A Study of John 9:1-7

To begin this study I want you to see that chapters 8 and 9 of the gospel of John are actually intimately connected, which already shows at the sentence structure of the first verse in chapter 9.

John 8:56
Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.

John 8:57
Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?

John 8:58
Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

John 8:59
Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

John 9:1
And passing by, he saw a man blind from birth.

John 9:2
And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?

John 9:3
Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.

John 9:4
I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.

John 9:5
As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.

John 9:6
When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay,

John 9:7
And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went, and washed, and came seeing.

John 9:8
The neighbours therefore, and they which before had seen him that he was blind, said, Is not this he that sat and begged?

John 9:9
Some said, This is he: others said, He is like him: but he said, I am he.

John 9:10
Therefore said they unto him, How were thine eyes opened?

John 9:11
He answered and said, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash: and I went and washed, and I received sight.

John 9:12
Then said they unto him, Where is he? He said, I know not.

As you know, this story goes on to the end of the chapter, but for today we will stop here.

In verse 5 the Lord Jesus Christ said: “I am the light of the world.”

But if you read John 8:12, there the Lord Jesus also said: “I am the light of the world.”

From the few verses I have read out of chapters 8 and 9 you can already see the contrasts:

· In chapter 8 the Light of the world is despised and rejected.

In chapter 9 the Light of the world is received and worshipped.

· In chapter 8 the Jews are stooping down to pick up stones.

In chapter 9 Jesus is stooping down to make anointing clay.

· In chapter 8 Jesus hides Himself from the Jews who called Him a demoniac.

In chapter 9 Jesus revealed Himself to the blind beggar, and He is owned as Lord.

There are many more such contrasts between these two chapters. But the gist of chapter 8 is to give us an accurate picture of the character of the natural man all over the world. Not just of the Jews in Jesus’ days, but of all mankind. When the Light of God is turned on man’s awful depravity, and he is exposed, then he is not only skeptical, but furious. How dare you call me a hater of God!

Just be honest: That is how we all were before God turned us around and made us see that we loved our sins more than we loved Christ. The depravity of our heart defiled our whole nature. That is how many people stil are, and they are attending Church: They do not own Him as Lord.

What is the matter with them?

They are BLIND!

They were born blind and are still blind.

What is the dominant blindness that God speaks about in the Bible?

It is the condition of still being unregenerate.

You may have heard the Gospel. You may have read the Bible. But if these are just stories about people who lived a long long time ago, in a land far far away, then you are still blind!

You may have read the Bible, it is more than 1,000,000 words, but if they are just words, words, words to you, if these words have made no impact upon your life, then you are still blind.

An outstanding example of this kind of blindness was the nation of Israel. God says in Deuteronomy 29:2.

Deuteronomy 29:2
And Moses called unto all Israel, and said unto them, Ye have seen all that the LORD did before your eyes in the land of Egypt unto Pharaoh, and unto all his servants, and unto all his land;

Deuteronomy 29:3
The great temptations which thine eyes have seen, the signs, and those great miracles:

Deuteronomy 29:4
Yet the LORD hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day.

In other words, God says: You have heard the Gospel, you have seen the mighty power of God at work among you, but you still have no eyes to see or ears to hear. You are still blind, because the LORD has not given you a heart to perceive.

God has not given you a new heart!

Now we see the blind beggar in John 9:1.

What is the picture that God is painting for us here?

The sovereignty of divine grace

Do you see what is happening here?

Immediately after Jesus was about to be stoned out of His Father’s House by the Jews, He passed through the midst of them, and then we read in verse 1:

John 9:1
And passing by, he saw a man blind from birth.

Historically, Jesus left the Temple, Jesus stopped!

He didn’t go on.

Was He angry?

Most likely He was. But the hatred in almost all around Him did not stop the Lord Jesus of His compassion for this pitiable object: “A man blind from birth.” A symbol of mankind born in the deadness of their soul.

