Unique to the Gospel of John is the healing of the man born blind. He is never named, but the entire ninth chapter of John is dedicated to his healing. Jesus was in Jerusalem, and was leaving the temple area when He saw this man known to be blind from his birth. Some of the disciples following Him asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” They wondered if the man was born blind because of a sin committed by his parents, or if he had sinned in a previous life and been reincarnated blind as a result. Jesus didn’t reprimand them for their honest question, but answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.”
Jesus spit on the ground and “made clay with the saliva.” The belief in their culture was that even the saliva of a holy man was holy. Jesus applied the clay to the man’s eyes, and told the man to wash in the pool of Siloam. He went and washed the clay from his eyes, and was perfectly healed. Some people recognized him and others suggested it might be someone else that just looked like him. But the man insisted, “I am he.” They asked him how it was possible that his eyes could now see. He answered them truthfully. “A Man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed, and I received sight.”
Then they brought him to the Pharisees and the Pharisees then asked the man how he had received his sight. He told them, “He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.” The Pharisees disagreed amongst themselves, and some said, “This Man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath.” They refused to believe that the man was telling the truth, so they called his parents to confirm that he was their son.
The interrogation intensified. “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” His parents were terrified, and although they identified the man as their son, they said they had no idea how he now had sight, and said, “He is of age; ask him. He will speak for himself.” The religious leaders in Jerusalem had determined that if anybody said that Jesus was the Christ, the Messiah, they would be put out of the synagogue. To be “put out” meant to be excommunicated, which meant total rejection. His parents knew this and answered as they did because they were afraid. The Pharisees said to the man, “Give God the glory! We know that this Man is a sinner.” They couldn’t have been more wrong.
“What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?” He answered, “I told you already, and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become His disciples?” The brazenness of this insinuation made the Pharisees’ blood boil. They furiously responded, “You are His disciple, but we are Moses’ disciples. We know that God spoke to Moses; as for this fellow, we do not know where He is from.” The healed man’s reply to these malicious men showed both great courage and intelligence. “Why, this is a marvelous thing, that you do not know where He is from; yet He has opened my eyes! Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him. Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind. If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing.”
This was the last straw and the Pharisees then showed their true colors. They had shown no compassion for this man when he was blind, but now that he claimed that Jesus was from God, they exploded in viciousness. “You were completely born in sins, and are you teaching us?” Then they cast him out of the synagogue. When Jesus heard that he had been cast out, He went looking for the man until He found him. He asked him, “Do you believe in the Son of God?” The man replied, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?” Jesus said, “You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you.” The man said, “Lord, I believe!”