Jesus and His disciples were walking near the Pool of Siloam when they saw a man who had been blind since birth. His disciples seeing the man asked Jesus, Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?” The disciples asking this question of Jesus was most likely in reverence to what the Jewish had been taught. Sin entering into the world was the cause of much affliction towards mankind because of the curse that sin had placed on God’s creation. There are scriptures that say the iniquity of fathers and mothers will be passed on to their children. (Exodus 20:5 Psalms 109:14) Sinful behavior can cause physical blindness but the greater affliction is that unrighteousness causes spiritual blindness. The greatest problem for man is that sin comes between him and God breaking the harmony that once was enjoyed between man and God.
Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents.” In life good people suffer as well as bad and sometimes it seems as the bad go without punishment. God is a just God and all will be judged according to their deeds in the flesh. (2 Corinthians 5:10) Jesus went on to explain that it was not sin in the blind man’s life but that, “it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” When we encounter human suffering it is not for us to speculate if the suffering of one is deserved but to us this circumstance as an opportunity to minister to the afflicted. It is not for us to question who has sinned but a time to manifest God’s grace through us. We must follow the words of Jesus, “We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work.” The message that Jesus is giving us is that our time is short and there is a task for each hour. If we neglect our call to service, the opportunities we have to serve Him will be lost forever, the night will come and our work will not be complete.
Jesus said, “While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.” This claim of Jesus is a promise. As the blind man sat there along the side of the road hearing this conversation it must have caught his attention and brought hope into his heart. The blind man to Jesus was also a picture of the world in its moral poverty and spiritual blindness. The claim of Jesus’ word was that He was able to give light and vision to all who would trust Him. It was more than His teaching that is the source of blessing but His divine Person. Jesus was not just a great prophet He was the Messiah, the Son of God, and the Savior.
Jesus forms clay and places it on the man’s eyes and tells him to go wash in the Pool of Siloam. John explains that the Pool of Siloam means sent. The continuous claim of Jesus is that He was sent from God and that He alone could heal the blind man. Each day of the Feast of Tabernacles a libation had been brought from that pool to suggest the gifts of God to His people. Jesus is showing that as the waters of Siloam will wash away the clay from the eyes of the blind man, so He, the true Siloam, the One sent from God will take away his physical blindness and also restore spiritual sight to the world. The blind man in faith and hope obeys the command of Jesus and goes to the pool and washed coming away with his sight.
The Pharisees again were faced with a dilemma caused by Jesus. How could this man who had been blind from birth now be able to see? By what power and authority could this man from Galilee heal a blind man? The Pharisees arguments were much like the ones that people try to use today filled with rationalities and half truths. The Pharisees argued that miracle could not have happened because it was done on the Sabbath. God cannot heal a man on the Sabbath because that would have been work and therefore would have broken the law of rest. For the Pharisees to say that the Sabbath law had been broken was merely their interpretation of the law. Therefore they were opposing a theory to a fact on the ground of a speculation and denying a reality. The same argument is heard today by stating scientific axioms founded in rationalizations the skeptics explain away the supernatural as nonexistent. The miracles of Jesus then by their reasoning are fables; He was not born of a virgin, never opened the eyes of the blind, and did not rise from the dead.
However, the Pharisees had a dilemma, there stood the man, his sight was perfect and he had been born blind. The Pharisees must either deny the facts or admit the divine nature of Jesus which the facts proved. The Pharisees could not disprove that the man had been healed of his blindness but they did deny that Jesus was good. This was a foolish position the Pharisees took as you cannot say that Jesus is not good and deny His miracles.
The Pharisees decided to verify that the man had been born blind and called his parents in to see them. The parents testified that he had been blind since birth but they were afraid to say anything more. The Pharisees had a rule that if anyone testified on behalf of Jesus they would be put out of the synagogue. The blind man’s parents told the Pharisees that he was of age and could speak for himself.
The Pharisees tried to escape by asking the man again to tell them the story of his healing. Perhaps they could trip him up or find a falsehood in his story. The man seeing their dilemma asks if their eagerness for more information about Jesus was because they too wanted to become disciples of Jesus. The Pharisees declare they are disciples of Moses but they did not know who Jesus was.
The Pharisees have fallen to the position of the agnostic. This is a cowardly position due to the lack of moral courage and an unwillingness to face the facts. This position never is deserving of respect and the man who was blind ridicules them with the contempt they deserve. He states his simple unanswerable argument that an impostor, a deceiver, a sinner, could even have done the work that Jesus had done. The man finished his testimony by saying, “If this man were not from God, He could do nothing.” With this statement the Pharisees excommunicated the man for the synagogue.
The Pharisees were the educated men of the day and had made a life of studying the Law of Moses. Yet the man refused to say anything against Jesus in his testimony and as a result they had put him out of the synagogue. We will often find this to be true today as our relationship with Jesus grows the people that we know who are caught up in their own intellect will reject us and the truth of Jesus. We may lose friends and family because of our faith and belief in Jesus; we may face ridicule and be cast out of the crowd. Jesus is a faithful friend and He will always help and comfort us, no one can separate us from the love of Jesus.
The blind man experienced the growth of faith in Jesus as his relationship with Him grew. At first Jesus was a man called by the name of Jesus, then he believed Him to be a prophet, and finally he believed Him to be the Son of God. In contrast to this man’s faith stand the Pharisees. They had greater privilege and knowledge of the scriptures. The Pharisees should have been the first to believe. The Pharisees boasted wisdom and insight was the very cause of their sin. So often it happens that our own self pride blinds our eyes to the truth. As Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.” It is true that those who are poor in spirit, those who are humble and stand on no wisdom of their own, will be the first to see the claims of Jesus. (Matthew 5:3) What we believe about Jesus will affect the judgment that we will receive. If we accept Jesus for who He is then we will escape condemnation but if we reject Jesus then we have already judged ourselves. The problem for many people is they think they know all about God and have false conceptions of what they think God should be. Because of this they cannot accept the truth of Jesus and are blinded by their false beliefs. This was the problem for the Pharisees that they could not accept the truth of Jesus because He did not fit into what they believed. Therefore they walked in the darkness of their own thoughts and failed to see that Jesus was the light of the world.
Exodus 20:5, Psalm 109:14, 2 Corinthians 5:10, Matthew 5:3