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©Michael Player

Chapter 9:8-23 (ESV)

Posted on August 19, 2023  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 9:8-23 (ESV) - The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar were saying, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” Some said, “It is he.” Others said, “No, but he is like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.” So they said to him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed and received my sight.” They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.”

They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. Now it was a Sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. So the Pharisees again asked him how he had received his sight. And he said to them, “He put mud on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.” Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” And there was a division among them. So they said again to the blind man, “What do you say about him, since he has opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.”

The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight, until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight and asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” His parents answered, “We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. But how he now sees we do not know, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.” (His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone should confess Jesus to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue.) Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”

Question to consider: Why did the Jews believe Jesus was a “sinner”?

Yesterday I speculated that one of the reasons Jesus may have used mud in His sign of restoring sight to the man born blind was that it was a creative act to form new eyes. This idea is furthered when you consider the reaction of those who knew him questioning whether it was the same guy because it modified his appearance just enough to make them wonder. As John pointed out, they ended up calling in the guy’s parents to verify that he indeed was their son whose eyes had now been opened.

An additional reason Jesus may have healed the man in this way could have been to give him something to wash. According to the man, he received his sight upon washing in the pool of Siloam. People think that because I support infant baptism I somehow do not support believer baptism. What I do not support is someone who professes faith and yet delays or even refuses to be baptized. Christ has commanded baptism as the sign and seal of the new covenant just as the Lord commanded circumcision as part of the covenants with Abraham and Moses. It is inconceivable that someone would profess to be a disciple of Christ and yet refuse the primary command He gave in making disciples.

A third reason Jesus may have healed the man in this way was because it was the Sabbath. Jesus was very deliberately breaking the Sabbath traditions in making the mud and commanding the man to wash just as He broke them when He commanded the paralytic by the pool of Bethesda to carry his bed. The Law to cease from labor on the Sabbath was given to Israel through Moses to bless the laborers who were used to working without a break while they were enslaved in Egypt. The Pharisees had turned it into a heavy burden on the people with their 39 categories which defined what they considered labor.

In their mind, Jesus was a “sinner” because He rejected those burdensome practices, but if Jesus was indeed sinning by doing this, He never would have been able to heal the blind man or the paralytic. The man who once was blind could now see better than the Pharisees in recognizing that Jesus was a prophet of God. They should have considered that they were the ones in the wrong when they witnessed the miracle, but they instead called in the man’s parents and tried to suggest that the man was not who he represented himself to be. 

The fear of the parents in refusing to provide an answer for the miracle revealed the satanic power structure that had developed in the synagogues under the Pharisees. Regardless of the authority given to someone in a congregation, there should always be a system of accountability in place so that everyone remains humbly submitted to the revealed word of God.


Dear heavenly Father, thank You for providing Your written word which never changes and continues to conform us to the image of Christ. May we humbly submit to You as we serve Your people in the way You have called us. Amen.