The Man Born Blind. 1* As he passed by he saw a man blind from birth.a 2* His disciples asked him,b “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3Jesus answered, “Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.c 4We have to do the works of the one who sent me while it is day. Night is coming when no one can work.d 5While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”e 6When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva, and smeared the clay on his eyes,f 7and said to him, “Go wash* in the Pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed, and came back able to see.g
8His neighbors and those who had seen him earlier as a beggar said, “Isn’t this the one who used to sit and beg?” 9Some said, “It is,” but others said, “No, he just looks like him.” He said, “I am.” 10So they said to him, “[So] how were your eyes opened?” 11He replied, “The man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and told me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went there and washed and was able to see.” 12And they said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I don’t know.”
13They brought the one who was once blind to the Pharisees. 14Now Jesus had made clay* and opened his eyes on a sabbath.h 15So then the Pharisees also asked him how he was able to see. He said to them, “He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and now I can see.” 16So some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, because he does not keep the sabbath.” [But] others said, “How can a sinful man do such signs?” And there was a division among them.i 17So they said to the blind man again, “What do you have to say about him, since he opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.”j
18Now the Jews did not believe that he had been blind and gained his sight until they summoned the parents of the one who had gained his sight. 19They asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How does he now see?” 20His parents answered and said, “We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. 21We do not know how he sees now, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him, he is of age; he can speak for him self.” 22* k His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone acknowledged him as the Messiah, he would be expelled from the synagogue. 23For this reason his parents said, “He is of age; question him.”l
24So a second time they called the man who had been blind and said to him, “Give God the praise!* We know that this man is a sinner.”m 25He replied, “If he is a sinner, I do not know. One thing I do know is that I was blind and now I see.” 26So they said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” 27He answered them, “I told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples, too?” 28They ridiculed him and said, “You are that man’s disciple; we are disciples of Moses! 29We know that God spoke to Moses, but we do not know where this one is from.”n 30The man answered and said to them, “This is what is so amazing, that you do not know where he is from, yet he opened my eyes. 31We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if one is devout and does his will, he listens to him.o 32* It is unheard of that anyone ever opened the eyes of a person born blind. 33If this man were not from God, he would not be able to do anything.”p 34They answered and said to him, “You were born totally in sin, and are you trying to teach us?” Then they threw him out.
35When Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, he found him and said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 36He answered and said, “Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” 37Jesus said to him, “You have seen him and the one speaking with you is he.”q 38He said, “I do believe, Lord,” and he worshiped him. 39* Then Jesus said, “I came into this world for judgment, so that those who do not see might see, and those who do see might become blind.”r
40Some of the Pharisees who were with him heard this and said to him, “Surely we are not also blind, are we?”s 41Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you are saying, ‘We see,’ so your sin remains.t
* [9:1–10:21] Sabbath healing of the man born blind. This sixth sign is introduced to illustrate the saying, “I am the light of the world” (Jn 8:12; 9:5). The narrative of conflict about Jesus contrasts Jesus (light) with the Jews (blindness, Jn 9:39–41). The theme of water is reintroduced in the reference to the pool of Siloam. Ironically, Jesus is being judged by the Jews, yet the Jews are judged by the Light of the world; cf. Jn 3:19–21.
* [9:2] See note on Jn 5:14, and Ex 20:5, that parents’ sins were visited upon their children. Jesus denies such a cause and emphasizes the purpose: the infirmity was providential.
* [9:7] Go wash: perhaps a test of faith; cf. 2 Kgs 5:10–14. The water tunnel Siloam (= Sent) is used as a symbol of Jesus, sent by his Father.
* [9:14] In using spittle, kneading clay, and healing, Jesus had broken the sabbath rules laid down by Jewish tradition.
* [9:22] This comment of the evangelist (in terms used again in Jn 12:42; Jn 16:2) envisages a situation after Jesus’ ministry. Rejection/excommunication from the synagogue of Jews who confessed Jesus as Messiah seems to have begun ca. A.D. 85, when the curse against the mînîm or heretics was introduced into the “Eighteen Benedictions.”
* [9:24] Give God the praise!: an Old Testament formula of adjuration to tell the truth; cf. Jos 7:19; 1 Sm 6:5 LXX. Cf. Jn 5:41.
* [9:32] A person born blind: the only Old Testament cure from blindness is found in Tobit (cf. Tb 7:7; 11:7–13; 14:1–2), but Tobit was not born blind.
* [9:39–41] These verses spell out the symbolic meaning of the cure; the Pharisees are not the innocent blind, willing to accept the testimony of others.
b. [9:2] Ex 20:5; Ez 18:20; Lk 13:2.
g. [9:7] 2 Kgs 5:10–14.
i. [9:16] 3:2; Mt 12:10–11; Lk 13:10–11; 14:1–4.
k. [9:22] 7:13; 12:42; 16:2; 19:38.
m. [9:24] Jos 7:19; 1 Sm 6:5 LXX.
o. [9:31] 10:21; Ps 34:16; 66:18; Prv 15:29; Is 1:15.
s. [9:40] Mt 15:14; 23:26; Rom 2:19.