The crowd had a hard time identifying Jesus (chaps. 7—8), and now they are divided in their recognition of this one whom he has healed (9:8-9). The man uses the same language Jesus has used to identify himself, ego eimi, though here it does not allude to the divine name but is used as an identification formula: I am the man (v. 9; see comment on 6:20).
Once they have established that he is indeed the blind beggar they had known, they ask the obvious question of how he came to have his sight (v. 10), and he recounts what happened (v. 11). This question will be asked four times in this story, stressing that something highly unusual has taken place, something that cannot be explained in the categories of this world (Beasley-Murray 1987:156). Unlike the man by the pool of Bethesda, this man does realize from the beginning that Jesus is the one who has healed him (v. 11; cf. 5:12-13), but he does not know where Jesus is (v. 12). This ignorance will be resolved soon enough. The deeper ignorance of the opponents, who do not know where Jesus is from (v. 30), does not improve as a result of this act of mercy and glory on Jesus' part. The man's admission of ignorance is an attribute of a true disciple, revealing him to be honest and humble. He stands in marked contrast to the Jewish opponents in this story, for they claim to know what in fact they realize they do not really know (v. 24; cf. v. 16). It is precisely this lack of integrity and self-awareness that Jesus criticizes in his conclusion to this story (vv. 39-41).
IVP New Testament Commentaries are made available by the generosity of InterVarsity Press.
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