by Mike Ratliff
Ἤκουσεν Ἰησοῦς ὅτι ἐξέβαλον αὐτὸν ἔξω καὶ εὑρὼν αὐτὸν εἶπεν· σὺ πιστεύεις εἰς τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου; ἀπεκρίθη ἐκεῖνος καὶ εἶπεν· καὶ τίς ἐστιν, κύριε, ἵνα πιστεύσω εἰς αὐτόν; εἶπεν αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς· καὶ ἑώρακας αὐτὸν καὶ ὁ λαλῶν μετὰ σοῦ ἐκεῖνός ἐστιν. ὁ δὲ ἔφη· πιστεύω, κύριε· καὶ προσεκύνησεν αὐτῷ. Καὶ εἶπεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς· εἰς κρίμα ἐγὼ εἰς τὸν κόσμον τοῦτον ἦλθον, ἵνα οἱ μὴ βλέποντες βλέπωσιν καὶ οἱ βλέποντες τυφλοὶ γένωνται. (John 9:35-39 NA27)
Jesus heard that they threw him out and having found him said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” The man answered and said, “And who is He Sir, that I may believe in Him?” Jesus said to him, “You have seen Him and you and He is the One speaking with you.” And he said, “I believe Lord.” And he worshiped Him. And Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world that the ones who do not see may see and the ones who see may become blind.” (a personal translation of John 9:35-39 from the NA27 Greek text)
In the Word of God, light is associated God’s way, His truth, what is right, et cetera. Darkness is the antithesis of light in this sense. While those who walk in God’s light walk in His truth, those who walk in darkness, walk in ignorance of His truth, of His ways. Those who are of God’s light are growing in the knowledge of Christ while those who walk in darkness continue in their ignorance. In John 1:4-5 , the Apostle John said, “ἐν αὐτῷ ζωὴ ἦν, καὶ ἡ ζωὴ ἦν τὸ φῶς τῶν ἀνθρώπων· καὶ τὸ φῶς ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ φαίνει, καὶ ἡ σκοτία αὐτὸ οὐ κατέλαβεν.” Or, “In Him was life and the life was the light of men; and the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” Jesus as the “light” brings to the dark world true knowledge, moral purity, and the light that shows the very presence of God. The darkness of this fallen world cannot comprehend, grasp, or overcome the light of our Lord.
In John 9, our Lord heals a man blind from birth. He was in physical darkness, but those who opposed our Lord’s ministry were in spiritual darkness. Our Lord used this man’s healing to reveal His true mission and nature and the utter futility and evil nature of the dark, fallen, fleshly opposition to the light of our Lord, in whom is life. Those who are the sheep of the Good Shepherd hear the voice of the Shepherd, but those who are not, do not and remain in their sins (darkness).
