Our Gospel reading for this week is John chapters 9 & 10. John 9 is one of my favorite chapters in all the Gospels, because the story itself is a microcosm of all the Gospels are trying to teach. Let’s look at it together.
The Jewish people had assumed, aside from Scripture, that the Messiah would be known by doing certain miracles and healings that the people thought were only able to be done by God himself. One of these three miracles/signs was healing a man born blind. (For more on these extra-biblical beliefs, read Yeshua: The Life of the Messiah from a Messianic Jewish Perspective, vol. 1 by Arnold Fruchtenbaum). John’s inclusion of this story, therefore, is not accident. Notice that the question from the disciples indicates that they knew this man was born blind. (vs. 2) Jesus clearly heals the man because people take notice that the man can see, in addition to the formerly blind man’s confession. (vs. 10-11)
With the vast majority of healings Jesus did, people rejoiced, praised God and worshipped Jesus, and then the narrative shifts to the next story. Not here! Notice that the people take this man to the Pharisees! Why? They knew the significance of this healing! What’s I find really fascinating here is that the people (not God) placed “requirements” upon the future Messiah that God himself never said the Messiah would fulfill. But to further prove that Jesus is the Messiah, He heals this man, and it nearly causes all kinds of outrage! Jesus had already angered the religious leaders of the day with his actions. This puts him over the top! Notice that Jesus again heals on the Sabbath (vs. 14), something that Mosaic Law would allow. But the religious leaders had made the Sabbath so important, almost elevating it to the level of God himself, that they couldn’t believe that God would do anything on the Sabbath, and this caused division between them (vs. 16).
Notice again their investigation has virtually nothing to do with the Sabbath healing, but whether the man was born blind or not! (vs. 19, 20) The religious leaders decide that they do not believe Jesus, even when he meets one of their own qualifications for Messiah-ship (vs. 29) And notice that it is the healed man that points out Jesus has done this thing that nobody else has done, and places his faith in Jesus (vs. 32-33). This faith in Jesus caused the man to be disfellowshipped by the religious elite, even though Jesus had done exactly what they had hoped the Messiah would do (vs. 34). Notice Jesus’ words:
Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.” – John 9:41
If the Pharisees had acknowledged that they didn’t understand, Jesus would have worked with them, but because they claimed to have everything figured out, and ignored their very own qualifications for the Messiah, as well as all the Biblical qualifications being fulfilled, they are guilty.
The problem here is the same problem behind the blaspheming of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 12): When you see God working in the world and attribute it to evil, you will be condemned. May we all marvel at the greatness of God and praise him loudly for what he has done, and continues to do!