► Conflict Over the Healing of a Blind Man. 9: 1-10: 21 This narrative demonstrates Jesus claims in the previous context and chronologically follows directly on Jesus departure from the temple on the last day of the festival ( 7: 37; 8: 59 ) . It probably begins not far from the temple ( cf. 9: 7 ) . This section opens with the healing of a blind man ( 9: 1-7 ) and closes with the recognition that this miracle was not what one expected from a demon ( 10: 21 ) . The narrative between includes Pharisaic charges that Jesus healing cannot be from God ( 9: 16, 22, 24 ) , a response from the formerly blind man that challenges the logic of their paradigm ( 9: 25, 27, 31-33 ) , and a response from Jesus, who reverses the charge and shows that it is his opponents who are not from God ( 9: 40-10: 18 ) .
The Gospel of John, Conflict Over the Healing of a Blind Man. ...
Blindness and Sin ( 9: 1-34 ) Contrary to what the elite supposed ( 9: 34 ) , the man was not born blind due to a sin ( 9: 2-3 ) , nor was his healer a sinner ( 9: 16, 24 ) ; by contrast, the elite themselves are sinful and spiritually blind ( 9: 39-41 ) . The true connection between blindness and sin links together the entire section 9: 1-41. But because 9: 40-41 begin the response to the Pharisees which is continued in 10: 1-18 and 9: 35-39 begins Jesus defense of the healed man, we have limited the first section to the material directly related to the healing and responses to it ( 9: 1-34 ) . The following section ( 9: 35-10: 18 ) traces Jesus own response to the varied responses to his act, especially the responses of the healed man and the Jerusalem elite. Moreover, the contrast between physical and spiritual blindness (dependence on Christ and opposition to him) of 9: 39-41 is already implicit at the beginning of this section. Jesus became invisible in some sense to his enemies in 8: 59, so they could not see him; but here Jesus cures a man physically blind and so despised by his enemies ( 9: 2, 34 ) . (Indeed, worldly evaluations of the reasons for blindness form an inclusio around Jesus healing and the mans fidelity to him; 9: 2, 34.) Epistemological terms («know») dominate the dialogue scenes and probably provide the metaphoric meaning of «sight» language also prominent in the chapter. 7010 The blind man himself becomes a paradigm of growing discipleship; when he confesses Jesus openly, he moves from recognizing him as a «man» ( 9: 11 ) to a «prophet» ( 9: 17 ) and a man from God ( 9: 33 ) , and with Jesus revelation recognizes him as «Son of Man» and «Lord» ( 9: 35-37 ) . 7011 The end of this account contrasts starkly with the man healed in ch. 5 who did not proceed to become a disciple ( 5: 1-16 ) ; for point-by-point contrasts with that account, see comments there. This man, like others who did the truth, would come to the light ( 3: 19-21; cf. 9: 3; 5: 14 ) .
1. Jesus Heals One Blind from Birth ( 9: 1-7 ) Blindness «from birth» was considered especially difficult, 7012 though John mentions the duration of the malady ( 9: 1; cf. 5: 5 ) at least partly to lead into the disciples question of who merited his birth in this state ( 9: 2 ) . Ancients generally believed that, under extraordinary circumstances, blind persons could be healed; 7013 thus some contended that Isis both cured eye diseases and made blind, 7014 and in a list of healings at Epidauros, the lame and blind appear in a summary (perhaps as the most dramatic cures) . 7015 The Jesus tradition multiply attests that Jesus healed some blind people; 7016 there the opening of blind eyes, like the healing of the lame ( 5: 9 ) , reflects signs of the messianic era ( Isa 35: 5-6 ) . Redaction critics often argue that, given Jesus reputation for healing blindness and the pre-70 character of traditions like the pool of Siloam, the core account ( 9: 1, 6-7 ) is authentic, the rest being Johannine theologizing on that story.