The Ministry of Messiah, 2:13-12:50

6. Jesus the light of life, 8:12-10:42

iv] That God might be glorified - Jesus heals a man born blind


John now relates the healing of the man born blind and its appended discourse, titled by Dodd as Judgment by the Light. On the one hand we witness a blind man not only seeing, but growing in faith, growing in his understanding of the one who is the light of the world. On the other hand, we witness the growing unbelief of those who reject the light.


As the light shines in the darkness, some see and find life; others reject the light and inevitably face judgment.


i] Context: See 8:12-20. In this chapter John recounts the healing of the blind man along with an extended dialogue / discourse. This is followed up in chapter 10 by the parable of the Shepherd, along with an exposition on the true and false leaders of Israel, 10:1-21. Carson calls the teaching parable of the Shepherd, 10:1-6, a "sustained metaphor." Having observed the situation where the blind man responds to Jesus, rather than the religious authorities, Jesus paints a common picture of the shepherd who has rightful access to the flock, which, in response, follows him. We then have what Dodd calls an appendix, v22-39/42. This "appendix" is set within the framework of the Feast of Dedication. It is during the feast that the religious authorities again question Jesus' messianic credentials.


ii] Structure: This sign / discourse episode, That God might be glorified, presents as follows:

The healing of the man born blind, v1-7;

The neighbors question the miracle, v8-12;

The Pharisees examine the man, v13-17;

The parents are examined, v18-23;

The Pharisees examine the man a second time, v24-34;

Jesus addresses the issue, v35-41:

The blind man is led to faith, v35-38;

The truth is confirmed, v39-41:

"for judgment I have come into this world,

so that the blind will see

and those who see will become blind."


iii] Interpretation:

The sign recounted in v1-7 is a straightforward narrative, but this is followed by an extended dialogue which laboriously recounts the debate between Jesus and the religious authorities over his healing of the blind man. The related teaching associated with the sign is drawn out within this dialogue and then finally summarized in v39: "My coming into this world is itself a judgment - those who cannot see have their eyes opened and those who think they see become blind", Phillips.

The point made by the passage is simple enough and achieves the same object as the other sign / discourse episodes in this gospel, namely to reveal God's euaggelion, "important massage / gospel." "The world, and the Jews with it, lies in darkness; whoever wants to walk in the light must come to Jesus", Kostenberger. So, this passage focuses "on spiritual sight leading to confession of faith in Jesus, and on spiritual blindness which refuses to believe", Lindars.


Dodd says of this passage that it "is one of the most brilliant passages in the gospel." "The one-time blind beggar stands before his betters, to be badgered into denying the one thing of which he is certain. But the defendant proper is Jesus himself, judged in absentia. In some sort, the man whom Christ enlightens pleads the cause of life. When he is cast out, it is Christ whom the judges have rejected. Then comes the dramatic peripeteia (reversal). Jesus swiftly turns the tables on his judges and pronounces sentence."


iv] Sources:

As is typical of John's gospel, numerous theories exist as to the possible sources used to shape this chapter, although such theories are highly speculative, eg. see Haenchen. In the end, the teaching of the passage stands apart from source theories.


v] Exposition: A simple exposition of this passage may be found in the linked pew-level Sermon Notes.

Text - 9:1

A blind man sees, v1-41: i] The sign of the healing of the man born blind, v1-7. First, the sign. Jesus is the light of the world (the divine life-giving revelation from God, 8:12) and he enacts this reality with a man born blind. The disciples assume that either the man's sin, or his parents' sin, has caused the blindness, but for Jesus, the man's condition serves as an opportunity to give sight to someone lost in darkness, both physical and spiritual. Jesus purposely defies ritual-purity laws with the use of saliva and dirt in a healing on the Sabbath, and so declares himself as a light that transcends that of Moses. Like Elisha with Naaman, Jesus calls for an act of faith on the man's part, and so begins this man's journey to life.

paragwn (paragw) pres. part. "as he went along" - [and] passing by, along. The participle is adverbial, best treated as temporal.

ek + gen. "from [birth]" - [he saw a man blind] from [birth]. Expressing source / origin, but with a temporal sense, "from the time of his birth." A more Semitic way of putting it would be "from the mother's womb", cf. Matt.19:12. Blindness from birth underlines the seriousness of the condition and also stifles the argument that the man's condition is a consequence of sin.


legonteV (legw) pres. part. "-" - [the disciples of him asked him] saying. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "to ask", redundant; "asked and said."

tiV hJmarten (aJmartenw) aor. "who sinned ....?" - who sinned, [this man or the parents of him]. Exodus 20:5 certainly encouraged the notion that the stain of a parent's sin may infect a child, but the book of Job makes it clear that there is no direct correlation between a particular sin and sickness. "Whose sin caused this man's blindness?" Phillips.

