Page images

to cast at himn : but Jesus hid

CHAPTER IX. himself, and went out of the

A ND as Jesus passed by, he temple, going through the saw a man which was blind midst of them, and so passed from his birth. by.

2 And his disciples asked

been engaged in conversation, con.

CHAPTER IX. cealed himself from their sight and 1. Passed by ; was passing along; power by mingling with the crowd, perhaps just after the event mentioned and thus passed away from the temple. in the preceding verse.

2. Who did sin, this man or his parTopics FOR REFLECTION. 1. Per ents? &c. The Jews were in the severing obedience to the Saviour is habit of regarding prosperity and ad. necessary in order to prove ourselves versity in this life as connected with his disciples. A wavering, short, innocence, and with guilt, of characlived obedience is a just ground of ter. There were in the Mosaic law fear that the heart has not been re- many promises of temporal good as newed. v. 31. Compare Matt. 13: connected with obedience, and threats 23. Luke 8: 15.

of evil as connected with transgres2. It is only true religion that be- sion. The idea, too, expressed in Ex. stows real liberty of soul — liberty 20:5, and elsewhere, that God would from the dominion of worldly and visit the iniquity of the fathers upon evil propensities. True religion brings the children unto the third and the our affections and purposes to a con- fourth generation, was too readily apformity with reason and conscience : plied by them to particular adverse thus it regulates the whole character, events. Compare Ezek. 18: 2. Hence and delivers its possessor from subjec- it was natural to inquire whether the tion to any unworthy power. v. 32. blindness of this man was to be reHow great is the mistake of regard- garded as a punishment of some sin ing religion as a species of bondage ! committed by his parents. There As well rnight it be said that a tem- was also prevalent, among some of perate man is a slave to temperance; the nations with which the Jews were as well might the intemperate say in various ways connected, an opinthat they themselves are freemen, ion that the souls of men passed, after while all the world knows that they the death of the body, into other bod. are in abject bondage to a vile appe- ies, either of men or of animals, and tite. Religion is, indeed, a state of were happy or miserable in accordsubjection - a voluntary subjection, ance with the character sustained in however — to the great principles of the preceding body. There seem, right towards God and man, which also, to have been some vague noprinciples necessarily lead to present tions respecting the existence of and to eternal happiness. But is not souls previously to the formation of sin a state of subjection? subjection the bodies which they were to ocof the reason, of all the higher powers cupy. An inference would easily of the soul, to what is wrong, and to be drawn from these notions, that the what insures present and eternal moral character of the soul, as previwoe?

ously existing, would influence the 3. Unless we become true children condition of the person on earth, of God in our characters, we shall making him happy or miserable. have no portion in God's house above. Some of the Jewish teachers appear

also to have maintained that, previ. 4. Pious ancestry, without our own ously to an infant's birth, it might personal piety, is of no avail as to our commit sin. Now, in view of all salvation. v. 39. Compare Matt. 3: 9. these notions, and without any set

V. 35.


him, saying, Master, who did world, I am the light of the sin, this man, or his parents, world. that he was born blind?

6 When he had thus spoken, 3 Jesus answered, Neither he spat on the ground, and made hath this man sinned, nor his clay of the spittle, and he anointparents : but that the works of led the eyes of the blind man God should be made manifest in with the clay, him.

7 And said unto him, Go, 4 I must work the works of wash in the pool of Siloam, him that sent me, while it is day : (which is by interpretation, the night cometh, when no man Sent.) He went his way therecan work.

fore, and washed, and came see5 As long as I am in the ing. tled opinions in regard to them, the cometh, &c. It is a general truth disciples asked, what was the opinion that labor must be performed in the of their Master as to the present in- day-time; the night is not a suitable

As the event of the man's time for labor. The time, then, which blindness would generally be referred any one has for performing the duties to some sin as having caused it, they assigned him, may be called day; the svught information on the question, time following this, when, by death by whose sins this was caused. Was or other causes, he can no longer perit in consequence of some sin com- form such daties, may be called night. mitted by his parents, or some sin Thus we speak of the day of life, the committed by himself before his birth, night of death. Our Lord conveyed as some of the teachers might say, or the idea, that he must diligently emsome sin committed in a different ploy his lifetime in works appropriate state of existence ?

to the object of his mission. Soon he 3. Neither huth this man sinned, was to die, and the opportunities for nor, &c. That is, neither as a con- performing such works would cease. sequence of his own sins, nor as a 5. The light of the world. Light, consequence of his parents' sins, was used metaphorically, is an image of this blindness ordered. So far as the happiness. Jesus was the author of blindness was concerned, they had true happiness, and, in this capacity, not sinned; and this calamity ought it became him to relieve such cases not to be regarded, either in respeet of misery as the one then before him. to the man himself, or in respect to

