Resources » Matthew Henry's Commentary » John » Chapter 9 » Verses 35–38

Verses 35–38

In these verses we may observe,

I. The tender care which our Lord Jesus took of this poor man (John 9:35): When Jesus heard that they had cast him out (for it is likely the town rang of it, and everybody cried out shame upon them for it), then he found him, which implies his seeking him and looking after him, that he might encourage and comfort him, 1. Because he had, to the best of his knowledge, spoken so very well, so bravely, so boldly, in defence of the Lord Jesus. Note, Jesus Christ will be sure to stand by his witnesses, and own those that own him and his truth and ways. Earthly princes neither do, nor can, take cognizance of all that vindicate them and their government and administration; but our Lord Jesus knows and observes all the faithful testimonies we bear to him at any time, and a book of remembrance is written, and it shall redound not only to our credit hereafter, but our comfort now. 2. Because the Pharisees had cast him out and abused him. Besides the common regard which the righteous Judge of the world has to those who suffer wrongfully (Ps. 103:6), there is a particular notice taken of those that suffer in the cause of Christ and for the testimony of a good conscience. Here was one poor man suffering for Christ, and he took care that as his afflictions abounded his consolations should much more abound. Note, (1.) Though persecutors may exclude good men from their communion, yet they cannot exclude them from communion with Christ, nor put them out of the way of his visits. Happy are they who have a friend from whom men cannot debar them. (2.) Jesus Christ will graciously find and receive those who for his sake are unjustly rejected and cast out by men. He will be a hiding place to his outcasts, and appear, to the joy of those whom their brethren hated and cast out.

II. The comfortable converse Christ had with him, wherein he brings him acquainted with the consolation of Israel. He had well improved the knowledge he had, and now Christ gives him further instruction; for he that is faithful in a little shall be entrusted with more, Matt. 13:12.

1. Our Lord Jesus examines his faith: “Dost thou believe on the Son of God? Dost thou give credit to the promises of the Messiah? Dost thou expect his coming, and art thou ready to receive and embrace him when he is manifested to thee?” This was that faith of the Son of God by which the saints lived before his manifestation. Observe, (1.) The Messiah is here called the Son of God, and so the Jews had learned to call him from the prophecies, Ps. 2:7; 89:27. See John 1:49; Thou art the Son of God, that is, the true Messiah. Those that expected the temporal kingdom of the Messiah delighted rather in calling him the Son of David, which gave more countenance to that expectation, Matt. 22:42. But Christ, that he might give us an idea of his kingdom, as purely spiritual and divine, calls himself the Son of God, and rather Son of man in general than of David in particular. (2.) The desires and expectations of the Messiah, which the Old-Testament saints had, guided by and grounded upon the promise, were graciously interpreted and accepted as their believing on the Son of God. This faith Christ here enquires after: Dost thou believe? Note, The great thing which is now required of us (1 John 3:23), and which will shortly be enquired after concerning us, is our believing on the Son of God, and by this we must stand or fall for ever.

2. The poor man solicitously enquires concerning the Messiah he was to believe in, professing his readiness to embrace him and close with him (John 9:36): Who is he, Lord, that I may believe on him? (1.) Some think he did know that Jesus, who cured him, was the Son of God, but did not know which was Jesus, and therefore, supposing this person that talked with him to be a follower of Jesus, desired him to do him the favour to direct him to his master; not that he might satisfy his curiosity with the sight of him, but that he might the more firmly believe in him, and profess his faith, and know whom he had believed. See Song 5:6, 7; Song 3:2, 3. It is Christ only that can direct us to himself. (2.) Others think he did know that this person who talked with him was Jesus, the same that cured him, whom he believed a great and good man and a prophet, but did not yet know that he was the Son of God and the true Messiah. “Lord, I believe there is a Christ to come; thou who hast given me bodily sight, tell me, O tell me, who and where this Son of God is.” Christ’s question intimated that the Messiah was come, and was now among them, which he presently takes the hint of, and asks, Where is he, Lord? The question was rational and just: Who is he, Lord, that I may believe on him? For how could he believe in one of whom he had not heard; the work of ministers is to tell us who the Son of God is, that we may believe on him, John 20:31.

3. Our Lord Jesus graciously reveals himself to him as that Son of God on whom he must believe: Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee, John 9:37. Thou needest not go far to find out the Son of God, Behold the Word is nigh thee. We do not find that Christ did thus expressly, and in so many words, reveal himself to any other as to this man here and to the woman of Samaria: I that speak unto thee am he. He left others to find out by arguments who he was, but to these weak and foolish things of the world he chose to manifest himself, so as not to the wise and prudent. Christ here describes himself to this man by two things, which express his great favour to him:—(1.) Thou hast seen him; and he was much indebted to the Lord Jesus for opening his eyes, that he might see him. Now he was made sensible, more than ever, what an unspeakable mercy it was to be cured of his blindness, that he might see the Son of God, a sight which rejoiced his heart more than that of the light of this world. Note, The Greatest comfort of bodily eyesight is its serviceableness to our faith and the interests of our souls. How contentedly might this man have returned to his former blindness, like old Simeon, now that his eyes had seen God’s salvation! If we apply this to the opening of the eyes of the mind, it intimates that spiritual sight is given principally for this end, that we may see Christ, 2 Cor. 4:6. Can we say that by faith we have seen Christ, seen him in his beauty and glory, in his ability and willingness to save, so seen him as to be satisfied concerning him, to be satisfied in him? Let us give him the praise, who opened our eyes. (2.) It is he that talketh with thee; and he was indebted to Christ for condescending to do this. He was not only favoured with a sight of Christ, but was admitted into fellowship and communion with him. Great princes are willing to be seen by those whom yet they will not vouchsafe to talk with. But Christ, by his word and Spirit, talks with those whose desires are towards him, and in talking with them manifests himself to them, as he did to the two disciples, when he talked their hearts warm, Luke 24:32. Observe, This poor man was solicitously enquiring after the Saviour, when at the same time he saw him, and was talking with him. Note, Jesus Christ is often nearer the souls that seek him than they themselves are aware of. Doubting Christians are sometimes saying, Where is the Lord? and fearing that they are cast out from his sight when at the same time it is he that talks with them, and puts strength into them.

4. The poor man readily entertains this surprising revelation, and, in a transport of joy and wonder, he said, Lord, I believe, and he worshipped him. (1.) He professed his faith in Christ: Lord, I believe thee to be the Son of God. He would not dispute any thing that he said who had shown such mercy to him, and wrought such a miracle for him, nor doubt of the truth of a doctrine which was confirmed by such signs. Believing with the heart, he thus confesses with the mouth; and now the bruised reed was become a cedar. (2.) He paid his homage to him: He worshipped him, not only gave him the civil respect due to a great man, and the acknowledgments owing to a kind benefactor, but herein gave him divine honour, and worshipped him as the Son of God manifested in the flesh. None but God is to be worshipped; so that in worshipping Jesus he owned him to be God. Note, True faith will show itself in a humble adoration of the Lord Jesus. Those who believe in him will see all the reason in the world to worship him. We never read any more of this man; but, it is very likely, from henceforth he became a constant follower of Christ.