iJna + subj. "that" - that [he was born blind]. Probably serving to introduce a consecutive clause, expressing result, "with the result that ....", see v3 below.


oute ..... oute "Neither [this man] nor [his parents]" - [jesus answered] neither [this man sinned] nor [the parents of him]. Negated comparative construction; "neither ..... nor ....."

all (alla) "but this happened" - but. Strong adversative standing in a counterpoint construction, as NIV; "neither ... nor ...., but ......"

iJna + subj. "so that" - that. NIV reads the hina clause as expressing purpose, but such a reading implies that God made the man blind so that Jesus could heal him. It is more likely that the clause expresses result. The man's blindness provides an opportunity for Jesus to be the light of the world. The man's blindness has nothing to do with his, or his parent's sin; "but because of his blindness, you will see God perform a miracle for him", CEV. Although unlikely, it is possible that this construction here is imperatival; "let the works of God be displayed in him!", cf. see Moule Idiom Book.

tou qeou (oV) gen. "[the works] of God" - [the works] of god [may be manifested]. The genitive is adjectival, probably verbal, subjective, "the works performed by God."

en + dat. "in [him]" - Local, sphere, "in the sphere of his existence."


eJwV "as long as [it is day]" - while [it is day]. This temporal conjunction introduces a temporal clause.

JhmaV pro. "we" - us. Accusative subject of the infinitive "to work." The use of the plural here by Jesus may be original, although some manuscripts have "I". If the plural is original, Jesus is including his disciples in this ministry statement.

ergazesqai (ergazomai) pres. inf. "[must] do the works" - [is necessary] to work. The infinitive serves as the subject of the verb "is necessary", a verb often used to express divine necessity.

tou pemyantoV (pempw) gen. aor. part. "of him who sent [me]" - of the one having sent [me]. The participle serves as a substantive, the genitive being adjectival, verbal subjective; "the works which are required by the one who sent me."

oJte "when" - [comes night] when. The temporal conjunction introduces a temporal clause. Note the use of a futuristic or predictive present in the verb "to come", "night will come"; "it will soon be night."

ergazesqai (ergazomai) pres. inf. "[no one can] work" - [no one is able] to work. The infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the verb "to be able."


o{tan + subj. of the verb to-be w\ "While" - whenever = when [in the world]. Introducing an indefinite temporal clause, treated as definite.

tou kosmou (oV) gen. "[I am the light] of the world" - The genitive is adjectival, often treated as verbal, objective / idiomatic, limiting "light", a light which is "for" the world, "I am light for the world", Moffatt; also CEV; "I am a light which enlightens / illuminates the world. Possibly adjectival, possessive; Jesus does his work as a light which belongs to the World while he is, as it were, shinning, cf., Lindars.


eipwn (eipon) aor. part. "having said [this]" - having said [these things]. The participle is adverbial, best treated as temporal; "when he had thus spoken", AV.

eptusen (ptuw) aor. "he spit" - he spat. It was commonly held that saliva had curative powers, but its use was later banned in Jewish circles due to its use in the magical arts. Carson notes David Smith's suggestion that, saliva, as with dirt, implied ritual impurity and that Jesus here is defying Jewish sensibilities and healing independently of the prevailing notions of ritual cleanliness. As noted later, the day Jesus does this is a Sabbath day. This too may be a further intended affront to Jewish religious sensibilities.

camai adv. "on the ground" - Adverb of place.

ek + gen. "with [the saliva]" - [and made clay] from [the spittle]. Expressing source / origin.

epi + gen. "on" - [and he put the clay] upon. Spacial, "on, upon."

autou gen. pro. "the man's [eyes]" - his [eyes]. The genitive is adjectival, possessive, as NIV.


niyai (niptw) aor. imp. "wash" - [and he said to him, go] wash, bathe. The aorist may indicate that the command expects an immediate response. Note the parallel with 2 Kings 5:10-13. Implied object is obviously "eyes"; "wash your face", TEV.

tou Silwam gen. proper "[the pool] of Siloam" - [in the pool] of siloam. The genitive is adjectival, idiomatic / identification, "the pool which is called Siloam." The pond for the diverted waters from the spring of Gihon that flows through Hezekiah's tunnel. It is most likely the "lower pool", not the pool now identified as "the pool of Siloam."

apestalmenoV (apostellw) perf. pas. part. "sent" - [which is translated] the one having been sent. The participle serves as a substantive. John typically explains Semitic words, here a word based on the root slh, "to send" = the waters sent from Gihon.

oun "so" - [he went] therefore. Inferential, establishing a logical connection, as NIV.

hlqen (ercomai) aor. "came home" - [and washed and] came. The NIV "home" is assumed. He certainly didn't come back to Jesus, so "home" is a good guess.

