The human body is a wonderful thing. We are aware of our own bodies since the day we are born. Providing for the body is the main concern of parents of a new born. Getting a baby clothed and fed, changed and bathed are the most important care activities of the day. Slowly it shifts to communication, interaction in play and the discovery of the world introduced initially only through the parents. The baby grows into an adult for whom looking after the physical body takes second place over the development of the mind.
Most of the hours of our adult life are spent on applying our mind to work, entertainment and caring for our physical activities. It is our mind first and foremost that determines the care for our bodies. When we are healthy and physically active, we seldom consider every unseen part of our body. When sickness focuses our mind on a malfunctioning part, we are suddenly aware of an organ or vein or other previously unrecognized part whose purpose is obstructed by disease.
Disease occupies our thinking and activities especially shortly after diagnosis. When we have to live with a handicap in our bodies when most other people take the functioning of that body part for granted, we compensate in so many ways for our less-than-perfect body. Just imagine being born blind. Not having been able to see a tree or water or any other human, impacts life in a profound way. The healing of sight changes everything. Our thinking, perceiving of and responding to the world changes into a different approach altogether.
One cannot be born blind, receive sight in a moment and stay the same person. A touch from God will change your whole being. The healing of the body changes the mind and the spirit.
Healing from blindness in the time of Jesus was mostly an impossibility. The medical science was not developed to even begin to find a cause for blindness.
Blindness was widespread in the ancient Near East.
Theologically speaking, all cases of blindness are attributed to God (Exodus 4:11), just as the restoration of sight is credited to Him (Psalms 146:8). However, outside of the specific cases mentioned, blindness in general is nowhere stated to be a punishment for sin, although it was a widespread superstition.
Blindness is used with several metaphoric meanings in the Bible. Frequently it refers to the lack of intellectual or moral understanding (Isaiah 29:9–10,18). Judges are warned that bribes, or gifts, blind the eyes of the discerning (Exodus 23:8; Deuteronomy 16:19). Isaiah is told that his mission is to besmear the eyes of Israel so that it will not “see” and repent and be healed (6:10). In Isaiah 56:10 blindness refers to negligence, while in Numbers 16:14 putting out the eyes is usually taken to mean deceiving.
Blind persons are naturally helpless in many ways. Blindness in the ancient world was assumed to be a ticket to misery, a curse, or a sentence to second-class status. The blind enjoyed few opportunities and lived out their days in poverty as beggars or as wards of their families.
The healing of the blind man was a reason to rejoice and celebrate. The whole community would have been aware that there is one less beggar on the street. He would have been able to look after himself and start a whole new life.
But…the healing took place on the Sabbath. Jesus had broken the Sabbath law. By making clay he had been guilty of working on the Sabbath when even the simplest acts constituted work.
We have already mentioned how many instructions surrounded the work ban of the law on the Sabbath. For example a man may not go out on the Sabbath with sandals shod with nails. The weight of the nails would have constituted a burden, and to carry a burden was to break the Sabbath. A man may not cut his fingernails or pull out a hair of his head or his beard. A man may not light or extinguish a lamp on the Sabbath.
It was forbidden to heal on the Sabbath. Medical attention could be given only if life was in actual danger. Even then it must be only such as to keep the patient from getting worse, not to make him any better.
Don’t laugh – do you have any little laws, little superstitions that keep you captive? Do you touch wood when something good happens? Are you fearful that something bad will happen when everything is going smoothly?
The Pharisees thought that their way was the only way of serving God.
This blind man is quite a character. The Pharisees irritate him. Just read the dialogue between him and the church leaders. He was not able to fit Jesus into their theologically correctness and he didn’t care. His miracle forever set him apart. Jesus was in his heart and nobody could get Him out even if he could not explain his healing with his mind.
We love Jesus, not theories around Him.
The blind man was brave. He confronted the church leaders. Maybe he was not so aware of their stranglehold on society being a blind beggar and an object of pity.
The man’s parents were scared. The leaders were powerful. They could shut them off and out of the community. Property could be forfeited and socializing banned. Jesus warned his disciples against them (Luke 6:22, John 16:2, 12:42).
Excommunication was serious. A person was cut off from God and the people and publicly cursed. For a Jew it was terrible, even when it was only temporary. The Pharisees would use the “church” for their own goal – hatred of Jesus.
The Pharisees suspected some fraud.They did not believe the man to be born blind. They suspected the miracle was bogus.False prophetsmade up fake miracles to their own advantage (Deuteronomy 13:1).
“Give the glory to God,” was a phrase used in cross-examination, which really meant: “Speak the truth in the presence and the name of God.”
They were annoyed because they could not meet the man’s argument, which was based on scripture. The miracle meant that Jesus has done a very wonderful thing. The fact that he has done it means that God hears him. God never hears the prayers of a bad man; therefore Jesus cannot be a bad man.
The fact that God did not hear the prayer of a bad man, is a basic assumption in the Old Testament.(Job 27:9, Psalms 66:18, Isaiah 1:15, Ezekiel 8:18, Psalms 145:19, Proverb 15:29)
The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous, and his ears toward their cry. (Psalm 34:15)
Their argument was weak so they resorted to abuse; then insult with the statement that he was born in sin. Then they threatened force and ordered him out of their presence. Their argument becomes a contest of bitterness full of wild words and hot threats. It proves their case to be disturbingly weak.
Jesus found the man being put out of the Temple. Separated from fellow men, God will find you.Great revelation followedhis faith and stance. The Son of God was revealed to him – greater is not possible. He knelt and received Jesus; the wonder that was in his heart was now in his mind as well.
He was healed from spiritual blindness.
The man who is conscious of his own blindness is the man who will see. The man, who thinks he can see, is truly blind and beyond help. To admit weakness is to be strong. To realize sin is to be forgiven.
Knowledge can condemn, if the truth cannot be recognized.The Pharisees had all the knowledge and failed to recognize their Messiah.
The blind man met Jesus. He grew in his knowledgeand revelation. He called Jesus a man (9:11). He began by thinking He is supreme among men. Then he called Him a prophet (9:17). A prophet is somebody who brings God to men. (Amos 3:7).
Then he confessed that He is the Son of God– the result of revelation knowledge.
This is true healing – the package deal. To be forever healed from the blindness of our hearts, is to know who Jesus really is and to receive the revelation of Him as the Christ, the Son of the living God, in the true conviction of the Holy Spirit.
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.