And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.…
I. THE SAVIOUR. What He was then in giving sight, He is still in giving salvation. Notice His peculiar traits in this miracle.
1. Compassion. Christ saw the blind man before His disciples saw him, and His look awakened their interest. Everywhere we read of His sympathy with those in trouble. He saw what others would gladly refrain from seeing — the woes of men (ver. 1).
2. Omniscience. He saw the past history of this man and His parents; and saw, too, his future history, how boldly, nay, how doggedly he would confess Christ, and how abundantly he would glorify God. He saw in this blind beggar splendid possibilities. So He saw Paul in the persecuting Saul, the reformer in the monk Martin Luther. So He sees what every man may become under Divine grace (vers. 2, 3).
3. Activity. Seeing these possibilities in this man He set at work to bring them out. His aim was to make out of this beggar a man of God. Toward this all instrumentalities combined — the clay, the pool, the tests to the man's character from neighbours and rulers. Do we realize that Jesus is taking the same pains to bring out of us the best that is in us (ver. 4-7)?
4. Kingly authority. He gave His command like a king, "Go, wash." There were man-made customs in the way, but He brushed them aside as one who spoke with authority. The hearts of men need just such a Master as this (ver. 7).
6. Divine power. Only the Divine physician could give sight to the blind-born. And only the Son of God has the right to claim the faith and worship of men (vers. 7, 35-38).
II. Turn we now to THE SUFFERER: A most interesting character, as unfolded by the Gospel writer. Note his condition, and his steps from darkness to light.
1. His darkness. He was like the sinner, who cannot see God; whose nature is undeveloped, and who gropes in ignorance. Note texts showing blindness as a type of sin (John 11:10; John 12:35; Revelation 3:17; Isaiah 60:2; Ephesians 4:18; 1 Corinthians 2:14).
2. His opportunity. One day Jesus of Nazareth passed by, looked upon him, and called to him. This was the opportunity of his life. Such an opportunity comes to every soul when God's Spirit strives within him, or God's Church invites him to salvation.
3. His obedience. This was the obedience of faith.
4. His transformation. A wonderful change, from darkness to light, placing the man in new relations with the universe. But it is a greater change when God converts a soul and makes all things new.
5. His testimony. Notice how positive, how repeated, how consistent was this man's testimony to the work wrought in him. He did not falter when his witnessing cost him expulsion from the synagogue. So should everyone tell his experience of salvation.
(J. L. Hurlbut.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.