6. Clay.

This word here means his parents, as a punishment for sin. earth mixed with spittle. || Anointed; || But that the works of God, &c. smeared over. This calamity of blindness was per- 7. Siloam. See on Luke 13: 4. mitted, so that there might be ooca- The streams flowing from the founsion for manifesting the miraculous tain of Siloam were conducted into power of God. Not to any particu- two pools, called the upper and the lar sin, then, was the calamity to be lower. To one of these allusion is traced; it was to be regarded as a made in Js. 7: 3. || Which is, by inprovidential event, arranged by infi- terpretation, Sent. The name Siloam nite wisdom, with reference to a is derived from a Hebrew word which manifestation of the power of God. signifies to send.

4. I must work, &c.; it becomes The reasons why our Lord perme to be performing the works for formed the cure in this particular which the Father has sent me into the manner, cannot be known. The reworld. || While it is day; the night marks on Mark 7: 33 are applicable

8 The neighbors therefore, them, He put clay upon mine and they which before had seen eyes, and I washed, and do see. him that he was blind, said, Is 16 Therefore said some of not this he that sat and begged ? the Pharisees, This man is not

9 Some said, This is he: oth- of God, because he keepeth not ers said, He is like him: but he the Sabbath-day. Others said, said, I am he.

How can a man that is a sinner 10 Therefore said they un- do such miracles ? And there to him, How were thine eyes was a division among them. opened?

17 They say unto the blind 11 He answered and said, A man again, What sayest thou of man that is called Jesus, made him, that he hath opened thine clay, and anointed mine eyes, eyes? He said, He is a prophet. and said unto me, Go to the pool 13 But the Jews did not beof Siloam, and wash : and I went lieve concerning him, that he and washed, and I received sight. had been blind, and received his

12 Then said they unto him, sight, until they called the parWhere is he? He said, I know ents of him that had received not.

his sight. 13 They brought to the Phar- 19 And they asked them, sayisees him that aforetime was ing, Is this your son, who ye say blind.

was born blind? How then doth 14 And it was the Sabbath- he now see? day when Jesus made the clay, 20 His parents answered them and opened his eyes.

and said, We know that this is 15 Then again the Pharisees our son, and that he was born also asked him how he had re- blind : ceived his sight. He said unto 21 But by what means he

to this case. Jesus might have de- Perhaps our Lord designed, in consigned to excite in the blind man an nection with bestowing an invaluable expectation of a cure, and, at the blessing on an unhappy man, to show same time, by sending him to Siloam, the utter futility of such superstito test his confidence. As there was tious notions. manifestly no natural connection be- 16. Not of God, because he keepeth tween the acts performed and the not the Sabbath-day. Compare 5: 16. obtaining of sight, the gift of sight 17. What sayest thou of him, that he would be understood by the man as hath opened, &c. What opinion does being iniraculous. By sending him the circumstance of his having given to Siloam, Jesus also furnished occa- thee sight lead thee to form of him ? sion for numbers of people to know || A prophet ; a religious teacher, with respecting the miracle. According a divine commission. As miracles to the statements of Jewish writers, had been performed by the ancient it was forbidden to put spittle on the prophets, and had often been an apeyebrows during the Sabbath, just as pendage to the prophetic office, the it was forbidden to make any medical man supposed that Jesus could not application on the Sabbath, unless be less than a divinely-commissioned there was danger of immediate death. I teacher.



I see.

now seeth, we know not; or who | again, What did he to thee? hath opened his eyes, we know how opened he thine eyes? not: he is of age; ask him : he 27 He answered them, I have shall speak for himself.

told you already, and ye did not 22 These words spake his hear: wherefore would ye hear parents, because they feared the it again ? will ye also be his disJews: for the Jews had agreed ciples? already, that if any man did con- 28 Then they reviled him, fess that he was Christ, he should and said, Thou art his disciple; be put out of the synagogue. but we are Moses' disciples.

23 Therefore said his parents, 29 We know that God spake He is of age; ask him.

unto Moses; as for this fellow, 24 Then again called they we know not from whence he is. the man that was blind, and said 30 The man answered and unto him, Give God the praise : said unto them, Why, herein is we know that this man is a sinner. a marvellous thing, that ye

know 25 He answered and said, not from whence he is, and yet Whether he be a sinner or no, I he hath opened mine eyes. know not: one thing I know, 31 Now we know that God that, whereas I was blind, now heareth not sinners: but if any

man be a worshipper of God, and 26 Then said they to him doeth his will, him he heareth.