blepwn (blepw) pres. part. "seeing" - The participle is adverbial, modal, expressing the manner of his going/coming; "he came away seeing / having his sight."


ii] The questions raised by the blind man's neighbors, v8-12. The man born blind is questioned by his neighbors. The blind man's neighbors have seen him begging, probably at the same spot for a very long time. Now that he sees, they are unsure if this is the same man. The questioning serves to identify the source of the miracle, namely, "the man called Jesus."

oun "-" - therefore. Here transitional / resumptive and so not translated.

oiJ qewrounteV (qewrew) pres. part. "those who had [formerly] seen him" - [the neighbors and] the ones seeing [him]. The participle serves as a substantive, coordinate nominative subject with "neighbors." The present tense probably indicates continuous action, ie., they regularly saw him begging at a particular place / were accustomed to seeing him.

to acc. "[formerly]" - the [former]. The article serves as a nominalizer turning the adverb "formerly" into a substantive, the accusative being adverbial, temporal, "those who had seen him at a former time.

oJti "-" - that [he was a beggar]. Introducing an object clause / dependent statement of perception, "they had seen him and so they knew that he was a beggar." Harris classifies oJti here as epexegetic.

ouc "-" - [is] not [this man]. When used in a question, this negation implies an affirmative answer.

oJ kaqhmenoV (kaqhmai) pres. part. "who used to sit [and beg]" - the one sitting [and begging]. As with prosaitwn, "begging", the participle serves as a substantive, coordinate with "the one begging." The single article indicates a single referent (Granville Sharp rule). "Isn't this the man who sits and beggs?", Rieu.


elegon (legw) imperf. "claimed" - [some] were saying. The use of the imperfect may indicate that numerous comments were being made about the man, although speech of itself is durative.

oJti "that" - that [this is he. others were saying]. Introducing a dependent statement, direct / indirect speech.

alla "[no]" - [no] but [he is like him]. Strong adversative in a counterpoint construction; "No way, he is not the beggar, but he is like him."

autw/ dat. pro. "[look like] him" - [he is like] him. Dative complement of the adjective oJmoioV, "like" / dative of comparison.

oJti "[I am the man]" - [that one = he was saying] that [i am]. Introducing an object clause / dependent statement of direct speech. Note the interesting use of a phrase that Jesus enjoyed using with some import, with reference to the great "I AM" of divine self-revelation. Here it carries no weight other than to mean, "I am the man who used to beg at ........."; "I am the man alright", Phillips.


oun "-" - therefore [they were saying to him]. Inferential, establishing a logical connection; "So they said to him", ESV.

hnew/cqhsan (anoigw) aor. pas. "How" - how [therefore were opened the eyes of you]? Interrogative particle; The sense is "How is it that you now see?", "how was your blindness cured?" Phillips.

elegon imperf. "they demanded" - they were saying/asking. John again uses the imperfect tense, possibly indicating an ongoing request for information, although as already indicated, the imperfect is often used of speech due to the durative nature of conversation (especially if the person is long-winded!!!).


ekeinoV pro. "he [replied]" - that man [answered]. Distant demonstrative pronoun referring to the blind man, here standing in for a personal pronoun, as NIV.

oJ legomenoV (legw) pres. pas. part. "[the man] they call Jesus" - the one being called [jesus]. The participle serves as an adjective, attributive, limiting "the man"; "the man who is named Jesus."

epecrisen (epicriw) aor. "put it on" - [he made clay and] rubbed on, anointed [the eyes of me]. The man is describing what happened; "smeared it on my eyes", CEV.

oJti "[he told me] to" - [and said to me] that [go to siloam and wash]. Introducing a dependent statement of direct speech.

apelqwn (apercomai) aor. part. "I went" - [and] having gone [and having washed i saw]. As with niyamenoV "washed", attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the main verb "I saw".


autw/ dat. "[they asked] him" - [they said] to him. Dative of indirect object.

pou "where" - Interrogative adverb of place.

ekeinoV "this man" - [is] that one [and he says i do not know]. A rather rude form of address; "where is that fellow?"


iii] The first interrogation of the blind man by the Pharisees, v13-17. The man born blind is then questioned by the Pharisees. The neighbors obviously feel that the religious authorities should witness this amazing event, but the Pharisees are divided on whether it is an evil, or good omen. As far as the man is concerned, Jesus is obviously a very special person under God ("prophet" is possibly being used in the sense of "a man of God").

agousin (ago) act. "they brought" - they drive, lead, bring [him]. Historic / narrative present, indicating narrative transition. Although the verb is a present active, the NEB "was brought" gives a passive sense, reinforcing the idea that those who knew the man insisted that he come with them to see the religious authorities.

proV + acc. "to" - toward. Expressing direction toward.

touV FarisaiouV "the Pharisees" - Later in the chapter John refers to "Jews", "Jewish authorities" TEV, but probably no distinction is intended.

pote "[the man who had been blind]" - [the one] once, formerly [blind]. This temporal particle, functioning as an attributive adjective, introduces a relative clause limiting "the one / man"; "the man who had formerly been blind", ESV. "The man" stands in apposition to auton, "him"; "they brought him, namely the man who had formerly been blind, to the Pharisees."


