John 9:1 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

John 9:1, NIV: As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth.

John 9:1, ESV: As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth.

John 9:1, KJV: And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.

John 9:1, NASB: As Jesus passed by, He saw a man who had been blind from birth.

John 9:1, NLT: As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth.

John 9:1, CSB: As he was passing by, he saw a man blind from birth.

What does John 9:1 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The timing of this event is not easy to determine. Scripture was originally written without chapter and verse divisions; the last event mentioned was Jesus escaping another murder attempt by local religious leaders (John 8:59). This could mean He saw this man immediately afterwards. Then again, ancient writers were far more concerned with general facts and themes, rather than most minor details. More than likely, there is some period of time between the events of chapter 8 and those of chapter 9.

This man will be the subject of Jesus' sixth miraculous "sign" as recorded in the gospel of John. Almost every aspect of this story has spiritual implications, which is why John devotes an unusually long passage to the miracle and its immediate aftermath. The important detail is that this man is blind, a condition often used in Scripture as a metaphor for those who lack saving faith in God. The Old Testament predicted the Messiah would cure blindness (Isaiah 29:18; 35:5; 42:7). In all of Scripture, only Jesus is seen miraculously healing the blind—further proof of His identity (Matthew 11:5; 12:22–23).

It's also key to notice that this man was born blind. He's not about to regain something he lost at some point in the past. Jesus is going to give this man an ability that he has literally never had. This provides a powerful parallel to the role of God in bringing us to saving faith, and to salvation by grace. This man was never able to "see the Light," until Christ stepped in.