Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
John Ch.9 / 21 Ch.s
* Christ give sight to one born blind. (1-7) The account given
by the blind man. (8-12) The Pharisees question the man that had
been blind. (13-17) They ask concerning him. (18-23) They cast
him out. (24-34) Christ's words to the man that had been blind.
(35-38) He reproves the Pharisees. (39-41)
#1-7 Christ cured many who were blind by disease or accident;
here he cured one born blind. Thus he showed his power to help
in the most desperate cases, and the work of his grace upon the
souls of sinners, which gives sight to those blind by nature.
This poor man could not see Christ, but Christ saw him. And if
we know or apprehend anything of Christ, it is because we were
first known of him. Christ says of uncommon calamities, that
they are not always to be looked on as special punishments of
sin; sometimes they are for the glory of God, and to manifest
his works. Our life is our day, in which it concerns us to do
the work of the day. We must be busy, and not waste day-time; it
will be time to rest when our day is done, for it is but a day.
The approach of death should quicken us to improve all our
opportunities of doing and getting good. What good we have an
opportunity to do, we should do quickly. And he that will never
do a good work till there is nothing to be objected against,
will leave many a good work for ever undone, #Ec 11:4|. Christ
magnified his power, in making a blind man to see, doing that
which one would think more likely to make a seeing man blind.
Human reason cannot judge of the Lord's methods; he uses means
and instruments that men despise. Those that would be healed by
Christ must be ruled by him. He came back from the pool
wondering and wondered at; he came seeing. This represents the
benefits in attending on ordinances of Christ's appointment;
souls go weak, and come away strengthened; go doubting, and come
away satisfied; go mourning, and come away rejoicing; go blind,
and come away seeing.
#8-12 Those whose eyes are opened, and whose hearts are cleansed
by grace, being known to be the same person, but widely
different in character, live as monuments to the Redeemer's
glory, and recommend his grace to all who desire the same
precious salvation. It is good to observe the way and method of
God's works, and they will appear the more wonderful. Apply this
spiritually. In the work of grace wrought upon the soul we see
the change, but we see not the hand that makes it: the way of
the Spirit is like that of the wind, which thou hearest the
sound of, but canst not tell whence it comes, nor whither it
#13-17 Christ not only worked miracles on the sabbath, but in
such a manner as would give offence to the Jews, for he would
not seem to yield to the scribes and Pharisees. Their zeal for
mere rites consumed the substantial matters of religion;
therefore Christ would not give place to them. Also, works of
necessity and mercy are allowed, and the sabbath rest is to be
kept, in order to the sabbath work. How many blind eyes have
been opened by the preaching of the gospel on the Lord's day!
how many impotent souls cured on that day! Much unrighteous and
uncharitable judging comes from men's adding their own fancies
to God's appointments. How perfect in wisdom and holiness was
our Redeemer, when his enemies could find nothing against him,
but the oft-refuted charge of breaking the sabbath! May we be
enabled, by well-doing, to silence the ignorance of foolish men.
#18-23 The Pharisees vainly hoped to disprove this notable
miracle. They expected a Messiah, but could not bear to think
that this Jesus should be he, because his precepts were all
contrary to their traditions, and because they expected a
Messiah in outward pomp and splendour. The fear of man brings a
snare, #Pr 29:25|, and often makes people deny and disown Christ
and his truths and ways, and act against their consciences. The
unlearned and poor, who are simple-hearted, readily draw proper
inferences from the evidences of the light of the gospel; but
those whose desires are another way, though ever learning, never
come to the knowledge of the truth.
#24-34 As Christ's mercies are most valued by those who have
felt the want of them, that have been blind, and now see; so the
most powerful and lasting affections to Christ, arise from
actual knowledge of him. In the work of grace in the soul,
though we cannot tell when, and how, and by what steps the
blessed change was wrought, yet we may take the comfort, if we
can say, through grace, Whereas I was blind, now I see. I did
live a worldly, sensual life, but, thanks be to God, it is now
otherwise with me, #Eph 5:8|. The unbelief of those who enjoy
the means of knowledge and conviction, is indeed marvellous. All
who have felt the power and grace of the Lord Jesus, wonder at
the wilfulness of others who reject him. He argues strongly
against them, not only that Jesus was not a sinner, but that he
was of God. We may each of us know by this, whether we are of
God or not. What do we? What do we for God? What do we for our
souls? What do we more than others?
#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.
#39-41 Christ came into the world to give sight to those who
were spiritually blind. Also, that those who see might be made
blind; that those who have a high conceit of their own wisdom,
might be sealed up in ignorance. The preaching of the cross was
thought to be folly by such as by carnal wisdom knew not God.
Nothing fortifies men's corrupt hearts against the convictions
of the word, more than the high opinion which others have of
them; as if all that gained applause with men, must obtain
acceptance with God. Christ silenced them. But the sin of the
self-conceited and self-confident remains; they reject the
gospel of grace, therefore the guilt of their sin remains
unpardoned, and the power of their sin remains unbroken.