The Blind Sinner - John 9:1-17

Expositions by H. A. Wilson

Taken from Grace and Truth Magazine 1923


Memory Verse — I Cor. 2:9-10

Each of the instances of Jesus' dealing with a needy soul which we have studied thus far shows some particular characteristic of the sinner. Nicodemus shows us that though a man may be a moralist, and a religious leader, yet without faith he cannot please God. (Chapter 3.) The Samaritan woman shows us that though one may be outside of the pale of society, still God loves and seeks to save the soul. (Chapter 4.) The paralytic at the pool of Bethesda presents a pitiful picture of the natural helplessness of the sinner. (Chapter 5.) And the poor woman taken in adultery shows us that no matter how sinful a soul may be, both in the eyes of God and man, still God's love is so great that it reaches out even to such an one, and provides an acceptable substitute in the person of Jesus. (Chapter 8.) God wants to save alike the moralist and the degenerate, the religious leader and the social outcast, the robust and the infirm. So the lesson which we study today presents a clear picture of the natural blindness of the sinner, and the marvelous grace of God in dealing with him.


John 9:1-5.

The sinner is naturally blind to the wonderful truths of the Spirit. God's Word says, "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." (I Cor. 3:14.) This condition lies at the root of all misunderstanding of God's Word. No man is in a position to understand the teaching of the Bible until he has first taken the step of accepting Jesus as Saviour. Men need to have their eyes opened before they can appreciate Spiritual truths. Mr. Moody was once approached by a man who said to him, "Mr. Moody, 1 am not a Christian, but if you will answer my questions about the Bible I will become a Christian." Mr. Moody replied, "Friend, I'm too busy to talk to you just now, but I'll promise you one thing. If you will accept the Saviour tonight I will answer your questions to your entire satisfaction tomorrow night." The man made his decision to accept the Saviour, and left. He did not appear the next night, and was absent for some time. Finally, several days later, Mr. Moody met him and asked him, "How about those questions?" The man replied, "Why, Mr. Moody, that night after I accepted Jesus as my Saviour, 1 tried to think of the questions which had bothered me, and I could not think of one. They were all settled when I believed!" So the minds of unbelievers must ever he torn with doubt and perplexity, and questions, but when they recognize the fundamental fact that Jesus Christ died to save their souls, and when they trust Him as their Saviour, they have taken the first step toward the answering of their questions. Their eyes have been opened. The natural man can receive only one of the wonderful truths of the Word, — that Christ Jesus died to save him. When he has acted upon that knowledge, he is in a position to receive God's unfolding of the other truths contained in the Word. Jno. 7:17; II Cor. 3:14-16.

"Mans extremity is God's opportunity" proved true in this sinner's case. His blindness was God's opportunity to manifest His power and grace. Because he was blind, God could open his eyes. He could come to him with revelations which He could not give to those whose eyes were open. So when a sinner recognizes his blindness, and in his blindness trusts God, that is the time of revelation to him. Many brilliant, intellectual, well educated men are utterly ignorant of the truths of God's Word because in their unbelief they imagine they can see clearly, so God cannot come to them with His gracious revelation of Himself. But the poor, ignorant, sinful outcast who will recognize his need furnishes God an opportunity to manifest His grace. Jesus indicated this principle in His statement that this man was not blind on account of some particular sin of his life, or of his parents, but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. I Cor. 12 :9 ; I Tim. 1:15.


John 9:6-7.

The blind man had no claim upon Jesus, save his need. He was utterly destitute of merit. There was no reason why Jesus should heal him, save that he needed healing. In this he becomes a picture of God's grace, for Jesus did heal him despite his destitution of merit. Perhaps we are inclined to wonder why God should save the depraved, and fallen, and pass by many who are moral, and intellectual. God is not dealing with men on the ground of merit, but on the ground of grace. All are alike sinners in His sight. But He is seeking for willingness, and as He finds willing souls He can and does save them. Had the blind man been unwilling to believe Jesus, He could have done nothing for him, but because He saw in him a willing soul. He wrought this miracle and thus testified to His grace. And if the proud and haughty Pharisee were willing to acknowledge that after all he was blind and poor and needy, Jesus could and would have ministered to his need just as quickly and just as effectively as to the need of the blind man. But in all cases He must deal without taking human worth into account, for He saves only on the basis of grace. Jno. 7:17; Jno. 3:16 ; II Tim. 1:9.

The blind man was healed through faith. Jesus first anointed his eyes with the clay, and then told him to wash in the pool of Siloam. This was a test of faith. It shows how simple God's plan of salvation really is. The blind man was saved, not because he washed in the pool, but because he believed the word of Jesus. He washed there because he believed. Had he not believed he would not have been careful to wash in that particular pool, but would have tried to substitute the nearest water he could find. Because he believed the word of Jesus, he washed in the place to which he was sent. So if men are to be saved they must believe God's Word. They must put faith in His promise. His promise is "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shall he saved." (Acts 16:31.) Eph. 2:8-10; Heb. 11:6.


John 9:8-17.

The blind man himself was a testimony to God's grace and power. The neighbors and the Pharisees were astonished when they saw the poor fellow who had been groping in darkness step out boldly and fearlessly. "How can this be," they wondered. "Is this the same man ?" Yes, the same man, but different. Whereas he was blind, now he can see. Whereas he once walked in darkness, fearful and groping, now he walks in the light and fear is gone, and his face is transformed with new-found joy. So when God has saved a soul He desires to so transform the life that it shall be a constant testimony to those around that He has power to save a life as well as a soul. Once we were in darkness, now are we light in the Lord. Once we walked with the children of darkness, and shared in their evil deeds. Now we should walk as children of the light, and have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather live such radiant lives that we shall be a reproof to them. II Cor. 3:2-3 ; Eph. 5:8-11; Rom. 13:1-2; Eph. 2:4-7.

The blind man told of his benefit. He simply stated the facts of his healing, in plain and clear language. He told what Jesus had done for him. So this poor, sin-stricken world needs that those who have found Jesus and who have found life and light in Him, shall tell others about Him. A little boy four years old was once playing in the street, and fell, soiling his pinafore. A lady, living near, saw the accident, and saw the little fellow crying because of his mishap, and took pity upon him. She took him into her home, and took off the soiled pinafore, and washed and ironed it, amusing the little fellow in the meantime. When she had finished she dressed him in the clean garment and sent him away happy. In about thirty minutes she heard a knock at the door and upon opening it she found this little boy with a still smaller boy, dirty and bedraggled. Smiling with the utmost confidence into the face of his benefactress, the little fellow who had been cleaned up, said, "Please, lady, here's another boy with a dirty pinny." Believer in the Lord Jesus — You who have received your sight by the grace of God through faith in Jesus — there is a lesson in these testimonies for you. "Go thou, do likewise." Tell others of what Jesus has done for you. Psa. 107:2 ; Matt. 4:19.