Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | January 18, 2023

Man Born Blind Does Apologetics

(4 Minute Read. 18Jan2023)

Healing of the Man Born Blind
(El Greco, 1567)

The disciples of Jesus once asked Him something astonishing. They questioned Him about an unborn baby sinning while still in his mother’s womb!

Seeing a man born blind, the disciples asked Jesus, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind?” (John 9:2)

This was a deep philosophical question. The disciples’ question presumes the man could have sinned while still in his mother’s womb and that his blindness could be a result of that sin. They assumed that the only two causes for his blindness were either his own sin or his parents’ sin.

Jesus did not dispute the thesis that sin in the womb could occur. Rather He said that in this circumstance, neither the man’s own sin nor that of his parents was the cause of the man being born blind. Instead He ascribed the cause to the sovereign will of God.
Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was in order that the works of God might be displayed in him. (John 9:3)

Jesus was essentially saying that this man was born blind by the explicit will of God — which actually brought with it a tremendous privilege! His condition had the wonderful purpose of later exhibiting the glory of God when Jesus healed him. It was the Great Creator’s plan for the man to be blind until that very moment when he met Jesus.

So how was the work of God, planned before the man’s birth, displayed in the blind man?

It was done through the mind-blowing miracle of Jesus giving sight to the man born blind. Who could do such a thing except God? Ordinary humans absolutely could not do it. It must be from God. It was evidence that the Jesus was God.

The blind man is not named in Scripture. But according to the traditions of the Catholic Church and Eastern Christianity, the blind man’s name was Celidonius.

The Jews’ Challenge

Like today’s football coaches, the Jewish leaders threw a “challenge flag” after the miracle. They did not believe the miracle because such a thing was obviously impossible.
The Jews then did not believe it of him, that he had been blind and had received sight, until they called the parents of the very one who had received his sight, and questioned them, saying, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? Then how does he now see?” His parents answered them and said, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; but how he now sees, we do not know; or who opened his eyes, we do not know. Ask him; he is of age, he shall speak for himself.”
(John 9:18-21)

First-Century Apologetics

How did the man born blind answer the Jews’ challenge? What was his argument?

First he provided hard indisputable evidence. He could now see!
So a second time they called the man who had been blind, and said to him, “Give glory to God; we know that this man is a sinner.” He therefore answered, “Whether He is a sinner, I do not know; one thing I do know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.”
(John 9:24-25)

When the Pharisees continued their interrogation about how he was healed, the man stung them with a penetrating rhetorical question:
He answered them, “I told you already, and you did not listen; why do you want to hear it again? You do not want to become His disciples too, do you?” And they reviled him, and said, “You are His disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. We know that God has spoken to Moses; but as for this man, we do not know where He is from.”
(John 9:27-29)

Finally, the man born blind concluded his defense with an unassailable argument.
“Well, here is an amazing thing, that you do not know where He is from, and yet He opened my eyes. We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing, and does His will, He hears him. Since the beginning of time it has never been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. If this man were not from God, He could do nothing.” (John 9:30-33)

The man born blind was not in the least intimidated by the Pharisees and their investigation. He gave them a definitive answer and explanation. Who can do such things apart from the power of God?

The man born blind was right. He clearly saw that his healing was proof that Jesus was God. So he worshiped Jesus.
Jesus heard that they had put him out; and finding him, He said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered and said, “And who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?” Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him, and He is the one who is talking with you.” And he said, “Lord, I believe.” And he worshiped Him. (John 9:35-38)

Never feel intimidated to defend your faith in the Great Creator God of the Bible! Speak up with the boldness and confidence of this man born blind who had seen God’s work in his life.

Do You Get the Point?

The blind man’s point was that Jesus must be from God because of the eye-opening miracle He did. It is something that only God could do. He articulated this point forcefully with clear logic to the religious and political leaders of his day. His argument actually applies quite well to all the miracles of Jesus.

The man born blind saw the truth about Jesus. The Pharisees, who were born seeing, were blind to the truth about Jesus.

May God grant us the eyes of the blind man to see the truth about Jesus. This miraculous event is a stirring challenge to follow the example of the man born blind in defending faith in Jesus and in worshipping Him!

Questions to Ponder

1. Are there works of God that people today refuse to accept?
2. The theory of evolution is one of the biggest denials of the work of God. What words of truth can you prepare to respond to an evolutionary comment?
3. What can you do today to build up your apologetics arsenal in defense of faith in Jesus?

Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

For Christ and His Kingdom.
Alere Flammam Veritatis.
Soli Deo Gloria.

This is the 12th article in the series on Apologists in the Bible. An apologist is one who gives a logical argument in defense of faith in God.
Read the prequels:
1. Elijah Does Apologetics
2. Peter Does Apologetics
3. Paul Does Apologetics
4. John Does Apologetics
5. Jesus Does Apologetics
6. Job Gets a Dose of Apologetics
7. Matthew Does Apologetics with a Sword
8. David Does Apologetics with a Sling
9. Luke Does Apologetics with a Pen
(with video)
10. Moses Does Apologetics with Plagues
11. Jude Urges Apologetics

Read the sequel:
13. Stephen Does Apologetics

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday January 18, 2023 A.D.

Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence. (1 Peter 3:15)

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  1. I had never considered that the disciples were questioning if the man could have sinned in his mother’s womb. I figured they were questioning if God had struck him blind because of a sin he’d commit in the future. Interesting either way.


    • Thanks for reading and commenting. I think the use of the past tense by the disciples,
      “Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind?”,
      indicates a past action leading to blindness, not a future action. They viewed his blindness as a consequence of sin (that he should be born blind), either by him or by his parents. Negative consequences follow sin; I don’t know of instances where they precede it. Effects always follow causes.
      Again, thanks for your thoughts.


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