kings 5:14). As the prescribed action was purely symbolical in its design, so in connection with it the Evangelist notices the symbolical name of the pool as in this case bearing testimony to him who was sent to do what it only symbolized. (See Isaiah 8:6, where this same pool is used figuratively to denote “the streams that make glad the city of God,” and which, humble though they be, betoken a present God of Israel.)

Verses 8-15

The neighbours therefore … said, Is not this he that sat and begged — Here are a number of details to identify the newly seeing with the long-known blind beggar.

Verse 13

They brought to the Pharisees — sitting probably in council, and chiefly of that sect (John 7:47, John 7:48).

Verse 16-17

This man is not of God, etc. — (See on John 5:9; see on John 5:16).

Others said, etc. — such as Nicodemus and Joseph.

Verse 17

the blind man … said, He is a prophet — rightly viewing the miracle as but a “sign” of His prophetic commission.

Verses 18-23

he had been born blind  …  till they called the parents of him that had received his sight — Foiled by the testimony of the young man himself, they hope to throw doubt on the fact by close questioning his parents, who, perceiving the snare laid for them, ingeniously escape it by testifying simply to the identity of their son, and his birth-blindness, leaving it to himself, as a competent witness, to speak as to the cure. They prevaricated, however, in saying they “knew not who had opened his eyes,” for “they feared the Jews,” who had come to an understanding (probably after what is recorded, John 7:50, etc.; but by this time well known), that whoever owned Him as the Christ would be put out of the synagogue - that is, not simply excluded, but excommunicated.

Verses 24-34

Give God the praise; we know that this man is a sinner — not wishing him to own, even to the praise of God, that a miracle had been wrought upon him, but to show more regard to the honor of God than ascribe any such act to one who was a sinner.

Verse 25

He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, etc. — Not that the man meant to insinuate any doubt in his own mind on the point of His being “a sinner,” but as his opinion on such a point would be of no consequence to others, he would speak only to what he knew as fact in his own case.

Verse 26

Then said they … again, What did he to thee? etc. — hoping by repeated questions to ensnare him, but the youth is more than a match for them.

Verse 27

I have told you already … will ye also be his disciples? — In a vein of keen irony he treats their questions as those of anxious inquirers, almost ready for discipleship! Stung by this, they retort upon him as the disciple (and here they plainly were not wrong); for themselves, they fall back upon Moses; about him there could be no doubt; but who knew about this upstart?

Verse 30

The man answered, Herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes — He had no need to say another word; but waxing bolder in defense of his Benefactor, and his views brightening by the very courage which it demanded, he puts it to them how they could pretend inability to tell whether one who opened the eyes of a man born blind was “of God” or “a sinner” - from above or from beneath - and proceeds to argue the case with remarkable power. So irresistible was his argument that their rage burst forth in a speech of intense Pharisaism, “Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us?” - thou, a base-born, uneducated, impudent youth, teach us, the trained, constituted, recognized guides of the people in the things of God! Out upon thee!

Verse 31

and the reproaches of them that reproached Thee are fallen upon me” (Psalm 69:6, Psalm 69:7, Psalm 69:9).

Verses 35-38

Jesus heard — that is, by intelligence brought Him.

that they had cast him out; and when he had found him — by accident? Not very likely. Sympathy in that breast could not long keep aloof from its object.

he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? — A question stretching purposely beyond his present attainments, in order the more quickly to lead him - in his present teachable frame - into the highest truth.

Verse 36

He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I may believe on him? — “His reply is affirmative, and believing by anticipation, promising faith as soon as Jesus shall say who He is” [Stier].

Verse 37

Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him — the new sense of sight having at that moment its highest exercise, in gazing upon “the Light of the world.”

Verse 38

he said, Lord, I believe: and he worshipped him — a faith and a worship, beyond doubt, meant to express far more than he would think proper to any human “prophet” (John 9:17) - the unstudied, resistless expression, probably of SUPREME faith and adoration, though without the full understanding of what that implied.

Verses 39-41

Jesus said — perhaps at the same time, but after a crowd, including some of the skeptical and scornful rulers, had, on seeing Jesus talking with the healed youth, hastened to the spot.

that they which see not might see, etc. — rising to that sight of which the natural vision communicated to the youth was but the symbol. (See on John 9:5, and compare Luke 4:18).

that they which see might be made blind — judicially incapable of apprehending and receiving the truth, to which they have willfully shut their eyes.

Verse 40

Are we blind also? — We, the constituted, recognized guides of the people in spiritual things? pride and rage prompting the question.

Verse 41

If ye were blind — wanted light to discern My claims, and only waited to receive it.

ye should have no sin — none of the guilt of shutting out the light.

ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth — Your claim to possess light, while rejecting Me, is that which seals you up in the guilt of unbelief.

Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 9". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". 1871-8.