As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
6 After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. 7 “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.
8 His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, “Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?” 9 Some claimed that he was.
Others said, “No, he only looks like him.”
But he himself insisted, “I am the man.”
10 “How then were your eyes opened?” they asked.
11 He replied, “The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.”
12 “Where is this man?” they asked him.
“I don’t know,” he said.
13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind. 14 Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man’s eyes was a Sabbath.15 Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. “He put mud on my eyes,” the man replied, “and I washed, and now I see.”
16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.”
But others asked, “How can a sinner perform such signs?” So they were divided.
17 Then they turned again to the blind man, “What have you to say about him? It was your eyes he opened.”
The man replied, “He is a prophet.”
18 They still did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they sent for the man’s parents. 19 “Is this your son?” they asked. “Is this the one you say was born blind? How is it that now he can see?”
20 “We know he is our son,” the parents answered, “and we know he was born blind. 21 But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don’t know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself.” 22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who already had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue.23 That was why his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”
24 A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. “Give glory to God by telling the truth,” they said. “We know this man is a sinner.”
25 He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”
26 Then they asked him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?”
27 He answered, “I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?”
28 Then they hurled insults at him and said, “You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses! 29 We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.”
30 The man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will. 32 Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”
34 To this they replied, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out.
Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind
Before Jesus healed the blind man, he challenged the prevailing notion that there is a one-to-one correlation between our physical maladies and our character. We live in a fallen world where even good people experience terrible loss and pain. But though the gospel of grace doesn’t immediately negate the reality of painful consequences resulting from poor choices or a corrupted creation (Gal. 6:8; Rom. 8:22–23), it does place us in a larger story. We are not blind to our world’s present brokenness, nor are we fatalists about our future. Rather, we are followers of Jesus, graciously incorporated into his redeeming purposes for our world.
Instead of asking, “Why did this happen to me? Who’s to blame?” we begin to ask, “Where is God in this situation? What is he up to? How may his glory ultimately shine through this?” Grace leads us to ask more vertical questions and fewer horizontal ones. Only the gospel of eternal purposes and hope beyond this world can enable us to accept suffering as a normal part of the Christian life. For the ultimate suffering, condemnation, and separation from the Father in hell has been undergone by Jesus in our place. All current suffering in the lives of those who are in Christ can therefore only be by the loving hand of a caring Father, who is training us to walk with him—and enabling others touched by our lives to do so also, as they walk through this broken world with us.
He who said, “Let there be light!” now says, “Let there be sight!” The spit and clay used in this miracle echo the elements of the first creation (Genesis 1–2). Even more profoundly, they also announce that, in Jesus, the new creation order has arrived. He who created man from dust now uses dust to restore him. The “sent one” (Jesus), sent the healed one to the pool of “Sent” (Siloam). He who was sent into the world to lift the curse of sin is here. Superstition is trumped by the truly supernatural, and the saved are sent in witness.
Jesus’ miracles are reminders of the day when there was no brokenness (Eden) and of the firstfruits of the day when all brokenness will be removed forever (the new heaven and new earth; Rev. 21:1). Miracles are not primarily for our comfort but for God’s glory—for declaring the power present in and the praise due to the person and work of Jesus. The conversation between the healed man and the Pharisees is filled with gospel irony. He who sees for the first time in his life reveals the long-standing blindness of the Pharisees. They only see the law, but the healed man sees the Messiah, to whom the law points. In their hubris, the Pharisees can only boast about Moses; in his humility, the healed man only boasts about Jesus. The Pharisees charge the healed man with walking in the darkness of sin; but he sees the Light of the World—the Son who made the sun and everything else. The Pharisees excommunicated him from the life of the temple; Jesus made him a living stone (1 Pet. 2:4–12) in the only true and lasting temple—Christ himself (John 2:19–22; Rev. 21:22).
*These devos are taken from Crossway's, ESV Gospel Transformation Bible.