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We Can See Spiritual Truth If We Are Willing to Accept It

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John 9:1-41


            The opposition to Jesus continues to intensify.  This chapter of our study really shows the failure of the Jewish leaders to recognize Jesus as the Light of the world because of their spiritual blindness.  Those who were to have spiritual insight could only deny that which a poor blind beggar was able to see.  As we go into this lesson, perhaps we would all do well to pause and ask the Savior to remove the muddy scales from our own eyes so that we can see the truth.  Pray.  Read Text.

            We need to preface our study with the knowledge that in that day, popular theology believed that sickness was a punishment for sin.  Jn 8:41  In the case of a person born blind, this posed a difficult debate.  Was the bind man being punished for his sins or was it the sins of his parents being punished in him?  Jesus’ answer is important.  God had another purpose in the man’s disability.

1.      In a day where sickness can be explained scientifically and there seems to be almost no correlation between sickness and the spiritual, how are we to relate to this story?  (Perhaps we need to take off our scientific blinders and ask God more often if there is a connection.  Sickness is not necessarily a punishment for our sins, but it is a witness to man’s sinful condition.)  Gen. 2:16-17  (Sickness and sin are related in this passage.  Sin leads to the last sickness that will take our physical life at the end.)

2.      What do you think the motivation was behind the question of Jesus’ disciples in verse 2?  (They were not moved by compassion, but by a theological curiosity.)     What can we learn from this negative example?  (Our first concern should be like Christ’s…for the sufferer.  Let’s meet people’s needs first and wrestle with the theological questions later.)

3.      What did Jesus say the reason was for this man being born blind?  (An opportunity to display God’s glory.)     Do you think there’s an opportunity for God to display His glory in either the way we are healed of a sickness or the way we carry the burden that does not go away?  (In unexpected ways, our suffering can be used by God for good.  Sometimes what happens in life is not about us, but the purpose of God’s will to be fulfilled.)  1 Pet. 2:19

4.      What do you think Jesus was trying to teach His disciples (and us) in verse 4?  (We need to use each opportunity to help others; there will come a time when our help will do no good.)

5.      Spitting on the ground, making mud and applying to a man’s eyes seems to be a strange recipe for One who can speak the healing into being.  Was there something more behind this action than a miraculous recipe?  (Yes, the element of the man’s faith to go and do as he was told is what unleashed the miracle, not the mud nor the pool of Siloam.  Notice Jesus did not even promise a healing.  We come to know the truth by putting Jesus’ words into practice.) 2 Kings 5:1-14     Are you prone to resist the instructions of the Lord when they don’t make sense to you?

6.      What does the reaction of the bind man’s neighbors in verses 8 & 9 tell you about how they viewed this miracle?  (Some were unconvinced of his identity and healing.  People often find it difficult to believe it’s the same person when there is a tremendous change like a miracle.)     Do you have a tendency to doubt or question miracles?

7.      What can you learn about witnessing by the blind man’s response in verses 10-12?  (You don’t have to know a lot about Jesus to witness; a witness is telling what you know by experience what He has done for you, and the change that has come in your life because of Him.)

8.      Verse 13 – What does the fact that his neighbors went and got the Pharisees even after his explanation tell you about them?  (They still disbelieved and they wanted the “critics” to make a judgment about it.)

9.      Verse 14 - Since Jesus has received harsh criticism for previous healings on the Sabbath, why do you think He does this one on the Sabbath also?  (Verse 4 – the opportunity was there, so He applied the compassion to heal him instead of waiting for a more convenient day.)     Do you postpone doing good for when it’s more convenient?

10.  What does the debate among the Pharisees in verse 16 tell you about them?  (They were divided in their view of the event; some didn’t care about the miracle, but only that Jesus did it on the Sabbath {they are the spiritually blind}; others said the event couldn’t be explained if He were a sinner as the others say He was.  The second group possibly had some that wanted to believe, like Nicodemus {they are those that the Light is beginning to dawn upon}.)

11.  What does verse 18 tell you about their spiritual condition?  (It is becoming increasingly clear that they are spiritually blind and will not believe.  They cannot explain it, so they will not admit it really happened.)     What do you think our approach should be with those who just will not believe the mighty works of God?  (Those who plunge into the darkness of unbelief need prayers for the Spirit to convict their heart before we will do much good with them.)

12.  Verses 20-22 - What position do the parents take when they are questioned whether this is their son, his blindness from birth, and that he can now see?  (They take a very cautious approach, more afraid of being excommunicated from the synagogue than celebrating his new eyesight.)
Insight: Fear of what man may do to you will always silence your testimony.  Instead we must be confident that God is able to protect us if we will speak out boldly for Him.  Acts 4:29-31; 5:18-20; 5:40-42; Eph. 6:18-20

13.  After all this testimony, what does verse 24 tell you about the true spiritual condition of the Pharisees?  (They are victims of narrow legalism; Jesus does not fit their ecclesiastical system.)

14.  Once again they asked the blind man what Jesus did to him.  What does verse 27 indicate how he feels about the Pharisees?  (He’s frustrated with their disbelief; sarcasm is in his voice.  Ticked off about whether they want to be His disciple, the Pharisees clearly draw the line to show their darkness… “We adhere to Moses, not God’s Son!”)
Insight: The blind man is bolder than his parents who refused to take a position on their son’s healing.  He now openly expresses what the Pharisees were intent on trying to hide.  The blessing of sight restored was so great that nothing the leaders could do would intimidate him.  Sins forgiven and a place given at the Supper Table should make us equally nonintimidatable.  (my new word)  There is nothing we might possibly lose that compares with what we have gained in Christ!

15.  Exasperated with his testimony, the Pharisees excommunicate him from the synagogue.  Upon hearing about it, what does Jesus do?  (He goes at once to look for him to encourage him and ask for a confession.)

16.  Upon being asked if he believes in the Son of Man, why does the blind man answer the way he does in verse 36…doesn’t he know Jesus healed him?  (Before he was blind; now he is relying upon his sight; his eyes have never seen Jesus before.)
Insight:  Eyesight often gets us into trouble.  We would be better off to close our eyes and act upon what we know in our heart to be true.  Matt. 14:25-30

17.  The last 3 verses of this chapter make it clear that this miracle is about faith and unbelief.  Verses 39 & 41 are really profound.  What’s the great truth in these verses?  (The Pharisee’s rejection of Jesus was deliberate, so they were blind to the truth He came to bring.  When men say they “see”, but they cannot, they are indeed guilty, and their sin remains upon them.  It’s all because they are unconscious of their guilt.)


            Only when we are humble enough to admit we don’t see clearly spiritually will we be free of our sin.  That’s how it is possible that the blind can see, and those who claim to see are blind.  We can see spiritual truth only if we are willing to accept it.

            It’s faith in the One who sees all things that transforms us from darkness into the Light.  Therefore the blind man’s question is our question:  “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”  Once again we find that there is not a chapter of the Gospel of John written without forcing us to the question of belief in Jesus Christ. 

            Faith begins when you begin to see that sin has robbed you of spiritual vision and that you are completely unable to free yourself from your prison of darkness.  Faith comes to its full maturity when you accept Jesus as the One who alone can recreate that which sin has destroyed.  Like the blind man, we all have had a long history of walking in the darkness, and like him, it’s when we act by faith upon the words of Jesus that deliverance comes.  This begging blind man who had physical need is indeed a symbol of our spiritual need.  Will you, too, be one who says, “I once was blind, but now I see!”?  Or will you be like the Pharisees who say they see, but fall into a pit?  Matt. 15:14  vs.  Jn. 9:25

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