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HOW JESUS HEALED THE MAN BORN BLIND

by Jacques More

Jesus healed a number of blind people during his ministry on earth. Near Galilee, when two blind men shouted after Jesus 'Son of David, have mercy on us!' Jesus then went into a house. The blind men came in and Jesus asked them 'Do you believe that I am able to do this?'

They said to Him, 'Yes, Lord.'
Then He touched their eyes, saying, 'According to your faith let it be to you.' And their eyes were opened . . .

Matthew 9:28-30

On another occasion, this time just outside of Jericho, when blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, heard that it was Jesus passing by, he shouted out 'Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!' hearing this Jesus stood still and asked that the blind man be brought to him. Being told that Jesus called for him Bartimaeus threw aside his coat, got up and came to Jesus. Jesus then asked,

'What do you want Me to do for you?'
The blind man said to Him, 'Rabboni, that I may receive my sight.'
Then Jesus said to him, 'Go your way; your faith has made you well.' And immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus on the road.

Mark 10:51-52

In both these events Jesus spoke with the blind men in order to know something in particular. He already knew these men knew about him as the son of David. Something they would have learned from hearing about Jesus: who he was and what he did. What Jesus then asked them enabled Jesus to hear something specific in their response. I think also that it is great - I love it - that in his question to Bartimaeus Jesus did not presume what he wanted, but asked. The replies to Jesus however showed that each of these blind men believed Jesus could heal them. So in healing them Jesus also proclaimed what enabled this healing. They believed and this faith had enabled it.

These men had never seen Jesus do a miracle. They had only heard about them. Their faith in this being possible for them too then began. Jesus was the final point of contact for their faith to be released. But before they did this Jesus wanted to hear their confession - to speak out what their hearts was now full of (or not) - by how they responded to his questions. It was not so much the words they used that mattered, but that in speaking their words it was evident to all they believed. Their faith was complete.

The man born blind
The man born blind was met near the temple (John 8:59-9:1). We are not told how the disciples knew this man was born blind. Maybe he had a placard whilst he sat begging (John 9:8); maybe he was well known over a long time. We don't know. But it was known and the disciples wanted to understand what had caused this man to be born blind.

His disciples asked Him, saying, 'Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?'

John 9:2

Evidently the disciples knew that sometimes the need for healing involved dealing with sin: sometimes sin had to be forgiven before healing could take place. Something Jesus had previously made plain. In Capernaum a paralytic was brought to Jesus. On This occasion knowing this needed dealing with first, Jesus said to the man,

'Son, your sins are forgiven you.' . . . And . . . 'I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go your way to your house.' And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went out . . .

Mark 2:5-12

For healing to take place sometimes the cause for sickness needs dealing with first. Sin is sometimes the entry point to sickness. This was understood and therefore explained by James when he wrote:


Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church . . . And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed . . .

James 5:14-16

So, the disciples knowing of such a possible link of sin to sickness, enquired of Jesus that since this man was born blind, what was the cause of his being without sight? Jesus however replied, in a manner that showed that sin is not always an issue. Something which the Lord also told Moses by saying: 'who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the LORD?' (Exodus 4:11).
Jesus reply was,

Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.

John 9:3

Then Jesus spoke about the miracles he needed to do whilst he was still with them. After this he turned his full attention to the blind man. I say full because being near the man and talking with his disciples, all that was said was also heard by the man. Jesus was conscious of this and ensured his reply contained no condemnation of guilt for the man's blindness on either him or his parents, as well as mention - even as if casually - that he needs to be doing miracles 'the works of the Father' as long as he was in the world. So that this blind man now knew something about Jesus: Jesus accepted him and held no sin against him and, Jesus had no doubt of his (own) ability to heal. On top of that Jesus said that such a miracle should happen to him, when he said 'the works of God should be revealed in him'. But, it appears, that unlike the blind men I mentioned earlier, this blind man had not heard much about Jesus. He later explained what happened to him to others and described Jesus like this: 'A man called Jesus made . . . and said . . .' (John 9:11) an indication he had not known about Jesus before. So after he spoke to the disciples Jesus did this:

When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. And He said to him,
'Go, wash in the pool of Siloam'
(which is translated, Sent). So he went and washed, and came back seeing.

John 9:6-7

Now we can see why Jesus did this.
This blind man had only just begun to hear about Jesus. He heard in Jesus' voice someone confident and sincere in what he spoke. He heard that this man did miracles and such a miracle should also happen to him. But before this could happen Jesus wanted to ensure this man believed and really wanted this for himself. I believe Jesus wanted to ensure the heart of this man was committed to this happening.

How can we see this?
Jesus made mud, applied it to the man's eyes then, he told him to wash it off. But, he did not say wash it off just anywhere. Remember this man sat begging near the temple. Jesus said to wash the mud off in the pool of Siloam. Where? This pool was at the opposite end of the city of Jerusalem to where the temple was. So, let's picture this for a moment. You are blind, your face is dirty with mud (as if you had fallen down for example) then you have to walk to the other side of town. You have to pass the merchants, the crowds, the travellers and all foot traffic. In a particular direction all the way and opposite the flow of many: since the main reason for folk being in Jerusalem in the streets was to go to the temple. So, any and all calls for help to the man to wash before he got to the pool he had to reject. And so on. All that this man had just heard from Jesus had thus time to make a home, and take root in his heart and mind. And his action to fully do what Jesus said worked to manifest his faith in God for a miracle.

If Jesus had been at the pool at the end of his journey he might also have said to him as he did to Bartimaeus: 'Go your way; your faith has made you well.' (Mark 10:52).



Ref. S.067

Unless otherwise stated Bible quotes are from the New King James Version

© copyright Thomas Nelson Inc. 1979,1980,1982.

© copyright Jacques More 2007. All Rights Reserved.

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