• The Explore the Bible lesson for Nov. 10 focuses on John 9:8-11,13-17,35-41.
Sometimes, as we read through Scripture, one important theme will “jump off” the page and speak directly to our hearts. This week’s lesson appears to be somewhat different. In this passage, we can see several themes coming together at once. All are important, and therefore we will look at each in turn.
Jesus’ ability to heal
Scripture says—remarkably—this man was born blind so God’s power could be displayed in his life. This is incredible on so many levels. The people he encountered were asking questions about who had sinned, he or his parents. They could not wrap their minds around his condition. There would be questions in our world today as well. Different questions, but questions none the less. People today would probably ask, “Is it right or fair for God to allow this man to live this long blind and poor—as a result of his condition—just so God’s power could be displayed in his life?” People in our day and time have a tendency to be very self-centered and put themselves in a place of judgment over God’s actions.
The truth is God does not take an opinion poll and try and gain an understanding of how people might feel about his plan before he moves forward with that plan. We have to come to grips with these two truths: God is in control and God does what he does for his own glory and honor. He is the only one worthy of glory, and he works toward that end. Even sending his own Son so we could be accepted into his family was about his glory. Jesus performed the miracle we are studying today in order to continue to show his disciples, as well as the other onlookers, exactly who he was. By doing this, he clearly was proclaiming the truth and bringing glory to the Father. We need to pause and give Christ the glory due him and live our lives believing his ability to do great things!
In reading the entire background passage, we have the opportunity to see the profound impact Jesus had on the former blind man’s life. If he were having any lingering frustration over having been born blind, he certainly did not show it in this passage. This man immediately began to tell his story about his encounter with Christ. He was brought before the Pharisees in order to be questioned.
In that original conversation, he calls Jesus a “prophet.” Next, the Pharisees called in his parents. The truth is this section is rather humorous, because his parents immediately “pass the buck” by stating he is old enough to speak for himself. They were not going down with him. The only help they could provide was to confirm two things: this man definitely was their son, and he most assuredly had been born blind.
Again, the man was brought in before the religious leaders. At this point, you really begin to see the change in this man’s attitude. No longer was he afraid of the Pharisees. He offered a couple of very profound statements.
He replied: “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see” (v. 25).
He answered: “I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?” (v. 27).
With these comments, he was kicked out of the meeting with the Pharisees and kicked right into a relationship with Christ. He had another opportunity at an encounter with Jesus. This time Christ reveals his true identity, and the man became a follower of Christ and worshipped him. This kind of enthusiastic relationship was the reason Jesus came to this earth and his deepest desire for each of us as well.
Those still blind
That leads us to the last of the three themes running through this passage of Scripture: Some would rather sit in judgment instead of enjoying what Jesus came to offer. It is well documented throughout Scripture that the religious leaders of the first century missed the boat when it came to Christ being the Messiah.
They were too busy guarding their way of life to see that “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6) was standing right in front of them. Even in this passage, Jesus had to confront their prideful actions. They could not fathom they were the ones who were truly blind. Their blindness was at a deeper, more significant level than the condition of the man in today’s lesson.
In this, we see an important lesson for current-day followers of Christ. We, as the church, are supposed to be the ones who are closest to God—as far as a relationship is concerned. However, to the world around our churches and those we come in contact with, are we seen as a loving example of people who are changed by Christ or as those who look down on others in judgment?
It must have been pretty exciting to walk around with Christ and see all the people—like this man—whose lives had been transformed completely by him. Some would have been changed physically, but they all would have been transformed spiritually.
This still should be the case in our churches today. They should be filled with people who have been forever changed by an encounter with Jesus. We need to always remember this: We only are strong today because Jesus has done something wonderful in our lives.
As the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians: “Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong” (1 Corinthians 1:26-27).
We need to ask ourselves the question, where do we see ourselves in this story? Are we like the religious leaders who act as though they have “arrived” and have no need of a touch from God? Or, are we the ones—like the man healed—being changed by the grace of Christ; enjoying an awesome relationship with our Heavenly Father?