24.  So they again called the man who was blind, and said to him, “Give God the glory!  We know that this Man is a sinner.”

Having gotten nowhere with the parents, they call once again the man who was formerly blind.  Now they want him to retract what he had said about the Lord Jesus.  This was an unreasonable request.  He had not just decided without reason to place faith in the Lord as a man sent from God.  Rather, he had been faced with the indisputable proof of his own restored sight.  Now he was blind no longer, and he could clearly see that the One Who had done this for him must have come from God.  Yet the Pharisees demand that he retract his statement, as if he had made his own healing up out of his imagination!  What reason do they give for asking such a ridiculous thing of him?  The fact that they are convinced that the Lord is a sinner!  They believed this, of course, because they knew He had healed this man, among others, on the Sabbath Day, when they insisted that no healing should take place.  Yet this argument was hardly sufficient to convince the blind man.

25.  He answered and said, “Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know.  One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.”

Although the blind man’s statement is nothing but the most obvious truth, yet it must have taken a great deal of courage to say it.  These religious leaders were obviously angry, and to oppose them in any way was to seriously risk their wrath.  Yet the blind man seemingly cannot help himself.  He is blind no longer, and that is a fact that he simply cannot ignore.  Thus, he makes this statement that has been a favorite among believers through the ages: “Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know.  One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.”  Yes, we, too, can testify to this same truth with the blind man.  We may never have suffered from physical blindness, yet there is a blindness far worse that was upon us when we were lost in sin.  Yet upon meeting the Lord the eyes of faith were opened, and now we can say with the blind man, “though I was blind, now I see.”  What an amazing statement and what a wonderful truth that is!

26.  Then they said to him again, “What did He do to you?  How did He open your eyes?”

The Pharisees seem to think that if they keep examining this man, he will be forced to change his story.  Perhaps they were hoping to bully him into giving a different version of the story that would not give such glory to their enemy.

27.  He answered them, “I told you already, and you did not listen.  Why do you want to hear it again?  Do you also want to become His disciples?”

To the blind man, who can now see much better than the Pharisees can, this question was utterly ridiculous.  When he had already told them so simply and plainly what had happened to him, what was the point or the use in them asking him to repeat the story again?  The foolishness of their question is plain, and he points it out to them.  He has already told them what happened, and so why do they want to hear it again?  Then he almost taunts the Pharisees.  How can one help but ridicule such obvious blindness and purposeful ignorance?  Thus, he almost sarcastically asks if their question comes from a desire to become His disciples.  Is that why they are asking again?  So they can change their minds and become His disciples?  Of course that was not the reason, and the blind man knew it, but it seems he could hardly believe the attitude of these men who were faced with such a glorious miracle and yet who could do nothing but argue and grumble against it!

28.  Then they reviled him and said, “You are His disciple, but we are Moses’ disciples.

Responding to the proper and well-deserved rebuke of the blind man, these Pharisees make fun of him in turn.  Yet instead of rebuking him sensibly, they merely use pointless ridicule and blame-casting.  They are like little children, who, when properly scolded for being foolish, will respond by mocking those who rebuked them.  We might imagine one child saying to another, “Don’t scrape your heavy toys across the hood of your dad’s car.  That’s dumb.  You know that it’ll scratch the paint and he’ll get mad.”  To which the other child responds, “Oh, yeah?  Well, you’re a stupid meat-head!”  Such a response is indeed like a child, but demonstrates only a desire to out-insult the other person, and no acknowledgment that the ridicule leveled against himself was truthful or rightfully deserved.  In the same way, these Pharisees respond like children, only attempting to out-mock the blind man, and never acknowledging that his ridicule was on target while theirs was merely senseless babble.

They accuse the blind man of being the Lord’s disciple.  This he had never claimed, of course, and yet at the same time, who could blame him if he was?  After all, hadn’t the Lord just healed him of his life-long ailment?  It was silly of the Pharisees to even suggest that he should not have been.  Then, they try to act superior to him, claiming that they are Moses’ disciples, not Jesus’, as if that made them somehow better.

