11.02.22 Jn. 9:13-17 Pool of Siloam
PHARISEES QUESTION MAN
13 They brought the man who used to be blind to the Pharisees. 14 The day that Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes was a Sabbath. 15 So again the Pharisees asked him how he received his sight.
“He put mud on my eyes,” he told them. “I washed and I can see.”
16 Therefore some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for He doesn’t keep the Sabbath!” But others were saying, “How can a sinful man perform such signs?” And there was a division among them.
17 Again they asked the blind man, “What do you say about Him, since He opened your eyes?”
“He’s a prophet,” he said.
In this passage the two main points of controversy between the leading Pharisees and Jesus are revealed.
- The interpretation and application of the Mosaic Law to daily life and
- The claim of Jesus to be the unique and eternal knowledge of God.
Every conversation Jesus had with His hostile critics demonstrated that they did not share the same opinion as He did concerning the Mosaic Law and its relation to life and God.
“How can a sinful man perform such signs?” Finally, someone asked a question of intelligent observation. They recognized that Jesus was born out of wedlock and yet they could find no fault (meaning sin in reference to the Written Law of Moses) in Him. Since the religious leaders saw Him only as an ordinary man, they concluded that He must obviously be a sinner. Furthermore, He did not honor the Sabbath laws that they had created.
After telling His disciples and others that He was the light of the world, He healed a blind man. While many were discussing the reason for this man’s blindness, they failed to connect this miracle with His teaching. When the man received his sight, Jesus told him to wash His face in the Pool of Siloam, the same pool where the priests had drawn living water to pour on the altar of God. Ironically, the blind man could not only see, but he could also perceive who Jesus was, while the critics chose to remain spiritually blind.
“And there was a division among them.” The issue of division was that, on one hand, a man born blind was healed and the identity of the Person who healed him was clearly revealed because this was a messianic miracle. On the other hand, Jesus performed the miracle on the Sabbath which violated Sabbath restrictions. The event was an interesting reflection upon John’s theme of light vs. darkness; belief vs. unbelief. When Jesus said He did not come to bring peace but a sword, He meant that there would be divisions among the people concerning His identity — it would be a matter of belief vs. unbelief.
When the religious authorities then confronted the former blind man, he told them, “He’s a prophet.” That was the greatest compliment any Jew could give to another; that Jesus was no ordinary man. And as such, he was among the first to proclaim the New Kingdom of God. This had a repelling effect on the leading Pharisees. However, at this point he was probably too fearful to call Jesus “the Messiah.”
. See 02.04.06 “Sabbath Day Observances.”
. Macartney, Great Interviews of Jesus. 23-25, 88.
. See also 10.01.25 and 10.01.29.