As we continue to walk through the Bible, and specifically the New Testament, we are discovering that Jesus came to rescue us from our age old enemy, our sin nature. In the previous lesson, we discovered that Jesus leads us to faith to rescue us from our sin nature and that faith is manifested in our obedience. They go hand in hand.
I was born with a sin nature. I inherited it from my parents. I also passed it on to my own children. That’s the bad news. The good news is, Jesus opened my spiritual eyes over 20 years ago and that has made all the difference. I was blind spiritually and did not even know it. In this week’s lesson, we are going to compare a blind man, physically, to men who are blind spiritually. Are you blind to the fact that you need to be rescued from your sin nature? Are you a slave to your passions and desires? Have you ever tried to stop committing a certain sin? How did that work out for you? I remember, before I had my spiritual eyes opened, I wanted to stop committing certain sins. I really tried hard. Every time, I failed miserably. I was blind to the fact that I was a slave to sin and could not stop even though I wanted to stop.
In John chapter 9, we are going to discover that even though some of us are physically blind while others are not, we are all born blind spiritually. We need someone to open our eyes to the truth of reality. Once our eyes have been opened, we can then make a choice. What is the choice? Let’s discover together.
I. The physically blind man
The story begins with a man who is physically blind. We can all relate to this physical ailment. However, it is the physical representation of a spiritual truth. We are all born blind when it comes to spiritual things. The major problem is, we do not even realize that we are blind. Repentance needs to take place. What is repentance? It means to have your mind changed once you see reality from God’s perspective. What is going to open your eyes to reality? Truth! Pontius Pilot asked Jesus, “what is truth?” Jesus tells us that Truth is the Word of God. When we come face to face with God via His Word, we begin to see reality from His perspective. That begins the process of having our minds changed (repentance) and setting us on the path to faith. That path of faith delivers salvation to us.
1 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 would be born blind?” (John 9)
The man’s physical disability is evident. His spiritual disability is not evident. Jesus is going to use the physical to reveal the spiritual. The disciples view the blind man through the lens of the thinking of the day. It is assumed that someone had to have sinned in order for the man to be born blind. More than likely, since he was born blind, the man’s parents must have committed some kind of sinful act and his physical blindness was the consequence. It is true that we live in a fallen, broken world because of sin. There would be no physical disability if sin did not exist. However, that does not mean that every disability is direct punishment for a specific sin. The world is fallen and broken. Bad things happen to all of us as a result. That is the bad news. The good news is found in Romans 8:28-29
28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;
God is able to take the bad things that happen to us and use them for His glory and for our own good. Our job is to allow Him to work. He will not force His work on us. He invites us to participate with Him. When bad things happen to us, if we trust God, He will use those things in a positive manner. He will use the circumstance to conform us into the image of Jesus Christ. That means that we will be more like Christ in our attitude, actions, and words. Jesus gives a similar response to the disciples back in John 9.
3 Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.
4 “We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work.
5 “While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.”
No one sinned. The man was born into a fallen and broken world. God is going to take this seemingly bad thing, physical blindness, and reveal a deep spiritual truth that we all need to learn. We are all born spiritually blind. The problem is, we do not realize it. The glory of God is going to be displayed in this man. The man’s spiritual blindness is going to be revealed. He will receive physical healing. More importantly, he is going to receive spiritual healing by the hands of the Great Physician, Jehovah-Rapha, God in the flesh.
6 When He had said this, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and applied the clay to his eyes,
7 and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam ” (which is translated, Sent ). So he went away and washed, and came back seeing. (John 9)
Complete physical healing has taken place in the life of this formerly blind man. Spiritual healing is going to take place a little later in the story. How are the people around the formerly blind man going to respond to his miraculous healing? The common citizens did not believe that he was the same guy. They even questions his parents to find out if he really had been blind from birth. There was another group of people there who witnessed this miracle. They were the spiritual leaders of the day, the Pharisees. They were also blind, not physically, but they were blind spiritually. How are they going to respond to Jesus, this miracle, and the message of the Gospel?
II. The spiritually blind men
The Pharisees, as I mentioned before, were the spiritual leaders of the day. Their main role was to help the people connect with God by teaching the Word of God. Jesus had become competition for them and they did not like it one bit. In fact, Jesus was becoming more and more popular because He was doing what the Pharisees were supposed to have been doing. Jesus was teaching the Word of God to the common man. The Pharisees needed to have their spiritual eyes opened just like everyone else. How were they going to respond to Jesus?
