BOOK BY BOOK BIBLE STUDY
BIBLE STUDY LESSON
For the week beginning Sunday February 23, 2014
DOUBTING JESUS’ POWER
(Resolving doubts about what JESUS can do)
In John chapter nine, we see opposition to JESUS continuing to intensify. In the first century, the popular Old Testament theology that accredited a person’s sickness or death as punishment for their sins was still a prevalent belief among the Jewish people of Jerusalem.
As JESUS was walking along the streets of Jerusalem one day, HE encountered a man who had been blind from birth. His disciples asked HIM why the man had been born blind. Was it because, of his own sins, or, was it because of the sins of his parents? JESUS answers that it is neither, but rather, he was born blind so that the power of GOD could be manifest in him.
Even though sickness and sin can be related, in that, the fall of man, through Adam, introduced both into the world, individual death and suffering that we experience are not necessarily a punishment for our individual sins. However, death and sickness are both a witness to the continuing sinful condition or state of humanity.
Here in this passage, the disciples weren’t moved by compassion for the blind man, but rather, they were moved by theological curiosity, and the cause of his condition. Like CHRIST, our first concern must be for the person who is suffering, and how we can meet their needs. We can focus later on, on how they got were they are, and, how we can help them to avoid going astray again.
All of us have tasks that have been assigned to us by GOD, and whether we realize it or not, we only have a short time to perform those duties. While we are still in the world, like CHRIST, we must strive to be a light in the world for others to see (Vs. 4-5). The unique thing about JESUS’ healing of the blind man, here in this passage, is that, JESUS did not even promise healing. Here HE simply smears the mud from HIS spit on the eyes of the man and instructs him on what to do after that. But because the man was obedient to the word of CHRIST, he was able to gain his sight for the very first time. It is an illustration of what JESUS had already expressed to HIS disciples earlier in John 8:31-32, where HE stated that, “You are truly MY disciples if you continue to obey MY teachings, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free”.
When we put JESUS’ words into action, we inevitably come to know the truth. We can then, both see the spiritual reality, and, we can also, experience its goodness. After being cured, this man had a hard time persuading the people and the Pharisees that his healing by JESUS was real. However, the man boldly proclaimed that the miracle on his eyes could only have been accomplished by a man from GOD, not some sinner like the Pharisees tried to lead people to believe JESUS was.
Even today, JESUS is still doing those things that are considered by the unbeliever to be too good to be true, and the Pharisees like many today, were always trying to condemn anyone whose idea of religion was not their own. In fact, that is why we have so many different denominations and sects available to us today. It seems that everyone wants a GOD that they can create in their own image, or a GOD that fits their lifestyle the most comfortable.
The Pharisees were comfortable with being, what they called, “Disciples of Moses”. They felt that they knew who Moses was, but unfortunately, they knew nothing of JESUS (V. 29). The man replied how strange it is that JESUS had healed his eyes, and they, who were of the religious hierarchy in Jerusalem, didn’t even know anything about HIM. And even though no one in the history of the world, at that time, had ever restored sight to a person that had been born blind, the Pharisees still couldn’t bring themselves to accept that JESUS was truly sent by GOD. As a result of his bold testimony about his belief in CHRIST JESUS, the once, “blind man” was promptly thrown out of the synagogue, by the hard-hearted, angry Pharisees.
The blind man in this biblical account was bolder than his parents, who had refused to take a stand on the fact that their son had been obviously miraculously healed by JESUS. The parent’s position on this matter was heavily influenced by the known hostilities of the religious leaders towards JESUS, and anyone who sided with HIM. However, as far as the son was concerned, the blessing of restored sight was too great to ignore, and he was determined not to be intimidated by the Jewish religious leaders. We can all learn a lesson from the son in this story, on how we ourselves need to share our own faith in CHRIST, because there is nothing that we can possibly lose that would compare to what we have gained by knowing CHRIST JESUS as our LORD and SAVIOR.
After JESUS heard that the man whom HE had cured of life-long blindness had been excommunicated from the temple at Jerusalem, HE went looking for him, just as any good shepherd would do. When HE found him HE asked him if he believed in the SON of MAN. The man responded by asking JESUS WHO the SON of MAN was. Remember, when the man first met JESUS he could not see HIM, and could only hear HIS voice. He would not be able to recognize JESUS by sight, at this point. And so JESUS says to the man, “It is HE, WHO is speaking to you right now”. And the man, immediately believed, and begin to worship JESUS in the presence of a few of the Pharisees, who were standing there.
JESUS then says to the man, “I have come into the world to judge the world, to give sight to the blind, and to show those who think they see, that they are blind”. The observing Pharisees were disturbed at what JESUS said, and must have also certainly been vexed by JESUS’ acceptance of worship from the man whom they had ostracized from the temple just moments earlier. They contemptuously state to JESUS, “Are YOU calling us blind?” JESUS replies, “If you were blind, you wouldn’t be guilty, but you remain guilty, because you claim you can see”.
Here JESUS is speaking of the Pharisees’ spiritual blindness. It was a blindness caused by pride, self-righteousness, their tradition, and their inability to properly interpret the word of GOD. HE was telling them that they would be much better off, if they were physically blind, because, if they were physically blind, they would have an excuse for not knowing what is said in GOD’s Word. However, since they claimed that they understood GOD’s Word, they made themselves guilty, not only by denying themselves the truth of HIS Word, but also, by denying the Jewish people, the truth of those words, through their false teachings.
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website