The Shepherd Knows His Sheep

Jesus had spent the night on the Mount of Olives and then came to the temple in Jerusalem on the Sabbath. While Jesus was leaving the temple after having been threatened with stoning, He passed by a beggar. John 9:1-33 tells the story.


Christ Heals the Blind Man

John 9:1-33:

9     Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. 2 And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

3 Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. 4 I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

6 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. 7 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.

8 Therefore the neighbors and those who previously had seen that he was blind said, “Is not this he who sat and begged?”

Some said, “This is he.” Others said, “He is like him.”

He said, “I am he.

10 Therefore they said to him, “How were your eyes opened?”

11 He answered and said, “A Man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed, and I received sight.”

12 Then they said to him, “Where is He?”

He said, “I do not know.”

13 They brought him who formerly was blind to the Pharisees. 14 Now it was a Sabbath when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. 15 Then the Pharisees also asked him again how he had received his sight. He said to them, “He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.”

16 Therefore some of the Pharisees said, “This Man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath.”

Others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” And there was a division among them.

17 They said to the blind man again, “What do you say about Him because He opened your eyes?”

He said, “He is a prophet.”

18 But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind and received his sight, until they called the parents of him who had received his sight. 19 And they asked them, saying, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?”

20 His parents answered them and said, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; 21 but by what means he now sees we do not know, or who opened his eyes we do not know. He is of age; ask him. He will speak for himself.”

22 His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had agreed already that if anyone confessed that He was Christ, he would be put out of the synagogue. 23 Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”

24 So they again called the man who was blind, and said to him, “Give God the glory! We know that this Man is a sinner.”

25 He answered and said, “Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.”

26 Then they said to him again, “What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?”

27 He answered them, “I told you already, and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become His disciples?”

28 Then they reviled him and said, “You are His disciple, but we are Moses’ disciples. 29 We know that God spoke to Moses; as for this fellow, we do not know where He is from.”

30 The man answered and said to them, “Why, this is a marvelous thing, that you do not know where He is from; yet He has opened my eyes! 32 Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind. 33 If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing.”

 Commentary: the healing of a man born blind (chap. 9).

Isaiah predicted that in messianic times various signs would occur. The Messiah would “open eyes that are blind” (Isa. 42:7; cf. Isa. 29:18; 35:5). Jesus often healed the blind (cf. Matt. 9:27-31; 12:22-23; 15:30; 20:29-34; 21:14). This miracle in John 9 is notable because Jesus had just proclaimed Himself as “the Light of the world” (8:12). As a public demonstration of His claim, He gave sight to a man born blind.

9:1. As He went along in the city of Jerusalem, Jesus saw a man with congenital blindness. Jesus’ choice of this individual is significant (cf. 5:5-6). He is Sovereign in His works. That the man was blind from birth pointed out his seeming hopelessness. This illustrates man’s spiritual blindness from birth (9:39-41; 2 Cor. 4:4; Eph. 2:1-3).

9:2-3. The disciples faced a theological problem. Believing that sin directly caused all suffering, how could a person be born with a handicap? Therefore either this man . . . sinned in his mother’s womb (Ezek. 18:4) or his parents sinned (Ex. 20:5). Jesus therefore answered, Neither this man nor his parents sinned. These words do not contradict the universal sinfulness of man (cf. Rom. 3:9-20, 23). Instead Jesus meant that this man’s blindness was not caused by some specific sin. Instead the problem existed so that . . . God could display His glory in the midst of seeming tragedy (cf. Ex. 4:11; 2 Cor. 12:9).

9:4-5. Day means the time allotted for Jesus to do God’s will (to do the work of Him who sent Me). We includes the disciples and by extension all believers. Night is the limit set to do God’s works. In Jesus’ case it was His coming death. As the Light of the world Jesus gives people salvation (cf. 8:12). After His death, His disciples would be His lights (cf. Matt. 5:14; Eph. 5:8-14), bringing Christ to others.

9:6-7. Jesus placed clay (mud with . . . saliva) on the man’s eyes. Interestingly man was made from this same substance—the dust of the earth (Gen. 2:7). Jesus probably used the clay as an aid to develop the man’s faith, not as a medicine. Jesus’ making of clay broke the Rabbinic regulations against kneading clay on the Sabbath (cf. John 9:14). Jesus then told the man, Wash in the pool of Siloam (this word means Sent). This is located at the southeast corner of Jerusalem (see the map), where Hezekiah’s tunnel channeled water inside the city walls from the Gihon Spring. The man was “sent” there and Jesus was the One “sent” by the Father. The man . . . washed and went home seeing!