Notice that as this conversation continues, it becomes more and more clear who can now truly see and who it is who remains totally blind!

29.  “We know that God spoke to Moses; as for this fellow, we do not know where He is from.”

Notice how the Pharisees call the Lord Jesus, “this fellow,” refusing to speak his real name.  This was the beginning of a reluctance that continues today, when there are still many in the Jewish community who will not even pronounce the name of Jesus Christ.  This hatred for the name of the Lord is all too common among those who reject Him.  And yet some day we know that at that Name every knee will bow!  (Philippians 2:10)

The Pharisees proclaim more of their inestimable pride and self-righteousness and conceitedness in this statement.  They know that God spoke through Moses, they confidently assert.  Yet they do not know where this fellow is from.  They were so convinced of their own superiority to everyone else that they seemed to think that if they didn’t know where someone was from, then he must not be someone of any importance!  Such an attitude of unabashed pride is almost more amazing than the miracle that happened to the blind man, and yet we see that this is the attitude that they were able to get away with as the men who had the power to cast people out of the community with a word.  Now in the face of the mercy of Christ this rottenness in their spirits is laid bare, and before the testimony of the blind man the true thoughts of their hearts are drawn forth for all to see.  What an amazing thing is the pride of one who refuses to believe in our Lord in spite of all the evidence stacked against him!  As we read through this book that is to inspire us to faith, let us ever keep in mind the warning against being like these prideful men, whose confidence in their own importance was what led them to be such fools and to miss out on the most important truth they had ever encountered in their lives.

30.  The man answered and said to them, “Why, this is a marvelous thing, that you do not know where He is from; yet He has opened my eyes!

Again, the blind man rightfully mocks the attitude that these conceited Pharisees were displaying.  They had meant their statement that they did not know where the Lord was from as an insult, and yet he turned around and showed them that it was really an insult against them.  The Lord had opened his eyes.  Thus, they were ignorant of a Man Who obviously they should have attempted to know everything they could about.  If they were really the important, in-the-know people they pretended to be, then they should have known all about One Who could work such a stupendous miracle.  The fact that they admitted that they didn’t only showed up their own blindness and folly in this matter.

31.  “Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him.

This man reasons quite correctly that God does not hear (or listen to) sinners.  Of course, this does not have reference to a sinner crying out for a Savior, but only to a sinner attempting to command God to use His power in a specific way.  God would not listen to a sinner who tried to tell Him what to do.  Yet if one is a worshiper of God and does His will, then He will listen to that person.  Again, we need to understand that one who “does His will” is not just one who acts generically godly (which is what many people mean when they talk about “doing His will” today,) but rather means one who is doing something that He had specifically told him to do.  Thus, the blind man points out the obvious fact that if the Lord was able to command God’s power to heal the blind, then He had obviously been sent by God to do so.  No mere sinner could take it upon himself to boss God around and have Him actually listen to him.  Thus the very fact that God had worked this miracle through the word of the Lord Jesus was enough to prove that He was a worshiper of God, and no sinner.

32.  “Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind.

Having been blind from birth, we can imagine that this man would have paid particular attention to any stories of blind men in the Bible.  He would have no doubt kept his ears open for any story that might indicate hope or the possibility of healing for one in a situation such as his.  Yet, as we find out from this passage, his study had turned out negatively.  The fact is, there is no story in the Old Testament of anyone who had been born blind ever receiving his sight.  There are stories of men struck with blindness as a result of their sin or enmity to God’s spokesmen (Genesis 19:11, II Kings 6:18.)  And, in the story of II Kings 6, we read that such blindness was reversed and the men could again see (II Kings 6:20.)  Yet there was never a story in all of Scripture up to this time of a man who had been born blind being healed.  Thus this man must have figured that he had no hope, and that even the power of God could not aid him in reversing his blindness.  Yet now that miracle that had never been worked before was done.  Now a man who was born blind had been given his sight.  How could such a miracle, that even the healers of the Old Testament failed to do, have not been a work of God?  There was no doubt in the formerly blind man’s mind that this miracle proved that the man who worked it had the very power of God!