Καὶ παράγων εἶδεν ἄνθρωπον τυφλὸν ἐκ γενετῆς. καὶ ἠρώτησαν αὐτὸν οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ λέγοντες· ῥαββί, τίς ἥμαρτεν, οὗτος ἢ οἱ γονεῖς αὐτοῦ, ἵνα τυφλὸς γεννηθῇ; ἀπεκρίθη Ἰησοῦς· οὔτε οὗτος ἥμαρτεν οὔτε οἱ γονεῖς αὐτοῦ, ἀλλ᾽ ἵνα φανερωθῇ τὰ ἔργα τοῦ θεοῦ ἐν αὐτῷ. ἡμᾶς δεῖ ἐργάζεσθαι τὰ ἔργα τοῦ πέμψαντός με ἕως ἡμέρα ἐστίν· ἔρχεται νὺξ ὅτε οὐδεὶς δύναται ἐργάζεσθαι. ὅταν ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ ὦ, φῶς εἰμι τοῦ κόσμου. ταῦτα εἰπὼν ἔπτυσεν χαμαὶ καὶ ἐποίησεν πηλὸν ἐκ τοῦ πτύσματος καὶ ἐπέχρισεν αὐτοῦ τὸν πηλὸν ἐπὶ τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ· ὕπαγε νίψαι εἰς τὴν κολυμβήθραν τοῦ Σιλωάμ (ὃ ἑρμηνεύεται ἀπεσταλμένος). ἀπῆλθεν οὖν καὶ ἐνίψατο καὶ ἦλθεν βλέπων. (John 9:1-7 NA27)
And passing along, He saw a man blind from birth and the disciples asked Him saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God may be manifested in him. It is necessary for us to work the works of the one who sent me while it is day. When night comes, no one is able to work. When I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Having said these things, He spat on the ground, made clay out of the spittle, and put the clay on his eyes. And said to him, “Go wash in the Pool of Siloam” (which means ‘sent’). He went, therefore, and washed and came seeing. (a personal translation of John 9:1-7 from the NA27 Greek text)
We learn several things here. There was a misconception in that culture and many still hold to it in our time that bad things happen to people because they are worse sinners than other people. I know of some very evil people who live pretty good lives. They many not be very happy, but they do not suffer much like the blind man in this passage. Jesus made it clear that the man was born blind for one reason. What was it? It was that the works of God may be manifested in him. Forget those false prophets and false shepherds who teach that God wants everyone to be healthy, wealthy, and prosperous. This passage right here refutes that as we shall see. When God sets out to work in someone, He does it. As I read this I look back on those markers in my own life where it is obvious that God intervened and my life changed course. Sometimes those things were not very pleasant. Other times those things were times of weeks and months of prayer and worship and repentance that led to this ministry. I look back on my life and know that there is absolutely no way I could ever have accomplished this myself nor would I have gone this way on my own. Notice also, that Jesus spit on the ground, made clay, applied the clay and told the man to go wash. When he washed, he came back seeing. There is absolutely nothing in that that the man did that would have caused the healing. Nope, all he did was obey the Lord and he did not yet know who He was.
Οἱ οὖν γείτονες καὶ οἱ θεωροῦντες αὐτὸν τὸ πρότερον ὅτι προσαίτης ἦν ἔλεγον· οὐχ οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ καθήμενος καὶ προσαιτῶν; ἄλλοι ἔλεγον ὅτι οὗτός ἐστιν, ἄλλοι ἔλεγον· οὐχί, ἀλλὰ ὅμοιος αὐτῷ ἐστιν. ἐκεῖνος ἔλεγεν ὅτι ἐγώ εἰμι. ἔλεγον οὖν αὐτῷ· πῶς [οὖν] ἠνεῴχθησάν σου οἱ ὀφθαλμοί; ἀπεκρίθη ἐκεῖνος· ὁ ἄνθρωπος ὁ λεγόμενος Ἰησοῦς πηλὸν ἐποίησεν καὶ ἐπέχρισέν μου τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς καὶ εἶπέν μοι ὅτι ὕπαγε εἰς τὸν Σιλωὰμ καὶ νίψαι· ἀπελθὼν οὖν καὶ νιψάμενος ἀνέβλεψα. καὶ εἶπαν αὐτῷ· ποῦ ἐστιν ἐκεῖνος; λέγει· οὐκ οἶδα. (John 9:8-12 NA27)
Therefore, the neighbors and those seeing him formerly that was a beggar were saying, “Is this not the man who was sitting and begging?” Some were saying, “This is he.” Others were saying, “No, but he is one like him.” He continued saying, “I am the man!” They were saying, therefore to him, “How then were you eyes opened?” The man answered, “The one called Jesus made clay, anointed my eyes and told me to go to Siloam and wash. Having gone and washed, I saw.” And they said to him, “Where is He?” He said, “I do not know.” (a personal translation of John 9:8-12 from the NA27 Greek text)
The grammar is structured to make it clear that those people asking this man whom our Lord healed were doing so continually. He had to keep telling the same story to them repeatedly even trying to make them understand that he was really the man healed not someone else. I love the simplicity of what our Lord did here. This is what is driving these people nuts. This man simply obeyed the Lord and was healed. There was no big show. There was no thunder or lightening. There was just a man born blind and he had mud put on his eyes. He was told to go wash it off, when he did, he could see. When he gets back, no one believes that it was that easy and some do not even believe he is the same person. Are you getting the picture of how some of these people are walking in deep darkness my brethren?
