“And passing by he saw a man which was blind from birth”.
The good news that was written by John is the record of the things which Jesus both said and did to which John bore witness. This account follows directly upon another of the many encounters which Jesus had with the Pharisees. These men occupied their entire lives with the reading, searching and debating of the old writings and sacred text. This was to them a sign of holiness which was portrayed in their daily attention to details based upon the traditions and teachings of the elders. Here they accused Jesus of being a false prophet because He bore witness to Himself (8:13) contrary to the Law of Moses. The people joined into the conversation in demonstration of the ignorance of the natural man to the things of the kingdom as Jesus proclaims that he is from above while they are from beneath (23). They could not understand His continual references to ‘the Father’, ‘the Son’ or the ‘truth’. These, questioning His authority, believed that the God of Israel was singularly theirs and that, being the chosen nation of God, they possessed and taught the truth.
Jesus then addressed the teaching of parental succession as the crowd claimed Abraham as their father; “They answered and said unto Him, Abraham is our father. Jesus said unto them, If you were the children of Abraham, you would do the works of Abraham” (8:39). This was not a reference to the natural lineage of the sons of Abraham but unto the children of promise who, possessing the Spirit born from above, believed for Abraham is the father of the faithful (Rms. 4:13). They which have the Spirit of God are taught by the Spirit while they who have not the Spirit are “of your father the Devil and the lusts of your father will you do” (44).
These words infuriated the crowd and stirred them to press even harder for the matter. Jesus continues with His discourse of the truth as the company of antagonists concludes that He is possessed by a devil Himself. He tells them that His servants, His children born of incorruptible seed, cannot sin and that they, keeping the Law of God perfectly, never die. The doubts and fears of the natural man are exacerbated as these people try to understand how it is that these things be true; that Abraham (the man being dead and buried over two thousand years) could have never tasted death. Since the sons of Adam do not possess this ability to understand neither can they know the truth, they again conclude that Jesus is a false prophet, possessed of a devil and finally worthy of death.
Jesus brought this blessed training session to a close as He proclaimed His obedience to His Father, the honour of the Father for the work of the Son and the rejoicing of Abraham to see the day when these things were made manifest to the world. The mind of man could not rationalize this arrogant son of a carpenter standing before them teaching that He knew, saw and spoke with the patriarch Abraham and so when Jesus invokes the name of Yehovah God, saying, “of a certain truth I say unto you, before Abraham was, I AM” (58) the people took up stones to kill Him. Even these people knew that no man was equal to Yehovah God and although the speaking of the name Yehovah was not as contested in their day as it is today, yet they knew when Jesus said “I AM” that this was the name of Yehovah God. They acted as they had been taught and in attempt to keep the Law, they took up stones to kill Him (Lev. 24:14)
These people were greatly anticipating the return of Messiah as they had been given to believe. The Messiah was to come and overthrow the civil governmental powers that oppressed the people of Israel and once again restore the kingdom. He would set up the throne of David, his father, and rule over the whole world with the nation of Israel at his right hand. Even the disciples themselves were under this conclusion and so, having their minds blinded to the truth by the traditions of man, they were not given to understand the truth about the Kingdom of Heaven. The Kingdom of God and of His Anointed is not of this world and flesh and blood shall never inherit it, yet many still earnestly seek for its return. Jesus was fulfilling everything written “in the volume of the book” concerning Messiah and His coming to manifest the kingdom of God and for this the ‘chosen people’ of natural Israel sought to kill Him. Yet He “hid Himself and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by” to the point where according to the determinant counsel and foreknowledge of God, there waited a man, blind from birth.
“And His disciples asked Him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
These twelve men had seen and heard some absolutely amazing things as they traveled the countryside with Jesus. He had performed many miracles which could not be attributed to any son of the dust. He commanded the forces of nature and He spoke as never a man had ever spoken. Yet they were ignorant to these manifestations of those things which were afore written of the coming of Messiah and the identifying actions He would perform. They did not see the fullness of the Godhead, they asked for Jesus to show them the Father and they inquired, saying, “Lord will you at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6) These chosen men had not yet been ‘converted’ or yet given the evidence of the faith within to believe the truth concerning the kingdom of God.