It seems very likely that we have an editorial comment here which serves to explain the increased hostility of the religious authorities. For this reason Phillips treats this verse as a parentheses: "(It should be noted that Jesus made the clay and restored his sight on a Sabbath day)."

de "Now" - but/and. Transitional, indicating a step in the narrative, here to an editorial comment.

en + dat. "[the day] on [which]" - [it was a sabbath] on [which day jesus made the clay and opened the eyes of him]. The preposition here is adverbial, temporal; "the day when Jesus made clay and opened his eyes had been a Sabbath", Rieu.

h|n imperf. "was [a Sabbath]" - it was [a sabbath]. The imperfect is used for background information.


oun "Therefore" - therefore. Here transitional / resumptive; "Then again the Pharisees also asked him ....."

palin adv. "-" - again [the pharisees were asking him also]. The adverb "again" comes with the sense of "in like manner." The NIV dodges the ambiguity of "again" by giving weight to kai, "and", taken as adjunctive, "also", given that the "again" does not mean that this is the second time the Pharisees had questioned the man. Note that the verb "to ask" is imperfect. Harris suggests that it is possibly inceptive, "began to ask", or iterative, "repeatedly asked.""The Pharisees also questioned him on how he received his sight."

pwV "how" - how [he saw]. Interrogative particle; "how he had received his sight", ESV.

de "-" - but/ and [he]. Transitional, indicating a step in the dialogue, here to a new speaker; often with the article oJ, "the" = "he".

autoiV dat. pro. "[the man replied]" - [he said] to them [he put clay on the eyes of me and i washed and i see]. Dative of indirect object.


oun "-" - therefore. Transitional, or possibly inferential, establishing a logical connection, "so, consequently, ..."

ek + gen. "[some] of [the Pharisees]" - [certain] from [the pharisees]. The preposition stands in the place of a partitive genitive; "some of the Pharisees."

para + gen. "from [God]" - [this man is not] from beside [god]. NEB carries the sense better, "is no man of God." The sense of "from beside" will be preferred by those who think the statement has messianic overtones, ie., "he cannot be the one God has sent." He is no man of God because he does not obey the Sabbath law, cf. Deut.13:1-5. In strict accordance with the law, Jesus should have properly waited till the first day of the week to perform the healing, since the man's condition was not life threatening.

oJti "for" - because. Here serving to introduce a causal clause.

ou threi (threw) pres. "he does not keep" - he does not keep [the sabbath]. The sense is "he does not observe the Sabbath law."

de "but [others asked]" - but/and [others were saying]. Transitional, indicating a step in the dialogue; a new speaker.

poiein (poiew) pres. inf. "[how can a sinner] do" - [how is able a sinful man] to do [such signs]? The infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the verb "is able."

en + dat. "[they were] divided" - [and a division was] in [them]. Locative, expressing space, here with the sense "among". "And they differed violently about Jesus", Barclay.


oun "then" - therefore. Transitional, as NIV, or inferential, "so they said again", ESV.

palin adv. "again" - [they say to the blind man] again. Adverb of manner; "in like manner." NIV "finally ..... again", "so they asked the blind man once more", Moffatt.

tw/ tuflw/ (oV) dat. "to the blind man" - Dative of indirect object.

oJti "-" - [what do you say about him] because [he opened the eyes of you]? The conjunction here (as with the direct speech "he is a prophet") may form a dependent statement, "what do you say about him that he opened your eyes", ie., expressing what the blind man is saying. It is possible that it reflects Aramaic form here, and so may be treated as a relative pronoun, o{V "who". It is best to treat it as either introducing a direct quotation, so TEV, or as causal, "since / because", "what do you say about him, since it was your eyes he opened?"

de "[the man replied]" - but/and [he he said]. Transitional, indicating a step to a new speaker; with oJ, "the" = "he", as usual.

oJti "-" - that. Introducing an object clause / dependent statement of direct speech.

profhthV "prophet" - [he is] a prophet. Predicate nominative. The blind man possibly thinks Jesus is an Elisha type, even possibly that he is the promised Prophet like Moses, the one who precedes the Messiah, but at this stage it is more likely that he sees Jesus in a general sense - a special person who is obviously a man of God.


iv] The Pharisees interrogate the man's parents, v18-23. The parents recognize that the miracle is causing some agitation among the religious authorities and so affirm nothing more than that the man is their son and that he was born blind. As for anything else, they take the Sargent Schultz line, "I know nothing."