Ἄγουσιν αὐτὸν πρὸς τοὺς Φαρισαίους τόν ποτε τυφλόν. ἦν δὲ σάββατον ἐν ᾗ ἡμέρᾳ τὸν πηλὸν ἐποίησεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς καὶ ἀνέῳξεν αὐτοῦ τοὺς ὀφθαλμούς. πάλιν οὖν ἠρώτων αὐτὸν καὶ οἱ Φαρισαῖοι πῶς ἀνέβλεψεν. ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς· πηλὸν ἐπέθηκέν μου ἐπὶ τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς καὶ ἐνιψάμην καὶ βλέπω. ἔλεγον οὖν ἐκ τῶν Φαρισαίων τινές· οὐκ ἔστιν οὗτος παρὰ θεοῦ ὁ ἄνθρωπος, ὅτι τὸ σάββατον οὐ τηρεῖ. ἄλλοι [δὲ] ἔλεγον· πῶς δύναται ἄνθρωπος ἁμαρτωλὸς τοιαῦτα σημεῖα ποιεῖν; καὶ σχίσμα ἦν ἐν αὐτοῖς. λέγουσιν οὖν τῷ τυφλῷ πάλιν· τί σὺ λέγεις περὶ αὐτοῦ, ὅτι ἠνέῳξέν σου τοὺς ὀφθαλμούς; ὁ δὲ εἶπεν ὅτι προφήτης ἐστίν. (John 9:13-17 NA27)
They brought to the Pharisees the man who was formerly blind. Now it was during the Sabbath the day Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. The Pharisees asked him again, how he came to see. And he said to them, “He placed clay on my eyes and I washed, and I see.” Therefore, some of the Pharisees were saying, “This man is not from God because he does not keep the Sabbath.” But, others were saying, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” And a division was among them. They said, therefore, to the blind man again, “What do you say about Him because He opened your eyes?” And he said, “He is a prophet!” (a personal translation of John 9:13-17 from the NA27 Greek text)
Jesus did a work that could not be ignored, but notice the work of unbelief of hearts in darkness. These men knew that Jesus healed this man, but they were in utter darkness (unbelief and ignorance of God and His ways) and simply would not believe even when the evidence is clearly presented to them. Notice also, that some knew the truth and refused to go along. This reminds me so much of when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Men like this not only wanted to kill Jesus because He did that, but Lazarus too. How evil and deep is the darkness of the heart in the depth of this rock hard unbelief!