The eternal decree of the Almighty Sovereign God had ordained that a child should be born deprived of the ability to see. He was to be raised and cared for by his family as an unacceptable part of the Jewish society (because of his imperfection) without ever seeing anything of that world in which he was a very important part. The steps of this man and all conditions required to bring him to the cross road where after being threatened by an angry crowd armed with stones, Messiah was passing by to meet him, were purposed and brought to pass by the will of God. Whether this man stood here day after day as he lived off the mercy and pity of the masses coming and going from the Temple is a speculation for nothing is stated as to what this man was doing other than being in the exact location that God had intended for him.
This man had never seen the light of day though he may have felt the warmth of the sun upon his face. He had never seen the faces of the people as they came and went to a fro upon the face of the earth but he no doubt had heard the anathemas and aspersions which pious men cast before his feet. Now as the Son of Man approached and as His disciples saw this man, they too entered into the arrogance of Adam as they espied this supposedly cursed man.
The friends of Job gave good evidence of this vain theology of Adam as Eli-phaz the Tenamite stated, “remember, I pray you, who perished being innocent? Or where the righteous cut off?” (Job 4:7) This is not a new theology and it remains as an identifying mark of the number of man upon his works, so, for the disciples to ask this question is nothing more than proof of the existence of the nature of Adam. The carnal mind cannot comprehend the things of God and though a man attempt to explain them, yet is the carnal mind dead and enmity against God.
This doctrine discovers the ignorance of man toward the nature of God as God is not a respecter of persons. He has not rewarded a person because they have produced a good intention any more than he has condemned a person because they have gone astray in disobedience. The purpose of God stands in His election according to grace whereby the children, those of the incorruptible seed and those of the seed of the Devil, having done neither any good nor any evil, have been the objects of His eternal love or hatred (Rms. 9:11).
He has loved His children with an everlasting love and nothing can separate them from that love (Rms. 8:1). There is neither any condemnation against those who are in Him nor any who can raise any accusation for; “And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation and strength and the Kingdom of our God and the power of His Messiah: for the accuser for the brethren is cast down, which accused them before God day and night; and they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of His testimony and they loved not their lives unto death” (Rev. 12:10).
He has also, to the same degree and for the same purpose, hated Esau and the sons of Edom, who has been deceived by the pride of his heart, with an everlasting hatred. Nothing can endear Edom to Yehovah God for he is natural, formed form the dust of the ground. His appetite and desires are on the things of the flesh and to the pit from whence he was digged. This is the nature of Adam and the earthen vessels which the Master Potter has formed for His purpose. He has placed in these vessels a corruptible seed, which proceeds from the father of all lies and has, from before the foundation of the world, called them ‘wicked’. These He has created and reserved unto the Day of Judgment and eternal damnation in that place where the worm never dies and the flame is never quenched (Mark 9:44).
Yet as it has pleased the Potter to form from that same lump of clay certain vessels unto honour, He has made atonement for them by His shed blood. He imputed the sin of His people in Adam unto the Lamb of God who took away that sin and cleansed His people from all unrighteousness. The incorruptible seed then, becoming a partaker of flesh and blood, is not polluted by the uncleanness in Adam. This does not remove the inability of Adam in his nature for he is still incapable of measuring up to the standard of the Holiness of God and it does not transform Adam into something worthy of the acclaim of God. In the flesh still dwells no good thing and the actions which exhibit this inability is the sin that dwells in Adam (Rms. 7:20). Therefore shall no flesh glory in His sight.
This man was not born blind because of any particular act of commission or failure of Adam on his part or that of his parents, his neighbours or anyone of the nation of Israel. He was born in this condition and beset with this inability “that the works of God should be made manifest in him”. He was blessed to be in this predicament and to have been ‘dealt such an awful hand by God’ so that Messiah would make evident His glory (Is. 61:1)
“And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam. He went his way therefore and washed and came seeing” (9:7)
Jesus sent this man with spit encrusted clay upon his eyes to a pool of water that there is no other reference to in the scriptures. (The gospel according to Luke records that the hand of God’s judgment fell on eighteen individuals who were killed when a tower had fallen on them in Siloam - Luke 13:4.) This is an interesting name to give this pool of water in the city of Jerusalem (springing forth from peace) and even more intriguing for Jesus to send this man unto. But even more-so is that this man knew where it was, knew how to get there and needed no ones help in his endeavours. He was sent of God to a certain place afore prepared for him. He was made willing and able in the day of the power of “I am” so that he not only ventured out on the journey, but when he arrived at the location, he was obedient to the voice of a complete stranger. Not because he knew what lay in-store for Jesus told him nothing more than to go and wash but this man, being a child of grace born from above, heard the Master’s voice and kept his commandments.
