This man is not of God - He can neither be the Messiah, nor a prophet, for he has broken the Sabbath. The Jews always argued falsely on this principle. The law relative to the observation of the Sabbath never forbade any work but what was of the servile and unnecessary kind. Works of necessity and mercy never could be forbidden on that day by him whose name is mercy, and whose nature is love; for the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath; were it otherwise, the Sabbath would be rather a curse than a blessing.
How can a man that is a sinner, etc. - They knew very well that though magicians and impostors might do things apparently miraculous, yet nothing really good could be performed by them. We might have safely defied all the magicians in Egypt, who are said to have been so successful in imitating some of the miracles of Moses, to have opened the eyes of one blind man, or to have done any essential good either to the body or to the soul.
And there was a division among them - Σχισμα, a schism, a decided difference of opinion, which caused a separation of the assembly.
This man is not of God - Is not sent by God, or cannot be a friend of God.
Because he keepeth not the sabbath-day - They assumed that their views of the Sabbath were correct, and by those views they judged others. It did not occur to them to inquire whether the interpretation which they put on the law might not be erroneous. Men often assume their own interpretations of the Scriptures to be infallible, and then judge and condemn all others by those interpretations.
A sinner - A deceiver; an impostor. They reasoned conclusively that God would not give the power of working such miracles to an impostor. The miracles were such as could not be denied, nor did even the enemies of Jesus attempt to deny them or to explain them away. They were open, public, frequent. And this shows that they could not deny their reality. Had it been possible, they would have done it; but the reality and power of those miracles had already made a party in favor of Jesus, even in the Sanhedrin John 7:50; John 12:42, and those opposed to them could not deny their reality. It may be added that the early opponents of Christianity never denied the reality of the miracles performed by the Savior and his apostles. Celsus, Porphyry, and Julian - as acute foes of the gospel as perhaps have ever lived - never call this in question. They attempted to show that it was by some evil influence, or to account for the miracles in some other way than by admitting the divine origin of the Christian religion, but about the facts they had no question. Were they not as well qualified to judge about those facts as men are now? They lived near the time; had every opportunity to examine the evidence; were skilful and talented disputants; and if they could have denied the reality of the miracles they would have done it. It is scarcely possible to conceive of more conclusive proof that those miracles were really performed, and, if so, then the Lord Jesus was sent by God.
A division - Greek, “A schism.” A separation into two parties.
Again the priests and rabbis cried out against Jesus as a blasphemer. His claim to be one with God had before stirred them to take His life, and a few months later they plainly declared, “For a good work we stone Thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that Thou, being a man, makest Thyself God.” John 10:33. Because He was, and avowed Himself to be, the Son of God, they were bent on destroying Him. Now many of the people, siding with the priests and rabbis, took up stones to cast at Him. “But Jesus hid Himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.” DA 470.1
The Light was shining in darkness; but “the darkness apprehended it not.” John 1:5, R. V. DA 470.2
“As Jesus passed by, He saw a man which was blind from his birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.... When He had thus spoken, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, and said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent). He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.” DA 470.3Read in context »
Oh, that we might comprehend the love of God, and even to a faint degree take in the compassion that has been manifested toward fallen man! How would we look and live! By beholding Christ man becomes changed and transformed in character from glory to glory. The conflict between light and darkness is entered upon. Look, poor sinner, represented by the lost sheep after whom the shepherd is seeking, look to the cross! ... In the poor blind man restored to sight by the compassionate Shepherd was one whom the self-righteous Pharisees thought only worthy of ... hatred (The Signs of the Times, November 20, 1893). LHU 207.5Read in context »