John 9:13-41

Sunday Morning Bible Study

May 16, 2010


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision

Jesus had caused some controversy in the Temple when He declared that He was the “I AM”, that He was God Himself. When the Jews picked up stones to stone Him, He somehow managed to slip out of the crowd and make His way out of the Temple where He encountered a man born blind.

Play “Blind Man Healed” video clip.

:13-34 Excommunication

:13 They brought him who formerly was blind to the Pharisees.

The neighbors, the people who knew this man were confused as to what happened to the man, so they bring him to the most religious people they know, the Pharisees.

:14 Now it was a Sabbath when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes.

:14 Sabbath

The Pharisees were the strictest sect of Judaism. They very carefully studied and obeyed all of God’s laws. They even made up a few extra laws just for good measure.

Jesus was constantly challenging the Pharisees about their extra regulations, especially those regarding their “Sabbath” traditions.

The actual Sabbath Law is contained in few simple verses:

(Ex 20:8–10 NKJV) —8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.

Mishna – Over time, the Jews developed more complex laws through their oral traditions. They said that the five books of Moses weren’t the only things that God told to Moses. These oral traditions were passed on from rabbi to rabbi and finally written down about two hundred years after Jesus. These traditions are known as the Mishna. In the section dealing with the Sabbath, there are twenty four chapters. What did it mean honor the Sabbath? They got pretty detailed …

One whole chapter deals just with what may or may not be worn by animals on the Sabbath (Chapter 5).
Another chapter deals with how much food you are allowed to carry on the Sabbath (Chapter 8).
One chapter deals with the tying and untying of knots on the Sabbath (chapter 15).

Some of the traditions involved the things that had just happened.

“it is forbidden to put fasting spittle even on the eyelid on a sabbath day.”
“An eye salve, or a plaster for the eye, if it was put on for pleasure, was lawful, but not for healing”

:15 Then the Pharisees also asked him again how he had received his sight. He said to them, “He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.”

:15 received his sightanablepo – (“again” + “to see”) to look up; to recover (lost) sight

:15 I seeblepo – to see. Present tense. Now I see.

:16 Therefore some of the Pharisees said, “This Man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath.” Others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” And there was a division among them.

:16 signs – plural. they had been aware that Jesus had performed other miracles than just healing the blind man.

:16 divisionschisma – a rent; metaph. a division, dissension

Apparently there were some Pharisees who were open to the idea that Jesus was not a bad guy. Perhaps Nicodemus or Joseph of Arimathea were in the group.

:16 This Man is not from God

They came to this conclusion because Jesus was not obeying their Sabbath traditions, not because Jesus actually broke the Law of God.


Dangerous Traditions

Because the Pharisees placed as high of value on the oral traditions as they did the written Scriptures, they came to the conclusion that Jesus was not from God.
It was not uncommon for the traditions of the Pharisees to take them in the wrong direction.  Jesus was constantly challenging them to rethink their “traditions”.
(Mk 7:9 NLT) Then he said, “You skillfully sidestep God’s law in order to hold on to your own tradition.

Historically, this is one of the problems of the Catholic church.

They state that the traditions of the church have the same authority and weight as do the Scriptures.

And so when one off-the-wall practice (like funny robes) creeps into the church and becomes a tradition, it’s in for good.


In 1903 the Russian czar noticed a sentry posted for no apparent reason on the Kremlin grounds. ‘What are you guarding,’ asked the czar. ‘I don’t know. The captain ordered me to this post,’ the sentry replied. The czar called the captain. His answer: ‘Written regulations specify a guard was to be assigned to that area.’ The czar ordered a search to find out why. The archives finally yielded the reason. In 1776 Catherine the Great found had planted a rose bush there, and there found the first flower of spring. “Post a sentry here,” she commanded, “so that no one tramples that flower under foot!” One hundred years later, sentries were still guarding the spot even though there were no flowers there.

Tradition takes over when our brain stops working.

The problem is not limited to Catholics.

We like to be comfortable, we like to do the same things over and over and over again and never have to worry about doing something different and new.

In many churches, once they’ve been around a while, you’ll hear people say, “But we’ve never done it THAT WAY before!”

