John 9:35
Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said to him, Do you believe on the Son of God?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(35) Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him.—There is no hint of time or place. We may naturally suppose that this seeking and finding on the part of our Lord followed immediately on the expulsion by the Pharisees. His parents had. for fear of the Pharisees, forsaken him; and they who should have been as the shepherd of this sheep of the flock of Israel, had thrust him from them; but in his case, too, the words of the Psalmist were to be fulfilled, “When my father and my mother forsake me, the Lord taketh me up.” The Good Shepherd, who gathereth the lambs with His arm, and carrieth them in His bosom, is at hand to lead him.

Dost thou believe on the Son of God?—There is much doubt about the true reading here. A majority of the best MSS. have “the Son of Man,” which is the usual term applied by our Lord to Himself. But comp. Notes on John 10:36; Matthew 26:63; and Matthew 27:43. On the other hand, the reading, “Son of God,” is certainly as old as the second century, and seems to supply the sense which the context requires. The man had been cast out. Our Lord hears of this, and knows it is because of his bold confession that He was a prophet. The lesson He had before taught him had been learnt, and had borne fruit. He will lead him from that confession to a higher one. He marks him out as distinct from others, and asks a question which is meant by its form to lead him to an affirmative answer, “Thou believest on the Son of God?” This question follows naturally on the truth which the man had grasped. “If this Man were not of God, He could do nothing” (John 9:33), and this title was one of the theocratic names of the Messiah. (Comp. John 1:49.) The title, “Son of Man,” could hardly have conveyed to him the same meaning. Its insertion in some of the MSS. here is probably to be traced to the fact that copyists substituted the title which our Lord more generally used for the rarer one. We should carefully bear in mind that though our Lord does not usually apply the title “Son of God” to Himself, He constantly asserts the truth which it expresses. (Comp., e.g., in this Gospel, John 5, 7, 8)

John 9:35-38. Jesus heard that they had cast him out — Had excommunicated the poor man for his sake; and when he had found him — Which it appears he did soon after; he said unto him, privately, Dost thou believe on the Son of God — The great expected Messiah? Dost thou give credit to the promises of the Messiah? Dost thou expect his coming, and art thou ready to receive and embrace him when he is manifested to thee? This was that faith of the Son of God which they lived by, who lived before his manifestation; and this faith Christ here inquires after. Observe, reader, the great thing which is now required of us, and concerning which a strict and solemn inquiry will soon be made, is, whether we believe on the Son of God; and on this point our acquittance or condemnation will depend in the day of final accounts. He answered, Who is he, Lord — Christ’s question intimated that the Messiah was come, and was now among them, which the poor man noticing, asks, Who is he? As if he had said, I know that such a glorious person is expected, and if he be already come, only tell me where he is, and where I may meet with him; that, knowing him, I may believe on him — This implies that he had already some degree of faith. He was ready to receive what Jesus said. And — As the circumstances of the case were extraordinary, this being the first instance in which any one had incurred the great inconveniences attending a sentence of excommunication, out of zeal for the honour of Christ, to encourage him under what he was now suffering on his account, Jesus said to him — With a degree of freedom which was very unusual; Thou hast both seen him — Or, thou seest him; and it is he that talketh with thee — As if he had said, Thou needest not go far to seek him; he is before thine eyes, and thou hast had experience of his power and goodness. We do not find that Christ did thus expressly, and in so many words, reveal himself to any other, as he did to this man here, and to the woman of Samaria; he left others to find out by arguments who he was; but to these weak and foolish things of the world, he chose to manifest himself so as he did not to the wise and prudent. Now this poor man was made more sensible than before, what an unspeakable mercy it was to be cured of his blindness; for, in consequence of this, he could see the Son of God, a sight which rejoiced his heart more than that of the light of this world. How contentedly might he have returned to his former blindness, in that now, like old Simeon, his eyes had seen God’s salvation. And he said — Yielding to that convincing argument, which arose from what he had himself experienced of Christ’s almighty power; Lord, I believe — That is, I believe thee to be the Son of God. He would not dispute any thing that the person said who had showed such mercy to him, and wrought such a miracle for him; nor doubt of the truth of a doctrine which was confirmed by such signs. Believing with the heart, he thus makes confession with his mouth. And he worshipped him — He not only rendered him the civil respects due to a great man, and the acknowledgments owing to a kind benefactor, but paid him divine honour, and worshipped him as the Son of God manifested in the flesh. Thus true faith will always show itself in an humble adoration of the Lord Jesus. They who believe aright in him will see all the reason in the world to worship him. What an excellent spirit was this man of! Of so deep and strong an understanding, as he had just shown, to the confusion of the Pharisees, and yet of so teachable a temper!9:35-38 Christ owns those who own him and his truth and ways. There is particular notice taken of such a suffer in the cause of Christ, and for the testimony of a good conscience. Our Lord Jesus graciously reveals himself to the man. Now he was made sensible what an unspeakable mercy it was, to be cured of his blindness, that he might see the Son of God. None but God is to be worshipped; so that in worshipping Jesus, he owned him to be God. All who believe in him, will worship him.Dost thou believe on the Son of God? - Hitherto he had understood little of the true character of Jesus. He believed that he had power to heal him, and he inferred that he must be a prophet, John 9:17. He believed according to the light he had, and he now showed that he was prepared to believe all that Jesus said. This is the nature of true faith. It believes all that God has made known, and it is premiered to receive all that he will teach. The phrase Son of God here is equivalent to the Messiah. See the notes at Matthew 8:29. 35-38. Jesus heard—that is, by intelligence brought Him.

