Jesus, Our Healer
As Jesus passed by, he saw a man which 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 hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. 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… Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind. And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also? Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth. – John 9:1–7, 39–41
The paradox of the blind seer is familiar to many of us. Yet here in John’s text we encounter the miracle of Jesus healing a man who was blind from birth, followed by conversation regarding that miracle. John devotes an entire chapter to the healing of this blind man and the many conversations it inspired amongst the man’s neighbors, and between the man and his neighbors, the man and the Pharisees, the Pharisees and the man’s parents, the man and Jesus and finally Jesus and the Pharisees. Many of these people did not believe that Jesus was the son of God or able to heal this blind man.
Who Sinned That This Man Was Born Blind?
The disciples thought that the man’s blindness was a punishment for sin. We may also wonder if God is punishing us or others when we or they experience difficulties in life or when accidents happen. Jesus clearly tells the disciples that it was God’s will that this man was born blind. It was not a punishment. This answer is enough for us as well. We can trust that “He gives to you whate’er is best” (SHZ 367:4), and “He careth for you” (1 Pet. 5:7). God gives trials and joy. Certainly, some of the difficulties we face in life are a result of our own decisions, while others are simply from God and it is better to accept them from the hand of God rather than battle against them. “All my joys and all my sorrows He apportions ev’ry day. Even in the trying times, God is near me, by my side” (SHZ 430:2).
The Works of God Should Be Made Manifest in Him
Through the healing of the blind man, Jesus was able to show the works of God. As Jesus once said: “I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:38,40). In many cases, Jesus healed and forgave sins with His Word (e.g., Mark 2:5–12); but in this case, Jesus put clay on the man’s eyes and had him wash in pool of Siloam. When the man obeyed Jesus’ instructions, he was able to see. Jesus healed this man’s temporal sight but also opened his spiritual eyes to see and his heart to believe that Jesus is the Son of God (John 9:35–38). In the same way, the living gospel, which is preached from God’s kingdom today, heals wounds of sin through the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Blind See and the Seeing Are Blind
The Pharisees did not believe that Jesus was the Son of God. They even tried to use God’s law to prove that Jesus could not be from God. “Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day” (John 9:16). The Pharisees knew God’s law, but they did not believe. Their knowledge did not help them. In fact, we could say it hindered them. On the other hand, this unlearned blind man simply explained to the Pharisees that Jesus must be of God because He had healed him. This angered the Pharisees and “They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out” (John 9:34).
We see a sharp contrast between the simple faith of the blind man and the pious knowledge and unbelief of the Pharisees. Paul saw this also. “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty” (1 Cor. 1:26,27). Or as Jesus said: “They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:31,32). Thus, the blind man who could see is an image of how only through faith are we saved.