Proud Religious Law-Keepers Are Troubled About This Healing
They took the man who had been born blind to the proud religious law-keepers.
John 9:13 (NLV)
Since the proud religious law-keepers were the custodians of the faith, it was right that the healed man be brought to them for investigation. The fact that they studied this miracle in such detail is only further proof that Jesus did indeed heal the man. They couldn’t believe it because they didn’t believe that supernatural miracles happened. But when they saw that this miracle provided them with an accusation against Jesus for breaking the Sabbath, they changed their tune and admitted he was healed because they could use this to condemn Jesus. This shows their hypocrisy. Since the man was born blind, the miracle was even greater, for blindness caused by sickness or injury might suddenly go away. Our Lord’s miracles can bear careful scrutiny by His enemies. If this man wasn’t healed before they thought of this angle, then he wasn’t healed after they saw how it could work to their advantage. It was all about them and not about the truth. That’s the way all unbelief is. People believe what they want to believe.
It was the Day of Rest when Jesus had made mud and opened his eyes. Again the proud religious law-keepers asked the man who had been born blind how he had been made to see. He answered them; “Jesus put mud on my eyes. I washed and now I see!”
John 9:14-15 (NLV)
But Jesus’ act of deliberately healing the man on the Sabbath Day caused the proud religious law-keepers great concern. It was illegal to work on the Sabbath; and by making the clay, applying the clay, and healing the man, Jesus had performed three unlawful “works.” The proud religious law-keepers should have been praising God for a miracle; instead, they sought evidence to prosecute Jesus.
What did it matter how this miracle happened?
That would only be of importance if they were trying to believe God for a miracle too. But all they were looking for was some excuse to accuse Jesus. They looked right past the miracle that could have turned their hearts to God and tried to dissect it for the purpose of argument. They strained at a gnat and swallowed a camel (Matthew 23:24).
Some of the proud religious law-keepers said, “The Man Who did this is not from God because He worked on the Day of Rest.” Others said, “How can a sinful man do powerful works?” They could not agree about Jesus.
John 9:16 (NLV)
How dumb can you get and still breathe?
This miracle testified powerfully to the truth of who Jesus was, but they refused to see because of one of their petty rules was violated. They were truly straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel.
When people refuse to face evidence honestly, but in fear evade the issue (see John 9:22), then it is impossible to come to a united conclusion. Once again, Jesus was the cause of division (John 9:16; also see 7:12, 43). The proud religious law-keepers were judging on the basis of one thing: nobody who breaks the Sabbath could possibly be a true prophet of God. They were “one-issue” thinkers, not unlike some religious people today. The proud religious law-keepers did not realize that Jesus was offering the people something greater than the Sabbath—the true spiritual rest that comes from God (Matt. 11:28-30).
They spoke again to the blind man, saying, “What do you say about Him since He opened your eyes?” He answered, “He is One Who speaks for God.”
John 9:17 (NLV)
But the beggar was not intimidated by the threats of the proud religious law-keepers. When asked who he thought Jesus was, the man boldly said, “He is One Who speaks for God.” At this time, this man didn’t have the full revelation of who Jesus was; yet his blinded eyes were opened.
The Jews did not believe this man had been blind and had been made to see. They called his parents and asked them, “Is this your son? Do you say he was born blind? How does he see now?”
John 9:18-19 (NLV)
Look how slow to believe they are. If this had been a bad report about Jesus, they probably would have accepted it without question. Our preconceived ideas prejudice us. Therefore, we better make sure our belief systems are based in God’s Word
But the proud religious law-keepers did not want to see Jesus given that kind of high designation. “This man who did this is not from God!” (John 9:16) Perhaps they could discredit the miracle. If so, then they could convince the people that Jesus had plotted the whole thing and was really deceiving the people.
The best way to get that kind of evidence would be to interrogate the parents of the beggar, so they called them in and asked them two questions:
- “Is this your son?”
- “If he is, how does he see now?”
If they refused to answer either question, they were in trouble; or if they answered with replies contrary to what the leaders wanted, they were in trouble. What a dilemma!
They answered, “We know this is our son and we know he was born blind. But we do not know how it is that he can see now. We do not know who opened his eyes. He is old enough, ask him. He can tell you himself.”
John 9:20-21 (NLV)
They answered the first question honestly: he was their son and he had been born blind. They answered the second question evasively: they did not know how he was healed or who healed him. They then used the old-fashioned tactic called “passing the buck” by suggesting that the proud religious law-keepers ask the man himself. After all, he was of age!
His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews. The Jews had talked among themselves. They had agreed that the person who said that Jesus was the Christ would be put out of the Jewish place of worship. That is why his parents said, “He is old enough, ask him.”
John 9:22-23 (NLV)
What lay behind all of this questioning and these furtive replies? The fear of people.
We met it at the Feast of Tabernacles (John 7:13), and we shall meet it again at our Lord’s last Passover (John 12:42). These people were seeking the honor of men and not the honor that comes from God (John 5:44). To be sure, it was a serious thing to be excommunicated from the synagogue, but it was far more serious to reject the truth and be lost forever. “Fearing people is a dangerous trap” (Prov. 29:25). The proud religious law-keepers were trying to trap Jesus, and the parents were trying to avoid a trap; but all of them were only ensnaring themselves! The parents should have heeded the counsel of Isaiah 51:7 and 12.
Therefore, those who went to the effort to follow Jesus and seek His healing power often were healed without Jesus asking something of them the way He did with this blind man. That was because they had already acted in faith just to follow Jesus. But those who had not taken a step of faith, like the blind man in this chapter, were given something to do that would allow them to act in faith. Faith without works is dead (James 2:20).
The proud religious law-keepers could present a “good case” for their position. After all, they did have the Law of Moses as well as centuries of Jewish tradition. What they failed to understand was that Jesus Christ had fulfilled all of this ceremonial law and was now bringing in something new. In Moses, you have preparation; but in Jesus Christ, you have consummation (see John 1:17).