The Bible says in John 8:52-58, "Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that you have a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and you say, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death. Are you greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? and the prophets are dead. Who are you making of yourself? Jesus answered, If I honor myself, my honor is nothing: It is my Father who honors me; of whom you say, that he is your God: Yet you have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I should be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. Then said the Jews unto him, You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Before Abraham was, I am."
The Jewish leaders needed to dismiss what Jesus said. So they delivered the same accusation that they used several times before. They said to Jesus, "You have a devil." Thatís kind of like in our day and age that if you were to quote a Bible verse in public and talk about it like it was an ordinary and normal thing to do, someone would probably say to you, "Youíre crazy." Just remember that they said similar things to Jesus when He spoke the truth about God. To the Jews it seemed perfectly logical that Jesus did not know what He was talking about. How could Jesus talk about Abraham and talk about a person not tasting of death, when everyone knows that Abraham and all the prophets had died centuries before. They were not alive: they were dead.
But then Jesus shocked the Jews even more by mentioning Abraham in a way to make it sound as though Jesus had recently seen and spoken with Abraham. Jesus told them about His recent conversation with Abraham in order to emphasize the fact that Abraham was not dead. Abraham was still alive. Death was not what the people thought that it was. Death was not the end of someoneís existence. We may not be able to see them with our eyes or hear them with our ears, but they are still alive. The point that Jesus was making was that Abraham was still alive, and that Jesus could give the same kind of continuing life to others. If Abraham had it, others can get it also.
But when Jesus claimed to have spoken with Abraham, the Jews used the sarcastic argument that it was not possible because Jesus was not old enough to have lived long ago when Abraham was on the earth. The answer that Jesus gave to them made them angry to the point that they wanted to kill Him right on the spot. Jesus said, "Before Abraham was, I am." Jesus spoke of His own existence in the terms of the eternally existent One. Once when Moses spoke with God, Moses asked God who He was, and God replied, "I am that I am." In other words, I am the eternally existent One who has no beginning and no end. I am that I am. Jesus was equating Himself to Jehovah when He said, "Before Abraham was, I am."
Of course, the reaction of the Jews to Jesus claiming to be Jehovah was as expected. They wanted to kill Him. Jesus clearly claimed to be Jehovah by saying, "Before Abraham was, I am." Because of the things that Jesus claimed, He was either a liar or an insane person, or He was telling the truth. All of the evidence supports the conclusion that He was telling the truth. But in order to avoid considering the evidence, the Jews decided to put Him to death. But it was not yet His time to die, in spite of the hatred against Him. John 8:59 says, "Then took they up stones to cast at Him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by."
John Chapter 9 is the story about a man who was born blind. Itís a wonderful lesson about the wisdom and power of God. And itís also a lesson about the sorrows and trials of this life: from where do they come, and why are they permitted by God? John 9:1-3 says, "And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man who 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 has this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him."
There is a reason for everything, and there is a good purpose for everything that happens. If you could see things the way that God sees them, you would understand that this is true, no matter what happens to you. You may be a person who has suffered many heartaches in life, but thatís good. It means that one day there will be many blessings and good consequences to the heartaches. Romans 8:28 says, "All things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are the called according to His purposes." Thatís one of the reasons that we are told in the Bible to be thankful for all things, even the bad. If God permits everything that happens to us, because He has a good purpose that He ultimately will bring with it, then we should be just as thankful for the things that we think are unwelcome as the things that we think are good.
Concerning the man who was blind from his birth, here in John Chapter 9, there were probably many times when he or his parents thought that some great catastrophe had befallen them because of the blindness, and as the years went by there were probably times when they despaired greatly that things would ever improve for them. Even the disciples interpreted the situation of the manís blindness in a very negative way. The disciples incorrectly thought that if something bad happened to someone, that it must be a punishment for sin. Many people still make the same mistake. They see some disaster, and they know that an all-powerful God could have kept that disaster from happening, and they are perplexed. Since what happened is bad, and God is somehow involved, then God must be punishing them. And if they do not become bitter over the situation, then at the least their faith is severely weakened. But their attitude towards life would not suffer such a blow, if they understood the goodness of God, and if they had learned to be thankful for all things because God has a good purpose even for those things which may seem to be bad.
The disciples thought that it was a bad thing to be born blind. Evidently, God does not think so, because He allows it to happen. John Milton wrote a very famous poem about being blind called "On His Blindness", and in the poem Mr. Milton wrote of the importance to God of those who are blind when he said, "They also serve who only stand and wait." The things that are spiritual are more important than the things that are physical, and sometimes those who are blind see more clearly things that are spiritual than those who have their sight: a lesson that will also be taught later on in John Chapter 9. One of the greatest gospel hymn writers was a lady named Fanny Crosby. She also was blind from her youth. Sometimes those who have no physical sight achieve greater spiritual accomplishments than those who do; partly because those who see with their eyes are more easily distracted from spiritual pursuits by the things that they see. God can turn what seems to be a curse into a blessing.
