John 9:13-17 :: “Sabbath”

13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind. 14 Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man’s eyes was a Sabbath.(A) 15 Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight.(B) “He put mud on my eyes,” the man replied, “and I washed, and now I see.”

16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.”(C)

But others asked, “How can a sinner do such miraculous signs?”(D) So they were divided.(E)

17 Finally they turned again to the blind man, “What have you to say about him? It was your eyes he opened.”

The man replied, “He is a prophet.”(F)


Poor guy. What a day it’s been. I mean, he was just doing what he’d always done (probably, since blind from birth). Then, all the sudden, he hears a voice of a man and feels cold, slimy mud on his eyes. He’s told to go wash — and he does — and light bursts through.

And then get gets interrogated.

By his neighbors and people who’d seen him beg.

And now by the Pharisees.

I love his simple account of what happened, “…and then I washed and I could see.”

Did his voice waver with ever recount of his healing? Did tears spring up? Was he giddy?

And then the Pharisees counter, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath” (v. 16).


I have such a hard time not being completely outraged at these men. From my view, in 21st-century America as a woman with a copy of the entire Word of God, I can forget the simple fact that these Pharisees weren’t evil. Well, most of them. They really were men who wanted to please God and what they knew was to keep all the Laws they’d been given.

So, to their credit, they’re thinking, If God gave us the Law, He will always keep it. He wouldn’t go against the Law!

But, never in a million years, would they have thought that the One before them wasn’t nullifying the Law — He was fulfilling it.

After I get over being angry at them, I am reminded that I so often am in their ranks: God wouldn’t act like ______, would He? Surely, He’s not like that.

I like God in my neat and tidy box.

Granted, by His grace, the box isn’t as small as it used to be, nor tidy. But I’m still prone to not let God be God.

I’ve heard a pastor preach on this section by talking about the theme of blindness: the physically blind man gets healed and the spiritually blind Pharisees continue in their lack of sight.

Lord, I want to see You today. You. Not who I think You are, or who I think You should be.

Only You.


A great article: Searching for the Sabbath, by my friend Katie Croft. It’s affected how the Bentley family rests on Sundays for the last 2 months. If you have a few minutes, I’d encourage you to read it and ask the Lord what a day of not-having-to-do looks like.

A favorite portion in which she quotes Mark Buchanan: “Cease from that which is necessary. This is Sabbath’s golden rule, one rule to which all other rules distill. Stop doing what you ought to do. There are six days to do what you ought. Six days to be caught in the web of economic and political and social necessity. And then, one day to take wing. Sabbath is that one day.”


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