Sunday Morning Bible Study
February 18, 1996
Jesus had been teaching in the temple since early morning.
He told the people that He was the light of the world.
When He went on to claim that He was the great I AM, Yahweh Himself, the Jews wanted to stone Him.
As Jesus was leaving the temple, He saw a man who had been born blind, and to give a little more impact to His claim of being the light of the world, Jesus healed this man.
Last week we saw how the man was starting to get some flack for having been healed by Jesus, especially because it happened on the Sabbath day.
First he was grilled by his friends to find out what happened, then he was grilled by the Pharisees to find out if this thing was of God or not.
When his parents were contacted by the Pharisees to find out if he was really born blind, they acknowledged he was, but they wouldn't say anything more because they didn't want to get in trouble with the Pharisees.
:24-34 Man on trial - cont'd.
:24 we know that this man is a sinner
:25 one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see
This verse should sound kind of familiar, it was one of the building blocks of "Amazing Grace". (I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see)
This man admits that he is no theologian, and can't debate with the Pharisees on their level.
But he can hardly deny the fact that he's been healed of his blindness.
Stick to what you know.
Simply share what Jesus has done for you.
From time to time you will come across people that appear to be lightyears ahead of you either mentally, or in theological knowledge.
Sometimes they'll ride up to your house on their bikes, ring your doorbell, and then start spinning your head with all sorts of strange ideas.
Sometimes they're the person sitting behind the teacher's desk in your English or philosophy class.
You don't have to always debate at what you think their level of understanding is.
You simply need to share what Jesus has done in your life.
The truth of the matter is that while many of these people claim to be searching for God, YOU'VE ACTUALLY FOUND HIM!
They've been caught in a religious system that they think is trying to get them closer to God.
But you actually KNOW HIM!
People who have come out of the JW's have shared that as they went door to door, they would meet with different kinds of Christians.
The ones who stood there arguing with them only made them feel better. They felt good that they were being persecuted for their beliefs.
But the ones that gave them nightmares were the sweet little ladies that invited them in for coffee and simply told them what a change Jesus has made in their life.
:27 will ye also be his disciples?
You've got to hand it to this guy. He's got guts!
We don't always know the tone of voice a person says something in Scripture.
It's possible that this man isn't being sarcastic, but could even be serious.
Perhaps he really wants to know if these guys are serious about wanting to know more about Jesus.
Find out their real intentions.
Sometimes people get to asking you questions about Jesus, and it's only to pick an arguement with you.
It doesn't hurt to ask every once in a while just how serious they are about their questions.
Are they just trying to have fun with you, or are they really wanting to know about God?
If they're not really serious about seeking after God, it's okay to move on.
That's what Jesus meant when He said:
»Matthew 7:6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
:30-33 the man answered and said unto them ...
Here's a man who is most likely uneducated, having been nothing but a blind beggar.
Though it's obvious he's probably heard it, he's never actually read God's Word.
And the most insightful things are going to come out of his mouth.
:31 God heareth not sinners
This is true.
The Bible says:
»Isaiah 59:1-2 Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: 2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
This is why one of the most important aspects of your walk with God has to do with saying clean.
Keep communication with God clear.
Sin hinders our clear communication with God.
It's as if I'm going to send God a message through my plumbing.
But sometimes I get too much junk in my pipes, and rather than getting through, the message just kind of backs up on me.
Keep the pipes clean!
1. When you get a clogged pipe, call rotor rooter!
»1John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
There are times when we come to our senses and realize that nothing is getting through to God because we've let the pipes get clogged.
Then we need to be quick about calling rotor rooter, and as we honestly confess our sins, we find the pipes beginning to flow again!
This is why God isn't going to be listening to the prayers of a non-Christian.
They've never had the pipes cleaned out.
Their pipes are clogged to begin with.
2. Don't put stuff down the drain that will clog the pipes!
»Psalm 66:18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:
Sin is the kind of stuff that clogs the drain!
If you're walking in sin, you need to stop!