that they had cast him out; and when he had found him—by accident? Not very likely. Sympathy in that breast could not long keep aloof from its object.

he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God?—A question stretching purposely beyond his present attainments, in order the more quickly to lead him—in his present teachable frame—into the highest truth.

Jesus heard that they had cast him out, as was said in the former verse, probably by excommunication.

When he had found him, ( whether casually, or upon an industrious search for him, the Scripture doth not say), he said unto him,

Dost thou believe on the Son of God? Art thou one who art ready truly and seriously to embrace the Messiah and Saviour of the world, who must not be only the Son of man, but also the Son of God? Art thou willing to accept, receive, and close with him, and to give up thyself to his obedience? Jesus heard that they had cast him out,.... this being perhaps the first instance, of putting in execution the act they had made, John 9:22, and was a stretching of that act; which only threatened with an ejection, in case any should confess Jesus to be the Messiah; which this man had not done as yet, only had said he was a prophet, and that he was of God; it made a very great noise in the city, and the report of it was soon spread over it; and it became the talk of everyone, and so Jesus, as man, came to hear of it; though he, as God, knew it the very instant it was done, and needed not any to make report of it to him:

and when he had found him: not by chance, meeting him at an unawares, but seeking him; and knowing where he was, went to the very place, and found him in this piteous condition, abandoned by all mankind: this is an emblem of Christ's seeking after his chosen ones, both in redemption, and in the effectual calling, who are like sheep going astray, and never come to, and lay hold on Christ, till he comes first, seeks after, and apprehends them: he sends his ministers and his Gospel after them, where they are, and his Spirit into their hearts; yea, he comes himself, and enters there, and dwells in them by faith: he knows where they are, as he did Matthew the publican, Zacchaeus, and the woman of Samaria; and even though they are at the ends of the earth; and he goes and looks them up, and finds them; and he finds them in a deplorable condition, in a desert, in a waste howling wilderness, hopeless and helpless, poor and miserable, and blind and naked; in a pit wherein is no water; in the mire and clay of sin; in the paw of Satan, and under the power of darkness.

