Week 10: John 9 Spiritual Blindness

Monday: Work while it is day

Read John 9:1-7, John 5:16-17, John 2:1-7

There is so much to glean from this passage! We will soon learn that Jesus performs this healing on the Sabbath. In John 5, Jesus already landed himself in hot water by healing on the Sabbath. The Pharisees demand to know by what authority he does such things and they try to kill him. Jesus offers a few lines of insight here. While the Genesis account says that God rested from his work of creation, Jesus makes it clear that God has not rested from all of his work. In fact, with Jesus on the scene, God’s work can be done at unexpected times because he is the light of the world who allows God’s work to be seen.

The nature of the miracle also provides another claim to Jesus’ divinity. Just as the first man was formed from the dust of the ground. Jesus is now unleashing the creative power of God to heal this man born blind (re-create him) with mud from the earth.

Jesus warns of a time when night will come and we will not be able to work or see the works of God. Indeed, when he died on the cross there was darkness for 3 hours in the middle of the afternoon. It may be hard to believe but we do not live in a period of darkness today. Jesus lives in each of us so that the mighty miracles and creative workings of God might be displayed as he lights up our lives.

How are you displaying the mighty work of Jesus in your life? What might he be re-creating in you?

Tuesday: Go, wash in the pool of Siloam

Read John 9:1-12, 2 Kings 5:1-14, Acts 9:1-19

There are a handful of healings in scripture that require faithful obedience. This story of the blind beggar parallels that of Naaman in the Old Testament and Saul/Paul in Acts. Naaman had to be convinced to wash in the Jordan by his servants as the command from Elisha ruffled his pride. Paul had to rely on a faithful disciple named Ananias to listen to God’s command to go to him and baptize him. Despite his fear and reluctance Ananias went and Paul received healing from his temporary blindness and healing for his soul.

Is there a miracle waiting for you on the other side of obedience? We don’t earn anything, especially miracles, by obeying. But sometimes, as we see in these passages, our healing comes only after our obedience. We can be like Naaman and bristle at what God is calling us to do; thinking we know a better way to find healing. Or, we may be Ananias: God is sending us to be a healer but only if we’ll obey his call.

Let’s strive to have the humble heart of the man born blind who was sent to Siloam so we can also SEE the healing that God has been planning in our lives.

Wednesday: I do not know

John 9:12-34, Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, 1 John 1:1-4, 2:20, 5:13, 1 Corinthians 2:1-5

What do you know? That’s the theme of these verses in John 9. Everyone is claiming to know, or not know things. But in the end, it’s the blind man who proves to know the most.

The blind man doesn’t know where Jesus is or even what Jesus looks like. He says he just knows one thing: that he was blind and now he can see. The blind man’s parents know that their son was born blind but they do not know how he was healed or who healed him and they are afraid to say anymore. The Pharisees say that they know that God has spoken to Moses but they do not know where this man (Jesus) has come from. This prompts the formerly blind man to declare that everyone should know that only a person from God could do such a miracle. “If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” The Pharisees, unmoved, cast him out and cling to their religion instead of opening their eyes and admitting that they don’t know.

What do you know? We live in a world where knowledge is more accessible than ever. At the same time true wisdom (truth) might be harder than ever to find. Scholars know the importance of checking their sources. If we want to truly know, then we need to make sure our ultimate source of knowledge is Jesus.

Thursday: And they cast him out

Read John 9:18-34, John 16:1-4, Matthew 24:9-14, Luke 6:22-23

Being cast out, excommunicated, rejected, or worse, was a very real threat to the Christians who read John’s gospel in the late first century. To be rejected from the synagogue was more than just a religious penalty. It meant being ostracized from one’s entire community, including family and friends. John’s story of the blind man’s boldness to proclaim Jesus in the synagogue juxtaposed with his parent’s cowardice would have sent a clear message to Christians facing similar consequences. Faith over fear!

Is fear of rejection keeping you from sharing your faith? If we’re honest, we probably face much lighter consequences than our ancient ancestors but maybe have even greater fear. Giving into embarrassment, fear of being labeled, or fear of rejection change our place in this story. When we succumb to such fears we are the wishy-washy parents. When we overcome such fears, we are the bold blind man who will soon see Jesus face to face. Who do you want to be?

Friday: Do you believe in the Son of Man?

Read John 9:35-38, John 8:30-32, Romans 10:14-17, 1 John 4:13-18

The blind man goes on an incredible journey from not being able to see anything, to seeing the very face of Jesus Christ. Jesus asks him an interesting question and receives an equally interesting answer. We often mistakenly see faith as a precursor to God working in our lives. But here’s a man who does not even know who Jesus is, yet his rudimentary faith allows him to be healed. Faith isn’t knowing everything about Jesus or knowing the right answers. And it’s certainly not something we use to get favors from God. Faith is listening to God when we can’t see clearly. Faith is looking to God when we don’t know what to do.

Jesus’ response to the man’s humble question tells us what true faith is made of, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.” Faith isn’t a moment in the past. It’s a posture in the present. Faithful people are looking to see God in their lives. Faithful people are listening for Jesus to speak to them day by day. True faith is a regular encounter with Jesus Christ.

When’s the last time you saw his face and heard him speak? What can you do to create space for faith in your life?

Saturday: For judgment I came into this world

Read John 9:39-41, 12:44-50, 16:5-11, 1 John 2:1-2, Matthew 25:31-46, 2 Peter 3:1-13

There are many reasons that Jesus came to this world that we love. He came to show us God. He came to die for our sins. He came to establish the church. He came to overcome death once and for all. He also came for something that we may not love so much: judgment.

Judgment is a major theme in all of John’s writings and throughout all scripture. We might think of it as a necessary evil but that means that we might be thinking of it all wrong. When we sin, we want grace for ourselves. When others sin against us or hurt us or the ones we love, we expect justice. Judgment proves the ultimate righteousness of God. If there was only grace then the sin and evil that corrupts and kills would be overlooked or even condoned. There must be judgment if there is rationality, truth, and a difference between right and wrong.

Here’s why grace is amazing and judgment is not something to be feared: Jesus. Jesus came as God’s perfect representative to take the punishment (judgment) that we deserve. In Christ, God is able to grant us grace while at the same time executing his perfect righteousness. (Propitiation – 1 John 2:1-2) When Jesus says that it was for judgment that he came into the world, ultimately that judgment would fall on him. Now it’s up to us to judge whether we’ll live as if we’re blind to his redemption or if we’ll see things God’s way and live for Jesus.


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