How the Man Born Blind challenges you and me

Andrew Fountain
Sun, 2020-01-12

Video cover image: Royalty Free image by PicRepo

  • On the surface this is a simple healing story,
  • but John has beautifully put together a series of events and conversations that build up to a startling revelation from Jesus
  • that his light can actually lead people to become blind,
  • and we ourselves need to pay close attention.
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Sermon Outline - How the Man Born Blind challenges you and me

View or download the handout of the story here.

John 9 – Healing of the Man Born Blind

  1. Now as Jesus was passing by, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. 2His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who committed the sin that caused him to be born blind, this man or his parents?” 3Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but so that the works of God may be displayed in him.
  2. We must perform the deeds of the one who sent me as long as it is daytime. Night is coming when no one can work. 5As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
  3. Having said this, he spat on the ground and made some mud with the saliva. He smeared the mud on the blind man’s eyes 7and said to him, “Go wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated “sent”). So he went and washed, and came back seeing.
  1. Then the neighbors and the people who had seen him previously as a beggar began saying, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” 9Some people said, “This is the man!” while others said, “No, but he looks like him.” The man himself kept insisting, “I am the one!” 10So they asked him, “How then were your eyes opened?”
  2. He replied, “The man called Jesus made mud, smeared it on my eyes and told me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed, and recovered sight.”
  3. They said to him, “Where is that man?” He replied, “I don’t know.”
  4. They brought the man who used to be blind to the Pharisees. 14(Now it was a Sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes.) 15So the Pharisees asked him again how he had gained his sight. He replied, “He put mud on my eyes and I washed, and I see.”
  5. Then some of the Pharisees began to say, “This man is not from God, because he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others said, “How can a person who is a sinner do such signs?” Thus there was a division among them. 17So again they asked the man who used to be blind, “What do you say about him, since he opened your eyes?” He replied, “He is a prophet.”
  6. Now the Jewish religious leaders refused to believe that he had really been blind and had gained his sight until they summoned the parents of the man who had gained his sight. 19They asked the parents, “Is this your son, whom you say was born blind?
    Then how does he now see?”
  7. So his parents replied, “We know that this is our son and that he was born blind.
    21But how he now sees we do not know, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him, he is an adult. He will speak for himself.” 22(His parents said these things because they were afraid of the Jewish religious leaders. For the Jewish leaders had already agreed that anyone who confessed Jesus to be the Christ would be put out of the synagogue. 23For this reason his parents said, “He is an adult, ask him.”)
  8. Then they summoned the man who had been blind a second time and said to him, “Promise before God to tell the truth. We know that this person is a sinner.” 25He replied, “Whether he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know—that although I was blind, now I see.”
  9. Then they said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he opened your eyes?” 27He answered, “I’ve already told you and you didn’t listen. Why do you want to hear it again? You don’t want to become his disciples too, do you?”
  10. They heaped insults on him, saying, “You are his disciple! We are disciples of Moses! 29We know that God has spoken to Moses! But as for this man, we do not know where he is from!”
  11. The man answered them, “This is an amazing thing, that you don’t know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes! 31We know that God doesn’t listen to sinners, but if anyone is devoted to God and does his will, God listens to him. 32Never since the world began has it been heard of anyone opened the eyes of someone born blind. 33If this was not one from God, he could do nothing.” 34They replied, “You were born steeped in sin, and you presume to teach us?” And they threw him out.
  1. Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, so he found the man and said to him, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 36The man replied, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” 37Jesus told him, “You have seen him and he is the one speaking with you.” 38He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.
  2. Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and the ones who see may become blind.”
  3. Some of the Pharisees who were with him heard this and asked him, “We are not blind too, are we?” 41Jesus replied, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin, but now because you claim that you can see, your guilt remains.

Translation by Andrew Fountain


  • To understand this powerful story about light and blindness and apply it to ourselves


  1. The Big Story
  2. The Five Conversations
  3. Challenge: Which is your response to the light?

John 1–12 “Book of Signs”

1 Prolog

Wedding Nicodemus Woman at well Child healed
5 Sabbath Healing: Take up your bed and walk
6 Feeds 5000, I am the Bread of life
7 I am the Living Water (after walks on water)
8 I am the Light of the World
9-10 Sabbath Healing: Man born blind
11 Lazarus raised from the dead

12 Epilog

Video: #3–12:05

1. The Big Story

Read v.1–7 from John9_01-iframe.html

  1. – 3. God’s timing for healing.
    • Jewish belief—everything wrong is directly attributable to specific sin
    • Even today Sometimes people who are sick can get blamed for lack of faith
    • God’s ways are higher than our ways, and sometimes we just have to trust his plans
  2. – 5. Referring to his arrest and death.
    • But his light came back in the form of the Spirit at Pentecost
  3. – 7. The miracle
    • Creation themes (more than healing—he had never seen, so it is new creation)
    • Sends the man away to wash, and he has never seen Jesus.
  • Makes sense skipping middle section
    1. physical & Spiritual sight
    2. It is all about seeing true realities, or refusing to see them
    3. So does sin cause blindness—the irony is that yes, it does!

Parallels with healing by the pool

  • A pool involved
  • Sick a long time 38yrs/lifetime
  • Jesus takes the initiative in healing
  • The man is given a command which he obeys
  • On the Sabbath—which is a huge issue
  • Jesus disappears
  • Pharisees cross-question healed man
  • A statement at the end about the Pharisees’s guilt
  • Jesus finds the man again at the end and challenges him
  • Differences
    • This is a much more dramatic miracle and forces the question “who is Jesus”
    • Climax of his teaching
    • As we will see, the 2nd man’s response goes way beyond the 1st and he receives spiritual sight

2. The Five Conversations

  1. The neighbors and the people
  2. They brought the man to the Pharisees
  3. Pharisees summoned the parents
  4. Pharisees summoned the man a second time
  5. The man answered them,

1. The neighbors and the people

  • Read section

Track the Trust of 4 Groups

  1. Neighbors and people
  2. Man himself
  3. Pharisees
  4. Man’s Mother & Father
  • Neighbors and people?
  • Man? himself: The man called Jesus —who know where he is?

2. They brought the man to the Pharisees

  • Pharisees? —division. Not sure so they ask the man
    • It is true that signs and wonders do not prove from God (Pharoah’s snakes)
  • Man? – “He is a prophet.”

3. Pharisees summoned the Mother & Father

  • Pharisees? —looking for an escape
  • Mother & Father?
    • this is really key: did they see the facts?
    • Why did they respond how they did?

The problem with Light

  • When you shine a bright light into a situation, it forces a choice
  • Are you willing for Jesus to shine his bright light into your life?
  1. Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and the ones who see may become blind.”

4. Pharisees summoned the man a second time

  • Pharisees? —Previousely they were devided, how are they now?
    • Desperately looking for a way out—the light is too bright for them

5. The man answered them,

  • Man? —“one from God”
    • He paid the price. This is the main challenge of the passage.

3. Challenge: Which is your response to the light?

  • Neighbors: Life has enough stuff without more challenges
  • Mother & Father: This is too risky
  • Pharisees: I have a framework for life and this does not fit
  • Man: This is so important I’m willing to lose everything by openly aligning myself with Jesus
  • Can you pray: shine your light into my life Jesus?
  • What might happen?
    • God might challenge your life in some area
    • He might call you to take some risks, maybe in being more open about being a Christian

Updated on 2020-01-12 by Andrew Fountain