He said unto him, dost thou believe on the Son of God? the Persic version adds, "who hath healed thee": this supposes that there was a Son of God, or a divine person known by the Jews under this character, and that the expected Messiah would appear as such; and that, as such, he is the object of faith, and therefore, as such, must be God, since a creature, though ever so much dignified, or with whatsoever office invested, is not the object of faith, trust, and confidence, with respect to everlasting life and happiness: and it may be observed, that whenever Christ finds any of his people, he brings them to believe in him as the Son of God for righteousness and life: he himself is the author of faith in them, as well as the object of it; and no doubt power went along with these words, creating faith in this man: this was a most proper and pertinent question put to him in his present case, and suggests, that if he believed in the Son of God, it was no matter in what situation he was among men: since he would then appear to be a Son of God himself by adopting grace, and so an heir of God, and a joint heir with Christ; would receive the remission of his sins, openly justified in the court of conscience, as well of God, and be everlastingly saved: and this question is put by Christ, not as though he was ignorant, whether he believed in him or not; for he knew from the beginning, who would, and who would not believe in him: he that knew whether Peter loved him or not, knew whether this man believed in him or not; but this he said to draw forth the principle of faith, which was wrought in him, into act and exercise, and to direct it to its proper object. And this effect it had, as appears by what follows.

{7} Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God?

(7) Most happy is their state who are cast furthest out of the Church of the wicked (who themselves proudly boast to be of the Church) so that Christ may come nearer to them.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
John 9:35-36. The inner connection is formed, not by the thought that Jesus, when He had heard, etc., wished to confer on the man rich compensation (Chrysostom and several others); but, as the question πιστεύεις, etc., shows (thou believest on the Son of God? which presupposes an affirmative reply), Jesus heard of his being cast out, inferred therefrom that the man had confessed Him to be the Messiah, and therefore asked when He met him, etc. The conclusion which Jesus arrived at was substantially correct; for he who had been born blind had confessed regarding Him that He was παρὰ θεοῦ, although the man did not yet consciously associate with this more general predicate a definite reference to the Messiah. Lücke finds in πιστεύεις merely the inclination to believe; were this, however, its force, we must have had θέλεις πιστεύειν, or some other similar mode of expression. Like πιστεύω in John 9:38, πιστεύεις here also denotes actual faith, namely, in the manifested Messiah.

The words τὸν υἱὸν τ. θεοῦ[51] must be taken, not in their metaphysical (Olshausen, Ebrard), but simply in their theocratic signification (comp. John 1:50), as the man who had been born blind, to whose notions Jesus had to accommodate Himself, could and did only understand this at the time. That Jesus, however, on His side, and for Himself, entertained the higher view, must be taken for granted.

John 9:36. Surprised by this question, and quickly taking it as a point of connection, the man puts a counter-question, which was designed to show that he is unable as yet to believe in the Messiah, though ready to do so as soon as he shall know Him. With regard to καὶ τίς ἐστι, comp. John 14:22, and on Mark 10:26.

ἵνα] Design of the inquiry, as in John 1:22.

[51] τ. υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου (see the critical notes) Jesus could not have expected the blind man to understand, as included in this question.John 9:35. Ἤκουσεν … The action of the Pharisees threw the man on the compassion of Jesus: “He heard that they had cast him out,” and He knew the reason; therefore, εὑρὼν αὐτὸν, “when He found him,” as He wished and sought to do, His first question was: ΣὺΘεοῦ; Perhaps a slight emphasis lies in the Σὺ. “Dost thou believe in the Messiah?”

John 9:35 to John 10:21. The good and the hireling shepherds.35. Dost thou believe] There is a stress on ‘thou.’ ‘Dost thou, though others deny and blaspheme, believe?’

