Spring 2021 Bible Reading Plan, Week 7: John 9 - Jesus Heals a Man of Physical & Spiritual Blindness
This week's Scripture passage is John 9.
(Click here for a PDF of this week's study.)
John 9 is a tender, fascinating and insightful account of Jesus' powerful Sabbath day encounter with a man blind from birth. The chapter begins with Jesus and His disciples meeting the blind man and then Jesus healing him. The chapter ends with the man healed from his spiritual blindness, believing in Jesus as his Savior and God! Jesus heals both his eyes and his heart!
In verses 1-7, walking by the blind man, Jesus' disciples ask why the man was born blind. Was it his sin or his parents? There were only two possibilities in their minds. Jesus said it was neither, but so that the works of God might be displayed in him. He then applies mud made from His spit to the man's eyes and sends him to a nearby pool to wash it off. The man returns healed!
In verses 8-12, the man testifies to his incredulous neighbors, some of who don't even recognize him.
In verses 13-34, the Pharisees investigate the healing, claiming Jesus was a sinner by violating the Sabbath. In a remarkable exchange, the healed man gives them a convincing proof of Jesus' deity by explaining that God does not listen to sinners, but would only hear and answer a very righteous man's prayers for this extraordinary healing. As a consequence of his defense of Jesus, he is then cast out of the synagogue.
In verses 35-41, Jesus finds the man and reveals Himself as the Son of Man and the man believes in Jesus and worships Him!
Jesus then teaches the people and the Pharisees about spiritual blindness, pride, and judgment.
Questions for Reflection and Discussion:
1.Our natural inclination is to try to find the cause of others' suffering. This is generally not a helpful or healthy practice as only God knows the true cause of sufferings and infirmities. In this passage, Jesus' disciples and Job's friends, in the book of Job, try to figure out and explain the cause of suffering and disease. Even if we feel our motive to be helpful, our insight is extremely limited and our advice can be incorrect, unkind, and hurtful. Therefore this type of unsolicited advice is generally not helpful at all. However, the Lord is always faithful and completely able to sustain us in the midst of our suffering and able to relieve it completely according to His will in each particular situation. He is also able to pinpoint any cause that we personally need to address in our own lives. He most often speaks to us through the application of His Word; either directly or through the advice of a pastor or biblical counselor.
What can we learn from this encounter in verses 1-3? What have you learned in your life when it comes to helping others and yourself deal with suffering?
How can we helpfully bear one another's burdens? (Galatians 6:2)
2. Jesus said the man was born blind so that the works of God might be displayed in him. (v.3) What works of God were displayed in his life throughout the chapter?
3.Some of the blind man's neighbors didn't recognize him after he was healed. (v.8-10) What can we learn from this? Are we looking right past an inflicted person... perhaps not caring at all about their continuing suffering?
4. Look at the progression of the man's relationship with Jesus through the chapter, from stranger to Savior. Observe it from the man's perspective and then from Jesus'. What does this show us about the Lord's initiative in salvation and our gradual understanding of who He is?
5. This man paid a price for testifying and following Jesus. What areas of his life were affected?
6. Consider the eternal danger of spiritual pride and the eternal value of spiritual humility, hunger, and teachableness. (v.38-41) The Pharisees indignantly ask Jesus, "Are we also blind?" What is the Lord's answer?
Matthew 5:3 - “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 5:8 - “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”