Who sinned, this man, or his parents?
This story begins with Jesus and his disciples passing by a man who was blind from birth. The disciples then asked the Savior, “Who did sin, this man, or his parents?” In His answer, Jesus teaches a very important lesson about not judging the righteousness of others, especially not based on worldly circumstances such as health or wealth. “Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.” (John 9:3)
Then the Savior spat on the ground, and made clay, and anointed the eyes of the blind man and then told him to go wash in the pool of Siloam. Then, says the scripture, “He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.”
Neighbors Argue About the Healing
The story continues by telling about the neighbors of this man who was blind from birth. “Is not this he that sat and begged? Some said, This is he: others said, He is like him: but he said, I am he.” (John 9:8-9) When they realized that it was the blind man indeed and that he had been miraculously healed, they asked him how it was done. The man aswered and said that “a man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes… and I went and washed, and I received sight.” (John 9:11)
Healed Man Brought Before the Pharisees
The man who had been blind and healed by the miracle of Jesus was then brought before the Pharisees, a religious party among the Jews that prided themselves on their strict observance of the law. The man once again recounts the story of his healing, and then they ask him what he thinks of Jesus. The formerly blind man then declares: “He is a prophet,” (John 9:11) which the Pharisees do not like hearing.
The Pharisees’ first reaction seems to be to go after Jesus, calling him a sinner, for performing this miracle on the Sabbath. But the fallacy of this argument is quickly made apparent. “Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them.” (John 9:16)
The Pharisees’ next reaction seems to be to not believe the story of the miraculous healing. And they don’t believe him until they call forth his parents and they testify he was born blind and can now see. But when asked how he was healed, the parents decline to answer, “because they feared the Jews.” Said the parents, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind: But by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself.” (John 9:20-21)
The Pharisees then go back to the Jesus-is-a-sinner angle. The healed man then retorts, “Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.” (John 9:25) And as the man goes back and forth with the Pharisees, it appears his testimony of the Savior grows. The blind man then reaches this conclusion: “If this man were not of God, he could do nothing.” (John 9:33) And for saying such he is cast out of the synagogue.
Jesus and the Healed Blind Man Reunite
When Jesus hears that the man had been kicked out of the synagogue, the Savior seeks out the blind man who had been healed. Jesus declares himself to be the Son of God, and says to the man “Dost thou believe on the Son of God?” (John 9:35) “And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.” (John 9:35)
Finally, the story is concluded with Jesus stating this pearl of wisdom: “For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind. And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also? Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.” (John 9:39-41)
Additional Insight into Pharisees’ Reaction
“The real problem bothering the Pharisees was not whether it was proper for Jesus to heal on theSabbath day. Nor did it concern them whether or not Jesus was truly the Messiah. The Pharisees felt that their very existence as interpreters of the Mosaic Law was threatened. They demanded that every Jew conform his life to a harsh set of ritual rules and laws, the breaking of which would make him unclean and, therefore, unacceptable to God.
In contrast, Jesus taught that God’s laws were based on love; that obedience brought freedom, happiness,and fulfillment. The essence of Christ’s teachings shed the light of truth upon those false and burdensome philosophies which kept men in the darkness of disbelief, ignorance, and sin. See John9:39. Jesus clearly set forth the path by which men could achieve salvation and offered a choice: remain as you are, or transform your life and follow me.” (The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles, p. 110)
Jesus Christ Heals a Blind Man (with illustration for children)