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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible
John 9

 

 

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Verses 1-7

John 9:1-7. And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. 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, and said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way before, and washed, and came seeing.

I will not say anything now about this miracle, as it will form the subject of my discourse.

This exposition consisted of readings from Mark 10:46-52; and John 9:1-7.


Verses 1-14

John 9:1-3. And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents:

That is to say, their sin was not the cause of his blindness.

John 9:3-14. But that the works of God should be made manifest in him. I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. 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, 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. The neighbors therefore, and they which before had seen him that he was blind, said, Is not this he that sat and begged? Some said, This is he: others said, He is like him: but he said, I am he. Therefore said they unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He answered and said, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash: and I went and washed, and I received sight. Then said they unto him, Where is he? He said, I know not. They brought to the Pharisees him that aforetime was blind. And it was the sabbath day when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes.

This gracious act of Christ was made another occasion of complaint on the part of the Pharisees, and it is the sixth instance in which we are very specially and definitely informed that our Lord Jesus Christ wrought miracles of healing on the Sabbath-day. Oh, that he would do similar works in our midst even now in a spiritual sense, if not literally!

This exposition consisted of readings from Luke 4:33-36; Luke 6:6-11; Luke 13:10-17; Luke 14:1-6; John 5:1-9; ND 9:1-14.


Verses 1-38

John 9:1. And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.

The man could not see Jesus, but sight came to the man from Jesus. If there are any here who cannot look to Christ as yet, our prayer is that he may look on them as he looked on this blind man.

John 9:2. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?

Beloved, if you had Christ with you, you could occupy your time better than in asking such questions as this; and I think that, when we go to Holy Scripture, we can do better than pry into things of small practical importance, or even into great mysteries. However, in this case, since the disciples were liable to fall into grave error, our Lord gave them instruction upon the matter that perplexed them.

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.

In other words, this man is not blind as the result of sin in himself, or in his parents. He is blind in order that God may have a platform for the display of his gracious power in healing him.

John 9:4-5. I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.

Our Saviour felt that he was commissioned as a servant of his Father, sent here to do a certain work, and he must be doing it. It is well for God’s servants to feel a holy compulsion. It does not take away from them the freedom of their action, and their delight in the service of God; but still it exercises a powerful influence over a man when he feels, “Woe is me, if I preach not the gospel;” or when, like the Lord Jesus, he says, “I must work the works of him that sent me.” Did the Well-beloved, the Prince of Heaven, come under compulsion? Did he put himself under that “must” which is for the king? Then you and I may well put ourselves under holy bondage for the Lord. Then, do not hinder me; do not tell me that I am too feeble in health; “I must work the works of him that sent me.”

John 9:6-7. 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, 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.

Our Lord often works miracles without means, and sometimes with means which appear to be quite inappropriate. It would seem to be more easy to blind a man with clay than to open his eyes with it; and there are some who assert that the gospel plainly spoken would lead men into sin, but it does not. It is “the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.” If you go to work in the name of God, if you put the clay on the sinner’s eyes, and bid him go and wash, you will see what will happen.

John 9:8-11. The neighbors therefore, and they which before had seen him that he was blind, said, Is not this he that sat and begged? Some said, This is he: others said, He is like him: but he said, I am he. Therefore said they unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He answered and said, A Man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash: and I went and washed, and I received sight.

Does he not tell his story well? If he had not been a blind man whose eyes had just been opened, he would have exaggerated somewhere or other. I never heard a man tell a tale with absolute correctness; it is not the way of people, they are sure to put in some little item by way of garnishing, for there is a bump of romance in most men’s heads; but this shrewd, strictly honest man tells the story briefly, but leaves out no important particular.

John 9:12-15. Then said they unto him, Where is he? He said, I know not. They brought to the Pharisees him that aforetime was blind. And it was the sabbath day when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes. Then again the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. He said unto them, He put clay upon mine eyes, and I washed, and do see.

That was short and sweet; and when you have to deal with Pharisees, do not give them much. They are not worth it, and they are sure to misuse it. When he spoke to the common people, he enlarged, and gave them details; but now that he comes to talk to these pragmatical professors, he cuts it down to as few words as possible.

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.

Yes, and there is a division among the enemies of Christ always; they cannot agree among themselves. If they could always lay their heads together, and agree, they might have greater power; but the Edomites draw their swords against the children of Ammon, and they are sure to slay one another in the long run. There were also some among these Pharisees who had a conscience, men like Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathaea; and they asked, “How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles?”

John 9:17. They say unto the blind man again, What sayest thou of him, that he hath opened thine eyes? He said, He is a prophet.

He must be a prophet. He could not have worked such a miracle as that if he had been a common man: “He said, He is a prophet.”

John 9:18. But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind, and received his sight, until they called the parents of him that had received his sight.