PlaySunday Morning” clip

Be careful about thinking that your “tradition” makes things right.

What’s most important is that you come into contact with God (not puppies). That you come to know Jesus.

It might be in a church that sings hymns. It might be in a church that is “contemporvant”. Just find Jesus.

Be careful about traditions
The Pharisees elevated their traditions above the Law of God.
As a result, they are calling Jesus a sinner. Wow.

:17 They said to the blind man again, “What do you say about Him because He opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.”

:17 He is a prophet – they want to know this fellow’s opinion of Jesus. This guy thinks Jesus must be something special, He must be from God.

Prophets not only spoke for God, in some instances they performed miracles too.

Elijah raised someone from the dead.
Elisha healed a leper (Naaman, 2Ki. 5).

:18 But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind and received his sight, until they called the parents of him who had received his sight.

It didn’t seem possible that a “sinner” like Jesus could heal a man born blind.  They wonder if the man had truly been born blind.

:19 And they asked them, saying, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?”

:20 His parents answered them and said, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind;

:21 but by what means he now sees we do not know, or who opened his eyes we do not know. He is of age; ask him. He will speak for himself.”

:21 agehelikia – age, time of life; adult age, maturity

:22 His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had agreed already that if anyone confessed that He was Christ, he would be put out of the synagogue.

The parents don’t want to get involved. At least they admitted that this was their son.

:22 put out of the synagogueaposunagogos (“from” + “synagogue”) – excluded from sacred assemblies of Israelites, excommunicated

The parents are afraid of being “excommunicated”

Judaism at the time had two forms of excommunication.

1. Niddui
You had to stay at least six feet away from every other person for a period of thirty days. As long as you repented of your sin, it would be over in 30 days.
2. Cherem
You were completely cut off from every other Jewish person.  This is the one these folks were threatened with.
It was done with a very solemn ceremony where trumpets were blown to get people's attention, a candle was lit, and then the curse was read.
Here are some excerpts from one of the curses:

“…let great and real stripes be upon him, and many and violent diseases…and let his star be dark in the clouds; and let him be for indignation, wrath, and anger … let his silver and his gold be given to others…”

After the curse was read, the candle was blown out, signifying that the person was no longer worthy of heavenly light.

Pretty serious stuff.  And the threat was working.

:23 Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”

:24 So they again called the man who was blind, and said to him, “Give God the glory! We know that this Man is a sinner.”

:24 againdeuteros – the second, the other of two

:24 Give God the glory

They are giving the man a chance to change his mind and say that Jesus was a sinner.

:24 this Man is a sinner – they are convinced that Jesus is a sinner because He broke their Sabbath traditions, not because He broke God’s Laws.

:25 He answered and said, “Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.”

:25 One thing I know


Opinions and facts

I like this fellow. He knows what he knows.
He isn’t about to talk about things he doesn’t know. But he’s not afraid of talking about what he does know.

He does know that he used to be blind, but now he can see.

We all have lots of opinions about a lot of things.
Some of our opinions are quite strong.
Sometimes our opinions are not necessarily based on fact, but on what someone has told us.
Sometimes our opinions are simply based on who we are.


An English professor wrote these words on the blackboard,(“Woman without her man is nothing”) and directed the students to punctuate it correctly.

The men wrote:  “Woman, without her man, is nothing.”

The women wrote: “Woman!  Without her, man is nothing.”

Who got it right?  It’s a matter of opinion.

When it comes to politics, it is not uncommon for a person’s opinions to be no more than that, just opinions.

It’s not wrong to have opinions. But when you think that your opinion is a true fact when you don’t really know, then you have a problem.

If your opinion is based on a certain news commentator who leans either left or right, and you don’t take the time to check out the actual facts, then you have a problem.

We can have some strong ideas about God as well.

It’s good to know what you know and not confuse facts with opinions.

Some of you may have some incorrect ideas about God.  You may have ideas about God based on what your parents told you.  You may have ideas about God based on what a school teacher told you.

Or you can ask God what He thinks and read His book.

