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Facing The Facts:
John 9


      We have all heard the comic line in one movie or another when one character, who does not want to change his opinion, says, “Don’t confuse me with the facts.” In the context of a movie, the line is funny. Regrettably, though, that same thought governs the religious lives of too many people. Too often, we develop opinions in religion and then facts are revealed that deny our opinions. How do we respond to those facts? In John 9, we read about two facts. There was a man born blind and Jesus healed him. However, there are three ways these facts were dealt with in this chapter. Examine the chapter and determine how you face the facts. If changes are needed, make them.


I.         I can refuse to allow the facts to get in the way of my opinions: the Pharisees.

A.      I can distort the facts.

1.       In John 9:16, the Pharisees, not wanting to face the facts, distorted them. Because the miracle itself demonstrated Jesus was from God, they had to distort what was done. Jesus could not be from God because He broke the Sabbath. However, in John 7:22-24, Jesus Himself demonstrated that healing on the Sabbath was not a violation of Moses’ law.

2.       How often today do people distort the facts to keep from accepting them? For instance have you ever heard anyone claim we believe music is wrong? This church doesn’t teach music is wrong. In fact, we use music in worship more than just about any other form of worship. But, distorting the facts in that way allows many to justify worshipping God however they want.

B.     I can deny the facts.

1.       In John 9:18, the Pharisees simply denied the facts. They claimed the man was not born blind. There was no miracle because there was no need for one. It was all a hoax.

2.       People today simply deny the facts. Regarding baptism, I have heard people claim that the Bible does not command baptism. I have heard people say that the Bible nowhere claims baptism saves us. I have even read where someone directly addressed I Peter 3:21 and his claim was that “saves” does not mean “saves from sin” it means made whole, complete or perhaps something else. The guideline of figuring out what passages like this one mean is, “Deny their clear meaning so I can continue to believe what I want.”

C.     I can continue to question the facts.

1.       Though the Pharisees had already questioned the blind man and learned the facts, they asked him about the facts again. In John 9:24-27, they asked again and even the blind man could see their tactics. “Why do you keep questioning? I already told you.”

2.       I am amazed at the number of times I have studied with people who will ask questions. Then when the question is answered biblically, they will act as if the question hasn’t been answered at all. Sometimes, it seems as though some people think, “If I didn’t come up with the answer, then the question hasn’t been answered.” Typically though, the real problem is the question was not answered to their satisfaction. That is, the answer was not what they wanted to hear. So, they just keep asking the same questions and act as though they have never been answered.

D.     I can shore up my present stance with illogical reasoning.

1.       In John 9:28-29, the Pharisees claimed they knew they were right because they were Moses’ disciples. They knew God had spoken to Moses. The problem is this had nothing to with the facts of the matter at all. In John 5:39-47, Jesus demonstrated why this was illogical. God did speak to Moses. But God spoke to Moses about Jesus and Moses wrote about Jesus. If they were truly Moses’ disciples, they would become Jesus’ disciples. They were shoring up their positions, but their reasoning proved nothing.

2.       Today, people shore up their positions using numerous illogical reasons. One “pastor” with whom I studied knew I couldn’t be right on a particular issue because he had been studying his Bible since I was in diapers. Others talk about how many people agree with them. Others speak of those who have been through seminary and conduct television or radio shows. They can’t possibly be wrong. While any of these issues should surely cause us to examine what they teach, none of them prove doctrinal truth. But, they provide seeming stability for those who cannot or will not face the facts.

E.     I can attack the presenter of the facts.

1.       When all the other approaches failed, the Pharisees finally turned on the man born blind in John 9:34. “You were born in sin and you will teach us.” This hearkened back to what was asked in John 9:2. The prevailing thought was that suffering and sickness came about because of sin. Since this man was born blind, he was obviously born in sin. So, why should the Pharisees have to listen to him anyway? If I can attack the messenger of the facts, then I do no have to worry about listening to the facts.

2.       This takes place in numerous ways today. Sometimes it simply happens by name-calling. There is a reason two sides on an issue will label the other side. That way each side can discount anything the other says because they are simply a “liberal” or an “anti”. What about this very week’s dispersions that we are just a “cult”? Sometimes this is done by casting dispersions because of age, gender, race, income, education, etc. Sometimes it is more subtle. Unlike Jesus, we sometimes make mistakes or say things improperly. There are times when people refuse to face the facts and do so by banking on a mistake the messenger of the facts made in some completely different arena.

II.       I can try not to make a decision regarding the facts: the parents.

A.      I can act as though I cannot really know the facts.

1.       The parents knew the facts. They also knew what the facts meant. But in John 9:20-21, they acted as if they did not know. The text says they responded the way they did, not out of honesty, but out of fear. So, they just threw up their hands and said, “We don’t know.”

