A man healed by Jesus offers profound insight, while the Pharisees' spiritual blindness is exposed. Reflect on true sight and divine irony.
John 9:26-34 — Sight Beyond Sight — Aneel Aranha
Hello and welcome to the Bite-Sized Gospel with Aneel Aranha. Today we will reflect on John 9:26-34. Listen.
Then [the Pharisees] asked [the man who had been healed] , “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?”
He answered, “I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?”
Then they hurled insults at him and said, “You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses! We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.”
The man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will. Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”
To this they replied, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out.
There is so much to be mined in this story of the blind man Jesus healed, I broke it up into four parts. The part we are reflecting upon today is fascinating in its irony. The man who was blind now sees, not only with his eyes but with extraordinary spiritual insight. And the Pharisees who claim spiritual sight are revealed to be blind.
Their question is revealing. The Pharisees ask the man, "What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?" Their question focuses on the mechanics of the miracle rather than its spiritual significance. They are stuck in the 'how,' unable to progress to the 'why' or the 'who.'
The healed man's response is not theologically sophisticated but simple experiential truth: "I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples, too?" The man cracks a joke, perhaps unintentionally, at the Pharisees' expense. But his question exposes their stubbornness and hints at what they must do.
The Pharisees then declare their allegiance to Moses, claiming certainty in his divine commission while casting doubt on Jesus' origins. They say: "We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don't even know where he comes from." The Pharisees' claim to Moses is ironic because Moses pointed to a prophet like him to come—Jesus (Deuteronomy 18:15), yet they fail to see this fulfillment in front of them.
The man continues showing his newfound wisdom. "Now that is remarkable," he exclaims. "You don't know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes." His logic is clear and simple. "If this man were not from God, he could do nothing," he says. The man sees what the Pharisees cannot—that Jesus' works bear witness to his divine origin.
This passage invites us to consider the nature of true sight. It is not merely the physical ability to perceive the world around us but the spiritual discernment to recognize God at work. The Pharisees are blind to the divine act in their midst because it does not fit their preconceived notions of how God should act. The healed man sees because he is open to the possibility that God can work in unexpected ways.
Are we, like the Pharisees, blind to the divine acts in our midst, or do we, like the healed man, truly see?
God bless you.