The Gospel of John – Lesson 24 – John 9:1-12

As Jesus was passing by, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that God’s works might be revealed in connection with him. I must do the works of him who sent me while it is day. Night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the Light of the World.” After saying this, Jesus spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and spread the mud on the man’s eyes. “Go,” Jesus told him, “wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means “Sent”). So he went and washed, and came back seeing. His neighbors and those who had seen him before this as a beggar asked, “Isn’t this the one who used to sit and beg?” Some said, “He is the one.” Others said, “No, but he looks like him.” He kept saying, “I am the one!” 10 So they asked him, “How were your eyes opened?” 11 He answered, “The man who is called Jesus made mud, spread it on my eyes, and told me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed, and then I could see.” 12 “Where is he?” they asked. “I don’t know,” he said.

What did I do to deserve this? It’s a question many people ask when something bad happens to them. Perhaps their current struggles are just a matter of bad luck. Or could it be those struggles are punishment for some really bad sin? That was the issue Jesus’ disciples brought before their Lord. During their travels, Jesus and his disciples encountered a man who was born blind. In the disciples’ minds there could be only one reason for such misfortune. God must be punishing someone for their sins.

Jesus made it clear that punishment for sin was not the reason why this man had been unable to see his entire life. Jesus reminded his disciples of his purpose. He had come to bring salvation to the fallen human race. To do this he first needed to make himself known as the true Son of God and the only way to eternal life. His time was limited. He had to bring the good news of the Gospel to as many people as he could while he had the opportunity. This blind man would be one vehicle by which the Son of God would make himself known to the world.

But doesn’t this situation create some questions in our minds? Jesus is the all-powerful Son of God. Couldn’t he find some other way to reveal himself and his work? Did this man really have to spend all those years without being able to see? Let’s not stop at this one incident. How many other people has God allowed to suffer in order to do his work? We like to give advice to God, don’t we? Maybe if God listened to us his work would still get done but there would perhaps be less suffering.

Then there is another question. Why did Jesus need to spit on the ground and make mud and spread it on the man’s eyes? Doesn’t that sound a little degrading? Jesus healed so many other people just by speaking or laying hands on them. Did he really need to add these unnecessary steps? Doesn’t this same question come up with many people? Why doesn’t God just give me what I want the way I want it? Why does God make us go through what seems like unnecessary suffering before he answers our prayers?

Let’s take the first question first. Was it really unfair that this man had to suffer with total blindness for so many years? I wonder how this man would respond if we could ask him that question right now? By the end of John 9, the former blind man believed that Jesus is the true Son of God and his Savior. Blessed with that faith, heaven became his eternal home. If this man could offer his confession to us right now, I don’t think he would be accusing God of being unfair. Rather he would offer endless praise to his Lord for doing what was needed to bring him out of the darkness of sin and into the light of salvation that comes only through faith in Jesus Christ. He would gladly confess that because of Jesus, his sins were forgiven. Whatever short-term troubles he faced were nothing compared to the eternal joy that is now his.

The second question might be a little more difficult to answer. The truth is, Jesus doesn’t offer any explanation as to why he chose this particular method to heal this blind man. Let this answer satisfy us in this situation or in any other situation where we find ourselves questioning God. We don’t always know why God does things the way he does. But God does know the reason. God doesn’t waste time with unnecessary actions. Everything he does serves a purpose. That purpose is to finally bring us to eternal life in heaven. We may never fully understand the reasons for everything God does. But we know he is always working to bring us to our eternal home in heaven.

As Paul wrote in Romans 11:33-36: 33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how untraceable his ways! 34  “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his adviser?” 35 “Or who has first given to God that he will be repaid?” 36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.

Discussion Questions

1 – How did Jesus answer the disciples question about whether the blind mans’ sins or his parents’ sins led to his blindness?
Jesus made it clear the blindness was not directly because of sin. God’s purpose was to reveal the saving work of Jesus through this man and his blindness.

2 – What does Jesus’ answer say to us concerning the work he gives us to do?
Like Jesus, we ought to work while it is day. That means we shouldn’t put off the opportunities our Lord places before us. As Jesus said “Night is coming when no one can work.” We have a time of grace now to do the work of our Lord. We don’t know when that time of grace will end. When Jesus returns on the Last Day it will be too late to tell someone else about Jesus or to set a good example of faith with our lives. Do the work your Lord gives you now while there is still time.

3 – What confusion resulted among the people when they saw the blind man was healed?
Some believed that he was the former blind man. Others thought he was someone else. No one was sure about what had happened.

4 – At this point what did the blind man know about Jesus?
He knew that Jesus had healed him. He knew the instructions Jesus gave him. However, there were still many things he didn’t know. Jesus still had work to do in this man’s life. We’ll study more about God’s gracious dealings with this man as we continue our study of John 9 in our next lessons.

If you have any questions about the Word of God we studied in this lesson please contact Pastor Greg Tobison. You can send your questions to