24The leaders called the man back and said, “Swear by God to tell the truth! We know that Jesus is a sinner.”
25The man replied, “I don't know if he is a sinner or not. All I know is that I used to be blind, but now I can see!”
26“What did he do to you?” the Jewish leaders asked. “How did he heal your eyes?”
27The man answered, “I have already told you once, and you refused to listen. Why do you want me to tell you again? Do you also want to become his disciples?”
28The leaders insulted the man and said, “You are his follower! We are followers of Moses.29We are sure that God spoke to Moses, but we don't even know where Jesus comes from.”
30“How strange!” the man replied. “He healed my eyes, and yet you don't know where he comes from.31We know that God listens only to people who love and obey him. God doesn't listen to sinners.32And this is the first time in history that anyone has ever given sight to someone born blind.33Jesus could not do anything unless he came from God.”
34The leaders told the man, “You have been a sinner since the day you were born! Do you think you can teach us anything?” Then they said, “You can never come back into any of our meeting places!”
Have you ever felt trapped by someone who was picking a fight with you about God, or maybe felt tongue-tied to explain your faith?
Put yourself in the blind man’s shoes: he does not yet fully understand what’s happened to him or who Jesus is, yet he’s summoned to a second meeting with powerful religious leaders.
What a position to be in! He doesn’t have prepared theological arguments. He’s a poor beggar.
Contrast that with the Pharisees – they were educated in Jewish history and law. They were also highly regarded in their day as leaders who lived spotless lives, and of course, they had control of the synagogue.
As soon as their meeting begins, the Pharisees lay down their agenda: “Swear by God to tell the truth! We know that Jesus is a sinner” (v 24b).
The blind man does not try to answer questions he couldn’t possibly know the answers to; instead he’s just honest about what happened (v 25). He also challenges their motives (v 27). Finally, he tells them some basic truths he’s picked up from synagogue: “Jesus could not do anything unless he came from God” (v 33).
For all his honesty and courage, the Pharisees cast him out of the synagogue, the center of Jewish community life. The blind man knew this could happen, yet he hadn’t backed down. There is also a humility and gentleness in his speech that cannot be mistaken – he didn’t call them names nor did he get angry.
He merely stood his ground, sure of what Jesus had done in his life. We are all equipped to do that.
Dear Father in Heaven, You are the reason for our courage. You love us and will never leave us nor forsake us. We pray you would give us courage to tell others what you have done in our lives, that they may understand who you are. In Jesus’ name, Amen.