Some may conclude that the man had ‘nothing to lose’ so he went in order to ‘try anything’ but this man never had his sight so he knew not wherein he was deficient. Further more, he never asked Jesus for his sight nor did Jesus tell him to go and wash that he might receive his sight. No petition, no assistance, no coercion and no promise; simply the Word of God and the power of the Spirit of God (Ezek. 36:37).
“This is the Word of Yehovah unto Zerub-babel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit saith Yehovah of Hosts” (Zech. 4:6).
This man had been born in darkness as is every son of Adam. He knew not the light and had not the ability to comprehend it, yet, as a child of grace, he felt the effects of it the entire time of his habitation. At the time appointed of the Father, he received his sight and saw. His natural faculties were generated (not regenerated for his eyes never had life) and made fully functional. He saw the world for the first time being a man full of age and able to answer for himself. He had lived his life, up till now, upon the charity of others who took pity upon him. He ate what he could find, steal or was given. His natural environment was as unseen as the people who walked by him daily as his only point of reference was darkness.
There were no doctors or clinics where the latest technology was being experimented with to give the blind their sight. There were no ‘faith healers’ laying hands on this man and there were no scientist researching organ donations to be transplanted into this man. Jesus, however, was demonstrating the identification of Messiah as He opened the eyes of the blind. He came to this man and imparted unto him the gift of life by the power of God alone and that solely by grace. At the appointed time God opened the eyes of one He had brought into the world completely blind and without hope.
The people around this man were afraid and amazed. Neighbours argued as to whether this was the same man who spent all those years begging his bread simply because now he could see. Nothing else had been changed as far as outward appearance on this man and even though he attested to the fact, “I am he”, yet they doubted. The man who had received the grace and pity of people daily was now castigated for something he had only been a passive recipient of and “they brought him before the Pharisees”.
Sympathy had been replaced with suspicion and pity had given way to a very tense situation. The people who were a few moments earlier readied to stone Jesus for invoking the name of God were now confronted with, allegedly, an authentic miracle. They had a subject before them who was seeing and hearing things that he never expected to experience as his very family, friends and peers were turning against him. They had threatened that if any man should confess that Jesus was Messiah, he should be put out of the assembly. This man had no identity to the name, ‘Jesus’ who instructed him, he saw no man and no one could step forth and collaborate his claim. His family was hesitant to acknowledge him as the religious zealots of the Temple worshipers reviled him and continued to accuse him; “You were altogether born in sin and will you teach us? And they cast him out” (34). In response to the power of God manifested in his body and changing his life, this man was ostracized of men, condemned by the religious society and abandoned by his family. Do you think he was saying, ‘Thank you Jesus’ or praising God for all His blessings?
When Abraham was finally given an heir according to promise, God instructed him to climb the mountain and kill his son; how do you suppose he felt? When Jacob was sent from his father’s house to find his wife at the well, he was deceived by Laban and caused to serve an additional seven years for the one he loved. Rachel was caused to wait twenty years before the Lord opened her womb and she conceived the first born of Jacob. Seventeen years later that precious child of promise was sold into slavery and supposed by Jacob to be dead; do you think he saw the ‘good’ in what God had ordained? His beloved Rachel then conceived again with the replacement child for Joseph but she died while giving birth to Benjamin; did Israel say ‘thank you’ to God? When after four hundred years of captivity the children of Israel were delivered from the ‘strong house’ were they thankful or did they, after seeing the dead bodies of their enemies wash up on the shore line, within a short period of time, begin to think of how good the former ways were? These having eyes to see, could not see the hand of God in all things nor could they see the good He has ordained for them that love Him, according to His purpose.
“No man, also having drunk old wine, straightway desires the new for he says, the old is better” (Luke 5:39).
