In John 9 the Lord Jesus healed a blind man. The miracle occurred on the Sabbath day. The Pharisees said in John 9:16 that Jesus was “not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day.” The Pharisees were unhappy that the Lord had done a good work on the Sabbath day, when they should have been rejoicing that a man born blind could now see! In Mark 2:27-28, the Lord Jesus told the Pharisees, “The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.” However, the Pharisees believed that doing work on the sabbath was sinful. In verse 24, they told the man whose blindness was cured, “we know that this man (Jesus) is a sinner.”

The man who could now see replied to the Pharisees in verse 25, “Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.” Let us now read verse 31, where the healed man told the Pharisees, “Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.” The healed man knew that God did not hear sinners, since it says that in quite a few verses in the Old Testament. In fact, it is possible that the man was taught those verses by these same Pharisees since he could not see to read! The man who could now see was making the point that obviously Jesus was not a sinner since God had used Him to heal his blindness. The Lord Jesus must have been a Godly man for this miracle to have happened. However, the Pharisees refused to accept this and cast the healed man out of the synagogue.

One of the Old Testament verses that the healed man may have known was Isaiah 1:15. In that verse God told Jewish people, “And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.” I think that this verse helps to answer the question. If someone is happily going on in a sinful way of life (as the Jews’ hand were “full of blood”), then God will not hear their prayers for physical healing, protection or other material blessings. However, we know that God DOES hear the cry of every sinner who comes to Him for salvation. For example, in Luke 18: 10-14 we have a story of a Pharisee and a publican. Both of them were sinners, but God heard one man’s prayer and not the other’s. Let’s read those verses. “Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” In order to justify the publican, God must have heard his prayer. Likewise, God hears every prayer of sinners who are sincerely seeking Him. As the Lord Jesus said in John 6:37, “him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”

Let us also read 1 John 5:14-15, “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.” We can learn His will by getting to know what pleases Him in His Word. Even as believers, we learn in Psalm 66:18, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” Let us confess any sin in our lives so that our “prayers be not hindered” as we read in 1 Peter 3:7. (167.5) (DJ)