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John31 – sight to the blind (2)

They bring him—the one formerly blind—towards the Pharisees. In fact it was a Sabbath in which Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. So the Pharisees also were again asking him how he received sight. (John 9: 13)
In John30, the previous extract in this series from John’s first century eye-witness biography of Jesus, we left a born-blind man – seeing – in Jerusalem. He is an interesting character in that he had his sight given to him (not restored) by Jesus without actually knowing it was Jesus. His physical blindness had been restored but his metaphorical blindness remained.

So also the Pharisees - members of a religious political party there. They had physical sight but were strongly resisting Jesus (see John 29) when he said, “Truly, truly I state to you, before Abraham ever came to be, I am!” 

In fact, he said to them, “He set down clay upon my eyes, and I washed myself and I see.” So some from the Pharisees were stating, “This man is not from God, in that he does not keep the Sabbath.” Others were stating, “How is a sinful man able to do such signs?” And there was division in them. 

The “they” (folk in the Temple) are divided about the born-blind receiving sight. They ask the Pharisees for their opinion on this unprecedented event. They too are divided, in particular, about whether Jesus is “from God”. Why is that? Well, if he is, truly, from God then he would not have broken the Sabbath rules. If he is from God and has broken the Sabbath rules he can only be ---- God, their God who made the Sabbath rules. Can’t be, can it?

So they state to the blind again, “What do you state concerning him, in that he opened your eyes?” In fact, he said, “He is a prophet.” So the Judeans did not believe concerning him, that he was blind and received sight, until when they called the parents of the sight receiver himself. 

The way out of their Pharisaical dilemma is to get scientific evidence that the man wasn’t blind in the first place.

And they asked them, stating, “This is your son, whom you state that he was born blind. So how does he now see?” So his parents answered and said, “We have discerned that this is our son, and that he was born blind. In fact how he right now sees we have not discerned, or who opened his eyes we have not discerned. Ask him! He has maturity; he himself will speak concerning himself.” His parents said these things in that they were fearing the Judeans, because the Judeans had already set down together that if anyone may affirm him ‘Christ’, he may come out-synagogued. Through this, his parents said, “He has maturity; ask him.”

Clearly, the Pharisees had earlier made a decision. They desperately needed evidence to back their decision. The born-blind’s parents were uncooperative. 

So they called the man who was blind a second time and they said to him, “Give glory to God! We ourselves have discerned that this man is sinful.” 

This is an interesting request. “Give glory to God!” In other words, don’t persist in attributing your new sight to this sinful man Jesus.

So that one answered, “If he is a sinner, I do not discern. One thing I have discerned—that being blind, I now see!” So they said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” He answered them, “I said to you already and you did not hear. Why do you desire again to hear? And you yourselves do not desire to become his disciples." They abused him and said, “You yourself are a disciple of that one. In fact, we ourselves are disciples of Moses. We ourselves discern that God has spoken to Moses, in fact this one - we have not discerned where he is from.” 

They are so determined to remain blind that they interrupt the born-blind in mid-sentence – as soon as he suggests that they may want to follow Jesus.

The man answered and said to them, “Because in this is the remarkable thing: that you do not discern where he is from, and he opened my eyes. We discern that God does not hear the sinful, but if anyone may be devout and may do his desire, he hears this one. From eternity it was not heard that anyone opened the eyes of a born blind. If this one was not from God, he was able to do nothing.” 

For us today, the astonishing thing is that the born-blind can now see what the Pharisees, his judges, really need to see – metaphorically, in truth.
They answered and said to him, “You were born complete in sins and you are teaching us?” And they out-placed him outside. 

Who were?
Sinner Syvret

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