John links this section with the previous one in which Jesus claims to be the light of the world (John 9:5; see 8:12). Restoring sight to the blind is uniquely God’s activity. There is no miraculous healing of the blind in the Old Testament, and there is no record of the apostles restoring sight (the closest is the ending of Saul’s temporary blindness in Acts 9).
As in Mark’s gospel, where Jesus spits on blind eyes (Mark 8:22-23), here He makes mud with His saliva to put on the man’s eyes. The man is told to go and wash and we are simply told, ″So the man went and washed, and came home seeing″ (v. 7). Jesus, the light of the world, substantiates His claim by bringing light into this man’s darkness.
Like Job’s so-called comforters in the Old Testament account, the disciples connect this man’s blindness with human sin (v. 2). As it was considered deserved, he had probably been shown very little sympathy for his plight, making him the bold person we meet here. His curious neighbours can’t believe this is the same man who was born blind (v. 8), but he reassures them, ″I am the man″ (v. 9) and repeats what Jesus has done for him (v. 11).
The Pharisees (v. 13), who condemn Jesus for working (healing) on the Sabbath, are confused; for how can a lawbreaker make blind eyes see (v. 16)? The blind man’s growing illumination is evident: he referred to Jesus earlier as ″the man″ (v. 11), but now declares, ″He is a prophet″ (v. 17).
The man’s fearful parents confirm that he is their son, born blind, but as he is of age they let him explain this miraculous healing himself, for they fear expulsion from the synagogue (v. 22). His testimony is clear, ″One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!″ (v. 25).
Again the Pharisees ask how it happened. The man wonders if their persistence indicates a desire to become Jesus’ disciples. No, they say, they are disciples of Moses (v. 28). The indisputable logic of verses 31-33 is met by personal abuse, and ″they threw him out″ (v. 34). Jesus meets this man, whose pilgrimage has led him to physical sight and clarifying spiritual sight. His conviction has grown, from recognizing Jesus the man, to Jesus the prophet. Now he worships Jesus, believing Him to be the exalted Son of Man (v. 38).
Like the blind man, those who are spiritually blind (v. 1) and admit it will see (v. 11). But like the Pharisees, those who think they see are really spiritually blind, because they refuse to see Jesus as their light (v. 41).Progression to light or regression to darkness: which way are you headed? The true light has come (John 1:4, 9).
Are you walking in the light? To walk in the light is to have fellowship with one another and to be cleansed by the purifying blood of Jesus (1 John 1:7). How can you help others to see the true light?