John 9:25 (ESV) … “He answered, “Whether he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.”
Sometimes honest Christians can trump their theological superiors with a true personal experience. The man does not honestly know if Jesus is or ever was a sinner. How could he know that? He was blind his whole life; and he had not followed Jesus around. And he can never see into Jesus’ heart. So he will not say, “Oh no, he’s not!” This man will not even lie to protect Jesus. He knows only one thing, and he says so, with the deepest personal conviction: “I am a blind man; I now see.”
The difference between these two contradictory states of being (“I am” but “I now”) was the coming of one reality into his life—the intervention of the man “they know” to be a sinner. The healed man cannot pronounce on Jesus’ character, which he does not know. He can only pronounce, with deepest personal gratitude, on Jesus’ impact, which he does know: His whole life has been wonderfully changed since meeting the man. That simple fact, of course, disposes him to think well of Jesus. Still the healed man will only tell the truth, not conjecture. The Evangelist John is asking reading Christians to be as careful in our own tests.
In reading a history of gospel songs I came across the story of an English miner who had been converted in the Wesleyan revival and whose life had been greatly changed. So greatly changed that some of his fellow workers chided him rather mercilessly at lunch time. One day they asked him in jest, “You don’t really believe that Jesus changed water into wine, do you?!” And the man replied in a way that reminds me very much of our chapter’s man: “I don’t really know if Jesus actually changed water into wine; I wasn’t there. But I do know one thing: In my house Jesus changed beer into furniture.”