Home > Scripture Reflections, Spirituality > Reflections on the Healing of the Blind Man in John 9

Reflections on the Healing of the Blind Man in John 9

December 2, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

El Greco

Following are a few reflections on John 9 as I thought about it over a few weeks.  Nothing profound here but maybe it will stimulate something in some of you?

One of the first thing I noticed was that this guy is known as “the blind beggar.”  No name is given, he is just the blind guy who sits and begs.  That was his identity, just as I might talk about the “crazy guy” in our neighborhood, the “guy who lives under the bridge”, the “person who always borrows money” or the “needy ones.”  There is a lot of discussion about his identity.  Even his neighbors and friends can’t imagine that the man who now sees is the same person.  “Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg? . . No he only looks like him.” (9:8-9) The people seem to be in denial. In verse 9, the man tries to convince them, “I am the same man.”  Well, not really—he is not really the same man since he has been healed but  . . .  So what do I take away from this.  Our history is important but we are not defined or limited by our history.

John 9 by Tissot

Second point: Everyone wants to know the answer to a logical question—“who healed you?”  They want to know what happened.  Well, the man can only say that it was the man “they call Jesus.”  Why is there no mention of rejoicing by the friends and neighbors?  Are they also self-righteous and so take him to the Pharisees (9:9) since this act was done on the Sabbath?  When he responds to the logical, “What happened?” of the Pharisees, they can only say (I imagine with a sneer on their faces), “This man Jesus is not from God” (9:16); he is “a sinner” (9:24) and he is someone without a heritage (9:29).  Again no mention about praising God for the miracle that has just happened.

I can imagine today people saying that someone must not be from God. Not because they worked on the Sabbath but because they drank alcohol, went to the movies, have lots of non-Christian friends, like to dance, is known to sin, don’t read their bible, don’t like to go to church, use bad language, have tattoos . . . etc.

More thoughts from this passage: Christians would never stop going to church, take anti-depressants, see a counselor, be a P type of personality, be democrats, swear, enjoy sex, be competitive, not feel spiritual, not want to attend a prayer meeting, spend too much money, have too much money, make too much money, disagree with church leadership, listen to rock music, read Bibles other than the KJV, wear shorts to church, smoke, chew or go with girls who do, have addictions.

How could “a sinner have done such a thing?  Well, today, we might say, “How could someone do a miracle that

  • Is not one from our church?
  • Has no degree?
  • Is not ordained?
  • Has no qualifications?
  • Is too young?
  • Is inexperienced?


There was a deep division here.  They were looking for any indicators that would prove that God was not in this.  In 9:17, they question the man and ask him his opinion about Jesus? When he says, “a prophet?” they attack his credibility.  Then, they refuse to believe him.  They confuse the facts.  This story does not fit our paradigm.  There must be a logical explanation.  There must be some reason other than God has done a miracle.  They were AFRAID, they feared the implications of the event and were ashamed and embarrassed. They were threatened.

When the parents were grilled by the Pharisees, it seems that they feared the anger of the Pharisees and the corresponding threat of expulsion from the community of faith.  And so, fear seems to have overcome love.

When they interview the man for the second time, the Pharisees say that they want God to get the glory since technically a miracle did happen.   But, they are thinking that there is no way Jesus did this.  Sounds like they are projecting onto Jesus their issues.  They accuse Jesus of taking credit for what only God can do. They attack the person when they call Jesus a sinner.

Most hilarious statement in the passage is in 9:27 when the man asks them, “Do you also want to be his disciple?”  But then the pride breaks out!  “We are the disciples of Moses.”  They try to destroy the credibility of the man of Jesus by calling him a sinner.

Well, the sad truth comes out in 9:41, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty but you remain guilty because you claim to see.”  The roles have been reversed—the Pharisees turn out to be the blind ones and the blind one is the one who is able to see.

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  1. July 14, 2010 at 10:26 am

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