Your opinion of whether a miracle has occurred will depend on your prejudices! If you don’t believe that miracles can occur, then you will never be convinced that a particular one has happened right in front of your nose. Later on, you will declare that miracles do not occur because you have never witnessed one. And so you are caught forever in that loop of denial. It might even cost you your life!
A similar situation occurred when the Pharisees discovered that, on the Sabbath, Jesus had supposedly given sight to a congenitally blind man. Their line of reasoning went like this:
- Anyone working on the Sabbath was a sinner and certainly not the Messiah
- God does not listen to sinners, nor does he enable them to do miracles
- Therefore a miracle had not occurred that day – either the man couldn’t see now, or he had always been able to see anyway.
Others in the crowd, including the man himself reasoned as follows:
- An amazing miracle has occurred here: a man blind from birth can now see perfectly
- The person who performed this miracle was clearly someone who God listened to
- Therefore he couldn’t have been a sinner (and the Pharisees had to agree on this)
- Therefore it must be OK to heal and do miracles on the Sabbath!
Your whole view of what went on that day was coloured by your FIRST line of reasoning; and certainly the second set is much more logical than the first set. The Pharisees were absolutely desperate to deny the miracle – otherwise they would be forced to conclude Point ‘4’. What rubbed salt into the wound was that the uneducated man threw their own reasoning (v31) back into their faces and they knew that they couldn’t deny the logic. They became angry and lashed out in revenge: “You were steeped in sin at birth…”, which was their usual starting explanation of why people were sick or deformed in the first place! (That is why Jesus’ disciples asked him that same question earlier in the chapter – v2.)
So they threw the man out of the synagogue – and would have done likewise to his parents if they hadn’t been so cowardly. Such excommunication was also the end of one’s social and community life since no-one would ever speak to you again. But the man finds someone much better to fellowship with: Jesus himself and, on learning that He was the miracle-worker, worships Jesus from that day onwards.