The Gospel of John

A Child-Like Faith

John 9 records the story of a blind man to whom Jesus gave sight, the consequence of which was that not only did the man have the blessedness of precious sight, but the miracle Jesus worked on him produced a trusting faith which was child-like in its nature.

The faith of this man is like a “breath of fresh air” to the reader. How welcome it is after seeing the behavior of others who, if they did have faith, evidenced some qualities in their lives which made their faith “suspect”. Chapter 5 gives an account of a man who had been lame for many years whom Jesus healed on a Sabbath, then Jesus “spirited” Himself away without identifying Himself. When the Jews saw the man carrying his bed on the Sabbath and told him it was unlawful to do so, He said that the man who healed him told him to do it. When Jesus later revealed Himself to him, there is no indication of thankfulness on his part for the blessing Jesus gave him, and as soon as Jesus was gone he found the rulers and told them it was Jesus who had made healed him. I have read some say the man did not act improperly and perhaps he didn’t, but I’ve never seen anything which indicated appreciation on his part for what Jesus did.

In chapter 6 Jesus fed 5,000 men along with women and children from five loaves and two fishes. When all had eaten and were filled, the apostles gathered twelve baskets of remnants. The multitude was impressed and wanted to make Jesus king, but He escaped and crossed the Sea of Galilee by first walking on water and then finishing the journey in a boat the disciples had secured. When the multitude was unable to find Jesus where they were, they got into boats and crossed the sea to find Him which they did in the synagogue in Capernaum. They asked him, “Rabbi, whence cometh thou hither” which question He did not answer but instead said, “Ye seek me not because ye saw signs but because you ate of the loaves and were filled” (John 6:26). Jesus knew them well. When He preached a sermon on the bread of life, the multitude failed to appreciate it and did not understand His figurative language so they turned and walked no more with Him (John 6:66).

The unbelief of His own brethren must have disappointed and saddened Him (John 7:3-5), but later the faith of soldiers who were to arrest Him must have warmed His heart. When the soldiers returned to the rulers who sent them, they asked the soldiers why they had not brought Him. The soldiers responded, “Never man spake like this man spake” (v. 46). While their response showed faith on their part, it does not approach the degree of the faith of the blind man whom Jesus healed. In John 8 we are told that some of the rulers professed belief in Jesus but when Jesus said to them, “If ye abide in my word then are truly my disciples and ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (vv. 31-32), His words stirred in these “believers” protests to Jesus’ words and their objections grew to the point that when the account closes these “believers” picked up stones to kill Him (v. 59).

Now, in John 9 we have an example of a “child-like faith”. Jesus had put clay on the blind man’s eyes, commanded him to wash. When he did, gratitude and faith flooded his heart: his eyes were opened! When asked by unbelieving Jews his opinion of Jesus, he responded, “He is a prophet” (John 9:17). When the Jews questioned His parents, although they acknowledged Him to be their son who had been born blind, they weren’t willing to say Jesus had healed him. They were afraid they would be put out of the synagogue if they did (v. 22). When the Jews returned to the healed man and said, “Give glory to God. This man is a sinner. We know God spoke to Moses. We don’t know whence this man is,” the blind man’s response was startling! He said, “Ye don’t know whence he is, and yet he opened mine eyes!” That was enough. The Jews “cast him out” (v. 24).

Jesus returned once more to the blind man and asked him, “Dost thou believe on the Son of God?” (John 9:35). His response was, “And who is he, Lord, that I may believe in him?” (v. 36). What faith! This man was prepared to accept whatever Jesus said because he believed He was a prophet. That’s the kind of faith we must have, not a questioning, quarreling faith, but a faith so deep that we are prepared to believe it if Jesus says it! When Jesus said, “Thou hast both seen him and he it is that speaketh unto thee” (v. 37) are we surprised the man responded, “Lord, I believe” and he worshipped him (v. 38)?

When first Jesus with His disciples saw the blind man as they had passed along, the disciples asked, “Lord, who sinned, this man or his parents that he should be born blind?” Jesus responded, “Neither did this man sin nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him” (John 9:3). How true that was! God’s power was seen in opening the eyes of one who had never seen, and profound faith was produced in that man because of the mighty work of God through His Son Jesus!

Jim McDonald