2.       Many people do not want to change when the facts confront them, but they can not simply deny the facts. So, they throw up barriers claiming, “Well, we just can’t really know the facts. The Bible is too confusing on some issues. So, why don’t you do what you think is right and I will do what I think is right. And we’ll just ask God to clear it up for us when we get to heaven.” For instance, when studying baptism, instead of noticing what Acts 2:38 says, they simply question the word “for”. “You know that could mean because of. We just can’t be too dogmatic about it one way or the other.”

B.     I can defer to others as experts.

1.       The parents obviously deferred to the experts, the Jews (vs. 22). This probably refers to the Pharisees and the rulers of the Jews. Therefore, instead of acting based on the facts, they let the guidelines and stipulations of the Jews run their lives despite the facts that they saw. They would not speak against the facts. But they would not live according to them either.

2.       Today, numerous people defer to the “experts”. Sadly, there are cults in which people will not go against the leaders for fear of what the leaders will do. But beyond that, how many have said to you, when you presented a Bible verse to them, “I see what you are saying, but the Reverend Doctor Crusade Televangelist says something else.” In other words, despite what they see in the Bible, they will defer to the “experts”. Their hope is if they are wrong, in judgment they can blame someone else. After all, they didn’t make their own decision, the Reverend Doctor So-And-So did.

III.      I can allow the facts to determine my convictions and live by them: the beggar.

A.      Though I do not understand where the facts lead, I can accept them as presented.

1.       The blind man did not understand everything the facts entailed. He did not understand the facts would eventually lead him to believe Jesus was the Messiah, the coming Son of Man. He simply knew the facts and accepted them. Jesus healed him of blindness. That meant Jesus was from God. He was a man to be listened to and followed. His acceptance is demonstrated in John 9:36 after Jesus questioned him about believing in the Son of Man. The healed man said, “Who is He, so I can believe in Him?” Knowing the facts about Jesus’ power caused the healed man to believe all Jesus said.

2.       We may not know or understand where all the facts will lead us. We may not know or understand exactly what all the facts fully mean. But despite the questions we have yet to answer, we must accept the facts and follow them wherever they lead.

B.     Allow the facts to affect how I live.

1.       In John 9:38, the healed man allowed the facts to affect his life. In that verse, he confessed his faith in Jesus and worshipped. He did that whether or not he would be kicked out of the synagogues. Unlike his parents who were afraid to act on the facts, he was not afraid.

2.       We too must act on the facts. Whatever the facts proclaim, we should live according to them no matter the consequences. If we are kicked out of churches and synagogues, then so be it. If we are mocked and ridiculed, then so be it.

C.     Proclaim those facts without fear to others.

1.       I am most impressed with this healed man in contrast to his parents. Because of the parents fear, they would not proclaim the facts about Jesus to the Pharisees. The healed man not only proclaimed the facts, he even baited the Pharisees a little bit. “Why do you keep asking about Jesus, do you want to be his disciple too” (John 9:27). He was willing to proclaim that he was blind and Jesus healed him. He was willing to proclaim that he would follow Jesus. He was willing to proclaim that this miracle meant Jesus was from God (John 9:31-33).

2.       We must be willing to proclaim the facts. We should not back down out of fear. We should not try to hide the facts from others. We should shout them on the rooftops and proclaim them for all to hear.

D.     Recognize that other people will deal with the facts in other ways, no matter how clearly, logically or reasonably we present the facts to them. They are the ones at fault, not us.

1.       This entire story is amazing to me because of how clearly the facts are presented and yet only one person in the chapter accepted the facts and acted upon them. Only the blind man who had been healed. Can you imagine his frustration in John 9:24ff when the Pharisees refused to accept the facts? Yet the blind man realized he was not the one at fault. He was not the one making a mistake. They were. So, he continued to act on the facts.

2.       I bring this up because so many, especially young Christians, begin to think there is something wrong with us when people in the religious world will not accept the truth about numerous issues. When people do not accept the clearly stated truth, we are not at fault. Even when the facts are laid out as clearly as they were in John 9, some people simply will not accept them. We need to be ready for their rejection, but keep on proclaiming because somebody will eventually accept it. And if nobody ever does, we need to keep on teaching the facts, because it is the truth. Let God be true and every man a liar. But let us never become discouraged or think there is something wrong with us, simply because others will not accept the plain truth.


      Which of the three people are you? Have you refused to let the facts get in the way of your opinions? Have you simply tried to postpone your decision? Or have you acted on the facts presented in God’s word? The facts are Jesus died for your sins and has proclaimed that “he who believes and is baptized shall be saved” (Mark 16:16). Why not accept those facts and live by them immediately?


Glory to God in the church by Christ Jesus
Franklin Church of Christ