The Agora
Bible Commentary

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John 9

Joh 9:1

John 9: Cp healing of the blind in Isa 42:6,7. There is no light in the mind of the flesh; true light comes only from God. Man cannot direct his steps (Jer 10:23). Some have eyes, but they see not (Psa 115:5). "...the blindness and poverty of man, proclaiming his need at the gateway of heaven" (MP 240).

AS HE WENT ALONG: As he came near: cp Isa 53; Heb 2:14,17: Jesus "came near" to us in the possession of human nature.

Joh 9:2

WHO SINNED...?: This question is answered in Luk 13:4.

OR HIS PARENTS: Not his immediate parents, but certainly his original parents. Our "blind" nature comes from the sin of Adam and Eve.

Joh 9:3

Silence was his settled policy for most of his ministry (Mat 9:30; 17:9; 12:16; Mar 1:34; 5:43; 7:36; 8:26; Luk 5:14), with one notable exception (Mar 5:19 -- Legion with his family). But in last days of ministry, a change of course (Mat 21:1-11; Joh 7:37; 9:3; 11:4).

SO THAT THE WORK OF GOD MIGHT BE DISPLAYED IN HIS LIFE: "Phaneroo": Christ manifesting the light of God: 1Jo 1:1,2,5.

Joh 9:4

WE MUST DO THE WORK OF HIM WHO SENT ME: Christ doing the work of his Father (Joh 4:34; 5:17-19), by speaking the word of his Father (Joh 7:16; 12:49,50; 3:34; Isa 59:20,21).

NIGHT IS COMING, WHEN NO ONE CAN WORK: The cessation of Holy Spirit gifts (Mic 3:6). Cp Rom 13:12.

More generally: "It is useless for young people to dream of the great service they will render some day. It is far better to make a start immediately on something near at hand and within the scope of present powers. Even if you have a great idea of real value but beyond the range of immediate possibilities it is still practicable to start work at once. The principle of the limited objective comes to our aid in this. If we were unable with our present strength to establish a home for the aged and unfortunate, we could even to-day give cheer and help to a few who are near at hand. This may be regarded if we will, as a first step in a much larger project, doing a little good and enlarging our knowledge at the same time. We cannot immediately write the great book which shall bring conviction and wisdom to all readers, but we may make a first step in the form of a preliminary essay which will be good exercise for us and perhaps give a little help to a few of our fellows. Thus with a series of limited steps we may accomplish something even now without any surrender of our great ideal of service, but rather making it more practicable. The great work of philanthropy or of reason may never be realized, but we shall have accomplished something better than idle dreams" (PrPr).

Joh 9:5

WHILE I AM IN THE WORLD: Both personally and by Holy Spirit -- the Paraklete: Mar 16:20; Mat 28:20.

THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD: Jesus is the antitype of the pillar of fire in the wilderness.

Seven "I am's" of John: "the bread of life" (Joh 6:35); "the light of the world" (Joh 9:5); "the door" (Joh 10:9); "the good shepherd" (Joh 10:11); "the way" (Joh 14:6); "the resurrection and the life" (Joh 11:25); and "the vine" (Joh 15:1).

Joh 9:6

SPIT: Degradation, humiliation: Isa 50:6. Ordinarily, this would bring blindness -- a serious inconvenience and irritant, and unclean besides -- but by this extraordinary means Christ healed the man: that no flesh should glorify itself (1Co 1:29). Cp the "eyesalve" of Rev 3:18.

MUD: Or clay, the substance out of which Jesus himself was created. Suggesting a new birth: forming of clay as in the creation of Adam (Gen 2:7; cp Job 4:19; 10:9).

Joh 9:7

GO... WASH IN THE POOL: As Naaman was told to wash himself in the Jordan (2Ki 5:10).

SILOAM: Or "Shiloah" (Isa 8:6).

SENT: Christ was the one "sent" (v 4).

SO THE MAN WENT AND WASHED: Even though he could not as yet see! "Our blind eyes are touched by the ointment prepared by the mingling of the dust of the ground with the moisture from the mouth of him who was sent from heaven. But this does not cure us. We receive the command to go and wash in the waters of Apostleship (John is careful to point out that Siloam means Sent). It is a long and difficult journey. Some do not undertake it at all; some begin only to give it up and resume their begging at the gate. Often it is made shorter and easier by the friendly guidance of one who can see. It is the responsibility of all enlightened ones to listen for the tapping of the stick and the cry to be directed to the waters of Siloam. But faith and obedience are rewarded. With the washing of the waters we enter a new world illuminated by the Sun of Righteousness. This may mean estrangement, persecution and sacrifice, but it will also be an opportunity for witness and loyalty. Jesus will know. He will seek us out and invite us into a fellowship so deep and abiding that all the former relationships are like the phantom sounds and movements of the dark world from which we have been delivered" (MP 240,241).

Joh 9:14

Thus, once again, "work" on the Sabbath!

Joh 9:15

The "blind" legalists cannot see.

Joh 9:16

But notice that there is no attempt to deny the miracle itself!

Joh 9:18

He is first rejected by his religious community, and then by his family.

Joh 9:24

GIVE GLORY TO GOD: In other words, "confess your sin -- in trying to deceive us -- as did Achan" (Jos 7:19; cp Jer 13:15,16). "Your brothers who hate you, and exclude you because of my name, have said, 'Let the LORD be glorified, that we may see your joy!' Yet they will be put to shame" (Isa 66:5).

Joh 9:27

I HAVE TOLD YOU ALREADY AND YOU DID NOT LISTEN: 'Perhaps you need Jesus to heal your ears, as he healed my eyes.'

DO YOU WANT TO BECOME HIS DISCIPLES?: A virtual admission of his own discipleship.

Joh 9:28

WE ARE DISCIPLES OF MOSES: But if they had believed Moses, they would have accepted Jesus (Joh 5:46).

Joh 9:29

Ct Joh 7:27: two self-contradictory statements. They did not know what to think!

Joh 9:31


Joh 9:34

SIN AT BIRTH: Sinful nature: Rom 8:3; Jam 1:14.

THEY THREW HIM OUT: Which was nothing new to this man: Lev 21:18. Hirelings who do not care for sheep: Joh 10:13.

Joh 9:35

JESUS HEARD THAT THEY HAD THROWN HIM OUT: Excommunication was a process spanning prob 60 days, ie from Tabernacles (Joh 7:22 to Joh 8) to Dedication (Joh 10:22).


Joh 9:38

HE WORSHIPED HIM: See Lesson, Worship of Christ?

Joh 9:39

See Lesson, John's figurative language.

Joh 9:40

ARE WE BLIND TOO?: Cp vv 1-7.

Joh 9:41

IF YOU WERE BLIND, YOU WOULD NOT BE GUILTY OF SIN: If they did not know, they could not be held responsible. Ignorance absolves from resurrectional responsibility: Psa 49:20.

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