oun "-" - therefore. Transitional, indicating a step in the narrative, here a useful paragraph marker.

oiJ Ioudaioi "the Jews" - the jews. Nominative subject of the verb "to believe." This term, constantly used by John, refers to unbelieving Israel, specifically the Jewish authorities - Pharisees, Levites, etc.

ouk episteusan (pisteuw) aor. "did not believe" - did not believe. "Did not really believe", Phillips.

peri "-" - about [him]. Expressing reference / respect; "concerning him."

oJti "that" - that [he was blind and saw]. Introducing an object clause / dependent statement of perception expressing what they did not believe, namely, that the man was born blind and now had received his sight. The noun clause is somewhat elliptical; "that he had been born blind and that he had only just received his sight."

e{wV o{tou + aor. ind. "until [they sent]" - while, until. This construction serves to introduce a temporal clause referring to a past fact, here the man's blindness.

efwnhsan (fwnew) aor. "they sent" - they called [the parents of him]. Although not stated, the investigation of the parents is obviously undertaken without their blind son being present.

tou anableyantoV (anablepw) gen. aor. part. "-" - of the one having received his sight. The participle serves as a substantive standing in apposition to the the genitive possessive pronoun autou, "of him". Of course, it can also be classified as adjectival, attributive; "until they called the parents of him who was healed", Torrey. Left out of some manuscripts probably because of the unnecessary repetition.


For stylistic reasons the NIV divides this Greek sentence into two sentences separated by "they asked". "Is this your son who you say was born blind?" RSV.

legonteV (legw) pres, part. "[they asked]" - [and they asked them] saying [is this the son of you]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "to ask", "asked ...... and said" - redundant.

oJti "-" - [whom you say] that [he was born blind]. Introducing a dependent statement, indirect speech expressing what they say, namely that he was born blind.

oun "-" - therefore [how does he see now]? Inferential, establishing a logical connection; "so how is it that he now sees?"


oun "-" - therefore [the parents of him answered and said]. Inferential, establishing a logical connection; "so his parents answered."

oJti "-" - [we know] that [this man is the son of us and] that [he was born blind]. Twice used in this verse to introduce a dependent statement of perception expressing what the parents know.


autou gen. pro. "opened his eyes" - [but/and how now he sees we do not know or who opened the eyes] of him. The genitive is adjectival, possessive. "Gave him back his sight". "We do not know how he got his sight or who gave it to him", CEV.

hJmeiV "we [don't know]" - The pronoun is emphatic by position and use.

hJlikian (a) "he is of age" - [ask him, he has] a span of life [he will speak about himself]. Accusative direct object of the verb "to have." "He is a grown-up man", Phillips.


oJti "because [they were afraid]" - [these things the parents said of him] because [they were fearing the jews]. Introducing a causal clause explaining why the parents "said this."

gar "-" - because. Introducing a causal clause explaining why the parent's feared the Jews.

suneteqeito (suntiqhmi) pluperf. "[the Jews] had decided" - [the jews] agreed together [already]. The pluperfect indicates that the decision to act against anyone who acknowledged Jesus was made well before these events.

iJna + subj. "that" - that. Introducing a dependent statement of perception expressing what the Jewish authorities had decided.

ean + subj. "if" - if [anyone confessed him christ]. Introducing a conditional clause, 3rd. class, where the condition has the possibility of coming true; "if, as may be the case, ..... then ....."

aposunagwgoV adj. "put out of the synagogue" - [he would be] excommunicated, banished from a synagogue. Predicate adjective. John is probably referring to a total excommunication of believers from Israel - a banishment. There were other more formal disciplinary banishments which could last a week or a month and which did not bar a person from religious services. "Should be banned from the Synagogue", NEB.


v] The blind man is further interrogated by the Pharisees, v24-34. Given that the Pharisees are unsure of Jesus' religious qualifications (this is the purpose of the oblique reference to his origin, v29), and are quite sure of his neglect of Mosaic law (that he is a sinner, v24), they demand that the man born blind tell them by what deceitful means Jesus stage-managed this event ("give glory to God" = tell the truth). In response, the man observes that only a God-fearing man, a man who does God's will, could undertake the healing of a person born blind. The truth always hurts and so for his troubles the man is excommunicated.

oun "-" - therefore. Transitional, indicating a step in the narrative, but possibly inferential, expressing a logical connection, "So for the second time ...", ESV.

ek + gen. "a second time" - [they called the man who was born blind] from [a second and said to him]. An uncommon temporal use of the preposition to form the idiomatic phrase "for a second time"; "they called back the man who had been born blind", ATH.

tw/ qew/ "to God" - [give glory] to god. Dative of indirect object. The sense is probably "swear by God to tell the truth", CEV.

