John 9:1-41 Comments by Stephen Ricker
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Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind
Comments for Study 12

John 9:1-41
Key verse: 31-32


"To Display the Work of God" (1-5)

>1. When Jesus' disciples saw a blind beggar on the roadside, what did they ask Jesus?

* "As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, 'Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?'" (John 9:1-2)

* "As he went along" -If this passage is linked directly in time with the previous, which is implied in the way it is written, then Jesus stopped and healed this man while fleeing for his life. Wow! What a Savior! What a shepherd heart!

* "he saw a man" -Jesus took notice of him. This is the way of Jesus. He takes notice of us first. (Isaiah 65:1, Gal. 4:9)

* "blind from birth" -this is a miserable life for an unbeliever in those days. Verse 34 further indicates this, his life problem, fatalism, and oppression.

* "His disciples asked...that he was born blind" -the disciples had somehow known that this man was born blind. They saw Jesus looking at the man. So they asked a theological question that was commonly debated in those days regarding sin and birth defects.

* Jesus had just finished saying that he was light that shines into the darkness. He said this during the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem at the temple six months before his crucifixion and resurrection. During the last day of the Feast there was a parade with lamps and touches which greatly lit up the temple courts. Now the author John, following the events orchestrated by Jesus is going point out Jesus healing a blind man from birth and in the process reveal how mankind is sinful and blind from birth, how Jesus saves by grace through faith, and how the person grows and experiences life within that grace and faith.

* First point made is that everyone is born in sin except Jesus. We can do nothing about it.

>What basic assumptions about God, sin, suffering lay behind pessimistic questions?

* They believed that God punishes because of sin.

* They believed that a person is punished because of his parents sin.

* They believed that all suffering comes because of sin.

* What was the common teachings and beliefs of the time and still is today? There are three.
    1) that if some tragedy like this happened, then it was because they had sinned. Since this man was blind from birth, then his parents had to be the sinners. This was backed up by Scripture. (Exo. 20:5, 34:7)
    2) that man souls are pasted from one body to another after death. If someone had a birth defect then it was because a previous owner of our soul had sinned. Verse 34 and Luke 13:1-5 indicates either the first point or the second point.
    3) an embryo can sin.

* All three are from a negative and a fatalistic point of view. They dwell in the past and looks for someone to blame.

* Fatalism accepts the situation to easily and gives up.

* The Pharisees could have also used David's case, who, when he sinned with Bathsheba, was told that because of his sin, someone close to him would lie with his wives in broad daylight and his son by her would die. (2 Sam. 12)

* It is fallen man's character to think we are better than our neighbor. Therefore, when many see others physical differences and problems they think it is because of a sin. This makes some think and/or feel good about themselves. They have the attitude, "God blessed me because I'm good. I am a light to others. If they are good like me then God will bless them too." The self righteous Pharisees often thought this way.

* In general the Bible does not teach this self righteousness. In Deut. 30:1-3 Moses was not pessimistic or fatalistic on this issue. He was positive.

>2. How did Jesus answer?

* "'Neither this man nor his parents sinned,' said Jesus, 'but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.'" (John 9:3)

* "Neither this man nor his parents sinned"-Jesus taught that just because something bad happens in a person life, it doesn't mean they, nor their parents, nor anyone else, sinned. Something bad happening could mean that we've done something wrong, but it is not always the case. What is important is how we react to the reality of hear and now; not dwelling on the past.

* Job saw that righteous men suffer as well as the unrighteous.

* We should not talk bad nor look down on others misfortunes. (Psalm 68:26-28)

* "but"-second teaching; new teaching.

* 2 Cor. 12:7-10 states, "To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

>What does Jesus teach here about life's purpose?

* Our purpose in life is to glorify God. To display the work of God in our life.

* If a man's life can display the glory of God, then this man can too.

* Man can have a positive perspective in the mist of a negative event.

* Jesus commented about the past, then redirected to the present and future.

* Jesus points our concern to the present and the future.

>How should we view problems?

* As a chance to display the work of God.

* If we live by faith, God can use any event to bring glory to his name.

* We should ask God and ourselves, "How can the work of God be displayed and God be glorified in this event?"

>What can we learn in verse 4 about the time to work for God?

* "'As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.'" (John 9:4)

* "As long as it is day" -Day refers to a persons life. No matter what happens in our life we must seek to do God's will.

* 'Night is coming" -Night refers to our death. When we die and go to heaven we will still glorify God and do his will. However, we will not come back to this world until this age is over, when Jesus comes again. Our chance to affect this world with the gospel is only now. Don't put off doing God's work.

* "we" -Jesus said "we" must do the work of God as long as we live.

* "Must"-is the very important work in a Christian life.

* 1 Corinthians 10:31-33 "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God-- even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved."