Whenever you have a parent-child situation, you will find those who want to blame someone for what goes wrong. The disciples thought that if it was not the fault of the man himself that he was blind, then it must be the fault of the parents. One of the biggest mistakes that people still make in our society, is to look at parent-child situations and to blame things that go wrong on the parent. If there is someone to blame, it certainly is not the parents. Every person is an individual and is responsible to God for their own behavior. Humans are the ones who condemn and accuse and find fault, but God does not. A man had been blind from his birth, and Jesus said that it was not the result of sin and therefore it was not a punishment. Jesus knew the end from the beginning. He knew that it was good that this had happened, because the final result would be good.
When you come into a relationship with God whereby you have received and experienced His forgiveness, you never have to fear again that somehow you are going to be punished for sin. Even the bad things that happen to you will have a good result, once theyíve gone full circle. Some day you will understand much better Godís purpose in what He allowed and you will be able to say just like Jesus did that it was not some sin that caused whatever happened, but that God allowed it to happen in order that the works of God would be made manifest.
In John 9:4 Jesus said, "I must work the works of Him that sent me while it is day: the night comes when no man can work." Everywhere that Jesus went, there were opportunities to prove who He was. There were no accidents or coincidences in the life of Jesus. He was always calm and never rushed in His life, and yet He had an amazingly productive three years from the time that He first came on the scene until He was crucified. Why was Jesus able to do so much in so little time, without ever being in a hurry? The reason was because of what He said here in John 9:4, "I must work the works of him that sent me while it is day, the night comes when no man can work." Jesus understood the value of time, the fleeting nature of opportunity, and the shortness of life. He realized that if He was going to do anything then He must do it now. He must seize the moment. And because of His communication with the Father and His walk with the Father, Jesus was ready for whatever came His way. In the life of Jesus, no opportunities were lost. Every situation was encountered with the power of the spirit. Jesus said, "I must work the works of Him that sent me, while it is day."
In John 9:5 Jesus said, "As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world." Jesus understood who He was, and why He was on the earth. Happy is the person who understands himself and who has a sense for why God has put them on the earth. God gave you life for a reason. Do you know what that reason is, and are you pursuing the will of God. Jesus said that He was the light of the world. In other words, itís through Jesus that we receive spiritual enlightenment. That was His purpose for being on the earth. Jesus is going to heal the blind man as an illustration. If Jesus can give a blind person the sight of their eyes, then He can certainly also give us spiritual enlightenment.
In John 9:6-7 the Bible says, "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 things that Jesus did in the healing of the blind man were probably done in order to teach by way of symbolism. Jesus spit into the dirt and made clay and put it on the eyes of the man. The use of spit and dirt was symbolic of the fact that the work of God can be done out of that which to man seems only commonplace. You may not find the power of God so much in a whirlwind or an earthquake, but in a still, small voice. Some people think that there must be a grand show or a spectacular display to demonstrate the power of God, but evidently Jesus did not think so.
The blind man was told to wash in the pool of Siloam. Even though this manís blindness had nothing to do with sin, still this man was a sinner; and when a person meets God, the greatest benefit is that their sins are taken away. To wash in the pool of Siloam, was symbolic of the fact that because this man had met Jesus, he was now washed and cleansed from all of his sins. The reason that the man was told to go and wash as a part of his healing, was in order to demonstrate that the willingness to obey God is a necessary part of belief. If you are not willing to obey God and to do whatever he tells you to do, then you do not have New Testament belief. When the disciples believed in Jesus, they left their nets and followed Him. When Saul met Jesus on the road to Damascus, Saul said, "Lord, what will you have me to do?"
The blind man was healed because he met Jesus, and when he met Jesus he became willing to do whatever Jesus told him to do. How desperate you think your own case is, will determine how willing you are to go with God. Those who realize the depths of their own spiritual darkness, will do whatever Jesus wants them to do because they are eternally grateful for having been given their spiritual eyesight.
In John 9:8-11 the Bible says, "The neighbors therefore, and they which before had seen him 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 your eyes opened? He answered and said, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes, and said unto me, Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash: and I went and washed, and I received my sight."
The miracles that Jesus performed were irrefutable. Jesus did not pick obscure situations that no one could verify, as is done by some of the TV evangelists of our day. And the man that Jesus healed here in John Chapter 9 was a good example. Because this was a grown man who had lived in blindness since birth, and year after year earned his living by being a beggar, there were many people who knew who he was, and the healing could not have been fabricated or Jesus would have been laughed out of town. But there will always be those who will ignore the evidence no matter how irrefutable it is. Unfortunately for them, they will give an account of it when they stand before Him who gave them life and then who came and died for them.
Those of us who believe in Jesus, because we have had the spiritual experience of the new birth, we have had an experience that is very similar to the one that the blind man had when he was healed. We met Jesus, and because we were willing to do what he told us to do, we were cleansed and we received our sight. We can say to the world the same thing that this man said in John Chapter 9. We met a man whose name was Jesus: He anointed us, and we received our sight.
Copyright; 2000 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
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