You see, John gives to the Pharisees the name which they arrogated to themselves: “we are Jews.” But they were not true Jews. They called themselves Jews, and so John speaks of them as “the Jews.” It often happens that a certain clique or party will run away with a name which does not belong to them any more than it does to a great many who differ from them very widely. These Pharisees pretended that they would not believe the miracle. It was manifest before their eyes; but yet they would not believe it until they called his parents.

John 9:19-21. And they asked them, saying, Is this your son, who ye say was born blind? how then doth he now see? His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind: but by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself.

This was very shrewd on their part; but I think that I must add that it was very cowardly to throw all the testimony on their son. There are some parents who, if their children do right, if they follow Christ, seem to leave them to take care of themselves.

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.

Excommunicated; and they could not bear to be cut off from the respectable society which they had hitherto enjoyed.

John 9:23-24. Therefore said his parents, He is of age; ask him. Then again called they the man that was blind, and said unto him, Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner.

Does it not sound pretty from their Pharisaic lips? Arch hypocrites pretending to teach a man who knew much better than themselves! “We know that this man is a sinner. You did not know it, but we know it and as we know it, and we are doctors, you must believe it.”

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.

He could not be beaten out of that. You cannot argue a man out of an experience of this kind; and if the Lord Jesus Christ has ever opened your eyes, dear friend, nobody can make you doubt that blessed fact.

John 9:26-27. Then said they to him again, What did he to thee? how opened he thine eyes? He answered them, I have told you already, and ye did not hear: wherefore would ye hear it again? will ye also be his disciples?

He threw a little sarcasm into that last question. The man was a very remarkable person, a simple-hearted, honest man, but withal quite able to hold his own in any company.

John 9:28. Then they reviled him,

It is a bad case, so abuse the plaintiff. There is nothing to be said for our side, so let us abuse the man who has had his eyes opened.

John 9:28-30. And said, Thou art his disciple; but we are Moses’ disciples. We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is. The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes.

Does not that manifestation of miraculous power show where he must have come from? Could he have come from anywhere but from God?

John 9:31-33. Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth. Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. If this man were not of God, he could do nothing.

Well argued! The case is proven indeed.

John 9:34. They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us?

Cannot you hear them say it? “A blind beggar, who has just begun to see, ‘Dost thou teach us?’ — D.D.’s, men who are learned in the law, ‘Dost thou teach us?’” Well, brethren, if a man has only one eye, he may teach those who have not any, for the old proverb says, “In the realm of the blind, the man with one eye is king.” Yet there is another proverb on this subject, and that is, “In the realm of the blind, the man with one eye gets hanged.” That was likely to be the case here; the blind Pharisees could not bear the man who could see. He knew too much for them.

John 9:34-36. And they cast him out. Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?

He wanted instruction. Christ may have done much for a man, but he may not as yet fully know the Lord. There may be some here tonight upon whom Christ has wrought a great deal, and yet you do not know him as you will know him: “Dost thou believe on the Son of God?”

John 9:37-38. And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee. And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.

That is the way with a genuine believer, he worships Christ. Why? Because he believes him to be God. It would be idolatry to worship Christ if he were only man, and Christ would have been an impostor if he had allowed this man to worship him if he had not been God. But he was God; and we, believing him to be God, worship Christ as very God of very God, to whom be praise forever and ever! Amen.


Verses 1-41

John 9:1. And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.

Therefore the man could not see Jesus, but the more important matter was that Christ could see the blind man. And you, dear heart, may not yet have learned to look on Christ, but he can look on you in your blindness, and a look from him will speedily work a wondrous change in you.

John 9:2. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?

Many of Christ’s disciples are still occupied in asking questions that serve no practical purpose, like this one, “Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?”

John 9:3. Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents:

That is to say, sin on their part was not the cause of his blindness.

John 9:3. But that the works of God should be made manifest in him

Human nature is a platform for the manifestation of divine work. The more in need you are, dear friend, the more room there is for God’s mercy to operate upon you.

John 9:4-7. I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. 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, 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.”

Christ used very simple means to cure this man’s blindness, very unlikely means, apparently, to produce the desired effect. It might have seemed, indeed, that the man would have been wore in the dark than ever when his eyes were plastered over with clay, yet the Lord chose to work in that way.

And so, when the poor preacher feels as if he was nothing and nobody, and that his agency may rather hinder his Master’s work than help him yet still his Lord can work through his weakness, and get to himself glory notwithstanding his servant’s infirmities.

John 9:8-9. The neighbors therefore, and they which before had seen him that he was blind said, Is not this he that sat and begged? Some said, This is he: others said, He is like him: but he said, I am he.

“There is no question about my identity, I am the same man whom you have seen sitting and begging, and I now come before you with my sight fully restored.”

John 9:10-11. Therefore said they unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He answered and said, a man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash: and I went and washed, and I received sight.

