This is the Wednesday evening sermon for April 15th, 2009.
JOHN PART 41
John 9:6-12 ISV – 6 After saying this, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he spread the mud on the man’s eyes 7 and told him, “Go and wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated “Sent One”). So he went off and washed and came back seeing. 8 Then the neighbors and those who had previously seen him as a beggar said, “This is the man who used to sit and beg, isn’t it?”9 Some were saying, “It is he,” while others were saying, “No, but it is someone like him.” He himself kept saying, “It is I!” 10 So they said to him, “How, then, were your eyes opened?” 11 He said, “The man named Jesus made some mud, spread it on my eyes, and told me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So off I went and washed, and I received my sight.”12 They said to him, “Where is that man?” He said, “I don’t know!”
Last week we started back in our series in the book of John. As we began here at the beginning of Chapter 9, we saw it begins with the story of the healing of a man who had been born blind. There were some questions by His disciples of whose sin cause the blindness – the man’s or his parents. Jesus states that this blindness is not directly caused by his sin or his parent’s sin, but so that God’s works may be displayed. Jesus, the light of the world, was sent into the world to do the works of God. You see, He was the Sent One.
John 9:4-5 ISV – 4 I must work the works of the one who sent me while it is day. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
In tonight’s text, we are going to see that the Sent One, sends the blind man and some results of what has occurred. Let’s begin.
Spitting on the ground and making mud for the blind man’s eyes.
John 9:6 ISV – After saying this, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he spread the mud on the man’s eyes…
People have often wondered why Jesus did this. I often have too. And while I do not definitively know why – I believe I have discovered a very good possible reason behind why He spit and made mud.
Before we cover it, this isn’t the first time that Jesus spit and someone was healed. Let’s look at the other two occurrences in Scripture.
Mark 7:31-35 ISV – 31 Then Jesus left the territory of Tyre and passed through Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, in the territory of the Decapolis. 32 Some people brought him a deaf man who also had a speech impediment. They begged him to lay his hand on him. 33 Jesus took him away from the crowd to be alone with him. Putting his fingers into the man’s ears, he touched his tongue with saliva. 34 Then he looked up to heaven, sighed, and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened!” 35 At once the man’s ears were opened and his tongue was released, and he began to talk normally.
Mark 8:22-25 ISV – 22 As they came to Bethsaida, some people brought a blind man to Jesus and begged him to touch him. 23 Jesus took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village. He spit into his eyes, placed his hands on him, and asked him, “Do you see anything?” 24 The man looked up and said, “I see people, but they look like trees walking around.” 25 Then Jesus placed his hands on the man’s eyes again, and he saw clearly. His sight was restored, and he saw everything perfectly even from a distance.
I have often wondered why Jesus spit on these occasions. In our time and culture to spit on someone or use our spit like this would be repulsive and degrading.
But in Jesus time, it was not. During the time of Christ, in the first century AD, spit was believed to have healing, medicimal properties.
Pliny was a late first century – early second century Greek historian. He wrote some things about early Christians, the Jews, and their culture that brings some insight to this.
Here is what Pliny wrote in his chapter on spit or spittle:
“that it is a sovereign preservative against the poison of serpents; a protection against epilepsy; that lichens and leprous spots can be cured by the application of fasting spittle; that ophthalmia can be cured by anointing the eyes every morning with fasting spittle; that carcinomata and crick in the neck can be cured by the use of spittle.”
Here’s what Barclay’s Study Bible goes on to say about this spitting that Christ did in our text:
“The fact is that Jesus took the methods and customs of his time and used them. He was a wise physician; he had to gain the confidence of his patient. It was not that he believed in these things, but he kindled expectation by doing what the patient would expect a doctor to do. After all, to this day the efficacy of any medicine or treatment depends at least as much on the patient’s faith in it as in the treatment or the drug itself.”
I believe what Pliny and Barclay is saying is quite true. I don’t believe that Jesus believed in the power of spit, but in that culture, perhaps the blind man in our text (as well has the other two individuals Jesus used spit to heal) believed it, so Jesus used this belief to heal this man.
There may be another reason. The Father who sent Jesus made man out of clay and mud. Here Jesus opens the eyes of a man born blind by taking clay and making mud with His spit and putting it on the eyes of the blind man. Thus, to the Jews, and us reading, it is a sign that He is truly the one sent by Creator God.
The Sent One sends the Blind man.
John 9:7 ISV – “Go and wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated “Sent One”). So he went off and washed and came back seeing.
After Jesus makes mud from clay and spittle, He puts it on the man’s eyes. He sends the blind man off to the pool of Siloam to wash. When the blind man washed, he came back completely healed and able to see.
I don’t think that it is an accident that Jesus sent the blind man to this particular pool. Notice that Siloam means, “Sent one, or sent.” He was showing that He is the promised Messiah who was sent by the Father, and like the Father sent Him, He is now sending the man born blind to the pool to receive his sight.
The first question of this man’s friends and neighbors.
John 9:8-9 ISV – 8 Then the neighbors and those who had previously seen him as a beggar said, “This is the man who used to sit and beg, isn’t it?” 9 Some were saying, “It is he,” while others were saying, “No, but it is someone like him.” He himself kept saying, “It is I!”
His neighbors would probably see this man begging each day at the city gates or at the Temple gates. Now he is not begging, but his eyes are open and they couldn’t believe it. He had to tell them, “I’m the blind man you’ve seen for years. So dramatic was the healing that they couldn’t believe it.
In much of the same way, when Christ truly touches our lives and gloriously saves us, I do believe that there comes with it dramatic changes, and at times people will stop and take notice of it.
Their second question.
John 9:10-12 ISV – 10 So they said to him, “How, then, were your eyes opened?” 11 He said, “The man named Jesus made some mud, spread it on my eyes, and told me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So off I went and washed, and I received my sight.”12 They said to him, “Where is that man?” He said, “I don’t know!”
After the man convinced them that he was the one they knew as the blind man, they want to know how his eyes were opened. He then testifies of what Jesus said, and they after hearing the story, want to search Him out for themselves.
Some practical applications from tonight’s text.
This story beautifully illustrates some things about salvation:
• We were blinded by sin and the evil one.
2 Corinthians 4:3-4 ISV – 3 So if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are dying. 4 In their case, the god of this world has blinded the minds of those who do not believe to keep them from seeing the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God.
• In our blinded condition, we cannot see God or search for Him.
Romans 3:11 ISV – No one understands. No one searches for God.
Romans 8:7 ISV – That is why the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile toward God. For it refuses to submit to the authority of God’s law because it is powerless to do so.
• Like the blind man, we are only saved when we humble ourselves before the Lord and obediently embrace His truth.
Hebrews 5:9 ISV – and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him…
1 Peter 4:17 ISV – For the time has come for judgment to begin with the household of God. And if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who refuse to obey the gospel of God?
As we end tonight’s study, be sure and thank the Lord tonight for saving you – for opening up your eyes to the Gospel and setting you free by His marvelous grace.