oJti "-" - [we know] that [this man is a sinner]. Introducing a dependent statement of perception expressing what the Jews think they know about Jesus. Jesus is perceived to be a sinner because he broke the Sabbath law.


ei + ind. "if" - [therefore that man = he answered] if. The conjunction here serves to introduce an interrogative noun clause, indirect question, cf., Zerwick #402.

aJmartwloV (oV) "he is a sinner" - he is a sinner [i do not know]. Jesus did heal on the sabbath so his legal standing under the law is something the blind man is unable to debate.

oJti "-" - [one thing i know] that. Introducing an object clause / dependent statement of perception expressing what the man does know.

wJn (eimi) pres. part. "I was" - being [now i see]. The participle is adverbial, best treated as concessive, "although being once blind, yet now I see", ie., he concedes the point that he was once blind, yet given what has happened he now sees. What does that say about this man Jesus?


ouk hkousate (akouw) aor. "you did not listen" - [i told you already and] you did not listen. Possibly "would not listen", Moffatt. Some manuscripts have "believe" and others leave out the negative, carrying the sense "you have heard what I said to you."

akouein (akouw) pres. inf. "to hear" - [why again do you want] to hear? The infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the verb "want".

mh "-" - not [and = also his disciples]. This rhetorical question is formed in the Greek to expect a negative answer, "You don't want to become his disciples, do you?" Williams.

genesqai (ginomai) aor. inf. "to become" - [do you will] to be, become. The infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the verb "to will." Since qelw, "to will", is a cognitive verb, the infinitive may technically be taken to introduce a dependent statement of perception expressing their implied wish, namely, that they be his disciples, but normally not classified as such.


eloidorhsan (loidorew) aor. " they hurled insults" - [and] they insulted, scoffed, reviled [him and said]. "they became abusive", NEB.

ekeinou gen. pro. "this fellow's [disciple]" - [you are a disciple] of that one. The use of the distant demonstrative pronoun here is disparaging. The genitive is adjectival, relational.

de "-" - but/and. Transitional, indicating a contrastive statement; "you are his disciples, but we are Moses' disciples", Berkeley.

tou MwusewV (hV ou) gen. "[we are disciples] of Moses" - The genitive is adjectival, relational. "The Jews" make the point that Moses is the source of the Law and therefore, he is the person a religious Jews should follow.


oJti "[we know] that" - [we know] that [god has spoken to moses]. Introducing a dependent statement of perception expressing what they know.

touton "this fellow's [disciple]" - this one. The use of this pronoun by itself carries a contemptuous sense, as NIV.

poqen "[we don't even know] where [he comes from]" - [we do not know] from where [he is]. The interrogative conjunction serves as an adverb of place. Most commentators suggest that the "where" is his home town, eg., "we don't even know where his hometown is." Yet 7:27 indicates that the Jewish authorities do know that Jesus comes from Nazareth and given that no one will know where the messiah comes from, it is obvious (to them!) that Jesus is not the messiah. It is quite possible that we have here a general statement as to Jesus' lack of divine association and therefore, authority. Unlike Moses whose authority comes from an intimate association with the divine, "the Jewish hierarchy claimed not to know Jesus' mission or his sender", Harris. This approach makes sense of v30 where it is nonsensical to link a knowledge of Jesus hometown with his miraculous powers.


The man born blind has reacted to the authorities' aggressive questioning with a rhetorical response, "So, you blokes want to become Jesus' disciples do you?" The authorities fire back with insults, but leave themselves open by acknowledging that they have no knowledge of Jesus' mission or his sender. In v30-33 the man pointedly argues that only a godly person under divine authority is able to open the eyes of a man born blind. In v34 the authorities choose to go after the man rather than the argument and so they throw him out of the temple precincts.

autoiV dat. pro. "-" - [the man answered and said] to them. Dative of indirect object.

gar "now" - for. More reason than cause, introducing an answer in response to the interrogative "from where?"; a shocked affirmation "yes" = "OK, really! You don't know where he comes from = where he derives his authority, and yet he healed my blindness", cf., BDF #452.2.

en + dat. "[that]" - in [this]. Here adverbial, reference / respect; with respect to "this", namely, the statement "the Jews" have just made - "we do not know from where?"

to qaumaston adj. "[is] remarkable" - [it is] the amazing thing. The articular adjective serves as a substantive, nominative subject of the verb to-be. "This is an amazing fact."

oJti "-" - that [you do not know from where he is and yet he opened the eyes of me]. Here introducing a noun clause standing in apposition to (explaining) toutw/, "this", "the amazing thing", namely, that "the Jews" do not know the origin of Jesus' authority, even though he has just healed a man born blind.


oidamen (oida) perf. "we know" - The blind man also uses "the royal" plural, obviously paralleling the use by the Jewish authorities.

