Comforting the Afflicted
The Signs of Jesus in John. Comforting the Afflicted. John 10:1-21
A blind man sees; a lame man walks. Everywhere Jesus went, people were amazed at His miraculous powers. John uses Jesus’ miracles as a principle to organize his Gospel. He calls them all smeia, or “signs,” indicating that each miracle was a visible demonstration of Jesus’ divinity and messiahship. Their purpose was to generate belief as they did for the disciples (2:11) and the nobleman’s household. But these same miracles would incite some to anger, and violence (11:45–52). John records seven specific “signs.” The first was Jesus’ miracle of turning water into wine in Cana (2:1–11). In 2:11, John specifically mentions that this sign signified Christ’s glory, that is, His being God. With this sign Jesus demonstrated His creative power, over nature, and His disciples appropriately placed their faith in Him.
The second sign was Jesus’ healing of the nobleman’s son (4:46–54). Although the son was in Capernaum and Jesus was in Cana, He told the boy’s father, “Your son will live” (4:50). This sign indicated that Jesus was more than a mere man; He possessed the power not only to defeat disease, but to transcend space. Jesus did not have to be physically present to heal. Once again, the sign produced belief.
But with the third sign, another reaction to Jesus’ miracles can be seen. A man at the pool of Bethesda had been sick for a long time. When Jesus told him, “Pick up your bed and walk” (5:8), immediately he was well. But this healing took place on the Sabbath. Instead of rejoicing with the healed man, the Jewish leaders reprimanded him for carrying his bed on the Sabbath. The Jewish leaders’ traditions and ideas kept them from believing, in the clear signs of Jesus.
The fourth sign was Jesus’ miraculous feeding of the five thousand (6:1–15). By creating a great quantity of food, out of five loaves and two fishes, Jesus was again demonstrating His deity, for only God can create. But the crowd, instead of submitting to Jesus’ teaching, and following Him; wanted to make Him their king. They sought out Jesus, for food for their stomachs, not for the spiritual food, that would give them eternal life.
The fifth sign was Jesus’ walking on the water (6:16–21). After feeding of the five thousand, the disciples took a boat to cross the Sea of Galilee on their way to Capernaum. When they were three or four miles out, they saw Jesus, walking on the water toward them. This time, Jesus demonstrated His complete control of nature, from the winds above to the water below. This was another sign of His deity, that He is God, and another reason for the disciples, to place complete trust in Him.
Today we study Jesus’ sixth sign, that highlights the different responses to Jesus’ miraculous works. In this account, the Pharisees’ spiritual blindness is clearly contrasted with the vibrant faith of the blind man. After being healed, this man told others about Jesus and correctly concluded that He was from God. The blind man saw clearly what Jesus’ sign meant, and believed (9:38). But the Pharisees refused to believe. They ridiculed the man’s faith and arrogantly questioned Jesus (9:34, 40-41). We will soon study the 7th, raising of Lazarus from the dead.
9 Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. 2 And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
Jesus delivered the woman caught in adultery, and claimed to be God while in the Temple, so the Jews were going to stone Him for blasphemy. He walks away from them, and as He is passing by He likely saw the beggars that were placed outside the Temple, forced to beg because of a physical or mental calamity. All sickness and death is the direct result of mankind’s sin, since this man was born blind, the religious leaders and Jesus’ disciples, assumed either the man, or his parents sinned that he was born blind. This man cannot see Jesus, but Jesus sees and cares about his condition.
3 Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. 4 I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
Jesus did not deny the general connection between sin and suffering, but refuted the idea that personal acts of sin, were the direct cause. God’s sovereignty and purposes, play a part in such matters, as is clear from Job 1 and 2.
Jesus’ time on earth is limited, He impressed the importance of doing the works of the Father while there is still some days left; the night of wickedness was coming when Jesus would be crucified on the cross at Calvary. Jesus is bringing the light of truth into the world, while He is still here. There would come a day when He told His disciples, including us, you are the light of the world. You are the ones who must reveal the light of the kingdom of God. As He went about performing miracles and teaching the people, they saw the light of the world before their very eyes. Our lives are the day, we must work for the Lord while we can.
6 When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. 7 And He said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went and washed, and came back seeing.
Jesus now takes action to alleviate the blindness, and reveal the glory of God in Him. Man was created from the dust or clay of the earth, since this man was born blind, it is possible his eyes never developed, and Jesus is recreating new eyes from the clay.
Jesus just told everyone He was sent from God, now tells the man to go to the pool of water, which is called Siloam or “Sent”. Jesus once said as the Father has sent Me, so send I you. Being obedient to Jesus’ command, he received the blessing of being able to see, for the first time in his life.
8 Therefore the neighbors and those who previously had seen that he was blind said, “Is not this he who sat and begged?” 9 Some said, “This is he.” Others said, “He is like him.” He said, “I am he.”
In ancient times, such severe physical deformities as congenital blindness; sentenced a person to begging, as the only means of support (see Ac 3:1–7 – Lame healed). The drastic change in the healed man caused many to faithlessly believe that he was not the person born blind.
Others, not so sure said it looks like him, while the whole time the man was saying, “It is me!”
10 Therefore they said to him, “How were your eyes opened?” 11 He answered and said, “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.” 12 Then they said to him, “Where is He?” He said, “I do not know.” 13 They brought him who formerly was blind, to the Pharisees.
Whenever Jesus performed a miracle, it provoked all kinds of questions in the hearts of men. Often these questions gave the believer an opportunity to witness, for the Lord. Here people asked the man how it all happened.
He simply gives the events that happened, and gave credit to a Man called Jesus. Well, where is He? “I do not know.” I was blind, and now I see; and Jesus did it! What a beautifully simple testimony. Many did not want to believe a miracle occurred, but they could not discredit his simple testimony.
