Jesus’ Life and Ministry
The Pharisees’ Stubborn Unbelief
THE parents of the once blind beggar are afraid when they are called before the Pharisees. They know that it has been determined to expel from the synagogue anyone who expresses faith in Jesus. Such cutting off of fellowship with others in the community can work a tremendous hardship, especially on a poor family. So the parents are cautious.
“Is this your son who you say was born blind?” the Pharisees ask. “How, then, is it he sees at present?”
“We know that this is our son and that he was born blind,” the parents confirm. “But how it is he now sees we do not know, or who opened his eyes we do not know.” Surely their son has told them all that has occurred, but discreetly the parents say: “Ask him. He is of age. He must speak for himself.”
Therefore, the Pharisees again call the man. This time they try to intimidate him by indicating that they have gathered incriminating evidence against Jesus. “Give glory to God,” they demand. “We know that this man is a sinner.”
The once blind man does not deny their charge, observing: “Whether he is a sinner I do not know.” But he adds: “One thing I do know, that, whereas I was blind, I see at present.”
Trying to find a flaw in his testimony, the Pharisees again ask: “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?”
“I told you already,” the man complains, “and yet you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again?” Sarcastically, he asks: “You do not want to become his disciples also, do you?”
This reply enrages the Pharisees. “You are a disciple of that man,” they charge, “but we are disciples of Moses. We know that God has spoken to Moses; but as for this man, we do not know where he is from.”
Expressing surprise, the humble beggar responds: “This certainly is a marvel, that you do not know where he is from, and yet he opened my eyes.” What conclusion should be drawn from this? The beggar points to the accepted premise: “We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is God-fearing and does his will, he listens to this one. From of old it has never been heard that anyone opened the eyes of one born blind.” Thus, the conclusion should be obvious: “If this man were not from God, he could do nothing at all.”
The Pharisees have no answer for such straightforward, clear logic. They cannot face up to the truth, and so they revile the man: “You were altogether born in sins, and yet are you teaching us?” At this, they throw the man out, apparently expelling him from the synagogue.
When Jesus learns about what they have done, he finds the man and says: “Are you putting faith in the Son of man?”
“Who is he, sir,” the once blind beggar answers, “that I may put faith in him?”
“He that is speaking with you is that one,” Jesus replies.
Immediately, the man bows before Jesus and says: “I do put faith in him, Lord.”
Jesus then explains: “For this judgment I came into this world: that those not seeing might see and those seeing might become blind.”
At that, Pharisees who are listening ask: “We are not blind also, are we?” If they would acknowledge that they were mentally blind, there would be an excuse for their opposition to Jesus. As Jesus tells them: “If you were blind, you would have no sin.” Yet, they hardheartedly insist that they are not blind and need no spiritual enlightenment. So Jesus observes: “Now you say, ‘We see.’ Your sin remains.” John 9:19-41.
◆ Why are the parents of the once blind beggar afraid when they are called before the Pharisees, and so how do they answer cautiously?
◆ How do the Pharisees try to intimidate the once blind man?
◆ What logical argument of the man infuriates the Pharisees?
◆ Why are the Pharisees without excuse for their opposition to Jesus?