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Gospel - Chapter 9 - Lesson 3

Posted on April 28, 2016 at 6:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Man Healed of Blindness Brought Before Pharisees a Second Time

 

John 9:24 (ESV) So for the second time they called the man who had been blind and said to him, “Give glory to God. We know that this man is a sinner.”

 

Because the formerly blind man gave Jesus credit for his healing, the Pharisees brought him before them again. They told the man he should give glory to God by admitting that Jesus was a sinner. The only way to give God the glory, in the eyes of the Pharisees, was to discredit Jesus and disparage His character.

 

John 9:25 He answered, “Whether he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.”

 

The man said that he did not know if Jesus was guilty of sin or not. What he did know was that he was blind, Jesus touched him, and then he was completely well and could see. He no longer had to beg! He did not necessarily profess belief that Jesus was the Son of God, but he would not call Him a sinner either. I think his idea was to let the miracle speak for itself.

 

John 26 They said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?”

 

The man had already told them his account. Didn’t they listen the first time? How many times should he have to repeat himself? Perhaps they were using the interrogation technique of asking the same question multiple times to try to trip a person up and get them to give a different answer which would discredit their testimony. Just as lawyers do today when someone is deposed. But the man was consistent because he stuck to the simple truth. Just the facts, sir, just the facts.

 

John 9:27 He answered them, “I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?”

 

The man pointed out that they had not listened to him before, so why would they want him to tell them again? He wanted to know what their intention was or what would make the difference to convince them it was a miracle from God. He may have even been sarcastic when he asked if they also wanted to follow Jesus. Since the authenticity of his testimony and that of his parents was called into question, I’m sure he was a bit irritated. The Pharisees enjoyed way too much drama for this blind man’s taste. He would have known they did not want to be Jesus’ disciples since they accused Him of being a sinner, blasphemer, and demon possessed which is why we think he was employing sarcasm.

 

John 9:28 And they reviled him, saying, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. 29 We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.”

 

They assumed the man had become one of Jesus’ followers which at this point, he had not. Formerly, they had clung to their being descendants of Abraham, and now they claim to be disciples of Moses. Both the written scriptures and oral tradition verified that God had spoken to Moses. They knew Jesus physically had come from Nazareth (even though He was born in Bethlehem), but they were saying they didn’t know whether He was sent from God or from Satan. They did not know whether He was on the side of good or evil.

 

John 9:30 The man answered, “Why, this is an amazing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him. 32 Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”

 

The man who was formerly a blind beggar then logically, eloquently explained the situation to the Pharisees. The ones who were supposed to be teaching others who God was were spiritually obtuse, not the sharpest crayons in the box. They could not follow the simple logic that God would not listen to a sinner but would listen and help a true worshipper. They could not see the simple – man was blind, Jesus touched man, man sees.

 

The MacArthur Bible Commentary

“…the Jews believed that God responds in proportion to the righteousness of the one praying. The greatness of the miracle could only indicate that Jesus was actually from God.”

 

The man pointed out the greatness of healing a person who had been born blind and that no one had ever heard of such a thing until then. Isaiah prophesied that the coming of the Messiah would bring such miracles:

 

Isaiah 29:18 (NKJV) In that day the deaf shall hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity and out of darkness.

 

Isaiah 35:5 (NKJV) Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.

 

Isaiah 42:7 (NKJV) To open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the prison, those who sit in darkness from the prison house.

 

One would think that these prophesies would have been clear to the Pharisees. The Pharisees were sharing and discussing large amounts of scripture every day in the Temple. When Jesus’ miracles began to occur, it seems to me a cascading effect would happen; and they would say, “Oh, these are the prophecies of Isaiah coming true before our eyes, and this must be the Messiah.” They were blinder than the man born blind! The Pharisees, in their arrogant, stubborn, and egotistical manner did not run to the temple to repent and follow Jesus. They would not acknowledge that God would hold the spiritually astute teachers of the Law to a higher standard of obedience. They did not see themselves as the sinners they were.

 

The man concluded that if Jesus were not from God, sent by God, He could do nothing. The Pharisees refused to see his logic. If Jesus had been a fraud, the crowds following Him would have discovered it. If Jesus were from the devil as the Pharisees accused, why would He perform GOOD deeds?

 

John 9:34 They answered him, “You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us?” And they cast him out.

 

The Pharisees were holding on to the blame game, still believing the man’s blindness was caused by his parents’ sin, with no thought that it could have been the sovereignty of God, undetectable until Jesus came into his life at which time the Lord’s purposes became clear. Since they believed the man to be steeped in sin, and an uneducated beggar, they refused to give his words any thought. They were saying, “How dare you instruct the instructors?” The learned were too learned to learn. They thought they knew everything. They tossed him out and told him he was no longer welcome in the synagogue.