>What did Jesus teach about himself? (5)

* "'While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.'" (John 9:5)

* 'while I am in the world" -he told them that he would be leaving the world soon. His crucifixion, death, resurrection was around six months later with his ascension into heaven forty-nine days after his resurrection.

* "I am" -Jesus gives life to the world and reveals the truth of God only as long as he is physically in the world.

* "the light of the world" -refers to life and truth.

* Since Jesus' left he sent believers his Spirit. So now we are lights of the truth.

>What difference does he make? (1:9)

* "The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world." -John 1:9

* "of the world" and "every man" -He gives light to every man, no exceptions; not race, age, gender, social status, lifestyle, creed, health, wealth, country, political belief, etc. He brings life, joy, peace, contentment to the life of those who believe him.

* Jesus also said this after he forgave a adulterous women, thus giving her a new life. In this chapter he gave a blind man a new life too.

II. Jesus commands, "Go..." (6-7)

>3. What did Jesus do to heal the man?

* "Having said this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man's eyes." (John 9:6)

* The man didn't know much about Jesus.

* Jesus healed people in different ways. Each way had an important meaning. One thing to consider is if he healed each kind of problem the same way every time some would think that his method healed. The method was not the healing, the man was the healing. Jesus was the healing power.

>Why did he use such things as mud and saliva?

* They were what was around. They were handy. They were common. Some have said this was a common healing solution of the time.

* Jesus was setting up an series of events that would cause the man to act in faith and the religious leaders to see Jesus' healing power with their own eyes.

* Jesus didn't use wishful or the power of positive thinking to heal the man. He just did it.

>Why might the man have reacted negatively?

* Jesus was a stranger.

* It is not nice to have mud put in your eyes. Especially mud made from saliva.

* The man didn't think to deeply about what Jesus was doing, he just accepted and let Jesus do it.

* The man must have heard Jesus talking to the disciples.

>What shows his faith?

* "'Go,' he told him, 'wash in the Pool of Siloam' (this word means Sent). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing." (John 9:7)

* "So the man went and washed " -Display of faith and humility.

* "Siloam" -this was the pool that they priest got the water for the Feast of Tabernacles.

>What can we learn here about how to overcome fatalism and make things work out?

* Believe in Jesus and do for the glory of God.

* Get involved in other people's lives with the intent to bring glory to God. Help people live by faith in Jesus.

* We need Jesus to give us sight. We need Jesus' word to reveal the truth.

* Anything can bring glory to God, blindness and mud included.

III. The Man's Assurance in the Son's Grace (8-41)

>4. Why did the neighbors have a hard time recognizing the man born blind?

* "His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, 'Isn't this the same man who used to sit an beg?'" (John 9:8)

* They were use to seeing him beg.

* They knew he was born blind from birth.

* He looked different with his new eyes.

* Being blind in that culture and time he must have been fatalistic, self-pitied, and complaining. With his sight gained he must have been full of joy and excitement. I need corrective lenses or contacts to see 20/20. I have pretty back eye sight. I remember as a young boy receiving my first pair of corrective glasses. I was so amazed and full of joy to see all the things that I had missed. I can imagine what it must have been like to see for the first time every.

* When Jesus gives us a new life we look different to the people who have known us all our lives.

* For the rest of the event others are talking about the man with little talking to him. Who in this passage was filled with joy at his receiving sight? Who was happy with him. In the same way when Jesus opens our spiritual eyes and we see the light of truth, people comment on how we change but who celebrates joy with us?

>How did he testify to the neighbors?

* "...But he himself insisted, 'I am the man.'" (John 9:10b)

* "He replied, 'The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.'" (John 9:11)

* Every one that Jesus helps has a testimony to tell. Few will believe and be excited about it.

>What does he know about himself?

* He was blind but now he could see.

* He never changed the facts of the event.

* He didn't talk about himself as much as glorify Jesus.

* He could have been overwhelmed by the event and forgot Jesus.

* Later, Apostle Paul stuck to a few simple facts when he witnessed to others how Jesus come into his life.

>5. When the Pharisees saw the man born blind healed, why and how did they question him?

* "They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind." (John 9:13)

* "They brought to the Pharisees the man" -The neighbors and friends brought him to settle this apparent miracle. They didn't want to conclude it themselves because the religious leaders threaten to through anyone out of the synagogue if they said anything good about Jesus. So they lost a chance to make their own decision even though the conclusion was evident.

* They wanted to get a specific response to this so that Jesus wouldn't be glorified.

* Jesus healing the blind was very concerning to them because it was a direct indication that Jesus was the Messiah. Healing the blind is on of the main acts prophesied. (Is. 35:4-6) Verses 32 and 33 indicate this.

>How were their opinions about Jesus divided?