“Since the world began” here is in Greek, ek tou aionos, which means, “from the eon.”  Remember, an “eon” is an outflow.  What the blind man means is that ever since God began flowing out to man to do His Own miraculous works, it had never been heard of that anyone had opened the eyes of one who was born blind.  Some had been struck blind and then had their sight restored, but this miracle that had happened to him was something that was entirely new and totally unheard of.  How could anyone doubt then that what had just happened must be a mighty work of God of the most powerful and amazing order?

33.  “If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing.”

This is the conclusion of the blind man’s argument, and indeed is a conclusion that all truth and reason and logic must point to as well.  If the Lord were not from God, He could not have done this miracle.  Therefore, He must be from God!  There is simply no other conclusion to which the facts can lead us.  And remember John’s purpose in writing this book: that we might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing we might have life through His name (John 20:31.)  Will you believe the truth that this formerly-blind man now saw so plainly?  Will you too believe the logical truth about Jesus Christ?  Or will you be like these blind Pharisees, who so stubbornly in the face of all reason refused to believe the truth?  The choice is yours!

I cannot help but like this blind man.  The poor fellow has done nothing wrong.  All he has done is dared to be healed by the Lord.  Now, he is on trial before the Pharisees, and is in most serious danger of being excommunicated from the synagogues.  And yet, no threat can touch him.  No angry religious leader can frighten him.  His eyes are now opened, and he cannot help but proclaim the truth.  He is a bold man, yet he is very simple and direct.  His arguments are brilliant not for their wordiness or scholarly presentation, but rather for their simple truth and plain, honest statement of the facts and the logical truth.  He is faced by the terrors of the world, and yet he answers with the stubborn insistence that, though he may not know much, yet what he does know is that he was blind, and now he sees.  This simple man is inspired to profoundness by the wonder of what Jesus Christ has done for him.  His bravery and his dedication to the truth can be an inspiration to all of us.  How thankful we can be that our Lord chose to preserve the record of this man’s fledgling but powerful faith in the pages of His Word.

34.  They answered and said to him, “You were completely born in sins, and are you teaching us?”  And they cast him out.

The Pharisees resort to another of their self-created and conceited teachings to ridicule the blind man once more.  They taught that the common people were completely born in sins.  The idea is that not only are they sinners, but their parents were sinners before them, and thus they are utterly born in sins.  This does not sound so bad to us, as we know the truth of the Word that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23.)  Yet the problem with this teaching was that the Pharisees actually taught that this was not true of them.  They were not completely born in sins.  Thus, they were different, and were far above and superior to the people, or so they taught.  This is almost unbelievable gall, and yet no one had dared to question the Pharisees in this self-aggrandizing doctrine.  Now, they cast this in the blind man’s teeth as they prepare to cast sentence and cast him out of their presence, which they do.

This word for “casting out” is not the same as in verse 22, and does not necessarily mean that he was cast out of the synagogue.  Not that the Pharisees would probably not have gladly done this, but it seems doubtful that they could find proper justification for it when they knew so many people were aware of the miracle that had been done to this man.  Therefore, though they hated him for his righteous testimony against them, it seems they could not carry out their threat and excommunicate him altogether.

35.  Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said to him, “Do you believe in the Son of God?”

Now, having been rejected by the Pharisees, this man is found by the Lord Jesus Christ.  Remember, the Lord had found him once before, when he was blind, and had restored to him his sight.  Now He will bless Him once again by opening his eyes to the truth that the Pharisees had so stubbornly rejected.

