Note 5: The Interrogation of the Blind Man

Andrew T. Lincoln in his book entitled “Truth on Trial: The Lawsuit Motif in John’s Gospel,” makes a strong statement concerning John 9. He states that after Jesus is interrogated in chapter 8, the blind man in John 9 is also interrogated. I am leaning toward this statement as I investigate this chapter. As you know, Jesus was questioned concerning His identity in the previous chapter. This is repeated before Jesus performs a miracle in the life of the blind man in John 9:5. “Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life” (8:12) (p.97) This claim is verified through the giving of sight to the blind. This will lead to the interrogation of the man. The imagery of light and darkness is not forgotten here. As followers, we may be subjected to this same questioning and subsequent persecution.

 

Mr. Lincoln deals with Chapter 9 separately in his work. It should be considered that it is a part of a “more extended unit that is completed in John 10.”  This is noted in John 10:21.  The themes of interrogation and judgment are continued through chapter 10. John’s fondness for groups of seven is evident in the structuring of the episode into seven scenes.

Verses 1-7, 8-12, 13-17, 18-23,24-34, 35-38, 39-41

 

The central scene is located in vv. 18-23. This passage suggests the perspective from which the episode is viewed. These passages underline the significance of the scene. The author gives an “inside view” of the parents’ fear filled response. Note verse 22 where it states that the Jews had already decided that if any Jew confessed Jesus as Messiah, they would be removed from the synagogue.        

 

The blind man is shown to represent two dramas: he is not just a individual who has been healed, but he is also the representative of those Jewish Christian readers who have been expelled from the synagogue because of their confession of Jesus as Messiah. The blind man was born blind, and now that he receives his sight. Therefore, he loses his place in the synagogue. True light had come dispelling spiritual darkness. When true spiritual light comes, it removes the spiritual fog and reveals the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ. This man’s character undergoes greater development than any other individual in John’s gospel.

 

Belief in Jesus brings the true light as noted in John 1. He represents the whole of humanity. Although the Jews say they see, they are really blind spiritually. This man not only sees naturally, but he sees spiritually. The Jewish religious leaders tell him to give God the glory. He does give God glory as revealed in the Son of God.

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