* "Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man's eyes was a Sabbath. Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. 'He put mud on my eyes,' the man replied, 'and I washed, and now I see.'" (John 9:15)

* "Some of the Pharisees said, 'This man is not from Go, for he does not keep the Sabbath.' But others asked, 'How can a sinner do such miraculous signs?' So they were divided." (John 9:16)

* The Pharisees were highly regarded by many people, more so than the priests and the teachers of the laws and other Jewish leaders. Many did not want to hand over authority to what they considered an upstart teacher because they did not train him. They saw him as an outsider who could do away with their influence and prestige.

* They said Jesus was a sinner because he broke the Sabbath by making mud. However, during the stoning of the women they could not cast a stone because they knew they were not without sin.

* They searched to repress the truth (light) in anyway they could.

* They tried to intimidate the man. Then they ignored him and turned this into a debate.

>When they asked the former blind man's personal opinion, what did he say? (13-17)

* "Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man's eyes was a Sabbath. Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. 'He put mud on my eyes,' the man replied, 'and I washed, and now I see.'" (John 9:15)

* "Finally they turned again to the blind man, 'What have you to say about him" It was your eyes he opened.' The man replied, 'He is a prophet.'" (John 9:16)

* He was very clear in his answer. He said Jesus was a man of God, a prophet.

* They saw his answer as a threat.

* The Pharisees had to make a quick decision about Jesus and failed. We to at times have to make quick decisions. Peter would have to make a quick decision when Jesus was arrested. We must not be like them and he.

>Why and how did they question his parents?

* They believed that the man had lied for they did not believe that he was the same man.

* They believed this because Jesus broke the Sabbath in their law and therefore couldn't be a prophet.

* They were asking questions that had already been answered.

* They had already reached a conclusion and was trying to get everyone else to accept it.

>How and why did his parents succumb to the Pharisees' pressure? (18-23)

* "The Jews still did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they sent for the man's parents. "Is this your son?" they asked. "Is this the one you say was born blind? How is it that now he can see?" "We know he is our son," the parents answered, "and we know he was born blind. But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don't know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself." His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews, for already the Jews had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Christ would be put out of the synagogue. That was why his parents said, "He is of age; ask him."" (John 9:18-23)

* They admitted that the man was their son, but they did not say how he was healed, even though they knew.

* "of age" -twelve years old.

>What did they lose?

* Life.

* They didn't want to lose out on their place in society. They abandoned their son to save themselves. They accepted a lie instead of the truth because they feared men more than God. Perhaps they thought they were being clever and safe. God sees the heart. From the heart came this awful response.

>7. When they called him a second time how did they pressure him? (24)

* "A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. 'Give glory to God.' they said, 'We know this man is a sinner.'" (John 9:24)

* They wanted a public renunciation from the man.

* Now they didn't deny that he was the blind man that could now see. They didn't deny that God did it. They just wanted him to stop saying good things about Jesus.

* They tried to put words in his mouth.

>What was his answer?

* "He replied, 'Whether he is a sinner or not, I don't know. One thing I do know. I was blind but not I see?'" (John 9:25)

* He held to the obvious. He was absolute.

* Like the Pharisees there are people who know a lot about the Bible, but little about Jesus and the mission of glorifying God.

* Jesus grace made of full of spirit and truth.

* "I don't know" -If we don't know we should not be afraid to say we don't know as long as we say what we do know. God does not expect us to know everything. He does expect his people to say what they know.

* Later on the man did get the answer to these questions.

>What did he say that angered them? (24)

* "A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. "Give glory to God," they said. "We know this man is a sinner."" (John 9:24)

* They claimed he was a sinner and he wouldn't accept it.

* We should never be ashamed of Jesus. People will try to intimidate us into denying Jesus and his work.

* He kept saying, "I was blind now I see." Paul kept saying 1 Cor. 15:8-10a.

>How did they respond?

* "Then they asked him, 'What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?'" (John 9:26)

* Perhaps they were trying to point out that Jesus broke the Sabbath thus making him a sinner.

* Their words shows their anger and hatred.

>What can we learn from him?

* To remember absolutely what Jesus did for us, especially in time of persecution and pressure.

* God' grace is often very simple, but very deep.

* We were healed by the grace of God for the glory of God from spiritually blindness through Jesus. We will be persecuted religious people and rejected by those whom we known for all our lives. We must make a stand against this by witnessing to Jesus' grace to us. We will even be thrown out for our beliefs.

* To be more stubborn than those who persecute us.

* Real faith is personal faith that leads to self sacrifice and suffering for the glory of God and the good of the kingdom of God.

>8. What obvious truth did he teach them? (30-34)

* "The man answered, "Now that is remarkable! You don't know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly man who does his will. Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing." To this they replied, "You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!" And they threw him out." (John 9:30-34)

* Jesus healed by to power of God because only God can heal blind men. The Messiah is predicted to do this.