:25 though I was blind, now I see

Nobody can argue with him about this.  These are the facts.  He knows them better than anyone else.

From time to time you will come across people that appear to be light years ahead of you either mentally, or in theological knowledge.

You don’t have to debate over what you don’t know.

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!

:26 Then they said to him again, “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? Do you also want to become His disciples?”

I detect a slight bit of sarcasm.

:28 Then they reviled him and said, “You are His disciple, but we are Moses’ disciples.

:28 reviledloidoreo – to reproach, heap abuse upon

:29 We know that God spoke to Moses; as for this fellow, we do not know where He is from.”

:30 The man answered and said to them, “Why, this is a marvelous thing, that you do not know where He is from; yet He has opened my eyes!

:30 marvelousthaumastos – wonderful, marvelous; excellent; passing human comprehension; extraordinary, surprising

Maybe a little more sarcasm?

:31 Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him.

:31 God does not hear sinners

There is truth in this statement.  The Psalmist wrote,

(Ps 66:18 NKJV) If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear.
(Is 59:1–2 The Message) —1 Look! Listen! God’s arm is not amputated—he can still save. God’s ears are not stopped up—he can still hear. 2 There’s nothing wrong with God; the wrong is in you. Your wrongheaded lives caused the split between you and God. Your sins got between you so that he doesn’t hear.
(Pr 28:9 NKJV) —9 One who turns away his ear from hearing the law, Even his prayer is an abomination.
(Is 1:15 NKJV) —15 When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood.

:31 worshipertheosebes (“God” + “revere”) – worshipping God, pious; religious

:31 a worshiper of God and does His will

(Pr 15:29 NKJV) The Lord is far from the wicked, But He hears the prayer of the righteous.

:32 Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind.

:32 since the world began – literally, “since eternity”

There is no record in the Old Testament of a blind person being healed.

Yet Isaiah said that when the Messiah came, blind eyes would be opened.

(Is 29:18 NKJV) In that day the deaf shall hear the words of the book, And the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity and out of darkness.

The Psalmist declares:

(Ps 146:8 NKJV) —8 The Lord opens the eyes of the blind; The Lord raises those who are bowed down; The Lord loves the righteous.

:33 If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing.”

:33 If this Man were not from God – He makes a good point. But…


Miracles alone aren’t enough

Miraculous power can also be from Satan.  Paul tells us about the coming antichrist:
(2 Th 2:9 NLT) This man will come to do the work of Satan with counterfeit power and signs and miracles.
The truth is that miracles alone don’t prove a person is from God.
(Deut 13:1–3 NKJV) —1 “If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, 2 and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’—which you have not known—‘and let us serve them,’ 3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

It is great that a person can perform a miracle. It is even more important what they say about God.

If a person performs a miracle but does not point you to the God of the Bible, then that person is not from God.

In reality, this is the same principle that the Pharisees are using. But their problem is that they are judging Jesus based on their traditions and not the truth of God’s Word.

They are judging Jesus based on their traditions, and concluding that Jesus is trying to lead people away from God and so must be rejected.

:34 They answered and said to him, “You were completely born in sins, and are you teaching us?” And they cast him out.

They don’t how to respond to the man’s points.

They are frustrated that this illiterate beggar is contradicting their great learning.

They respond by calling him names (You were completely born in sins)

:34 they cast him out – They excommunicated him.

:35-41 Blind or Seeing

:35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said to him, “Do you believe in the Son of God?”

:35 Do you believe in the Son of God?

The language that Jesus uses puts an emphasis on the word “you”. Do YOU believe?

Some translations have “Son of Man”

This too is a title for the Messiah.
(Da 7:13 NKJV) —13 “I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him.

:35 He had found him – I love this about Jesus. When He heard about what had happened to the man, He looked for him.


Jesus stands with those who stand for Him

If you take a stand for Jesus, He will take a stand for you.  He will find you.
Peter wrote,
(1 Pe 4:14 NLT) So be happy when you are insulted for being a Christian, for then the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you.


