It seems that our Lord may have passed by a blind person as he travelled with his disciples had they not seen an opportunity to get some insight into human disability and suffering, from someone who should know (vss 1-2). Everyone, even in our scientific and spiritual enlightenment, still is fascinated, if not disturbed, by human suffering, especially when the condition is from birth. The fire this inquiry started brings out both the shallows and the deeps of Hebrew thinking, the mysterious purposes of God (vss. 3-5), and the hard line between Moses and Yeshua. When the authorities get wind of the sabbath day miracle (vss. 6-7), an inquiry ensues, engulfing the man, his parents, and Yeshua (vss. 8-12). The Pharisees get roped into the action once they learn that Yeshua was responsible (vs. 13). After harassing the man about how he got his sight back, after interrogating the man’s parents, after assailing Yeshua’s reputation and calling him a sinner, and after finding that the man could not be bullied, the Pharisees retreat to their favourite cover: Moses vs the world.
For a second time, the Pharisees want to know how Yeshua made the man see again.
They said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” John 9:26 (see vs 15)
The man is convinced that Yeshua was responsible, while the Pharisees press him to ascribe the whole affair to someone else. Once they realize that the man is not changing his report or gratitude they deride him. He could have replied “No, you are not, and I can prove it”.
And they reviled him, saying, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. (John 9:28) We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.” (John 9:29)
The religious people, who seem to know everything, become the object of deserving ridicule. When God’s works, set in motion from birth get reversed, they ought to have known. Didn’t they?
The man answered, “Why, this is an amazing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. John 9:30
The kinship between the disciples and the Pharisees is obvious. Both believe that the man’s blindness is the result of personal sin.
1. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” John 9:2
2. They answered him, “You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us?” And they cast him out. John 9:34
Both were barking up the wrong tree, but at least some people were aware of the underlying message, but the Pharisees were going to hear the amazing judgments of God, including sight to the blind and blindness to the sighted.
Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?” John 9:40
Yup! Blind and guilty followers of Moses (vs 41)