The Healing of a Man Born Blind

Read: John 9:1-41

Text: John 8:12 (KJV) Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

Theme: Jesus provides sight to the blind.


In John 8:12, Jesus had proclaimed Himself to be the "light of the world," a claim which He now backed up by restoring sight to a blind man.
This miracle is interesting for several reasons:
1.) It directly fulfilled messianic prophecy.

2.) It contrasted a man who was physically blind but spiritually insightful, with men who could see physically but were blind spiritually.

3.) It demonstrates how miserable spiritual blindness is.

4.) It shows us the prescription that wlil cure spiritual blindness everytime.

Let's study this passage by noticing eight different words, or eight thoughts that come to us as we read it.

I. Sickness (vss. 1-3)

QUESTION - What prompted the disciples' question in verse 2? Does looking at John 8:34 provide a clue?
The Jews believed all sickness was the result of sin. Some even believed a fetus could sin in the womb, thus explaining a man born ill.

ILLUS. Job's friends (Job 4:7 (KJV) Remember, I pray thee, who ever perished, being innocent? or where were the righteous cut off?

QUESTION - Do people believe this today? Who?

QUESTION - Why do people get sick?
Obviously, sin as a whole brought disease into the world. (Rom 5:12 (KJV) Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:)

More specifically, though:

A. Sometimes it is a test (example is Job. Job knew this - Job 23:10 (KJV) But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.)

B. Sometimes it is simply to provide glory to God. (vs. 3)

QUESTION - How does a person's sickness provide glory to God?

ILLUS. Chuck Swindoll tells a story of a church service he attended where a group of mentally retarded children was brought to the platform to sing the song "He's Still Working On Me." The affect was that there was not a dry eye in the place, and the reality of God's receiving glory through the illness of others was driven home dramatically.

C. Sometimes it is a result of overwork for the cause of Jesus Christ. (READ - Phil. 2:27,30)

D. Sometimes it is the result of sin.

1. Either the natural result of doing something harmful to the body (e.g. cancer - tobacco)

2. Or, the judgement of God.

John 5:14 (KJV) Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.

1 Cor 11:30 (KJV) For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

II. Glory (vs. 3)

A. God was glorified in this event.
Years earlier, He had set the stage for this moment of glory.

QUESTION - What does this tell us about the sovereignty, omniscience, and omnipotence of God, that we can apply to our daily lives?

QUESTION - How does this make you feel about your own difficulties and troubles in life?

B. God is glorified when the spiritually blind receive their sight.
ILLUS. John Newton - author of hymn Amazing Grace.
C. It is an argument for which the world has no response.
QUOTE - Charles Keen, "The world is only impressed with what it cannot duplicate." (It can't duplicate a changed life.)

III. Faith (vs. 7)

A. Salvation is purely a matter of faith.
QUESTION - What are some verses to support this statement?

ANSWER - Eph. 2:8-9, John 3:16, Acts 16:31, John 5:24

B. This man didn't have to go to the pool of Siloam.
1. He might have said, "What's the use, nothing has helped before."

Discouragement over his lot might have kept him lost.

2. He might have said, "People will think I'm nuts, staggering through the street with clay smeared on my eyes, and jumping into the water."

Pride might have kept him blind.

C. GOING demonstrated FAITH.
1. Faith occurs in the heart.

2. But faith is DEMONSTRATED in the walk.

Eph 2:10 (KJV) For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

James 2:17 (KJV) Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

3. There is no instance in the Bble of a disciple whom nobody knew about.

(Closest would be Joseph of Arimethea, but his faith was eventually revealed, too.)

IV. Miracle (vss. 6-7)

QUESTION - What message do we get about Jesus Christ from this miracle? What does it tell us about Him, and what did it tell those who observed it about Him?
A. Healing the blind was a direct confirmation of His being the messiah
Isa 29:18 (KJV) And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness.

Isa 35:5 (KJV) Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.

Isa 42:7 (KJV) To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.

QUESTION - Why do you think Jesus smeared clay on his eyes? i.e. Why didn't he just "speak him whole?"

B. Healing the blind man was a miracle of creation.
Gen 2:7 (KJV) And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

V. Pride (vss. 16,24,28,34,40)

A. The Pharisees had more opportunity for salvation than nearly anyone else.
QUESTION - Why? Can you defend the above statement?

1. Their life was dedicated to the study of scripture, which spoke of Christ.

2. They enjoyed a tremendous amount of personal attention from Jesus. (Perhaps second only to the disciples?)

B. Yet, many of them died without Christ and went to hell because of pride.
1. Refused to admit they were wrong.

2. Refused to admit their lives had been a waste.

ILLUS. Paul (a Pharisee) had to say "What things were gain to me, I counted but loss..."

ILLUS. Frank Morrison - author of book Who Moved the Stone?, had to admit that he had been totally and publicly wrong about Christ. Once he admitted this, he was saved and wrote a great book on the resurrection of Christ.

ILLUS. Son of Madelyn Murray O'Hare who had to admit that his (and her) atheistic view was wrong. Once he came to this conclusion, he was saved.

C. Pride and a refusal to admit sin, sends many to hell even today.

VI. Salvation (vss. 35-38)

A. It was faith that had brought physical healing. (vs. 7)
B. It was faith that now brought salvation.
C. A couple of interesting things regarding his salvation:
1. He came when Jesus sought him.

Rom 3:11 (KJV) There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

John 6:44 (KJV) No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

- How important to respond when he draws!

- The draw is not endless (cf. Prov. 29:1)

2. His salvation resulted in worship.

QUESTION - What does this say is a natural result of salvation? What does it say about those who profess Christ, but show no outward manifestation of their profession?

VII. Progressive (vss. 11,33,35-38)

QUESTION - How did this man's understanding of and faith in Christ progress through this chapter?

A. He believed Jesus was a man. (vs. 11)

B. He recognized Jesus was a man of God. (vs. 33)

C. He claimed Jesus as the Son of God. (vss. 35-38)

QUESTION - How does His progression in understanding apply to us today? (to those we witness to?)

VIII. Blindness (vs. 41)

A. Physical blindness is terrible.
ILLUS. Helen Keller
B. Yet scripture teaches that all the lost are blind.
2 Cor 4:4 (KJV) In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

Eph 4:18 (KJV) Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:

2 Pet 1:9 (KJV) But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

1 John 2:11 (KJV) But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.

QUESTION - How does this text make you feel about the lost?

QUESTION - How does this text make you feel about your own salvation?


When we think about this wonderful account of Jesus healing a man born blind, we cannot help but be reminded of his claim in John 8:12, "I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."

Jesus does, indeed, provide physical sight to many. He did in the first century, and he does today. (Our own Bob Cochran is an example!)

Jesus, however, provides spiritual sight to all who will seek it. For this, we that are saved have reason to praise Him, as well as reason to share the truth with others.

Please direct questions, comments, and submissions to William E. Johnson
Copyright 1996 William E. Johnson.