13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who was formerly blind.
14 Now it was a Sabbath on the day when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes.
15 Then the Pharisees also were asking him again how he received his sight. And he said to them, “He applied clay to my eyes, and I washed, and I see.”
16 Therefore some of the Pharisees were saying, “This man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath.” But others were saying, “How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?” And there was a division among them. (John 9)
As you just read, there is an argument among the Pharisees about what just happened with the miraculous healing. Some want to admit that Jesus is who He claims to be. Others try to undermine the miracle by attacking Jesus, accusing Him of committing a sinful act by healing on the Sabbath. Is it wrong to save (rescue) a fellow human being on the Sabbath, according to the Word of God? According to the Word of God, the answer is a resounding NO! Jesus uses an example from the Old Testament to prove His point.
1 It happened that when He went into the house of one of the leaders of the Pharisees on the Sabbath to eat bread, they were watching Him closely. 2 And there in front of Him was a man suffering from dropsy. 3 And Jesus answered and spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?” 4 But they kept silent. And He took hold of him and healed him, and sent him away. 5 And He said to them, “Which one of you will have a son or an ox fall into a well, and will not immediately pull him out on a Sabbath day?” 6 And they could make no reply to this. (Luke 14)
Jesus pointed out the Jewish leaders’ hypocrisy. When one of their own animals fell in a well on the Sabbath, they were okay with working to rescue the life of the animal. How much more should they have been okay with Jesus rescuing a man’s life on the Sabbath. The Jewish leaders showed more compassion on an animal than they did on a human being. Jesus did not break the Sabbath by rescuing a fellow human being. He did what the Old Testament taught. The Pharisees try to intimidate the blind man and it does not work.
24 So a 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.”
25 He then answered, “Whether He is a sinner, I do not know; one thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.”
26 So they said to him, “What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?”
27 He answered them, “I told you already and you did not listen; why do you want to hear it again? You do not want to become His disciples too, do you?”
28 They reviled him and said, “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 is from.”
30 The man answered and said to them, “Well, here is an amazing thing, that you do not know where He is from, and yet He opened my eyes.
31 “We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears him.
32 “Since the beginning of time it has never been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind.
33 “If this man were not from God, He could do nothing .”
34 They answered him, “You were born entirely in sins, and are you teaching us?” So they put him out. (John 9)
The Pharisees are spiritually blind but they do not want to admit it. Jesus exposes that in them and they are furious. They have placed their trust in their ancestral religion. They claim to be followers of Moses yet, Moses pointed to the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ. The Pharisees are their own followers, making up things as they go along. They truly are the definition of the blind leading the blind. The formerly blind man even begins to point out flaws in their argument and they belittle him and dismiss him. The Pharisees have an amazing opportunity to acknowledge their sinful state, their spiritual blindness, and repent. Instead, they choose to remain in their spiritual blindness and under the control of their sin nature. What about the formerly blind man, is he going to have his spiritual eyes opened?
III. Faith in the Rescuer
Unlike the Pharisees, Jesus actually cares about the formerly blind man. Jesus cares about the eternal soul that this man has. The Pharisees just wanted to use the man for their own purposes. When he did not do what they wanted, they threw him out. Jesus is not finished with this man.
35 Jesus heard that they had put him out, and finding him, He said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
36 He answered, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?”
37 Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him, and He is the one who is talking with you.”
38 And he said, “Lord, I believe.” And he worshiped Him.
39 And Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.”
40 Those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things and said to Him, “We are not blind too, are we?”
41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains. (John 9)
Jesus searches for the man after He discovers that the man was treated so poorly by the Pharisees. Jesus initiates the conversation and directs it toward spiritual things. Jesus leads this formerly blind man to faith. How does the man manifest his faith? Once he discovers that Jesus is the Messiah, God in the flesh, he worships him. The light bulb seems to go off for some of the Pharisees. They begin to consider that they might be blind spiritually. Their eyes are opening to the fact that they are sinners in need of a Savior. Now, they have to acknowledge that fact and surrender to Jesus Christ. If they do not, then they will remain under the judgment of God that will ultimately lead to eternal punishment in the lake of fire.
What about you, my dear friend, have you had your spiritual eyes opened by the Word of God? How did you respond? Did you fall back on your ancestral religion? Did you try to justify yourself? Or, did you simply bow your knee to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior? Are you sharing this good news with the people around you so that they can have their spiritual eyes opened as well?
May the Lord help us apply what we have learned and share it with those who fall within our spheres of influence!