The Son of God among the Sons of Men Part 9: Jesus and the Man Born Blind -- By: Everett F. Harrison

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 104:413 (Jan 1947)
Article: The Son of God among the Sons of Men Part 9: Jesus and the Man Born Blind
Author: Everett F. Harrison


The Son of God among the Sons of Men
Part 9: Jesus and the Man Born Blind

Everett F. Harrison

IX. Jesus and the Man Born Blind

The whole of chapter nine in John’s Gospel is given over to the account of this miracle and the discussions which grew out of it. In the incident we see a forceful illustration of the varying reception accorded Jesus in His public mission, emphasizing the national rejection and the individual response of faith (1:11–13). One man received sight from our Lord, then with a growing apprehension of His greatness, received the Lord Himself, while the leaders of the people, resisting the light of testimony and reason, refused also the Light of life.

It happened in Jerusalem. We are not told just where, but it may have been in the neighborhood of the temple that the blind beggar took up his station, for his hope of receiving alms would naturally be greater there than in any other spot. Cf. Acts 3:2. The affliction of blindness brought with it a helplessness which readily pushed him into the ranks of the beggars, even though his parents were still living. He was doubly to be pitied. Shut out of the world of sense with its beauty and fascination, he was shut up to the chance kindness of passersby. And he had never known anything else, for he was blind from birth. He had neither memory nor hope of better things.

Then Jesus passed by, but not like the priest and the Levite who circled the man in need. John tells us that Jesus saw this man. Everybody sees a beggar, especially one who is blind. But it is easy to pretend not to have seen such a one. Only when Jesus fastened His eyes on the man and slowed His pace did the disciples begin to take an interest in

the case. Jesus looked upon the man, the disciples saw a theological problem. It is hard to say just what was in their minds in connection with the first alternative, though the second is easily accounted for on the principle that the sins of the fathers are visited on the children. It is difficult to imagine the disciples entertaining the notion that this man sinned in the womb or in a previous existence. Did they mean that blindness was imposed because of sin he would later commit? That too poses difficulty. Perhaps the disciples did not sense the problem presented by their own statement.

Jesus did not encourage their speculation, but instead called attention to the glorious opportunity for working the works of God. In so speaking, He threw out a hint that more than one blessing was in store for the unfortunate man before them. Sight would come to the eyes, faith and hope to the hear...

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