oJti "that" - that [god does not listen to sinners]. Introducing a dependent statement of perception expressing what the man knows. "Sinners" in the sense of those in rebellion against God, defiant of God. The proposition is that God does not answer the prayers of those who are against him, eg. Isa.1:15.

all (alla) "-" - but. Strong adversative standing in a counterpoint construction; "not ......, but ....."

ean + subj. "-" - if [anyone is]. Conditional clause, 3rd. class, where the condition has the possibility of coming true; "if, as may be the case, someone is god-fearing and does his will, then he listens to him." "We know that God listens only to people who love and obey him", CEV.

tiV qeosebhV adj. "the godly man" - god-fearing, respectful, devout, pious. "The man who has proper respect for God", Phillips. As the second clause makes clear, a devout person is one who does what God wants them to do. Jesus is such a person, in fact, he is the only person who does what God the Father wants them to do.

autou gen. pro. "his [will]" - [and does the will] of him. The genitive is adjectival, possessive, identifying the possession of a derivative characteristic, or verbal, subjective, "the will demanded by him."

toutou gen. pro. "-" - [he listens to] this one. Genitive of direct object after the verb "to listen to."


ek + gen ."[nobody has ever heard]" - from [the age it was not heard]. Temporal use of the preposition. It is "absolutely unheard of", Brown. "There is no record in any canonical writings of a person regaining their sight who was born blind."

oJti "-" - that [anyone opened the eyes]. Introducing an object clause /dependent statement of perception expressing what has never been heard since the beginning of the world, namely, the return of sight for a person born blind.

gegennhmenou (gennaw) perf. pas. part. "born [blind]" - [of a [blind] having been born man. The participle serves as a substantive, the genitive being adjectival, possessive, "the eyes belonging to a [blind] having been born man", limited by the attributive adjective tuflou, "blind". "No one, from the beginning of time, has ever been known to open the eyes of one born blind", Rieu.


ei + ind., an + imperf. "if - if [this man was not from beside god]. We have here a rather messy counterpoint conditional clause, 2nd class / contrary to fact, where the fact stated in the apodosis (the "then" clause) would have been true if the condition in the protasis (the "if" clause) had been true. The usual an in the apodosis is missing, cf. 3:10. "If, as is not the case, he was not from God, then he would not be able to do anything" = "If this man has not come from God, he he can do nothing." It would be possible to treat ei mh as introducing an exceptive clause; "he could do nothing except he (ouJtoV) were from God."

poiein (poiew) pres. inf. "[he could] do [nothing]" - [he would not be able] to do [nothing]. The infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the verb "is able." Note the double negative for emphasis.


en + dat. "[you were steeped] in [sin]" - [they answered and said to him, you were born] in [sin altogether]. Local, expressing state or condition. Possibly referring to his life as a sinner, "you a sinner through and through since you were born", JB, or referring to his state of inherited sin evidenced by his being born blind, "you were born in utter sin", RSV. Probably the latter.

su pro. "how dare you [lecture us]!" - [and] you [are teaching us]. Emphatic by position and use. "Who are you to give us lessons", NEB, although the NIV strikes the right cord.

exw adv. "[they threw him] out" - [and they threw out him] outside. The adverb of place reinforces the ek prefix of the verb "to throw out."


vi] Jesus leads the blind man to a full confession of faith, v35-38. Jesus reveals himself as the divine revelation from God; he is the Son of Man, the one who gives the light of life to those who seek it, but confirms a state of darkness upon those who don't. In response, the man born blind believes and bows before his Lord.

oJti "that" - [jesus heard] that [they threw him out]. Introducing an object clause / dependent statement of perception expressing what Jesus heard.

euJrwm (euJriskw) aor. part "when he found [him]" - [and] having found [him said]. The participle is adverbial, temporal. "On meeting him", Moffatt, fails to underline the fact that Jesus seeks him out. "He went and found the man", CEV.

eiV + acc. "[do you believe] in" - [do you believe] into. Expressing the direction of the action and arrival at, with belief the sense is interchangeable with en, "in, on", of putting ones weight on something, relying on, trusting in, ... Novakovic suggests that with belief eiV expresses goal.

tou anqrwpou (oV) gen. "the [Son of] Man" - The genitive is adjectival, relational. Why does Jesus represent himself to the blind man with the enigmatic title of Son of Man? Some manuscripts have "Son of God", which probably illustrates that some earlier copyists pondered the same question. John possibly uses this title for the attention of the reader. For John, the Son of Man is the divine revelation from God, the Word incarnate, who gives life to all who believe, cf. 1:51, but who also has authority to condemn those who don't, v39, cf. 5:27. This verse then, encapsulates the message of this episode. See 1:51.