The Lord’s question here did not have to do with whether or not the man believed that God had a child.  We need to remember that a “son” is a representative of his father.  What the Lord was asking him here was if he believed that God had Someone Who stood in His place and had the authority to represent Him and speak for Him.  And the way He puts it in Greek indicates the answer He wants.  The blind man should believe in such a one.  That is clearly implied by the way the Lord puts this question in Greek.  Does He believe that God has a representative Son Who has the right to speak and act for Him in all things?  That is the challenge he puts before the blind man. 

36.  He answered and said, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?”

Again this man does not beat around the bush, but comes right to the point.  He knows without a doubt that the Lord Jesus is come from God.  Therefore, he does not agonize over His question.  If He says that there is a Son, a Representative, of God that he should believe in, then he will do so.  All he needs to know is Who He is so that he can believe in Him properly.  This man’s eyes are opened, and he is eager and ready to have faith.  What a blessed thing indeed!  May our eyes likewise be opened and our hearts likewise be prepared to receive God’s truth every time we come to study His Word!

37.  And Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him and it is He Who is talking with you.”

Since this man did not hesitate to declare himself ready to have faith, the Lord does not hesitate to give him something to have faith in.  He tells him most plainly Who this Son of God is: the Lord Jesus Himself, the One Whom he is talking to.  What a plain statement!  Yet how hard it is for many to believe this today.  Do you believe this wonderful truth?

38.  Then he said, “Lord, I believe!”  And he worshiped Him.

True to his word, the man does not hesitate to believe.  And he does not just say he believes, but he also carries through on it and worships the One Who is the Representative of God Himself.  Notice that he is not rebuked or told that he is mistaken in doing so.  His worship was proper, and the Lord did not condemn him for doing it.  Yet there are those today who would condemn him for worshipping the Lord Jesus.  Let us never be like one of these, but let us always be ready to give the Lord the true honor and worship He is due!

39.  And Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.”

This is the great lesson of this story.  Although this man had been blind from his birth, his was not the worst or most terrible blindness in this story.  Rather, those who were truly blind were those Pharisees who so stubbornly rejected the truth that was right in front of their eyes.  They were blind all along, but it took the miracle of this blind man regaining his sight and the contrast between what he saw and what these Pharisees did not to show the real truth.  He knew that he was blind and needed help.  It was those who claimed to see who were truly in a sorry state, and yet these would never turn to the Lord to be healed of their far-worse ailment of unbelief.  This was the judgment that the Lord’s work had brought to light, and through this story it is seen who had the eyes of faith and who did not.

40.  Then some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these words, and said to Him, “Are we blind also?”

The Pharisees realize that he is speaking of them, and yet they do not believe it.  As I’ve said before, in Greek people answered their rhetorical questions, and these Pharisees made it plain that they did not really believe that they were blind by the way they asked this question.  Everyone who looks at the story at all fairly could clearly see that they were blind, and yet they themselves denied it and were unwilling to admit the truth!

41.  Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, ‘We see.’  Therefore your sin remains.

The Lord now rebukes them Himself, just as the blind man had rebuked them earlier.  Indeed, it would be good in all our arguments against the unbelievers if we could let our Lord get the final word!  He tells them that if they truly were blind, then they would not have sin.  This goes right along with what He will teach later in the book in John 15:22-24, and we will study this truth more there.  But it is true that physical blindness would not have made them sinners in the eyes of God.  The truth was that they were not physically blind, yet there was a terrible blindness in their hearts when it came to having faith in God and His Word.  This was true blindness, but they utterly denied it, claiming that they could see as well as any other man and knew and were faithful to the truth of God.  Thus, because they claimed to see, their sin remained.  They were utterly unwilling to come in humility to the Lord and request the light and the life that only He can give.  Thus, the blind man went away seeing, but they remained blind and in their sins.  What a sad ending to this wonderful story!  Do not let this be your ending.  Be like this blind man and respond in faith.  Then you, too, will truly see.