Οὐκ ἐπίστευσαν οὖν οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι περὶ αὐτοῦ ὅτι ἦν τυφλὸς καὶ ἀνέβλεψεν ἕως ὅτου ἐφώνησαν τοὺς γονεῖς αὐτοῦ τοῦ ἀναβλέψαντος καὶ ἠρώτησαν αὐτοὺς λέγοντες· οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ υἱὸς ὑμῶν, ὃν ὑμεῖς λέγετε ὅτι τυφλὸς ἐγεννήθη; πῶς οὖν βλέπει ἄρτι; ἀπεκρίθησαν οὖν οἱ γονεῖς αὐτοῦ καὶ εἶπαν· οἴδαμεν ὅτι οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ υἱὸς ἡμῶν καὶ ὅτι τυφλὸς ἐγεννήθη· πῶς δὲ νῦν βλέπει οὐκ οἴδαμεν, ἢ τίς ἤνοιξεν αὐτοῦ τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς ἡμεῖς οὐκ οἴδαμεν· αὐτὸν ἐρωτήσατε, ἡλικίαν ἔχει, αὐτὸς περὶ ἑαυτοῦ λαλήσει. ταῦτα εἶπαν οἱ γονεῖς αὐτοῦ ὅτι ἐφοβοῦντο τοὺς Ἰουδαίους· ἤδη γὰρ συνετέθειντο οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι ἵνα ἐάν τις αὐτὸν ὁμολογήσῃ χριστόν, ἀποσυνάγωγος γένηται. διὰ τοῦτο οἱ γονεῖς αὐτοῦ εἶπαν ὅτι ἡλικίαν ἔχει, αὐτὸν ἐπερωτήσατε. (John 9:18-23 NA27)
Therefore, the Jews did not believe that he was blind and then received his sight until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight. And they asked them saying, “This is your son whom you say he was born blind? How, therefore, does he now see?” Therefore, his parents said, “We know that this man is our son and that he was born blind; but how he sees, we do not know, or who opened his eyes, we do not know. Ask him. His is of age. He will speak for himself.” His parents said these things because they were afraid of the Jews for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone confesses Him to be the Christ, He would put out of the Synagogue. Therefore, his parents said, “He is of age, ask him.” (a personal translation of John 9:18-23 from the NA27 Greek text)
This is a sad commentary on one of the tactics of our enemy to bring pressure to bear on believers. Notice how this man who was born blind and that Jesus healed has been treated so far. This is brutal. He is becoming more and more isolated. These evil men have now separated him from his own parents. These people would not take a stand in belief because they feared these Jewish religious leaders more than they feared God. They also feared being put out of the Synagogue. The Synagogue was at the center of Jewish social and religious daily life. To be “put out” of the synagogue was more than just not being able to go to meetings. It meant not being able to make a living. It meant being a social outcast.
Ἐφώνησαν οὖν τὸν ἄνθρωπον ἐκ δευτέρου ὃς ἦν τυφλὸς καὶ εἶπαν αὐτῷ· δὸς δόξαν τῷ θεῷ· ἡμεῖς οἴδαμεν ὅτι οὗτος ὁ ἄνθρωπος ἁμαρτωλός ἐστιν. ἀπεκρίθη οὖν ἐκεῖνος· εἰ ἁμαρτωλός ἐστιν οὐκ οἶδα· ἓν οἶδα ὅτι τυφλὸς ὢν ἄρτι βλέπω. εἶπον οὖν αὐτῷ· τί ἐποίησέν σοι; πῶς ἤνοιξέν σου τοὺς ὀφθαλμούς; ἀπεκρίθη αὐτοῖς· εἶπον ὑμῖν ἤδη καὶ οὐκ ἠκούσατε· τί πάλιν θέλετε ἀκούειν; μὴ καὶ ὑμεῖς θέλετε αὐτοῦ μαθηταὶ γενέσθαι; καὶ ἐλοιδόρησαν αὐτὸν καὶ εἶπον· σὺ μαθητὴς εἶ ἐκείνου, ἡμεῖς δὲ τοῦ Μωϋσέως ἐσμὲν μαθηταί· ἡμεῖς οἴδαμεν ὅτι Μωϋσεῖ λελάληκεν ὁ θεός, τοῦτον δὲ οὐκ οἴδαμεν πόθεν ἐστίν. ἀπεκρίθη ὁ ἄνθρωπος καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς· ἐν τούτῳ γὰρ τὸ θαυμαστόν ἐστιν, ὅτι ὑμεῖς οὐκ οἴδατε πόθεν ἐστίν, καὶ ἤνοιξέν μου τοὺς ὀφθαλμούς. οἴδαμεν ὅτι ἁμαρτωλῶν ὁ θεὸς οὐκ ἀκούει, ἀλλ᾽ ἐάν τις θεοσεβὴς ᾖ καὶ τὸ θέλημα αὐτοῦ ποιῇ τούτου ἀκούει. ἐκ τοῦ αἰῶνος οὐκ ἠκούσθη ὅτι ἠνέῳξέν τις ὀφθαλμοὺς τυφλοῦ γεγεννημένου· εἰ μὴ ἦν οὗτος παρὰ θεοῦ, οὐκ ἠδύνατο ποιεῖν οὐδέν. ἀπεκρίθησαν καὶ εἶπαν αὐτῷ· ἐν ἁμαρτίαις σὺ ἐγεννήθης ὅλος καὶ σὺ διδάσκεις ἡμᾶς; καὶ ἐξέβαλον αὐτὸν ἔξω. (John 9:24-34 NA27)
