The Gospel of John now moves to the early ministry of Jesus, both in demonstrating his authority as from God, and reaching out to all beyond Israel alone. The message of Jesus has gone out from now from multiple witnesses, not just Jesus. From John the Baptist, following on the predictions and words of the Old Testament and of Moses. And even so: I know you do not have the love of God in your hearts (5:42), how are you going to believe what I say (5:47). And the challenge has been: No fence sitting now about the person of Jesus. The miraculous signs of John’s gospels now speak to the identity and authority of Jesus as the Son of God:
- Changing water into wine at the wedding at Cana (Jn 2:1-11);
- Healing the royal official’s son (Jn 4:46-54);
- Healing the paralyzed man at the pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem (Jn 5:1-15);
- Feeding the 5,000 (Jn 6:5-14);
- Walking on water (Jn 6:16-21);
- Healing the man born blind (Jn 9:1-7); and
- Raising Lazarus from the dead (Jn 11:1-45).
The enemies of Jesus now begin to show their true colors – the issue is not logical, nor rational, nor reasonable for their rejection of Jesus. In fact, the sixth sign of healing the man born blind provides irrefutable proof of the authority and message of Jesus. Nay, Nay, says Jesus’ critic:
Major Premise: Only people who are from God can open the eyes of those born blind.
Minor Premise: This man, Jesus, is not from God.
Conclusion: He cannot have opened the eyes of one born blind.
24 A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. “Give glory to God by telling the truth,” they said. “We know this man is a sinner.” 25 He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” 26 Then they asked him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” 27 He answered, “I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?” 28 Then they hurled insults at him and said, “You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses! 29 We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.”\ 30 The man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will. 32 Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” 34 To this they replied, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out. John 9:24-34.
1. Unbelief is Intellectual Dishonesty. If life played itself out in a courtroom, the healing of the man born blind would meet every legal burden for concluding that in fact Jesus had given sight to a man who was blind from birth. First the debate as to why this happened. But this happened so that the work of God may be displayed in his life (9:3). But now the larger questions. Not why this happened, but how it happened, and did it really happen. The Pharisees took three runs at this blind man and his family, wondering if this happened, was this the man born blind, and ultimately rejected him and this miracle.
2. Unbelief Reveals the Condition of the Heart. The redemptive work of Jesus was for the purpose of providing salvation to those who would believe – being born again in the words of Jesus to Nichodemus (John 3). Receiving the water that springs up to eternal life, the woman at the well (John 4). Redemption does the work of changing the heart, the soul, the mind. It changes the way a follower of Jesus thinks, acts, and believes. In a courtroom, the verdict would be clear – Jesus performed this miracle, irrefutably, incontrovertibly. It leaves the one who considers this miracle and the message of Jesus with a decision – what to believe, and how does it impact my view of my condemnation apart from God, or forgiveness and salvation from God through Jesus. The message is clear and the errant syllogism is exposed.
3. Belief Comes from the inside out. The blind man was clear: whether he isa sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind, but now I see.
The results of this miracle were twofold:
I. To the man healed, saving belief, and spiritual as well as physical sight: 35 Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 36 “Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.” 37 Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.” 38 Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him. John 9:35-38.
II. To the critic of Jesus, a willful choosing to remain spiritually blind, their guilt remains: 39 Jesus said,[a] “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” 40 Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?” 41 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 9:39-41.
Whether in a physical courtroom, or the courtroom of life, the message of Jesus leaves only two options for us all – choosing life and redemption, or choosing guilt and ultimately death. No fence sitting – rational, reasonable, and redemptive. Next the Good Shepherd and his sheep. Stay well this week.