Living in the Image of God M02S15
A man born blind received sight from Jesus and was motivated by appreciation to tell his story. Initially, he knew only the facts of his healing but did not understand what they meant regarding Jesus. He understood better as he discussed his experience more with others. In several interactions with the Pharisees, they pressured him to change his account to discredit or deny the healing but he was determined to protect the facts. He repeated the story more boldly and with greater clarity each time. The story led him incrementally to discover his mission of explaining to others that Jesus is the Messiah.
This bible study concludes our discussion of the testimony of a man born blind that received sight through an encounter with Jesus. As we discuss previously under Testimony of Man Born Blind—Part 1 Motivated by Appreciation, his appreciation for receiving sight motivated him to tell his story. He told his neighbors and other relations, sharing with them a factual account of his healing, but he did not yet know Jesus that healed him.
His neighbors took him to the Pharisees and he repeated his story to them several times. The Pharisees tried to persuade him to change his account to discredit or deny the healing. However, he insisted on the facts. Furthermore, he told the story more boldly each time and with greater clarity regarding Jesus (John 9:13–34).
First, the Pharisees tried to use the fact that the healing occurred on a Sabbath but couldn’t agree among themselves. Second, they questioned his parents, expecting to establish the man was not the blind person they knew. However, his parents confirmed it was him but did not try to explain how he gained sight. Third, the Pharisees tried unsuccessfully to persuade the man that Jesus was a sinner. Finally, they questioned him again and used his answer as a pretext to expel him from synagogue.
He met Jesus again thereafter, understood him more clearly, and became better prepared to continue with his mission of explaining to others that Jesus is the Messiah. Thus, within a period of no more than a few days, the man progressed from being an insignificant member of society to standing toe-to-toe against the Teachers of the Law, proclaiming to them and others that Jesus is the Messiah. All because of his appreciation for receiving sight and motivation to tell others about his experience.
1st Testimony to Pharisees
After his testimony to his neighbors, they were uneasy with his account of the healing and took him to the Pharisees that had the authority to rule on such matters. The Pharisees were uncomfortable with his story and sought to discredit or change his account. They challenged his story several times but the man insisted on the facts each time.
The Pharisees started by asking the man how he received sight: “‘He put mud on my eyes,’ the man replied, ‘and I washed, and now I see’” [John 9:15]. The Pharisees wanted to criticize Jesus for “working” on the Sabbath but they were divided among themselves [John 9:17]: “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.’”
Thereafter, the Pharisees queried the man’s parents, trying to establish he was indeed not their son. Fearing entrapment, the parents responded truthfully but carefully [John 9:20–21]: “‘We know he is our son,’ the parents answered, ‘and we know he was born blind. 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.’”
2nd Testimony to Pharisees
The Pharisees summoned the man again to try to persuade him to change his account. They tried to convince him that Jesus was a sinner. But he responded by restating the facts of his healing emphatically [John 9:25]: “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!’”
The Pharisees asked the man again how Jesus opened his eyes. He responded with obvious indignation, as if to scold the Pharisees for continuing to challenge the truth [John 9:27]: “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?’”
The Pharisees were enraged and declared that they were disciples of Moses and did not know Jesus. The man responded by declaring that the miracle of his sight was unprecedented and could only have come from God [John 9:30–33]: “The man answered, ‘Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will. Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.’”
Expelled from Synagogue: Onto a Greater Mission
The Pharisees expelled the man from synagogue. His story and expulsion spread widely through the community [John 9:35]: “Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, ‘Do you believe in the Son of Man?’” The phrase “Jesus heard” means that accounts of the man’s experience spread through the community. Also, the phrase “Son of Man” means the son of God that came to the world as the son of man. That is, the Messiah.
The man’s experience up to and including the expulsion from synagogue prepared him to seek Jesus. He met Jesus again after the expulsion. Jesus explained himself to the man and, thus, prepared him to explain his experience to others. He knew Jesus now through meeting and interacting with him after the expulsion from synagogue. Therefore, he was better prepared to embark on his mission of explaining to others that Jesus is the Messiah.
Summary of What We Learned
A man born blind received sight from Jesus and was motivated by appreciation to tell his story. Initially, he knew only the facts of his healing but did not understand what they meant regarding Jesus. He understood better as he discussed his experience more with others.
In several interactions with the Pharisees, they pressured him to change his account to discredit or deny the healing but he was determined to protect the facts. He repeated the story more boldly and with greater clarity each time. The story led him incrementally to discover his mission of explaining to others that Jesus is the Messiah.