Now, this is not just a story about Jesus healing a blind man. There is a spiritual dimension to this historical event. The Lord Jesus Himself gave us the key to the spiritual picture of this event in:

John 9:39
And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.

They who thought they could see already, and therefore refused the testimony of Christ, would be hardened in their blindness, whereas the beggar knew that he was blind and that he needed the mercy of God. You see, here is the key to salvation: The first step of the Gospel message is: we must know that we are spiritually blind, and that we of ourselves are unable to change our wretched condition, and that we are in need of the Light of the World.

Only then will we understand the second step of the Gospel message as pictured here in the healing of the blind beggar. He was born blind because God had a purpose for it.

What was that purpose?

To show a picture of the miracle of salvation!

It’s all by grace!

To glorify the Father

John 9:3
Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. (THAT IS THE REASON)

Why were WE spiritually born blind?

One reason is: because Adam fell into sin. But another important reason is: That the works of God might be made clear in us, that we may understand that salvation is entirely by grace. This is the ONLY salvation plan that glorifies God.

Everything centers on glorifying God. Listen to Jesus as He prays the Lord’s prayer in John 17:

John 17:1
These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:

John 17:2
As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.

John 17:3
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

The hour had come that the Lord Jesus was going to suffer for our sins, beginning in the Garden of Gethsemane.

And for whose sins was He going to suffer?

“To as many as Thou hast given Him”.
(John 17:2)

And what would be the result of His payment on the cross for our sins?

That they might know Thee, and that they might know Jesus Christ, know who He is and who He came to redeem from sin and Hell. One of those whom the Lord Jesus came to redeem was this blind beggar.

That is why God wrote the words in verse 1 as they stand:

John 9:1
And passing by, he saw a man blind from birth.

It was as if the Lord Jesus was passing him by, to go to the cross to pay for his sins, and then came back to bring him the Good News: You will be able to see, and you will see the Light of the World.

Now, the way in which the Lord Jesus brought him the Gospel is filled with symbolism:

He made Clay, from dust and spit.

How distasteful !

And then He put this YUCKY clay on the man’s eyes!

Why did Jesus do that?

First, what is the dust pointing to?

When God pronounced the curse on Adam in Genesis 3:19, He said:

Genesis 3:19
In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

Mankind is likened unto dust. Our bodies were made of dust, and they will return to dust.

So the clay is referring to mankind.

But why was it mixed with spit?

What is the meaning of spit?

The clearest example is given in Numbers 12, where Aaron and Miriam rebelled against Moses:

Numbers 12:5
And the LORD came down in the pillar of the cloud, and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam: and they both came forth.

Numbers 12:6
And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream.

Numbers 12:7
My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house.

Numbers 12:8
With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the LORD shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?

Numbers 12:9
And the anger of the LORD was kindled against them; and he departed.

Numbers 12:10
And the cloud departed from off the tabernacle; and, behold, Miriam became leprous, white as snow: and Aaron looked upon Miriam, and, behold, she was leprous.

Numbers 12:11
And Aaron said unto Moses, Alas, my lord, I beseech thee, lay not the sin upon us, wherein we have done foolishly, and wherein we have sinned.

Numbers 12:12
Let her not be as one dead, of whom the flesh is half consumed when he cometh out of his mother’s womb.

Numbers 12:13
And Moses cried unto the LORD, saying, Heal her now, O God, I beseech thee.

Numbers 12:14
And the LORD said unto Moses, If her father had but spit in her face, should she not be ashamed seven days? let her be shut out from the camp seven days, and after that let her be received in again.

Numbers 12:15
And Miriam was shut out from the camp seven days: and the people journeyed not till Miriam was brought in again.

Miriam became leprous as a result of the anger of the LORD. Leprosy in the Old Testament was a sign of being under the curse of God. Miriam was under the curse of God for seven days.

Why seven days?

Because if her father had spit in her face, that would be equivalent to her being ashamed seven days. God hereby indicates that the act of being spit in the face, is an outward sign of being under the curse of God.

