This is the third part of the essay concerning the healing of the man born blind as recorded in John 9.
Continuing on with our examination of John 9 we are now witness to a denial of truth, a denial of both the events and of the testimony of the man himself, and also that of the witnesses to the events. These things werent done secretly and there were (apparently) several witnesses to the healing who made up of a composite from different strata in the Jerusalem society: some of these who knew the man, and some did not.
We can further observe that there were two distinct and identifiable characteristics in the folks present observing this feat – there were those who see and who would marvel and believe what they have seen and those that would deny what they actually had seen. Nothing much is said of that first group, but a lot is said of the other. These same types are around today. Unfortunately, we each likely know some who would twist the commonplace and make it into something extraordinary. While some others would make the extraordinary common. That is how the charlatans teachers and phony healers operate isnt it? They work a great deal on peoples emotions, and make things that are one way into things that might seem to be another. Yet this denial here is much more serious, for it denied the very work of God. The first group of folks accepted the evidence before them – they maybe scratched their heads, but they knew the witness of their own senses. The second was only going to explain it away.
In the short section beginning in verse 8 is the following:
Therefore the neighbors and those who previously had seen that he was blind said, “Is not this he who sat and begged?” Some said, “This is he.” Others said, “He is like him.” He said, “I am he.” Therefore they said to him, “How were your eyes opened?” He answered and said, “A Man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, “Go to the pool of Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and I received sight.” Then they said to him, “Where is He?” He said, “I do not know.”
How is it that this man “is like him” that was healed? Was a doppleganger brought in surrepticiously, and on short notice?
I certainly would have wanted to know where Jesus had gotten off to if Id heard of this healing. Such a remarkable feat and such a remarkable man should be paid attention to. I suppose that some were quicker on the uptake than others, and when the man returned to where he was known, there were those who may have started looking right away for Jesus to note his whereabouts, as it certainly took some time for the man to make his way to Siloam and return.
As we read here, the identity of the man is first called into question now by some of his own neighbors and acquaintances. Their reaction is most natural, because as we said a moment ago, some of them have had trouble believing what they have seen. The initial reaction is one of incredulity, which is surely a natural response when the intellect cant process the things being presented to it. The events of this healing ran contrary to all science, all evidence of life, and contrary to everything these people had ever seen, known or understood. So the confusion is natural for what it is – the inability of people to assimilate events which cannot by their own reason be explained. However, the doubt then turns to wonder when the man states, “I am the one that was blind.”