ekeinoV pro. "the man [asked]" - that one [answered and said]. The distant demonstrative pronoun is used as a strengthened personal pronoun; "He answered."

tiV pro. "who is he, sir?" - [and he is] who [lord]? Predicate nominative. The kai is somewhat consecutive "and so, who is this Son of Man, Lord." "Tell me who he is, sir", TEV.

iJna + subj. "so that I may" - tell me that. Introducing an adverbial clause, final, expressing purpose, "in order that", or consecutive, expressing consequence, result, or hypothetical result, "so that", as NIV.

pisteusw (pisteuw) aor. subj. "believe" - I may believe [into him]. The aorist carries the sense, "that I may come to put my faith in him."


kai ..... kai .... "-" - [jesus said to him] and [you have seen him] and. A correlative construction; "both ..... and ....."

eJwrakaV (oJraw) perf. "now seen" - you have seen [him]. The NIV adds the "now" to draw out the sense of the Greek perfect; "you have already seen him", TEV. Porter Gk. argues for aspect over time, so here the perfect is used for stative effect, not temporal effect; "You are looking at him and the one who is speaking with you is that one."

oJ lalwn pres. part. "[he is] the one speaking [with you]" - the one speaking [with you is that one]. The participle serves as a substantive, nominative subject of the verb to-be.


de "-" - but/and [he]. Transitional, indicating a step in the dialogue - a new speaker, here with the article oJ, common in dialogue.

prosekunhsen (proskunew) aor. "he worshiped" - [he said, i believe lord, and] bowed down before, did obeisance. "Knelt down before", TEV. Possibly an inceptive imperfect serving to underline the beginning of the action, "he began to kneel down ..."

autw/ dat. pro. "him" Dative of direct object after the verb "to worship".


vii] John now provides a theological overview of the sign and its related narrative, v39-41. The purpose of Jesus' coming is to enable the blind to see, but at the same time to expose the blindness of those who claim to see. This verse, along with v38, is not found in some manuscripts.

eiV "for [judgment]" - [and jesus said] into. This first use of the preposition in the verse expresses purpose, "for the purpose of ...", the second is spatial, "to, into".

krima (a atoV) "judgment" - decision, judgment [i came into this world]. Jesus did not come into the world just to judge the world, 3:17. Yet, as a consequence of his coming, judgement does take place. In the face of God's revelation, people separate into two distinct groups. "This is the paradox of the revelation, that in order to bring grace it must also give offense, and so can turn to judgment", Bultmann.

iJna + subj. "so that" - that. Here probably serving to introduce a final clause expressing purpose, "in order that ....", although hypothetical result may be intended - note the same ambiguous sense expressed in v2 and 3; the divisive nature of the revelation has as its purpose the drawing out of those who seek the light. Less likely is that iJna either introduces an object clause / dependent statement of cause expressing what Jesus came to do, or standing in place of an epexegetic infinitive, specifying the "judgment."

oi mh bleponteV (blepw) pres. part. "the blind [will see]" - the ones not seeing [may see]. The participle serves as a substantive.

oi bleponteV "those who see [will become blind]" - the ones seeing [may become blind]. The purpose of the revelation is not really that "those who see will become blind", but rather "that those who claim to have spiritual sight will be shown up for the blind people that they really are", Stott.


ek "some [Pharisees]" - some out of, from [the pharisees heard these things]. "Some" is assumed, while the preposition serves as a partitive genitive.

oiJ ..... o[nteV (eimi) pres. part. "who [were with him]" - the ones being [with him said to him]. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "Pharisees", as NIV.

mh "[what, are we blind too?]" - not [also we are blind]? This negation is used in a question expecting a negative answer; "Are we also blind? Of course not!" The truth, of course, is that they are blind.


autoiV dat. pro. "[Jesus said]" - [jesus said] to them. Dative of indirect object.

ei + imperf. ..... an + imperf. "if" - if [blind ones you are]. Introducing a 2nd. class / contrary to fact conditional clause where the proposed condition is assumed to be false; "if, as is not the case, ..... then ....." See v33 above.

oaJmartian (a) (a) "[you would not be guilty of] sin" - [you would not have] sin. Accusative direct object of the verb "to have." Most commentators take "sin" in the Old Testament sense of "guilt", "you would not be guilty", Moffatt. The play on words makes the point that those who are aware of their guilt, who recognize it, can seek forgiveness and find it in the Son of Man, while those who deny their guilt, who deny their condition of loss, their blindness, remain in a state of sin, blind, and under condemnation.

de "but" - but/and. Transitional, indicating a step in the dialogue to a counter position; "but given that you now say 'We see', your guilt remains."

oJti "that" - that [we see, the sin of you remains]. Introducing an object clause / dependent statement of direct speech expressing what the Pharisees say, namely, that they are free of guilt.


John Introduction



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