Change of Illustration:
It's hard to communicate well when there's a lot of noise in the room.
Have you ever tried to have an intelligent conversation in a room where the TV is too loud?
You find yourself yelling at your kids, or telling them you can't hear them.
Why not turn the TV down, or better yet, turn it off. Then you can hear and talk much easier!
Our continuing in sin is kind of like a lot of noise in our communication with God.
:31 if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth
"worshipper of God" - theosebes (theos + sebomai, "to revere, to worship") - only here in the New Testament.
The man is clarifying that it's not just a "good person" or a "non-sinner" that God hears, but someone who worships God.
And not only a person who worships by saying the right things, but a person who lives in obedience to the Lord.
The Bible says:
»Proverbs 15:29 The LORD is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous.
It's ironic what this man is throwing in the face of the rabbis.
They never got tired of reminding people that the "answers to prayer depended on a man being devout and doing the will of God."
What the man is trying to say is that Jesus must be okay with God if God answers His prayers so well!
:32 Since the world began ...
He's trying to get across the magnitude of what has just happened.
Here's a miracle that has never, ever happened before in the history of the world!
This isn't just your typical dime-store magic trick!
33 If this man were not of God, he could do nothing
Here's the summary of the man's argument.
I agree, kind of.
And you have to admit that after all, he has kind of stumped the Pharisees for a while.
But I have to kind of make a clarification on the man's reasoning.
Miracles by themselves do not prove whether a person is of God or not.
»Matthew 7:22-23 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Jesus is saying that there are going to be people who were using the Lord's name to do miracles, who are not from God.
In fact, the false prophet that will be kind of the antichrist's head salesman will be doing all kinds of miracles, and leading the people into the deception by fact of the miracles.
»Revelation 13:13-14 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, 14 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.
It's not just miracles, but it's having the correct doctrine, the correct teachings about God that count as well.
»Deuteronomy 13:1-3 If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, 2 And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; 3 Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
This is why the blind man included the phrase "worshipper of God".
He was alluding to the fact that Jesus wasn't leading the people after some other God.
Don't be a seeker of miracles only!
Surely we want to see God display His power, but we need to be careful about it.
In a way, God allows the Satanic counterfeits to "test" you, to see if you're only following after things that make everybody go "wow", or whether you really want to follow Him!
Whenever we see miraculous things happening, we need to be careful to also look for the other confirmation, namely, what do they say about God? What do they say about Jesus?
:34 Thou wast altogether born in sins ...
This was the very issue that started the man's healing in the first place.
When the disciples saw the man, they wanted to know whose sins were to blame for his blindness.
And Jesus answered that it wasn't anybody's sins at all.
Jesus said that this man was born blind for the very day that Jesus would come and heal him, and display God's grace and love in his life.
When you find yourself jumping to judgmental conclusions, remember whose side you might land on.
It was the Pharisees that brought the woman caught in adultery before Jesus and expected Him to condemn her.
»And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. (John 8:11)
With this man who was blind, the Pharisees are the ones assuming that it was because of some kind of sin that caused his blindness.
Jesus said it was so God could be glorified.
Don't be so quick to conclude that people's misfortunes are a result of sin!
You may find yourself surrounded by Pharisees.
:34 they cast him out
We talked about this last week.
The Jews had two different forms of "excommunication".
The first form was called "Niddui", a separation from civil society for the space of four cubits, and which held but thirty day.
The second form was called "Cherem", and was a complete cutting off of the person from all Jews, pronouncing a curse on him, devoting him to ruin and destruction.
This is what happens to the man.
:35-38 The man believes in Jesus
:35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him
Here is a man who has stood up for Jesus, not ashamed to be called His disciple, and now that he has been cut off from his friends and family, Jesus seeks the man out.
Jesus didn't just let the guy suffer by himself.
When you stand for Jesus, He'll stand with you.
»1Peter 4:14 If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.
Shadrach, Meshach, Abed-nego
Three young men who decided they would not bow to Nebuchadnezzar's idol, and would rather face the fiery furnace instead.