* He didn't quote the Bible, but it was still good. He did the best he could to defend Jesus.

* "You don't know where he comes from" -They did not check up on a man who was doing all kinds of miracles that were never done before.

* "We know that a man does not listen to sinner" -The Pharisees taught this over and over again. All the people heard it many times.

* When we are pressured to deny Jesus we should defend him and tell the truth the best we can. We don't need to be great Bible scholars. However, we should not ignore the Bible study.

* Anyone can teach the truth of God, even to scholarly people if they hold onto the grace God has given them. The Pharisees could not respond to this man's sound logic and philosophy.

>How did they punish him?

* "To this they replied, 'You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!' And they threw him out." (John 9:34)

* "you were steep in sin at birth" -They were admitting that he was the man who was blind from birth for they stated the common belief that his blindness was the cause of sin. And their belief that they were sinless. David said, "Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me," and yet he was not blind at birth. (Ps. 51;5)

* "And they threw his out" -It was better for him to be thrown out because those there weren't rejoicing with him that now he could see for the first time in his life. They pressured his parents into abandoning him and tried to twist his testimony of truth. The apostles were treated the same. This is why Jesus called the Jewish synagogue was called, "the synagogue of Satan". (Rev. 2:9, 3:9) Any churches today are also the synagogue of Satan because they too suppressed people who have experienced the grace of Jesus and promote and protect those who sin (i.e. paedophile priests, gay ministers, elders being promoted for financial gain, rabbis bragging about dreams and visions).

>What had this man lost by sticking to his convictions?

* He was rejected by friends and neighbors, his parents did not stick up for him, and he was thrown out of the synagogue.

* He lost his spiritual blindness. He learned more by sticking to what he believed in and confessing it to others.

>9. How did Jesus help him in his abandoned state?

* John 9:35 "Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?""

* "Jesus heard that they had thrown him out" -Jesus was concerned about the man and came to him and gave him faith and encouragement. Jesus had compassion on him and revealed himself to him.

* "and went and found him" -Jesus sought the man out. The man did not go to Jesus. The man knew only a little of Jesus, what he had heard others say of Jesus and what Jesus did to and for him. The man did not know what Jesus looked like, so he did not have the knowledge to seek him out. Similarly, when we are saved we often do not know how to find Jesus. So Jesus comes to us.

* "Son of Man" -Jesus often referred to himself this way in fulfilment of Daniel 7:13-14. The Son of Man comes to the Ancient of Days to be made king of the universe.

>Why is Jesus' way of helping the best way?

* Focusing on God really helps us, encourages us.

* Jesus didn't criticize his parents nor the Pharisees. He helped the man come to know him more.

* Jesus didn't sympathize with the man's problems. He didn't praise him for standing up for him.

>What did Jesus reveal about himself and how did the man respond?

* John 9:36-38 "Who is he, sir?" the man asked. "Tell me so that I may believe in him." Jesus said, "You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you." Then the man said, "Lord, I believe," and he worshipped him."

* The man made a public confession of faith.

* The man publicly worshipped Jesus.

>What did he gain by standing on Jesus' side?

* He came to know Jesus. He able to believe and state his belief in Jesus. He was able to worship Jesus.

>10. What did Jesus teach about real blindness and real sight?

* John 9:39-41 "Jesus said, "For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind." Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, "What? Are we blind too?" Jesus said, "If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.""

* "judgement" -based on people's rejection of Jesus.

* "Some Pharisees who were with him" -Some had believed in Jesus. They did not try to kill Jesus. They remained with him. However, they had not released their pride in who they were and what they had accomplished in life.

* "now that you claim you can see" -they were the few Pharisees that had accepted that Jesus was the Messiah. However, they remained proud of their heritage. They were "old wine skins" that could not accept the new way that Jesus was starting. I have meet and heard to this day of Jews receiving Jesus as the Messiah and wanting to cling to their heritage. Similarly many gentiles receive Jesus and have a hard time giving up their cultural heritage. Heritage is fine, but the future is better.

* Jesus often said that God is working even to this day. He is working to restore what was lost. If God is working then he is constantly doing new things. We should embrace the new and through off that which so easily entangles. (Heb. 12:1) We can learn from what God did in the past, for his past foreshadows the future. The past works of God reflects the source of the light to yet be revealed.

>Why were the Pharisees blind?

* Spiritual blindness is suppressing the truth of God, the revelation of Jesus.

* Rom. 1:18-19

* Even though they were blind Jesus continually taught them into chapter 10. Even though I continually fail and get things wrong Jesus sticks with me. He teaches me the same thing over and over again until I get it or reject it.

* This event is a good foreshadow of how Jesus' people would be saved (given sight), rejected and ridiculed, and hold fast to Jesus throughout this age of the preaching of the good news.