The insulting words of the Jewish leaders still rang in the ears of Jesus’ disciples as they walked away from the Temple with Him. Why did Jesus rebuke them, pointing out their hypocrisy? Didn’t He realize how much He needed their support if He was to become king? Jesus slowed His pace, then stopped near a blind man begging in the street. The disciples asked Him, “Who sinned, Master, this man or his parents?”
Most Jewish people believed that any disability, any sickness, was the direct result of God’s punishing some sin. If a baby was born with a birth defect, people believed that the parents had done something bad and God had sent this as a punishment. When people got sick, their friends believed they had sinned and God was making them suffer for it.
“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” Jesus answered. Wanting them to understand that sickness and defects do not come from God, He continued, “This happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him” (John 9:3). Then Jesus did something unusual. He bent down, spit on the ground, and made a muddy paste. The blind man must have been surprised when Jesus smeared the mud over his eyes. Jesus said, “Go, wash in the Pool of Siloam” (verse 7).
The man got up and went to the Pool of Siloam and washed the mud off his eyes. Imagine him open-ing his eyes slowly. Light enters. He sees the sun sparkling on the surface of the water. He looks at his fingers, mud still clinging to them.
“I can see!” he exclaims as he jumps up from the poolside. He leaps into the air. “I can see!” he yells. “Hey, look at me. I can see.” Never having seen the way home before, he still knows the way, and walks toward his house calling to everyone, “I can see.”
His neighbors heard him coming before they saw him. “Isn’t this the blind man who begs in the street?” someone asked.
“No, it can’t be,” another replied. “It just looks like him.” But the blind beggar settled their confusion. “It’s me. I can see now.”
“But how?” Then he told them. They took him to the Jewish leaders, where he repeated his marvelous story. The Jewish leaders became angry. They didn’t care that a blind man could now see. They cared only to point out that Jesus had broken their rules. “This man is not from God,” they said, “for he does not keep the Sabbath.”
But some of the Pharisees said, “How can a sinner do such miraculous things?” So the two groups of Jewish leaders argued. Finally they called in the man’s parents, because they didn’t believe that he had been born blind.
His parents said, “This is our son. We know he was born blind, but we don’t know how he got his sight. Ask him. He’s old enough to answer for himself.” They knew that the Jewish leaders would throw them out of the synagogue if they said anything to support Jesus. Once again the Jews spoke to the man. “Give glory to God by telling the truth. We know this man is a sinner.”
"Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know,” the man said. “One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”
“We don’t even know where he comes from.”
“Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will. Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”
“How dare you lecture us!” they exclaimed and threw him out.
When Jesus heard that this man had been thrown out of the synagogue, He went to find him. “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” Jesus asked him.
“Who is he, sir? Tell me so that I may believe in him,” the man answered.
“You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.”
“Lord, I believe.” The man looked into the face of Jesus, then fell at His feet and worshipped Him (verses 24-38).
The news of this incredible event spread throughout the city. Many people believed in Jesus because of it.