Now return to the clay that Jesus made from dust and spit. It is clay that represents mankind which is under the curse of God. The Lord Jesus put this clay on the blind man’s eyes to teach him the first point of the Gospel of salvation: You are clay and you are under the curse of God!

But this was not the end of the story. God says:

I Am the Potter and you are the clay

God portrays the parable of the Potter and the clay both in Jeremiah 18 and in Romans 9.

Romans 9:20
Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?

Romans 9:21
Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?

Romans 9:22
What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:

Romans 9:23
And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,

Romans 9:24
Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

God made this blind man to fulfill His purpose: To show that God alone is sovereign in deciding whom He will save (a vessel unto honor) and whom He will not save (a vessel unto dishonor).

We may not like this, but this is what God says. This blind beggar represents all of those whom Christ came to save. This blind beggar was also one of those whom Christ came to save.

Good tidings to the poor

The Lord Jesus said in the beginning of His ministry:

Luke 4:18
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,

Luke 4:19
To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

Here the Lord Jesus said plainly that His actions of recovering of sight to the blind, was equivalent to preaching deliverance to the captives of Sin and Satan.

Those captives are the poor to whom the good tidings are brought: You were accursed and blind, but now you are going to see the Light of the World.

But how is this going to be accomplished?

Jesus said to him: Go, Wash

You need to wash off that accursed clay with special water.

John 9:7
Jesus said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went, and washed, and came seeing.

What kind of miraculous water did he need to wash off this accursed clay?

Could he suddenly see because he obeyed Christ blindly?

Did he become saved because he washed himself?

Does this verse prove that water baptism saves people?

Of course not!

All these are silly questions.

But, believe it or not, some churches consider these questions very seriously.

This washing with special water that Jesus meant is the washing of water by the Word:

Ephesians 5:25
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

Ephesians 5:26
That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

Ephesians 5:27
That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

It is the preaching of the Scriptures that is represented by that water. That is what the blind beggar needed. He needed to hear the preaching of the second part of the Gospel message. He needed to hear that there is no power in that water, and there is no mysterious power in the clay.

The power of washing away his sins rests entirely in the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus must go to the cross and pay for the beggar’s sins, and for our sins, the penalty that the Law of God requires for those sins: The equivalent of an eternity in Hell. Only then would the clay be washed from the beggar’s eyes and could he see. Only then could he be saved from his sins.

The preaching of the Gospel does not cause salvation to occur. Not the preaching itself, but the power of God that changes hearts upon the hearing of the Gospel.

At that time the washing of sins that Christ did on the cross is applied.

· Jesus said: Go, wash in the pool of “Siloam”, or Go, wash in the pool of “Sent”

What does that mean, “Sent”?

It means the person who was sent.

And Who is that?

Earlier in the study I quoted the Lord’s Prayer in John 17. Remember what He said in verse 17:

John 17:3
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

In other words, the pool of Siloam is the pool of Christ. It is the place where Christ is preached. There Christ will do the miracle of salvation if He is pleased to do so.

So, the beggar obeyed Christ blindly. He went, and washed, and came seeing.

Why could he see?

Why did he become saved?

Was it his reward for obeying orders?

No. Not at all. He could not earn salvation. He was dead.

But he believed Christ, because Christ made him alive and Christ made him believe.

John 3:36
He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

The cursed clay had to be washed off by Christ. That is the Gospel. That is why he could see.

Did Jesus choose to save this beggar because he was such a nice man?

None of us are saved because we are so nice, or because of any qualifications that we have.

Already 3500 years ago God laid down this rule, that we find in Deuteronomy 9:5-6

Deuteronomy 9:5
Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thine heart, dost thou go to possess their land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee, and that he may perform the word which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Deuteronomy 9:6
Understand therefore, that the LORD thy God giveth thee not this good land to possess it for thy righteousness; for thou art a stiffnecked people.

Remember then, when we are baptized with water, in other words when we are washed with water, there is nothing miraculous in that water. Christ has to wash us, when He will and where He will.

By Alfred J. Chompff

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