On the Son of God] Again there is much doubt about the reading. The balance of MSS. authority (including both the Sinaitic and the Vatican MSS.) is in favour of ‘the Son of man,’ which moreover is the expression that our Lord commonly uses respecting Himself in all four Gospels (see on John 1:51). But the reading ‘The Son of God’ is very strongly supported, and is at least as old as the second century; for Tertullian, who in his work Against Praxeas quotes largely from this Gospel, in chap. 22 quotes this question thus, Tu credis in Filium Dei? In John 10:36 and John 11:4 there is no doubt about the reading, and there Christ calls himself ‘the Son of God.’ Moreover, this appellation seems to suit the context better, for the man had been contending that Jesus came ‘from God’ (John 9:33), and the term ‘Son of man’ would scarcely have been intelligible to him. Lastly, a copyist, knowing that the ‘Son of man’ was Christ’s usual mode of designating Himself, would be very likely to alter ‘the Son of God’ into ‘the Son of man.’ Neither title, however, is very frequent in St John’s Gospel. For all these reasons, therefore, it is allowable to retain the common reading. But in any case we once more have evidence of the antiquity of this Gospel. If both these readings were established by the end of the second century, the original text must have been in existence long before. Corruptions take time to spring up and spread. See on John 1:13; John 1:18.John 9:35. Εὑρών, having found) He had therefore sought for him, after He had permitted him for a time to be persecuted by the world.—σύ, thou) Although others believe not. The pronoun renders the interrogation in this place akin to an affirmation.Verses 35-41. -

(10) The issues of the ministry of light. Verses 35-38. - (a) The vision of those who see not. These verses narrate the sequel so far as the man was concerned. Westcott and others rather exaggerate the bearing of it when they say here was "the beginning of the new society." "The universal society is based on the confession of a new truth" (Westcott). Even in this Gospel the first chapter shows that Jesus gathered disciples about him who from that time onward were to "see angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of man." In the second and fourth chapters he "made and baptized disciples." The twelve (John 6.) would not leave him in the midst of widespread disaffection, because they confessed that he was "the Holy One of God," who had "the words of eternal life." Consequently, it is enough to say that, when the authorities of the Jewish ecclesia excluded the disciple of Christ, the Lord admitted him to a nobler fellowship; but the fellowship, the society, had been already formed. Verse 35. - Jesus heard that they had east him out; or, thrust him forth. Jesus is represented as "hearing," not from the man's own lips, but from the current report. He is not said to have become acquainted with the circumstance by intuition, but to have heard by the ordinary processes of knowledge. This simple touch shows how consistent the writer is throughout with the main thesis of his Gospel touching the perfect humanity of the Son of God, that he "was made flesh." and had "come in the flesh," though he was "from God." The excommunication noisily and widely bruited was further proof of the war to the knife between "the Jews" and Jesus. The man has fallen under the ban for practically avowing in the most public way that Jesus was "the Prophet," if not the Christ. And having found him. So, then, the Lord, as the good Shepherd, sought out the lost sheep in the wilderness, and did not rest until he found him. The daylight that had made an altogether new world for one who had aforetime never looked on human face, had been strangely checkered and shadowed. He only saw angry faces and averted glances, and even his cowardly parents would have hesitated to receive him into their poor abode; but Jesus found him, and said, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? Not "Dost thou wish to believe?" but "Dost thou put thy trust in the Son of God?" Dost thou recognize the fact that the Messiah of the nation's hope has come? Art thou believing in him? It would be more natural that the more current appellation Son of God, rather than the more recondite idea of Son of man, should have been held out before the healed man. The "thou" is emphatic, and contrasts the state of the mind of this man with that of "the Jews." He had declared that his Healer was "from God," that he was "a Prophet," One who "did God's will," and whom "God heareth," even when he asked for apparently impossible things. Christ tests the quality and caliber of his faith. Said unto him

Omit unto him.

Dost thou believe (σὺ πιστεύεις)?

The form of the question indicates the confident expectation of an affirmative answer. It is almost an affirmation, you surely believe; you (σὺ, emphatic) who have born such bold testimony to me that they have cast you out. Note the phrase, πιστεύεις εἰς, believe on, and see on John 1:12.

Son of God

Both Tischendorf and Westcott and Hort read Son of man.

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