John 9:13-16 (NIV) 13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind. 14 Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man’s eyes was a Sabbath. 15 Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. “He put mud on my eyes,” the man replied, “and I washed, and now I see.” 16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others asked, “How can a sinner do such miraculous signs?” So they were divided.
On verses 13-16: In response to Jesus giving sight to a blind man on the Sabbath day, some Pharisees fixate on their little rules – how Jesus healing on the Sabbath was a violation of their Sabbath day rules – all the while missing what really matters to God. May we not make the same mistake. May I not be so focused on my own little man-made system being challenged that I miss the big things that God is doing.
Also, notice that even while some Pharisees kept denying that Jesus was sent by God (v16a), other Pharisees who were starting to believe in Jesus (v16b). It’s a reminder that like Jesus, when you keep on doing good and don’t give up, you may actually win over some of your biggest critics and opponents.
John 9:17-23 (NIV) 17 Finally they turned again to the blind man, “What have you to say about him? It was your eyes he opened.” The man replied, “He is a prophet.” 18 The Jews still did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they sent for the man’s parents. 19 “Is this your son?” they asked. “Is this the one you say was born blind? How is it that now he can see?” 20 “We know he is our son,” the parents answered, “and we know he was born blind. 21 But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don’t know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself.” 22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews, for already the Jews had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Christ would be put out of the synagogue. 23 That was why his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”
On verses 17-23: The parents of the healed man were non-committal when answering the Pharisees’ questions. That is “because they were afraid of the Jews, for already the Jews had decided that anyone who acknowledged Jesus was the Christ would be put out of the synagogue” (v22). In other words, a fear of what others might think and what might happen to them kept the healed man’s parents from identifying in any way with Jesus.
The parents of the healed man were afraid to identify with Jesus, but Jesus was not afraid to identify with them. That is why Jesus came to earth and why Jesus would go to the cross: to identify with us as sinners, so much so as to suffer on our behalf the death we were supposed to die for our sin.
If Jesus was not afraid to identify with us, may we not be afraid to identify with Jesus and confess our faith in Him, even if it means suffering for it. As Jesus says in Matthew 10:32-33, “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.”
Jesus, thank You that You were willing to identify with sinners like us, even if it meant that You would suffer and be punished in the worst way. May I not be ashamed to identify with You, even if it requires suffering for it. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!