“And they reviled him, saying, “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 comes from.” The man answered, “Why, this is an amazing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him. Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” (John 9:28-33).
John 9:28 says, “And they reviled him, saying, “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 comes from.”
The word in the Greek for revile (λοιδορέω; loidoreo) means to abuse, to slander, and to strongly insult. Within the grammatical context, the Pharisees revile the man born blind who Jesus had healed. They did so with their entire being. They did so intellectually, emotionally and willfully. They did not do this ignorantly. Certainly, they were ignorant of who Jesus was and is, but they were not ignorant of what they were doing in speaking so insultingly to the healed man.
Part of their reviling included their condescending speech to their fellow Jew. They 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 comes from.”
Dr. John MacArthur states, “At this point, the meeting degenerated into a shouting match of insults. The healed man’s wit had exposed the bias of his inquisitors. As far as the authorities were concerned, the conflict between Jesus and Moses was irreconcilable. If the healed man defended Jesus, then such defense could only mean that he was Jesus’ disciple.”
Therefore, if the former blind man was Jesus’ disciple he was not worthy, in the Pharisees estimation, of either their time or attention. He was to be shunned and attacked as they endeavored to shun and attack Jesus.
However, the now physically seeing man displays an even greater sight and vision of soul. He displays an understanding of biblical truth and consistent logic which the religious leaders, for all of their ostentatious and outward display of religious righteousness, cannot begin to fathom. He says, ““Why, this is an amazing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him. Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”
The nameless man echoes the words of the Pharisee Nicodemas from John 3. “Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” (John 3:1-2).
One commentator explains that, “Miracles were not unknown to first-century Jews, for they had the Old Testament Scriptures to tell them about the wonders associated with the work of prophets such as Moses, Elijah, and Elisha (for example, Ex. 14; 1 Kings 18; 2 Kings 6:1–7). So, the simple fact that Jesus performed miracles did not in itself distinguish Him from others who came before Him. What did set Him apart was the kind of miracles He did. First and foremost, our Lord’s exorcisms distinguished Him from other prophets, for the ministry of Jesus was characterized by supernatural conflict: the kingdom of God was manifest as He cast out demons (Luke 11:20). But our Lord’s healing of the blind man also set Him apart, for there are very few instances of blind people receiving their sight in the Old Testament. Moreover, the healing of the blind was prophesied as a sign of the messianic age (Isa. 42:1–9). So, Jesus’ opening of the eyes of the blind was a proof of His messianic office.”
“That seems to be at least one reason why, in today’s passage, the man born blind insists that Jesus has been sent by God (John 9:32–33). Before Jesus came, some people who became blind during their lives were healed, but no one who had been born blind received sight. Thus, His healing of the man born blind proves His divine authority and points to His messianic anointing. The man may not have fully understood Jesus’ identity when he was first healed, but he knows enough that the miracle he experienced means that Jesus cannot be an emissary of Satan. God would by no means answer the prayers of Jesus and give Him such re-creative power if He were the devil’s servant (v. 31).”
Do not be intimidated by people who present themselves as super-spiritual. They may outwardly appear to have it all together, like the Pharisees, but rather consider the conduct of their lives, the attitudes of their hearts, and the speech which proceeds from their mouths.
I Peter 3:9 says, “Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.”
You may have been, or will be, insulted for the name of Jesus Christ. Like the man born blind, do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling. Rather, bless that you may obtain a blessing from God.
Soli deo Gloria!