It was only a short story, but it was very sweet to him, and he told it with no excess of detail, but with all its salient points. He was a sharp, shrewd man of few words, but those few words were weighty. Friend when thou tellest the story of Christ and his love to thee, do not embellish it with flowers of speech. There is enough in what Christ has done to make it shine without any fine words of thine. The beauty of Christ’s work is such that it is most adorned when unadorned.

John 9:12. Then said they unto him, Where is he? He said, I know not.

There are a good many things concerning Christ which you may not know, but if you know that he has opened your eyes, you may be well content with the knowledge of that until he shall be pleased to reveal more about himself to you.

John 9:13. They brought to the Pharisees him that aforetime was blind.

I am sure that this was a very distressing sight to them, for there was nothing that ever grieved their hearts more than for Christ’s power to be displayed. They did not want to see the blind man whose eyes Christ had opened; if the miracle brought Christ any glory, it brought them just so much misery.

John 9:14-15. And it was the Sabbath day when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes. Then again the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight.

That seemed to be the principal question with them; they always wanted to know the manner in which Christ’s cures were wrought.

John 9:15. He said unto them, He put clay upon mine eyes, and I washed, and do see.

That is shorter than his previous account of the miracle. When Pharisees ask a carping question, the shorter the answer the better; it is a pity to cast pearls before swine.

John 9:16-17. 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. They say unto the blind man again, What sayest thou of him, that he hath opened thine eyes! He said, He is a prophet.

He was a brave man, who dared to say what he believed whether he offended or pleased. He did not know much, but what he did know he did know, and he was quite certain about it. There are some men whose breadth of knowledge is as remarkable as its shallowness. It is like water upon the meadows when a river overflows its banks, and covers a wide area, but there is scarcely an inch of depth. Give us the narrower river that is deep, and that can bear onwards to the ocean a noble fleet, rather than the wide expanse of useless, shallow water.

John 9:18-21. But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind, and received his sight, until they called the parents of him that had received his sight. And they asked them, saying, Is this your son, who ye say was born blind? how then doth he now see? His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind: but by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself.

They were timid, but they were also shrewd enough to let their son speak for himself, as he was quite able to do.

John 9:22-24. 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. Therefore said his parents, He is of age ask him. Then again called they the man that was blind, and said unto him Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner.

They thought they could get over him by giving him a little of what they called good advice: “Praise God, but be quiet concerning this man; depend upon it, he is a sinner.”

John 9:25-28. 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. Then said they to him again, What did he to thee? how opened he thine eyes? He answered them, I have told you already, and ye did not hear: wherefore would ye hear it again? will ye also be his disciple? Then they reviled him, —

Of course, that is the usual way with those who are in the wrong. Abuse the plaintiff when you cannot answer his case. “Then they reviled him,” —

John 9:28-30. And said, Thou art his disciple but we are Moses’ disciples. We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is. The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes.

Where could he have come from but from God? Who could have wrought such a miracle unless he had been sent from God?

John 9:31-33. Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth. Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. If this man were not of God, he could do nothing.

That was very forcibly spoken. Oh, that all of us, whose eyes Christ has opened, would speak for him as bravely as this man did! Our cure has been quite as clear and quite as notable as his was, so let us not be ashamed to testify for him before gainsayers and opposers.

John 9:34. They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us?

“Such learned men as we are, with such culture and such penetration as we have, ‘dost thou teach us?’”

John 9:34. And they cast him out.

It was a great mercy for him that they did excommunicate him, one of the greatest blessings that could come to him was that of being cast out of the synagogue, and being cast out of the society of such men as those Pharisees were.

John 9:35. Jesus heard that they had cast him out; —

Jesus knew all that had happened to this man, but someone probably related the story to him; and our Lord knows all about each one of us, and he knows whether anyone here is suffering for his sake or for the truth’s sake. Jesus knew that they had cast him out; —

John 9:35. And when he had found him, —

For he always finds those whom the world or false professors have cast out, —

John 9:35-36. He said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?

He was a sensible man, and he had the sense to perceive that knowledge rightly used leads to faith. He desired to know in order that he might believe; and if you ever say that you cannot believe, but are anxious to do so, then make enquiry as to what is to be believed, examine the evidence concerning it, and so faith will come to you by the operation of God’s good Spirit.

John 9:37-40. And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee. And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him. And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind. And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also?

“Are we blind?” It seemed impossible to them that it could be so. Jesus answered them with scathing words: —

John 9:41. Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.

“If what you have done had been done in utter ignorance, you would have been comparatively guiltless; but you have sinned against light and knowledge, with a most determined antipathy to the grace of God, and therefore your sin remaineth in all its scarlet hue to condemn you.”

 


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Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on John 9:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/john-9.html. 2011.

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Saturday, September 21st, 2019
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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