Bible Study

John Bible Study, Day 15: Why?

Today’s passage: John 9:1–12

Focus verse: “This happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” (John 9:3)

As Jesus and his disciples travel, they meet a blind man. He was blind from birth. The disciples assume sin caused his blindness. That’s their view of God, that he afflicts people who do wrong. He punishes them for their shortcomings.

The disciples seek clarity about who sinned, since he was born blind. “Did his parents’ sin cause this,” the disciples ask, “or the man’s sin?”

Given that the disciples believe the blindness happened because of sin, they ask a reasonable question. If the parents sinned, why is their child carrying the punishment for their mistakes?

Yet, if the man’s sin caused his blindness—which is the disciples’ logical conclusion—then he received punishment before he sinned, since he was born without the ability to see. Neither scenario makes sense to the disciples.

That’s why they ask Jesus for clarification about whose sin caused the blindness.

Jesus surprises them by saying, “Neither one caused it.” The man’s blindness is not the result of punishment for his sin or his parents’.

Instead, the man’s inability gives Jesus an opportunity to prove his healing power to his disciples, to the blind man, and to the religious teachers. 

In one of his stranger methods of healing people, Jesus doesn’t order the blindness to go away or command the man’s sight to return. Instead, Jesus makes a poultice out of dirt and spit, a most unexpected approach. He applies the mud he makes to the man’s eyes. 

Jesus still doesn’t proclaim healing to the man. Instead, he tells him to go to a pool and wash away the mud smeared on his eyes.

The man heads off to clean his face. Imagine the sight. A blind man walking down the road with mud caked over his eyes would get people’s attention.

The man reaches the pool, washes the mud from his face, and sees for the first time in his life. Through Jesus, the man’s life changes in one life-altering moment.

These things happen when we follow Jesus. Our life forever changes in an instant.


  1. Do you think there are consequences to sin? Why?
  2. In what ways can your present hardships bring glory to God?
  3. What do you do when God’s instructions don’t make sense or seem strange?
  4. This story highlights God’s sovereignty. What’s your reaction to it?
  5. How has your life changed from following Jesus?

Discover more about the blind seeing in Isaiah 29:18, Matthew 15:31, and Luke 7:22. What insights can you glean from these passages?

Read the next lesson or start at the beginning of this study.

Tips: Check out our tips to use this online Bible study for your church, small group, Sunday school class, or family discussion. It’s also ideal for personal study. Come back each Monday for a new lesson.

Read more in Peter’s new book, Living Water: 40 Reflections on Jesus’s Life and Love from the Gospel of John, available everywhere in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

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