»Daniel 3:17-18 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. 18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.
»Daniel 3:24-25 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. 25 He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.
He'll be there with you, right in the fire.
»Acts 7:54-60 When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. 55 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, 56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. 57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, 58 And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul. 59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. 60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
It has been suggested that the reason Stephen saw Jesus standing, instead of His usual sitting at the right hand of God, is that He was standing in honor of Stephen, who was making a stand for Him.
When you're being hurt for being a Christian, you can feel at times as if everybody's against you, and you start to wonder where God is.
But in reality, those are the times when He is the closest to you.
God's very Spirit is resting on you.
:35 Dost thou believe on the Son of God?
How about this?
Here's a guy being led to the Lord by the Lord Himself!
Ask the question!
Where are your friends at with the Lord?
It's not just a "personal" issue.
Their eternity depends upon their answer.
:36 Who is he, Lord ... ?
Keep in mind, all this man knows of Jesus is that He was the guy who put the mud in his eyes, and told him to wash.
For all he knows, Jesus is just one of the followers of this "Son of God".
Clarify who the "Son of God" is!
It's not one of these things that doesn't matter, as long as you just believe.
It does matter that you trust in Jesus Christ, just as we know from the Bible.
There are "other gospels".
And they contain other "Jesuses".
:37 Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee.
Quite a wonderful thing to be able to say to someone who was born blind ... that he has "seen" him.
It reminds me of ...
Fanny Crosby was one of the greatest hymn writers ever.
But she was blind.
She was once asked if she was sorry that she was blind.
She said "No, because the first face I'm ever going to see is the face of Jesus."
:38 Lord, I believe
Are you ready to believe?
Do you understand who Jesus is?
Do you understand why you need Him?
Do you understand what He has done for you?
Are you ready to receive His gift of forgiveness and eternal life, and follow after Him?
:38 he worshipped him
I love this!
proskuneo - to kiss the hand to (towards) one, in token of reverence
to fall upon the knees and touch the ground with the forehead as an expression of profound reverence
This is an expression of love, of adoration, or worship.
There is no sweeter expression of belief in Jesus.
:39-41 Judgement on blindness
:39 that they which see not might see
Remember how Jesus started off that particular morning?
»John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
Then, as He came out of the temple, and saw the blind man, He said:
»John 9:5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.
Jesus has used this man as an illustration of how he can take people who are blind, not just physically, but spiritually too, and make them see.
People who acknowledge that they need help will be the ones who receive help.
:39 and that they which see might be made blind.
The ones who claim to need no help are shown to be quite helpless indeed.
The Pharisees have been an example of this.
They were the ones consulted on the issue of whether this was a legitimate miracle of God or not.
They were consulted because they were the ones who knew, they were the ones who could "see".
Yet in the end, they were the ones who were shown to be blind to the truth.
The very Son of God was in their midst, and they didn't want to recognize Him.
:40 some of the Pharisees which were with him
They're starting to get the drift of what Jesus is saying.
They want to know if He thinks they're blind.
:41 If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.
The people who recognize that they are needy and have a problem are the ones that God can work with and forgive.
They are the ones who "have no sin".
But the ones who claim that they have it all together are really the ones who need the most help.
They're just as needy as everybody else, but they are unwilling to recognize that they need help.
Recognize and admit your need for God.
Some people criticize Christians for using "religion" as a crutch.
I'm afraid that Jesus isn't just a crutch, He's a whole hospital!
We need all the help we can get.
And we shouldn't be afraid to admit it.
It's often a thing of pride in our lives that keeps us from admitting how much we need the Lord.
Jesus said to the church of Laodicea:
»Revelation 3:17-18 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: 18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
It's kind of like the pride in guys that keeps them from asking the clerk where the deodarant is in the store.
They will look for an hour rather than ask for help.
But the gals often know that if you just admit you need a little help, you'll get it!
Are you going to do the smart thing and admit to Jesus that you need Him?