Therefore, they called the man a second time who had been blind and said to him, “Give glory to God, we know that this man is a sinner.” Therefore, the man answered, “If he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I know, that being blind, now I see.” Therefore, they said to him, “What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?” He answered them, “I told you already, and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become His disciples?” And they reviled him and said, “You are a disciple of that man, but we are disciples of Moses. We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do no know where He is from.” The man answered and said to them, “In this is something amazing that you do not know where He is from and He opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is God fearing and does His will, He hears. Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind. If this man was not from God, He would not be able to do anything.” They answered and said to him, “You were totally born in sin and you teach us? And they threw Him out. (a personal translation of John 9:24-34 from the NA27 Greek text)
My favorite part of this passage is how this former beggar who was formerly blind because God set all this up so that His work would be manifest in and through him stood up against these Pharisees and spoke the truth in absolute terms that can not be ignored. There are no gray areas in this my brethren. Jesus did the will of the Father. He healed this man because God had set all this up to manifest His glory in and through him. Was it costly? You know it was! The man would not back down just as Peter and John would not back down about preaching the Gospel when threatened in Acts. This man stood up to them and told them plainly that the only one who could have healed Him was one who was of God. If they refused to believe that then that was their problem. What was their response? They cast him out of the synagogue. The Greek says they “threw him out.”
Ἤκουσεν Ἰησοῦς ὅτι ἐξέβαλον αὐτὸν ἔξω καὶ εὑρὼν αὐτὸν εἶπεν· σὺ πιστεύεις εἰς τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου; ἀπεκρίθη ἐκεῖνος καὶ εἶπεν· καὶ τίς ἐστιν, κύριε, ἵνα πιστεύσω εἰς αὐτόν; εἶπεν αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς· καὶ ἑώρακας αὐτὸν καὶ ὁ λαλῶν μετὰ σοῦ ἐκεῖνός ἐστιν. ὁ δὲ ἔφη· πιστεύω, κύριε· καὶ προσεκύνησεν αὐτῷ. Καὶ εἶπεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς· εἰς κρίμα ἐγὼ εἰς τὸν κόσμον τοῦτον ἦλθον, ἵνα οἱ μὴ βλέποντες βλέπωσιν καὶ οἱ βλέποντες τυφλοὶ γένωνται. ἤκουσαν ἐκ τῶν Φαρισαίων ταῦτα οἱ μετ᾽ αὐτοῦ ὄντες καὶ εἶπον αὐτῷ· μὴ καὶ ἡμεῖς τυφλοί ἐσμεν; εἶπεν αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς· εἰ τυφλοὶ ἦτε, οὐκ ἂν εἴχετε ἁμαρτίαν· νῦν δὲ λέγετε ὅτι βλέπομεν, ἡ ἁμαρτία ὑμῶν μένει. (John 9:35-41 NA27)
Jesus heard that they threw him out and having found him said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” The man answered and said, “And who is He Sir, that I may believe in Him?” Jesus said to him, “You have seen Him and you and He is the One speaking with you.” And he said, “I believe Lord.” And he worshiped Him. And Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world that the ones who do not see may see and the ones who see may become blind.” Some of the Pharisees near Him heard these things and said to Him, “Are we also blind?” Jesus said to them, If you were blind you would not have sin, but now since you say, ‘we see’ your sin remain.” (a personal translation of john 9:35-41 from the NA27 Greek text)
Notice that this man, when he is reunited with our Lord, confesses him as the Son of Man and worships Him. We will meet this man in Heaven. I love it that our Lord sought Him out just as He seeks us out when we are in need. Notice also how the genuine Gospel and mission of our Lord divides. It does not bring everyone together. It separates those who are in light from those who are in darkness. What was Jesus telling these Pharisees? Jesus was not saying these men would be guiltless before God if they were had not claimed to see while actually being blind. No, what He was telling them was that they were actually guilty for violating specific teachings or commands they had received. These men professed to know the Law and the Prophets, but they totally missed the fact that all our Lord did was fulfill it in everything He did. They were guilty of missing that.
Ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ὁ μὴ εἰσερχόμενος διὰ τῆς θύρας εἰς τὴν αὐλὴν τῶν προβάτων ἀλλὰ ἀναβαίνων ἀλλαχόθεν ἐκεῖνος κλέπτης ἐστὶν καὶ λῃστής· ὁ δὲ εἰσερχόμενος διὰ τῆς θύρας ποιμήν ἐστιν τῶν προβάτων. τούτῳ ὁ θυρωρὸς ἀνοίγει καὶ τὰ πρόβατα τῆς φωνῆς αὐτοῦ ἀκούει καὶ τὰ ἴδια πρόβατα φωνεῖ κατ᾽ ὄνομα καὶ ἐξάγει αὐτά. ὅταν τὰ ἴδια πάντα ἐκβάλῃ, ἔμπροσθεν αὐτῶν πορεύεται καὶ τὰ πρόβατα αὐτῷ ἀκολουθεῖ, ὅτι οἴδασιν τὴν φωνὴν αὐτοῦ· ἀλλοτρίῳ δὲ οὐ μὴ ἀκολουθήσουσιν, ἀλλὰ φεύξονται ἀπ᾽ αὐτοῦ, ὅτι οὐκ οἴδασιν τῶν ἀλλοτρίων τὴν φωνήν. Ταύτην τὴν παροιμίαν εἶπεν αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς, ἐκεῖνοι δὲ οὐκ ἔγνωσαν τίνα ἦν ἃ ἐλάλει αὐτοῖς. (John 10:1-6 NA27)
“Amen, amen I say to you, the one not entering through the door into the sheepfold, but going up another way, that one is a thief and a robber. But, the one entering through the door is a shepherd of the sheep. To this one the doorkeeper opens and the sheep hear his voice and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. But a stranger they will never follow, but will flee from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.” This similitude Jesus told them, but those men did not understand what things He was speaking to them. (a personal translation of John 10:1-6 from the NA27 Greek text)
This was spoken to those very men who had put out of the Synagogue the man born blind. They were not true shepherds of the people. He is the Shepherd of the sheep, who are God’s people. They hear His voice and follow Him. These evil men were strangers who were in darkness and God’s people, the sheep, will not harken unto them. That is what is so amazing to me when so many people flock to hear soft, easy preaching that only scratches itchy ears. Jesus’ words are not like that at all are they?
My brethren, Jesus Christ is the Son of Man, He is the Good Shepherd who speaks, and those who are truly His hear His voice and follow Him. There are lots of phony shepherds out there. They have created phony gospels that point to a man-made Jesus, not the Son of Man, the Jesus who Cannot be Ignored., the Good Shepherd. Their Jesus is all love and is all about bringing people together into gray areas of compromise. Nope, sorry, that is not the Jesus we just read about is it? No it isn’t. We will continue to look at our Good Shepherd in the next post.
Soli Deo Gloria!
(This is a repost from 6-15-2011. I am traveling and will return on April 11th.)