Shadrach, Meshach, Abed-nego
King Nebuchadnezzar came up with this crazy idea to have everyone bow down to his golden idol whenever he had the band play his song.  In order to encourage everybody to do this, Nebuchadnezzar threatened everyone who didn’t bow by telling them they would be thrown into a fiery furnace.
Three young Jewish boys made a decision not to bow.  They were tossed into the fiery furnace.
(Da 3:24–25 NKJV) —24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” 25 “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”

He’ll be there with you, right in the fire.


Stephen was put on trial for preaching about Jesus.  When he was brought before the Jewish High Court, he took a bold stand for Jesus and preached an incredible message showing the Jesus was the Promised Messiah and that they had hard hearts and were disobedient to God.  The Jewish High Court wasn’t too thrilled with Stephen’s message…
(Ac 7:54–58 NLT) —54 The Jewish leaders were infuriated by Stephen’s accusation, and they shook their fists at him in rage.55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed steadily into heaven and saw the glory of God, and he saw Jesus standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand.56 And he told them, “Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand!” 57 Then they put their hands over their ears and began shouting. They rushed at him58 and dragged him out of the city and began to stone him…

Did you notice what Stephen saw when he looked into heaven?  He saw Jesus “standing”.

You stand for Jesus, He’ll stand for you.

When you take a stand for Jesus, sometimes you will feel like everyone’s against you.

Not everyone.  Somebody’s standing for you.

:36 He answered and said, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?”

This man is smart enough to know that he doesn’t know some things.

When his friends asked him where Jesus was (vs. 12), he responded with “I don’t know”.

Now Jesus asks him if he believes in the Son of God, and he responds with “Who is He”?

:37 And Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you.”

:37 seenhorao – to see with the eyes; to see with the mind, to perceive, know

There has to be some pretty intense moments here.

Perhaps the fellow recognizes Jesus’ voice as the one who had spoken to him, telling him to wash in the Pool of Siloam.

But here Jesus reinforces the idea that the man can SEE Him as well.

:38 Then he said, “Lord, I believe!” And he worshiped Him.

The fellow had made the final step.

His life had been affected by Jesus.  Now he takes the step to believe in Him.

He has moved from darkness to light.

In vs. 11, Jesus was just the “man they called Jesus”

In vs. 17 Jesus was a “prophet”

In vs. 33 Jesus was “from God”

In vs. 35 Jesus was the “Son of God”

Now Jesus is “Lord” and is worshiped.

:38 worshipedproskuneo (“toward” + to kiss”) – to fall upon the knees and touch the ground with the forehead as an expression of profound reverence

Jesus allowed the fellow to worship Him.

The man had been cast out of the synagogue, but Jesus won’t cast him out.

(Jn 6:37 NKJV) All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.

:39 And Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.”

:39 judgmentkrima – the act of judging, giving judgment, judgment spoken only in reference to future reward and punishment

:39 see … blind

(Jn 9:39 The Message) Jesus then said, “I came into the world to bring everything into the clear light of day, making all the distinctions clear, so that those who have never seen will see, and those who have made a great pretense of seeing will be exposed as blind.”

Jesus has used this man to show how He can take people who are blind, not just physically, but spiritually too, and help them see.

People who acknowledge that they need help will be the ones who receive help.

:40 Then some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these words, and said to Him, “Are we blind also?”

:41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, ‘We see.’ Therefore your sin remains.

(Jn 9:41 NLT) —41 “If you were blind, you wouldn’t be guilty,” Jesus replied. “But you remain guilty because you claim you can see.

(Jn 9:41 The Message) Jesus said, “If you were really blind, you would be blameless, but since you claim to see everything so well, you’re accountable for every fault and failure.”


Self Deception

The whole idea of blindness and the Pharisees is all about self deception.
They claimed to know God.  They didn’t.
It’s like the person who auditions for American Idol, but can’t sing or dance.
Play William Hung clip.
Where are you with God?
I know the tendency is for us to laugh at William.  But I have to tell you that part of me wants to cry for him.  It’s very sad when a person thinks they are something when they are not.
If you claim to have your act together without Jesus, you are self-deceived.
If you claim to know anything about God but you don’t know Jesus, you are self-deceived.
God wants you to know Him.  A true knowledge of God comes through Jesus.