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John 9:9

ESV Some said, “It is he.” Others said, “No, but he is like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.”
NIV Some claimed that he was. Others said, 'No, he only looks like him.' But he himself insisted, 'I am the man.'
NASB Others were saying, 'This is he,' still others were saying, 'No, but he is like him.' The man himself kept saying, 'I am the one.'
CSB Some said, "He's the one." Others were saying, "No, but he looks like him."He kept saying, "I'm the one."
NLT Some said he was, and others said, 'No, he just looks like him!' But the beggar kept saying, 'Yes, I am the same one!'
KJV Some said, This is he: others said, He is like him: but he said, I am he.

What does John 9:9 mean?

Confused responses by the people of Jerusalem are understandable. We tend to recognize people not just by their faces and voices, but also by their clothes or their surroundings. When we see the same person in very different circumstances, we might find it jarring, and even wonder if it is the same person. In prior verses, Jesus created such a situation by healing a man who had been blind from birth (John 9:1–7). The people who regularly saw this man begging, and now witnessed him able to see, are understandably surprised. Most seem to recognize that this is the same man—their follow-up question in the next verse strongly supports this.

Others, it seems, prefer to believe that this is a close look-alike. In other words, they reject the man's own claims, and the witness of others, choosing instead to believe that this is some kind of scam. This is a common human response: what we believe is first determined by what we want, and only after that by what we see (John 7:17). When something challenges our preferences, our first instinct is to find excuses. This is exactly why Scripture reminds us that those who refuse to believe unless they see a miracle are fooling themselves. Such people won't believe, no matter what (Luke 16:19–31).

The controversy over the healing is made worse by the fact that the formerly blind man doesn't know where—or even who—Jesus is. The last time he spoke with Jesus, he was still blind and had his eyes covered in mud. The combination of arguments over this man's identity, and the mention of Jesus, is probably what leads the crowd to take him to the Pharisees (John 9:13). They will demonstrate extreme skepticism about the man's healing, refusing to believe any part of it until speaking with the healed man's parents.
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