There should be little doubt that the condition of this man was no different. He had been changed from his blind ignorance to having fully functional eyesight and the cognitive abilities to recognize what he was looking at. Being born blind, he had no idea what the Temple looked like though he had heard many speak of it. He did not know the difference between his kinsman and a Roman soldier and he had never seen his parents with open eyes. Now he saw the beauty of creation and the injustice of man. He could identify the face and hear the ignorance of his neighbours and the fear of his own family. He could no longer beg his bread, though he could see others still begging, for now he must get a job or be indentured. He could not lodge in the streets as the poor do for there was nothing wrong with him. He had no education to speak of as he could neither read nor write his native tongue but now he was obligated to conform to social standards and live up to certain expectations. It does not take long for him to remember the former ways and the benefits of his blindness even to wonder why this person even came to him and did what He did to him.
This ‘awakening’ brought many things to light for this man. His life was completely changed and he had no idea who this ‘Jesus’ was who had done this to him. When pressed on the matter, he could answer nothing other than the evidence of what had happened. This ‘proof’ was not enough and like Saul of Tarsus, he found himself alone and hated.
“For I was alive without the law once but when the commandments came sin revived and I died” (Rms. 7:9).
This persecutor of the church of Jesus Christ was a powerful man who for zeal for his God, sought to rid the nation of Israel of those who were ‘of the way’. He was a Pharisee of Pharisees and when it came to the righteousness of the Law, he saw himself as blameless. Yet the light of the glory of God, Jesus who he persecuted, shone forth around him, he was blinded as he asked; “Who are you Lord?’ His sight was taken and he knew not by whom the deed was done but when the scales fell from his eyes he saw those things which were formerly his way of life to be death unto him. He lost his job, his friends (colleagues) and his power as the Spirit of God revealed the sin which dwelt in him as exceedingly sinful. He had been as deceived of reality as the blind man yet now with their eyes open they both saw the truth. Neither could identify who had done these things until the Lord revealed Himself in them as chosen vessels and both were hated and despised of the men of this present evil generation. They did not come to Him for He is found of them who sought Him not. He came to them for He shall never leave nor forsake His Beloved.
“Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction and of patience” (James 5:10).
The time had come when the Father was pleased to reveal Himself in these brethren. They were despised of friends and family, they had been cast out of the assembly and they found themselves destitute in the society where they lived. The afflictions which they had been blessed to suffer were the manifold testimony of the presence and work of the Holy Spirit. They did not understand the path which they had been assigned to walk and like the blind man their testimony of what had happened drew ridicule and resentment.
Yet God is faithful as He reveals the bondage of the corruption wherein He has ordained His children to live and He comes to them. The Spirit of God bears a continual witness with the Spirit of His children that they are the Sons of God as He opens their eyes to the vanity wherein they are subject. Jesus did not leave the blind man to fend for himself as He came and revealed that He is Messiah who had come into the world for judgment against the ungodliness of man.
The scholars and professors of the theology of Adam claim that Jesus did not read the second portion of Isaiah 61 when He proclaimed that scripture fulfilled in their ears (Luke 4:18f) because He had not come for judgment. This, they say, is for a future time but Jesus said that He indeed had come for that very purpose. He opens the eyes of His children who were born blind so that they may see the very righteousness wherein they thought themselves worthy. He shows them the body of this death and the inability of the flesh as He reveals His salvation unto His people. Herein are they shown their own evil ways and that their doings were not good; herein they loathe themselves for their abominations and iniquities (Ezek. 36:31).
He does not leave His people alone. He comes to each and reveals His love day by day. He demonstrates His mercy personally to them that they may know that he is Yehovah their God. His love is manifested in His works and His mercy is revealed from faith to faith. The world lays in the darkness and the deeds of man are evil as the religionists ask; “Are we blind?” The children of the Kingdom walk in the light of the Lord which reveals both truth and wickedness, they have eyes to see and ears to hear as they endure the trials and tribulations given unto them by the hand of their Father who has ordained all for good.
The blind man did not know his blindness until he had the reference point of light to compare it with. Then he knew how dark his darkness was. The children of the King have the light of His glory shinning forth in their heart and at the appointed time He reveals Himself in them. Then they see, then they know and then they cry;
“O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God but with the flesh the law of sin” (Rms. 7:24f).
What a glorious expectation when the earthen vessel shall return unto the dust and we shall be made like the Son (adoption). Henceforth we know Him no more after the flesh but when He shall appear, we shall be like Him.
Your servant in Christ,
(Elder) Chet Dirkes
April 12, 2015