John 9-10
(I Was Blind but Now I See)
November 5th

Produced by The Listening for God Ministry
Copyright 2016

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Please refer to one or more Bible versions of your choice to read this section. We recommend that you read at least two versions for added understanding. For your convenience, we have provided six links below, each of which takes you directly to today's chapters in a specific version:

Key Verse thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.

John 9:24b (KJV)

Summary of Chapters

These two chapters address the concepts of blindness and the inability to hear in both physical and spiritual terms. John provides a number of detailed and lengthy accounts to address these topics.

Chapter 9 is all about blindness. Jesus healed a blind man that he encountered on the road. He put mud in the man’s eyes and told him to wash in the Pool of Siboam that had been built by Hezekiah and his workers as described in 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles in the Old Testament.

When the blind man was healed some who knew him said he was actually an imposter. The Pharisees ignored that point but became obsessed with the transgression that someone was healing on the Sabbath! The Pharisees and other Jews tried to complicate the story of this man’s healing, but the man simply replied with the truth:

    A second time they (the Pharisees) summoned the man who had been blind. “Give glory to God by telling the truth,” they said. “We know this man is a sinner.”

    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! (italics added)”

    - John 9:24-25 (NIV)

The Pharisees became indignant at this man’s attitude, so, according to John, they “threw him out (9:34 - NIV).” Jesus then uses this scenario to explain the concept of spiritual blindness.

In chapter 10, Jesus explains that he is the spiritual shepherd for the people and that those who are his people will respond to his voice the way sheep respond only to the voice of their own shepherd:

    “Let me set this before you as plainly as I can. If a person climbs over or through the fence of a sheep pen instead of going through the gate, you know he’s up to no good—a sheep rustler! The shepherd walks right up to the gate. The gatekeeper opens the gate to him and the sheep recognize his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he gets them all out, he leads them and they follow because they are familiar with his voice. They won’t follow a stranger’s voice but will scatter because they aren’t used to the sound of it.”

    - John 10:1-5 (MSG)

After he completed this sermon many of the Jews said he was insane. In the subsequent section of chapter 10, John reports that Jesus was walking around the temple area during the Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah). The Jews were still trying to figure out who he was, so they approached him to say " 'How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.' Jesus answered them, 'I told you and you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify to me' (John 10:24-25 NAB)."

After this exchange the people picked up stones to throw at him, then tried to arrest him, but it was still not his time, so Jesus retreated to the area of the Jordan river.

Reflection and Application

The attributes of spiritual blindness and deafness among the people were described by a number of the prophets. Some people were so incapacitated spiritually that they did not recognize miracles taking place before their eyes. These type of people conjure any possible story to deny what their own senses told them. In the case of today’s scripture there was a man who was blind and then could see, but that was not sufficient evidence for the Pharisees and others to believe that Jesus was the Christ.

How often do we walk sightless among miracles, as the Jewish prayer says? We see or experience healing or unexpected comfort and may wonder where it came from. Maybe it comes from God, who never stops caring and healing – even on the Sabbath.

The first verse of the song Amazing Grace does a good job of summarizing this set of passages in a lyrical form:

    Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
    That saved a wretch like me.
    I once was lost but now am found,
    Was blind, but now I see.

    John Newton (1725-1807)

Sometimes the simple answers are the best. Back in the beginning of this Gospel, John recorded Philips response when his brother did not believe that the Messiah had arrived. Philip simply said, “Come and see.” These three words invite the doubter to experience for themselves and decide. Philip could not convince his brother, but he would lead him to the Convincer. The formerly blind man in chapter 9 was equally pithy, “I was blind but now I see.” If the people did not accept that miracle, then they were not going to see anything else.

The imagery of Jesus as the shepherd is consistent with many of the passages we read in the Old Testament, such as this one

    Like a shepherd he feeds his flock;
    in his arms he gathers the lambs,
    Carrying them in his bosom,
    leading the ewes with care.
    - Isaiah 40:11 (NAB)

The Jewish leaders who opposed Jesus did not recognize that he was the fulfillment of these scriptures. They were blinded by their own assumptions about how the Messiah might appear and were jealous of the attention that Jesus was receiving. How well does Jesus match our assumptions of a Messiah? Are we jealous of what we would have to give up if we commit our lives to him? When we see Jesus for who he is and believe in him, then we can recognize his voice among the voice of all of the other shepherds, and can follow him, even if our sight is bad and our legs our weak. He has chosen us to follow him, but do we choose to see, believe, and hear?

Listen for the shepherd and believe.

"Amazing Grace," performed by Elvis Presley

Questions and Prayers for Further Reflection

    Related Questions
    1. What type of vision did you have (20/20, near-sighted, etc)?
    2. Why do you think the Pharisees did not believe in Jesus even after hearing about the miracles he performed?
    3. How can we share the message of Amazing Grace with our friends and family and people we meet?

    Recommended Prayer
    Father in heaven, you gave us eyes to see and ears to hear. Help us tune them into your word

    Suggested Prayer Concerns
    People who are physically blind or hearing impaired

    Looking Ahead

    Tomorrow's reading: John 11-12 (Look How the Whole World Has Gone After Him! )

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