John 9:35 (ESV) Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”

 

Jesus heard the man had been cast out, and went to look for him. When Jesus found him, He asked him whether or not He believed in the Son of Man which the man would have understood to mean the Messiah.

 

John: 9:36 He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?”

 

Jesus as the Son of God was not clear to him yet. He may not have recognized Jesus or may have still not quite grasped that Jesus was not just from God but WAS God. He asked who it was because he wanted to believe.

 

John 9:37 Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.” 38 He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.

 

Jesus told him in no uncertain terms, that he was looking at the Messiah. Jesus pretty much declared the fact that He was the Son of God to the man. He made it clear. Immediately, the man affirmed his belief, said “yes” to Jesus, and worshiped Him.

 

John 9:39 Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.”

 

Jesus came into the world to open the eyes of the spiritually blind that they could see His truth. Those in spiritual darkness but who identified their need would be enabled to receive Jesus. Those, like the Pharisees, who thought themselves near perfection, would continue being truly blind. One must recognize their sinful nature and need of repentance in order to understand their need of the Savior.

 

John 9:40 Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?”

 

The Pharisees were highly offended when they heard Jesus say this. Their big egos realized He was saying they were spiritually blind. Interesting that the Pharisees could not pick up on the fact that Jesus was the Son of God but could discern that He was calling them blind. And interesting that the man who had been born blind could now spot the blindness in others.

 

John 9:41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.

 

The Pharisees were in darkness partly because they mixed the Law with their own traditions. As we have said earlier in the study, they didn’t even follow the most important precepts of the Law that they so guarded and espoused. They failed to love God and others. They majored on the minor such as tithing, but minored on the major of the two greatest commandments.

 

Deuteronomy 6:5 (NIV) Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

 

Leviticus 19:18 (NIV) Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.

 

Since they thought their darkness was light, they were blinded to The Light. They could not see they were in the dark because they thought they were “good” through keeping nit-picky traditions as well as the Law. They did not understand that no one is capable of fully keeping the Law. We all walk in darkness apart from Christ.

 

Isaiah 9:2 (NKJV) The people who walked in darkness Have seen a great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined.

 

Q – Do you know anyone who is blinded by the fact that most people think they are a “good person?” Perhaps you think you are good enough because you don’t drink, smoke, do drugs, or engage in immoral behavior. But are you perfect? God’s standard is sinless perfection, holiness. No one can live up to that standard except, of course, God Himself in the person of the God-Man Jesus. That is why Jesus died for us, to pay the penalty for our sin. If you recognize that you can never be “good enough,” then you can see that you need Jesus! God has opened your eyes, and all you need to “do” is surrender to Him! He does all the work necessary to bring you into His family.

 

Gospel - Chapter 9 - Lesson 2

Posted on April 26, 2016 at 6:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Man Healed of Blindness Brought Before Pharisees

 

John 9:13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. 14 Now it was a Sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. 15 So the Pharisees again asked him how he had received his sight.

 

The man who did nothing except obey the command to wash, was dragged before the Pharisees. Uh oh! Jesus healed someone on the Sabbath again which the Pharisees viewed as “work.” It seems ludicrous that it would be wrong to bring healing on the day set aside to honor and celebrate the Lord God. Could there be a better way to bring “rest” to the blind man than opening his eyes so he could enjoy God’s creation? When someone is blind any mere act of everyday living from dressing to preparing and eating food to bathing, even getting from point A to point B, takes so much more effort than for a sighted individual. Jesus definitely gave this man the ability to rest! The Pharisees had undoubtedly heard the gossip about the healing by now, but they demanded that the man himself share how he received his sight.

 

John 9:15b And he said to them, “He put mud on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.”

 

Mud, wash, see. One, two, three. A healing waltz. The man explained it simply because it was a simple process.

 

John 9:16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” And there was a division among them.

 

Some of the Pharisees fixated on the fact that Jesus performed the work of healing on the Sabbath; and, therefore, must be a sinner. But others, who had some common sense, realized that a sinner could not perform such miracles. So they divided into two camps – the Sabbath Police and the Contemplative Reasoners.

 

John 9:17 So they said again to the blind man, “What do you say about him, since he has opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.”

 

When in doubt ask the formerly blind beggar his opinion of Jesus. He did not want to alienate either side, so the middle ground would be to call him a prophet. This would not be claiming Jesus to be God for which he could be thrown out of the synagogue in the least and stoned in the worst case. The man had to straddle an uncomfortable fence. Also, he did not yet completely believe Jesus. We will see that later.

 

John 9:18 The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight, until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight 19 and asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?”

 

The Jews thought maybe the man was an imposter. A doppelgänger or look-a-like. So they sent someone after the parents in order to question them as to whether or not the man was truly their son and had really been blind since birth. In their desperation, they had someone chase down the parents hoping they would say this was not their son, but someone posing as him for the notoriety.

