These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that He was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.
Therefore said his parents, He is of age; ask him.
Then again called they the man that was blind, and said unto him, Give God the praise: we know that this Man is a sinner.
He answered and said, Whether He be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.
The Pharisees were determined to convict Jesus of the crime of claiming to be God. Furthermore, they had decreed that anyone who stated that Jesus was the Christ would be put out of the synagogue. Rule by fear has always been used by dictators.Totalitarians want to tell us what is right to believe, and they are even more eager to tell us what is wrong to believe–and to establish penalties for their self-defined wrong beliefs. Human nature remains the same from one generation to the next.
To be banned from the synagogue was to be banned from the center of community life; banned from friends, even from family if they disagreed with you. It was a harsh sentence, leaving the convicted person with no support, no network in times of need. That is why the blind man’s parents refused to answer directly, but instead said, “Our son is of age. Ask him!”
The Pharisees then called the blind man back, acknowledging that he could now see, and said, “Give God the praise for your healing, not this Jesus, Whom WE know is a sinner!”
How did they know Jesus was a sinner? Well, he had healed on the Sabbath! It was clear, then, that He was a sinner. No other proof was needed. What they wanted from the blind man was confirmation that God, not the Man, Jesus, was responsible for his healing.
The blind man, like his parents, did not fall into their trap. He did not say Jesus was the Christ. What he said was, “I don’t know if He is a sinner. All I know is that I was blind, and now I see!”
Of course, that answer takes me directly to the beloved song, Amazing Grace. Here’s an extremely interesting story: