And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.…
As this chapter is the history of one event, its several sections may be thus treated; — Those who consciously need the work of Christ; those who are speculatively interested in it; those who are malignantly prejudiced against it; those who are heartily interested in it; and those who are experimentally restored by it. Looking at the blind man as representing the consciously needy class note —
I. THE WRETCHEDNESS OF THEIR CONDITION.
1. This man was afflicted with blindness. Those windows through which the soul looks out upon, and which the soul lets in the beauty of God's creation, had never been opened.
2. He was afflicted with beggary. He lived perhaps all his life on the precarious charity of those who visited the temple.
3. He was afflicted with social heartlessness. With what pain must he have heard the question of ver. 2. This was a common error among the Jews; but the whole book of Job seems to have been written to correct it, and Christ Himself exposed it (Luke 13:1-4). The sufferings of individuals are no just criterion of moral character. Spiritually all in their unregenerate condition are as needy as this man. Alas! but few realize it.
II. THE NATURE OF THEIR DELIVERANCE. This is —
1. The predetermined work of God (ver. 3). Christ does not mean that either was free from sin, but that sin was not the cause of the blindness, but that the blindness was to afford scope for His remedial agency. God's restorative agency reveals Him often in more striking aspects than even His creative and preserving.
2. Was effected by Christ (ver. 4). This He did —
(1) Systematically, not capriciously or desultorily, but by a Divine programme. He did the right work in the right place, on the right person, at the right time.
(2) Diligently. He knew that His work was great, but His time limited. These works suggest that —
(a) There is a Divine purpose in every man's life.
(b) A Divine work.
(c) A Divine limit.
(3) Appropriately (ver. 5). He assumes a character corresponding to the exigencies of the sufferer. To the woman at the well He was "living water"; to the sisters of Lazarus, "the Resurrection and the Life."(4) Unasked; as He "passed by."(5) Instrumentally (ver. 6).
(D. Thomas D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.