 

John 9:20 His parents answered, “We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. 21 But how he now sees we do not know, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.” 22 (His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone should confess Jesus to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue.) 23 Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”

 

His parents verified that this was truly their son and that he had definitely been born blind. However, fear ruled their hearts, so they would not answer the question about how he had received his sight. They did not want to be tossed out of the synagogue, so they deferred to their son to answer for himself since he was a grown man. They would rather their son be in the hot seat rather than them!

 

Q – Rather than admit that Jesus had performed the miracle of healing the blind man, people looked for a logical explanation such as the imposter theory or that he had really not been blind since birth. When the Lord does something miraculous, do we praise Him for it or try to explain it away logically or scientifically? It is easier to explain things away than to believe that our sovereign, providential God could eradicate a tumor or cause other maladies to suddenly cease.

 

Gospel of John - Chapter 9 - Lesson 1

Posted on April 24, 2016 at 4:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind

 

John 9:1 (ESV) As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

 

Jesus and His disciples saw a blind man begging, and the disciples asked Jesus who sinned. At least they asked the right person, their teacher and confidant. And who better to answer the question than the God who allowed the man to be born blind, the One who had created him? Although all illnesses and defects are ultimately due to original sin, they are not necessarily due a specific sin of that person or their parents, but that is what most of the Jews believed.

 

Reformation Study Bible:

…it is unwise and uncharitable to judge that the sufferings of others are specifically punitive.

 

John 9:3 Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.

 

Jesus shut down their judgmental question. He made it clear that this man’s case was not the result of punishment for a specific sin. It was not the sickness, blindness, in and of itself that glorified God. It was that the man and his parents were not defined by it even though they were ostracized by society. He would have been seen as a lesser class person and many people would have nothing to do with him. Before this man’s birth, Jesus knew He would heal Him to the glory of God the Father. He also knew He would have that opportunity to change people’s opinion of those afflicted with birth defects by explaining that not all maladies are the result of a sinful life. In many countries, babies with birth defects are thought to be evil or cursed; and they are abandoned even now. Read the story of missionary Mary Slessor who rescued many twins while serving in Calabar (Nigeria). One twin was thought to be the child of an evil spirit, and since no one knew which one, both were brutally murdered. Her story can be found here: http://www.historymakers.info/inspirational-christians/mary-slessor.html

 

 

John 9:4 We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

 

Jesus then set the scene for the healing He intended to perform. Jesus was saying He was “fixin’ to” do what God the Father had sent Him to do. He was sent on three missions in one – to preach, to teach, and to heal. And His final act of healing would be dying to heal us from the sin that enslaved us. He foreshadowed His upcoming sacrifice by saying the “night was coming.” So He told His disciples they must do the works of God while the Light (Jesus) was in the World. Eventually, He would place the Light inside each believer with the giving of the Holy Spirit.

 

An interesting thing from The MacArthur Bible Commentary:

Not only was Jesus spiritually the light of the world, but He would also provide the means of physical light for this blind man.

 

John 9:6 Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man's eyes with the mud 7 and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.

 

John MacArthur also pointed out that as the One who had created man from dust, Jesus could have made new eyes for the man out of the mud. I had never thought of that before! My question is, “How did he get to the pool while still blind?” Perhaps someone assisted him or he knew the area well enough to feel his way along. Not only was the man blind, but he obeyed Jesus in blind faith. He may have thought the command to wash in the specific pool a bit odd, but he did it anyway. At this point the man did not know enough about Jesus to believe He was the Son of God. He simply obeyed. He went there trusting that Jesus could heal him and trusting Jesus’ words. Suddenly, he could see for the first time in his life!

 

John 9:8 The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar were saying, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” 9 Some said, “It is he.” Others said, “No, but he is like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.” 10 So they said to him, “Then how were your eyes opened?”

 

The man’s healing stirred up quite a bit of gossip among his neighbors. Some recognized him as the formerly blind beggar. Others were saying, “He has a remarkable look-a-like!” Maybe he reminded them that he was the one who had asked them to walk him to the temple or to the market. He kept telling them that it really was him and that he could now see. Enquiring minds wanted to know exactly how his eyes had been corrected. Exactly how this miracle took place and who had done it.

 

John 9:11 He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed and received my sight.”

 

He explained that Jesus had made a mud plaster for his eyes, and when in obedience to Jesus, he washed it off, BINGO! He could see. I find it funny that he was sent to the pool called “Sent.”

 

John 9:12 They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.”

 

The people asked the man where Jesus had gotten off to, and he told them he had no idea.

 

Q – Have you ever seen someone with a birth defect or other disability and wondered why God would allow such suffering in their life? It is not for us to judge, but this passage helps us to realize that God is able to glorify Himself through all people when they surrender to Him. If you have not already done so, read Susan’s devotional post on this story at www.susiesmusings-ksh.blogspot.com