22. He was Christ ; he was the occasion, Give to God, and not to JeMessiah. || Put out of the synagogue; sus, the glory of this miracle ; but, be excommunicated. The Jewish ex- Revere God, and give glory to him, communication was a severe punish- by telling us the truth. They wished ment. There were three degrees of him to declare solemnly, as in the it. The first excluded the person presence of God, whether he had refrom intercourse with the people, ally been born blind, and had now obeven with his own family, for the tained sight, or whether there had not space of thirty days; he was not al- been some deception practised in relowed to approach a Jew at a distance pect to the matter. || We know that nearer than four cubits. If he gave this man is a sinner." In order that no signs of penitence, the time could their solemn injunction might lead be doubled, and even trebled. The to some acknowledgment on the part second separated the person from all of the man unfavorable to Jesus, they sacred meetings, was accompanied declare it as their undoubted convic. with dreadful curses, and forbade alltion that Jesus was a wicked imposintercourse with others. The third tor. was still severer, and was regarded as 27. Will ye also be, &c. Do you a final and total exclusion of the per- wish to become, &c. son from the community.

29. From whence he is. Whence 24. Give God the praise ; or, as lit- he derived his authority. They imerally rendered, give glory to God. ply that he certainly did not come This expression was used among the from God, and they leave it to be un. Hebrews when they wished to draw derstood that he came self-appointed, forth a confession of the truth. Com or influenced by Satan. pare Josh. 7: 19. The Jews, then, 31. God heareth not sinners, &c did not mean to say, on the present | Compare Ps. 66: 18.

32 Since the world began was 37 And Jesus said unto him, it not heard that any man opened Thou hast both seen him, and it the eyes of one that was born is he that talketh with thee. blind.

38 And he said, Lord, I be33 If this man were not of lieve. And he worshipped him. God, he could do nothing. 39 And Jesus said, For judg

34 They answered and said ment I am come into this world; unto him, Thou wast altogether that they which see not might born in sins, and dost thou teach see, and that they which see us? And they cast him out. might be made blind.

35 Jesus heard that they had 40 And some of the Pharisees cast him out: and when he had which were with him heard these found him, he said unto him, words, and said unto him, Are Dost thou believe on the Son of we blind also ? God?

41 Jesus said unto them, If 36 He answered and said, ye were blind, ye should have no Who is he, Lord, that I might sin : but now ye say, We see ; believe on him ?

therefore your sin remaineth. 34. Thou wast altogether born in puffed up with the vain notion that sins. This they concluded from the they were already enlightened and fact of his having been born blind. wise, and that they did not need the In their excitement against him, they instructions of Jesus, rejected him, reviled him as having been peculiarly persisted in their own ignorant and a sinner, an object of God's displeas- perverse views of religious subjects, ure, and therefore peculiarly unfit to and thus were proved to be really dispute with them, and to enforce his ignorant. Compare Matt. 11 : 25. convictions on them, the leaders of the Luke 10:21. nation. || They cast him out ; from 40. Are we blind also ? The cavil. their presence, and excommunicated ling spirit of the Pharisees again him.

displayed itself. In a petulant and 38. Worshipped him ; reverently taunting manner, they asked him, bowed down before him.

Are we without knowledge ? Are 39. For judgment ; for effecting a you only possessed of knowledge, so righteous judgment on men accord- as to be able to teach others? 'In ing to their different characters; for their excitement, they might have awarding to them just treatment. intended to insult our Lord by seem|| That they which see not might see; ing not to understand him, and by ihat the ignorant might be taught, dwelling on the literal meaning of and made wise. || That they which the word blind; as if they had said, see might be made" blind ; that those And are we, too, like this man, blind? who have the reputation of possess- 41. If ye were blind ; if ye were ing knowledge might be shown to really destitute of proper faculties ignorant, and, in consequence of their and opportunities for obtaining knowlpersisting in their own fancied knowl- edge. || Ye should have no sin; ye edge, might be condemned to contin- would be blameless. Compare 15: ued ignorance. Such was the result 22, 24. || Ye say, We see ; you profess of our Lord's coming into this world. to have knowledge and to be guides. Those who felt that they needed a Besides, they really did have within divine teacher received his instruc- their reach the means of information. tions, and became truly wise in re- || Your sin remaineth. It was cusspect to eternal life; those who were tomary to speak of sin as being re

« PreviousContinue »