Explore The Bible Study: You Have Seen Him

2:48 PM

Have you ever had an eye exam? What was the most difficult part of the examine? What did you discover about your vision? Sometimes what we see or don’t see has nothing to do with the health of our vision. Have you ever looked for something, finally realizing it was right in front of you and you just didn’t see it? This was the case for those who saw a blind man healed in John 9. The Explore the Bible Study: You Have Seen Him will remind you that spiritual blindness causes people to miss seeing Jesus.

According to John 9, Jesus, using mud, healed a man who was blind from birth. While this miracle was an act of grace for the blind man, it was also intended to help people see Jesus for who He really was. Instead, it prompted more questions for and criticisms of Jesus. It was through this experience that Jesus again revealed Himself as God’s Son, the Messiah, sent from God, to reveal God’s redemptive plan to the world. Sadly, most in the crowd could not see Jesus for who He really was, even though they had physical sight to see that the Messiah was right in front of them. They were blind and in need of healing that could only come from Jesus. The blind man’s encounter and healing is introduced to us in John 9:1-7.

The remainder of John 9 describes the flurry of questions and confusion that this man’s healing stirred up in the Jewish community which revealed the spiritual blindness of those who observed the healing of this blind man.

Cynicism blinded the neighbors. They just couldn’t “see” how this could happen! – John 9:8-12

Instead of rejoicing over the blind beggar’s sight being restored, they were cynical. They had seen this blind man begging for years. John even captures some humor in their cynicism. They tried to rationalize the change that had taken place by arguing as to whether this was just someone who “looks like him.”

Imagine this conversation going on and the blind man kept telling them, “I’m the one, I was really healed! Look at me. This is not a case of mistaken identity!” This only led to more cynicism as they asked, “Then how were your eyes opened?” The man told them about Jesus and His instructions which led to another cynical question, “Where is he?”  They couldn’t see what had taken place because they didn’t want to see.

How do our “neighbors” today express their blindness to Jesus and His work of redemption? How do they respond when someone is transformed by the saving power of Christ? 

How would you feel if you were the blind man, and no one believed you? How would someone who is miraculously saved today respond if people questioned his spiritual healing? How can we protect ourselves from this type of cynicism?

 One might let the neighbor’s cynicism slide but notice how the religious leaders responded.

Religious tradition and bias blinded the religious crowd – John 9:13-17

This cynical crowd, including neighbors, brought this man to the Pharisees. They wanted answers because this amazing miracle took place on the Sabbath—how dare anyone heal someone on the Sabbath! The Pharisees asked their cynical questions and the man who used to be blind answered in the same way he did with his neighbors. His story didn’t change. 

These religious leaders used the Sabbath as an excuse to accuse Jesus. They really viewed this healing by Jesus as a threat to their power.  Jesus was calling attention to their inadequacies, their lack of compassion, and their blindness to the ways of God. While they used tradition as their excuse it was more about their bias toward Jesus because He “performed such signs.” 

Their final bias was very revealing about their own state. It was in the form of a question, “How can a sinful man perform such signs?” They couldn’t see beyond what they knew about themselves and humanity. They should have been grateful that God sent someone who could heal a blind man. Through their bias they reminded everyone that all men are sinners. They revealed that only someone who was sinless could perform such miracles. They revealed that Jesus was sinless because He was from God – He was and is God! Sadly, they were blind to their own line of questioning. They still couldn’t see Jesus!

Sometime believers respond in a similar way to someone who, having been spiritually blind for so long, is suddenly and miraculously saved? Why is this so? How can we protect ourselves from the rationalization and bias of the Pharisees?

One would think at least the parents would stand by their son. Yet we see how fear blinded them too.

Fear blinded the parents – John 9:18-23

This is a sad story for the parents, yet we must not be too quick to judge. John tells us they were afraid of the Jews. This is an indictment toward the culture of fear that had been created by the community. They had a set of rules that were way beyond the scope of the Bible and these rules were to be followed. If not, then there would be severe consequences. In this case, if they defended their son, they would be banned from the synagogue.  They were afraid they would be ostracized by the community. 

However, if you look closely at John’s record, there is another phrase that’s very important. They were afraid because “the Jews had already agreed that if anyone confessed him as the Messiah.” This phrase doesn’t mention the son. It doesn’t mention standing for their son. These parents were afraid of being identified or associated with anything or anyone, in this case their son, that might lead the crowd to assume they confessed Jesus as the Messiah. Their real fear was being identified with Christ.

What fears pressure us to remain quiet about being identified as one who confesses Jesus as Messiah? What should we learn from the reaction of these parents regarding the pressures from the community toward our belief in Christ?

Finally, the blind man speaks up boldly. He was the only one who could see that day. Everyone else was blind!

The blind man gave sight to the blind! – John 9:24-34

In the course of his defense, this blind man whose sight was restored boldly asks all those who questioned him, “You don’t want to become his disciples too, do you?”  He was amazed that they couldn’t see where He came from! He reminded them that God was listening to Jesus and that, if He weren’t from God, He wouldn’t be able to do anything. This blind beggar whose sight had been restored saw much more than anyone that day. Sadly, their response was to throw the man out. They neither celebrated his healing nor accepted his testimony about Jesus. 

You can't see Jesus until you see your sin!

This is not the end but only the beginning for the blind man. Later Jesus found him. Here is how John describes that encounter in John 9:35-41: 35 Jesus heard that they had thrown the man out, and when he found him, he asked, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 36 “Who is he, Sir, that I may believe in him?” he asked. 37 Jesus answered, “You have seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.” 38 “I believe, Lord!” he said, and he worshiped him. 39 Jesus said, “I came into this world for judgment, in order that those who do not see will see and those who do see will become blind.” 40 Some of the Pharisees who were with him heard these things and asked him, “We aren’t blind too, are we?” 41 “If you were blind,” Jesus told them, “you wouldn’t have sin. But now that you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.

What this blind beggar whose sight was restored experienced physically led to an encounter with Jesus that led to his spiritual transformation. He believed in and worshipped Jesus! One would think this final conversation would lead the Pharisees who were still listening to respond in like manner, but they didn’t. It only fueled their anger because they realized they were the ones who were blind. They were blind to Jesus as their Savior, but in their rejection of Christ, they did see for the first time, that they too were sinners in need of a Savior.

What can you learn from the blind beggar’s encounter with Jesus? What warnings should we note regarding how we respond when someone’s life is changed because of the good news of Jesus?

Jesus tied the conversation of blindness to the one thing that separated people from God: sin. To refuse to see this truth—as the Pharisees, neighbors, and parents did—has eternal consequences! May we have the sight of the blind man. People must see themselves as sinners before they can see Jesus as their Savior. Consider how you should help others see their sin and see Jesus.

The downloadable teaching helps provide more details for this study, along with some tools you can use in guiding a group Bible study. 

Download PDF Version 

Download Word Version

LifeWay Explore The Bible Resources

These teaching helps are intended to be used as a supplement to your study of Lifeway's Explore the Bible curriculum resources. Portions of this material are taken directly from content copyrighted to Lifeway Christian Resources Explore the Bible and is used with permission.  This material has not been reviewed by Lifeway Christian Resources. 

You Might Also Like


Popular Posts

Like us on Facebook

Latest From Twitter