9:8-9. People argued over whether he was the same man who used to sit and beg. If so, it was incredible that he could see. Perhaps, they said, it was a case of mistaken identity. But he himself insisted, I am the man.

9:10-12. But if he were the same man, how was this possible? He gave a simple and factual account of how the miracle occurred. He referred to the Lord as the Man they call Jesus. Since he was blind at the time of the miracle, he had no idea where Jesus went.

9:13-14. Since this miracle was so unusual, the people brought the man to the Pharisees, who were highly respected in religious matters. To the Pharisees, healing (unless life was in danger) and making or kneading clay violated the Sabbath Law.

9:15-16. When the Pharisees . . . asked him about his situation, he briefly told what happened (cf. v. 11). The Pharisees believed that since Jesus “violated” the Sabbath He was a false prophet turning the people away from God (Deut. 13:3-5). So they concluded, This Man is not from God. Later they said Jesus was “a sinner” (John 9:24). Others concluded that the signs were so impressive that a sinner could not do them. (Of course a false prophet could do deceptive signs [cf. 2 Thes. 2:9].) The Pharisees then were divided (cf. John 7:43; 10:19).

9:17. The healed blind man’s opinion was that Jesus is a prophet. Old Testament prophets sometimes performed miracles which marked them out as God’s men.

9:18-20. The Jews still could not believe this man had been blind. Surely some mistake had been made. So they sent for his parents, who affirmed that he was their son who had been born blind.

9:21-23. But the parents . . . were afraid to hazard any opinions about the cure or the Healer. The Pharisees and other Jewish authorities (the Jews) had already . . . decided that Jesus was not the Messiah. Those who held such a heresy would be excommunicated from the synagogue. (Some scholars argue that this verse was added later by an editor, but there is nothing unthinkable about this kind of persecution during Jesus’ ministry.) The parents shifted the pressure from themselves by noting that their son was of legal age to testify for him (vv. 21, 23).

9:24. The authorities tried to pressure the healed man into withdrawing his testimony about Jesus: Give glory to God (cf. Josh. 7:19; 1 Sam. 6:5; Jer. 13:16) was a call to admit his guilt in siding with Jesus, whom they called a sinner. When they said We know, they were pressuring him. Unbelief often claims to be scientific, but here it was just stubborn and willful.

9:25-26. His witness was clear, and he refused to deny what he knew for certain: I was blind, but now I see! They asked him to go over the story again, hoping to find some contradiction in the man’s report.

9:27. The ex-blind man got impatient. He had already told how he was healed (v. 15), but they did not listen to him. That is, they rejected it. He sarcastically asked if their request for him to repeat his report indicated that they had changed their hearts. Were they inquiring because they were interested in becoming Jesus’ disciples?

9:28-29. The idea of this illiterate beggar sarcastically suggesting they were interested in Jesus was more than their pride could take. They insulted him and then claimed that they were Moses’ disciples. Jesus to them was an unknown. We don’t even know where He comes from. Yet they claimed to know Moses who, Jesus said, wrote about Him (5:46).

9:30-33. The beggar proceeded to teach them since they admitted ignorance of Jesus’ origin. The irony is strong for the reader knows His origin (1:14, 18). According to the beggar’s logic, this miracle was notable and unique. He said that no one had ever heard of . . . a man born blind receiving sight. He reasoned that God grants not the requests of sinners but those of the righteous (cf. Elijah, James 5:16-18). Therefore this Man, he said, is from God. Otherwise He could do no miracles.


You will find that if you show your love, honor and devotion to God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, you will receive their love back in so many different ways now and for all of eternity.

God is testing us every day and has given us the right to make our own choices. Do you know which ones are the right choices in Gods mind?

Fear God, love God, honor God, and trust God with all your heart, mind and soul and you will receive and experience the joy of the promises of God’s blessings in His time.


Prayer:   Father in heaven, I praise You for Your Son and the Holy Spirit. I praise You for Your grace in sending Your wisdom about the “Shepherd Knows His Sheep.”  Please bless those who have read this article for they too are seeking Your righteous truth, love, wisdom and understanding.

May God, Jesus, The Holy Spirit and Christianity be our guiding lights, our safety nets and our inspiration for loving happiness in all of Your kingdom. Father into your hands I commend my spirit. Not my will, but Yours be done. Please come Lord Jesus.

I pray in Jesus sweet name and to His glory through the power of the Holy Spirit,