Now they bring the man to the Pharisees, some knowing it was the Sabbath and their oral tradition prohibited any work, good or bad. Some may have turned to the religious leaders for answers to “what is going on here?”
14 Now it was a Sabbath when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. 15 Then the Pharisees also asked him again how he had received his sight. He said to them, “He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.”
The big problem is, Jesus making clay, on the Sabbath. Again the man summarizes what Jesus did.
16 Therefore some of the Pharisees said, “This Man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath.” Others said, “How can a man who is a sinner, do such signs?” And there was a division among them. 17 They said to the blind man again, “What do you say about Him because He opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.”
Their oral tradition went to ridiculous extents to define what was, and was not, work permitted on the Sabbath day; and since Jesus violated their concept of permitted work, He cannot be from God.
Some understood, God does not do miracles like Jesus, did through wicked men. A division arises, first among the people or crowds, and then between the religious rulers themselves. Jesus warned about division over Him.
What do you say about Jesus, is asked of the man. He is a prophet. A prophet was a messenger from God, who delivered God’s warnings and words to men, accompanied by confirming signs. The man realized Jesus was more than a mere man, but One, sent by God.
18 But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind and received his sight, until they called the parents of him who had received his sight. 19 And they asked them, saying, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” 20 His parents answered them and said, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; 21 but by what means he now sees we do not know, or who opened his eyes we do not know. He is of age; ask him. He will speak for himself.” 22 His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had agreed already that if anyone confessed that He was Christ, he would be put out of the synagogue. 23 Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”
Confronted with a great miracle by a man the Jews were jealous of, they looked for every reason they could to discredit the possibility it was a miracle. A miracle is God’s intervention in the affairs of man. They insinuate the man was never blind, and call his parents. They are cautious in their answer; we know this is our son and, we know he was born blind, but how he now sees, or who did it, we do not know. He is old enough, ask him. They feared being put out of the synagogue, if they believed Jesus was the Messiah. Being put out would mean not being able to worship, and no Jews were to associate, hire, or do business with anyone put out. Similar to excommunication in the Catholic Church, but with dire consequences that caused social and economic disaster.
24 So they again called the man who was blind, and said to him, “Give God the glory! We know that this Man is a sinner.” 25 He answered and said, “Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.”
Give glory to God was an oath to tell the truth. “I don’t know whether He is a sinner, I know I was blind and now I see.” The truth is so good and simple, easy to remember and easy to recall.
26 Then they said to him again, “What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?” 27 He answered them, “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?” 28 Then they reviled him and said, “You, are His disciple, but we, are Moses’ disciples. 29 We know that God spoke to Moses; as for this fellow, we do not know where He is from.”
They refuse to believe the simple truth, some make it so hard, to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ with life changing faith, and you will be saved. The man begins to ridicule the Pharisees, the learned teachers of the day; do you want to become His disciples? The say they know God spoke to Moses, but they don’t know where Jesus is from, they do not believe His is from God.
30 The man answered and said to them, “Why, this is a marvelous thing, that you do not know where He is from; yet He has opened my eyes! 31 Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God, and does His will, He hears him. 32 Since the world began, it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one, who was born blind. 33 If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing.”
This man’s understanding and faith in Jesus is growing, repeating what God has done for him. “If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing.” Those who hardened their hearts are becoming more ignorant, they are being judicially hardened because of their unbelief.
34 They answered and said to him, “You were completely born in sins, and are you teaching us?” And they cast him out.
They accuse him being completely born in sin, which is why you were blind, and you are trying to teach us. The cast him out of the fellowship of the synagogue.
35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said to him, “Do you believe in the Son of God?” 6 He answered and said, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?”
Jesus seeks us, even in our distress and grief. Jesus asks him, and us the most important question of all time, “Do you believe in the Son of God?” All eternity rests on your answer.
Who is He, Lord, that I may believe? He is Jesus, virgin born son of Mary, sinless Son of God, whose body and blood was sacrificed on the cross, for your sins and mine. He was crucified, buried, and rose again on the third day, according to the Scriptures.
37 And Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you.”
Jesus tells him “I AM He.” He says the same thing He told the Jewish leaders that wanted to stone Him. Mixed with faith, the man believes. Faith come from hearing, hearing the Word of God.
38 Then he said, “Lord, I believe!” And he worshiped Him. 39 And Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.” 40 Then some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these words, and said to Him, “Are we blind also?” 41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, ‘We see.’ Therefore your sin remains.
The man believed, and Jesus explained He came to judge sin and bring light and sight to those who are spiritually blind, He came to comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable.
The Pharisees who were still around this man heard this and asked, “Are we blind also?” This may be a good question to ask ourselves periodically, are we blind, to what God wants us to do, today? We can only do His will today, yesterday’s deeds will not be enough for today.
Jesus tells the Pharisees, If you were really blind, you would have no sin, but because you claim to see, and do not see Me as the only way to God, forgiveness, and heaven, your sin remains.
WAY? Do you believe in Jesus with your whole heart? Have you surrendered completely to Him? If not, you are just like the Pharisees, still in sin that will require eternal punishment as its penalty.
You can change that today, but simply admitting you have rebelled against God and are a sinner. Believing Jesus is the only way to salvation and heaven. Confess your sin, ask for His forgiveness of your sin based on Jesus’ completed sacrifice on the cross at Calvary. This means you accept His gift for forgiveness of sin and eternal life, by faith in the Lord Jesus. Won’t you do that today? You’ll be glad you did.
For all who have believed and surrendered to Jesus, you are invited to come to His table, and remember His body and blood that was given for you. If you have any unconfessed sin, or unforgiveness in your heart, won’t you do business with Jesus, right now, as we sing our hymn of response, I Surrender All. #347.