1 As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth.
Jesus is still in Judea after he escaped from the Jews who wanted to stone him for saying that they are not the sons of Abraham but of the devil. Jesus also told them that he was there even before Abraham was and that he was the “I am” the name used to refer to God. After he escaped and as he was passing by, he saw a blind man who was born blind.
2 And his disciples asked him, “ Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
Now the scriptures tells us that sometimes when a man is sick, it is because the man must have committed some sort of sin that led him to be sick, 1 Cor. 11:30; James 5:15. Although true, this is not alway the case, 2 Cor. 12:7; Gal. 4:13, also Job was sick not because he had committed sin but because God wanted to show the devil that Job will not turn away from him. So the Jews had this believe that some sickness was there because one had committed sin. This is the reason why they asked Jesus this question. They wanted to find out that, now that this man was born blind and could not have committed any sin before he was born, why is he blind then, is it because of his parents?
3 Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.
Jesus answers them by saying that it is not always the case that when one is sick, they are sick because they have sinned. This in a way is also an acknowledgement by Jesus that a person can get sick because he had sinned.
John 5:14 (ESVST)
Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “ See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.”
Also in his statement in this verse, Jesus acknowledges that sickness can be brought about by sin. However, Jesus tells them that it is not always the case. Jesus tells that that sometimes a man is sick so that works of God might be displayed in him. Remember that Paul was also sick and he asked God to heal him, instead God did not and told him that his sickness makes God’s power work even better in him.
2 Corinthians 12:7-9 (ESVST)
So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “ My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
So, Jesus was saying that we should not always see our sickness as a punishment for sin but rather that it might be that through this sickness, God’s works are being perfected either in you or through you. In Paul’s case, although he pleaded three times with God to cure him, God did not because he was sick so that he should not be proud and he accepted that.
4 We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
What are these works of God that we must do while it is a day?
John 6:28-29 (ESVST)
Then they said to him, “ What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered them, “ This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”
Jesus answered this question in chapter 6 and said that the work that God wants us to do is to believe in him who he has sent. We must believe in our Lord Jesus Christ. The new living translation, translates verse 29 as
John 6:29 (NLTse)
Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you:Believe in the one he has sent.”
So, as you can see, the only work that we need to do is to believe in Jesus. Now what does Jesus mean by while it is day for night is coming when no one can work?
John 12:35-36 (ESVST)
So Jesus said to them, “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. 36 While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.”
Jesus is telling his disciples that it is better for them to do the works of God while he is still with them for when he has ascended to heaven, it will be even more difficult for them to believe in him. So, as long as he is in the world, he is the light of the world, they must believe in the light so that they may become sons of light.
6 Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man ‘s eyes with the mud 7 and said to him, “ Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.
Jesus then used the mud to heal the man’s blindness and told him to go wash at the pool.
8 The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar were saying, “ Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” 9 Some said, “ It is he.” Others said, “ No, but he is like him.” He kept saying, “ I am the man.” 10 So they said to him, “ Then how were your eyes opened?” 11 He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘ Go to Siloam and wash. ’ So I went and washed and received my sight.” 12 They said to him, “ Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.”
Clearly on this last verse, people simply could not believe what they were seeing with their eyes. They were even questioning if this man who now sees, what actually the blind man that used to sit and beg. They were arguing amongst themselves and the man kept on telling them that he is the one who used to be blind and was healed by Jesus. He told them how Jesus healed him and also that he did not know where he was, when they asked.