John 9

Chapter nine continues the John 7-10 narrative. On his way out of the Temple, escaping the blood-thirsty mob, Jesus stopped to heal a blind man, because he is “the light of the world” (John 9:5, spoken the same day as John 8:12). The disciples’ question about the reason for the man’s blindness betrayed their commonly-held belief that all sickness was a punishment for sin (John 9:1-7). Instead, Jesus declared that sometimes things are simply given as a platform from which God will glorify himself. Although we do not like sickness and suffering, this perspective is essential to keep our proper focus in the middle of suffering.

The rest of the chapter demonstrates the circus that happened because of the hatred the Pharisees had for Jesus. (Not only was it the last day of the feast, it was a Sabbath day again, John 9:14). Rather than celebrating with the man, who had been blind from birth, they interrogated him about his healing — going so far as to actually accuse him of only pretending to be blind (John 9:18) — interrogating his parents (John 9:18-23), and threatening to excommunicate him from the synagogue if he did not renounce Jesus, whom he still had never yet seen (John 9:24-34). The detail John provided would have made the story slapstick funny if it were not so sad.

Jesus found the man, who believed in him immediately because of the healing and the treatment of the Pharisees against him (John 9:35-39). Speaking spiritually again, Jesus declared that he came specifically to help blind people see. Some Pharisees must have followed the man, because they overheard the conversation and asked Jesus if they were blind, which he affirmed (John 9:40-41).