Theme: The Man’s Increasing Knowledge of Jesus
In this week’s lessons, we look at the story of the man born blind, and learn that Jesus not only heals physical blindness, but spiritual blindness as well.
Scripture: John 9:1-41
Now, here in the ninth chapter you have a man who was physically blind, and his physical blindness is a symbol of his spiritual blindness. Now what John is telling us is that just as salvation has to come from God as his free gift, so does spiritual insight to understand the truth has to come from God as well, because none of us can see it unless we’re born again. That’s what the story is about.
At this point we want to see what happens to this man when Jesus healed him. First of all, very obviously, he knew that he’d been healed. When he appears being able to see, the neighbors begin to discuss it, saying, “Look, is this the man who used to sit out there and beg?” Some of them say that it is, but others say that it looks like the same man but is actually someone else. So there’s confusion in the neighborhood about whether this is really the man or whether the man has really been healed.
But although the neighbors are confused, the man himself isn’t confused. He knows perfectly well that he’s been healed and can now see. The same is true spiritually. If Jesus Christ has done a work of spiritual healing in you so that you have come to see the truth, where beforehand you’ve been blind, you know it. That doesn’t mean that you know all there is to know. But it does mean that you now know that you can see where beforehand you couldn’t see. Have you ever found that to be the case with someone? You talked to people who’ve come to faith and they say things like, “I can’t believe I was so blind! I mean, I was hearing it all along for years.” Well, in these situations what has happened? Jesus Christ has given them spiritual sight, and now, where before they were blind, they see. This man now could see spiritually and he knew it.
There’s a second thing that we notice as a result of his healing. Not only did he know that he could see, but he also knew that Jesus did it. Jesus had sent him down to the pool to wash, and he didn’t come back saying, “You know, that pool down there certainly has remarkable medicinal powers. I would never have known that, but I was down there the other day washing, and, you know, all of a sudden I found that I was able to see again.” He wasn’t confused in that way in the slightest. He knew how he came to be able to see. Jesus had healed him. The same is true for you. If Jesus works in your life to give you spiritual sight, you’ll know that it’s him as well. You won’t say that you came to understand because you matured and began to figure things out that you could never understand before. If you’re born again, you know that only Jesus Christ is the one who has regenerated you. He’s the one who gave you spiritual sight.
There’s a third thing I notice about this man, and that is, not only did he know that he’d been healed, and not only did he know that Jesus had done it, but he also began to grow in his understanding of who Jesus is. That part of the story is very significant. As the religious leaders interrogate him, the greater his insight becomes. Just look at how his knowledge of Jesus grows as the story goes on.
First of all, in verse 11, when the neighbors are talking to him and they say, “How were your eyes opened?” he said, “A man they call Jesus made mud and put it on my eyes and told me to go to the pool and wash. And I went, and I washed, and then I could see.” What was he saying Jesus is at the point? Not much. He only knew Jesus’ name. But then the Pharisees begin to question him because what they’re afraid of is Jesus’ growing popularity and reception by the people. So they begin to interrogate healed man and as they do, you begin to find him growing in his perception.
They say to him, “This man isn’t from God because he doesn’t keep the Sabbath.” Finally they turn to him and say, “Well, what do you have to say about him?” And now the man says something else. He says, “He’s a prophet.” See, now he’s moved up a notch, hasn’t he? He doesn’t have the whole story yet, but he’s getting better. He progresses from merely knowing Jesus’ name to now asserting that he’s a prophet, and indeed he is. Jesus is our great Prophet, the one who tells us about God and who speaks the words of God.
Then, as the interrogation goes on, by verse 27, you find him saying something else. They are asking him the same questions as before, and so he replies to them, “Listen, I already told you once, and you didn’t listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?” What he’s saying there is that Jesus is a teacher. Yes, he is a prophet, but he’s also one whom we should follow and whose words we should hear and memorize and ponder and allow to sink down into our hearts.
What three points are made about the blind man once he is healed?
How does the healed man’s understanding of Jesus develop?
Key Point: Now what John is telling us is that just as salvation has to come from God as his free gift, so does spiritual insight to understand the truth has to come from God as well, because none of us can see it unless we’re born again.