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6. Jesus Heals the Man Born Blind (John 9)

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Main Point: Jesus brings light to everyone in darkness.

PPT CUE: Key Verse

Key Verse: Jesus said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." - John 8:12b

Props: small cup of dirt, cup of water, rag


Say: We have been studying the life of Jesus using the book of John. Teacher: Hold up your Bible. The first chapter of John tells us that Jesus is the light of God that came into the world. He is pure, and full of truth and life. He came to shine His light on men - to lead them to God. But, sadly, many people do not like the light, because they want their sin to stay hidden in darkness (John 1:1-14).

So far, we have seen Jesus reveal His identity to several different people. He showed His disciples that He was God by turning water into wine. He spoke truth to Nicodemus at night, and to the Samaritan woman at the well.

As Jesus taught and performed miracles, some people started putting their trust in Him. This made the Pharisees very nervous. Jesus did not fit the idea that the Pharisees had of Who the Messiah would be. They believed that when the Messiah came, He would pat them on the back and tell them that God was really pleased with them (John 8:47). Instead, Jesus told them that God was not pleased with them (John 5:37-42). He said that the ONLY way to be made right with God was to believe in Him (John 5:24).

The proud Pharisees did not believe in Jesus, and they did not want anyone else to believe in Him either. The more Jesus spoke, the angrier the Pharisees became (John 8:13, 48, 59). The Pharisees wanted to find proof that Jesus was not Who He said He was, but, of course, there was none.

Sight For The Blind (John 9:1-12)

One day Jesus and His disciples came across a man who had been born blind. Back then there were no Braille books for blind people, no seeing-eye-dogs, and no way for a blind person to work. This man had no choice but to beg for money (John 9:8). The disciples asked an interesting question.

Jesus' disciples asked Him, "Rabbi, who sinned? Was this man born blind because he sinned? Or did his parents sin?" - John 9:2

Very often sin leads to pain and suffering (Leviticus 14-16, Exodus 12:29-30). But the disciples were mistaken to think that all suffering was caused by sin.

"It isn't because this man sinned," said Jesus. "It isn't because his parents sinned. This happened so that God's work could be shown in his life. While it is still day, we must do the work of the One who sent Me. Night is coming. Then no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world."

After He said this, He spit on the ground. Teacher: put some dirt in your hand. He made some mud with the spit. Sprinkle a few drops of water on the dirt in your hand, and mix into a paste. Show the kids. Then He put the mud on the man's eyes.

"Go," He told him. "Wash in the Pool of Siloam." Siloam means Sent.

So the man went and washed. And he came home able to see. - John 9:3-7

Say: After the man washed off the mud, he could see for the first time in his life! When he went home, his neighbors could hardly believe that he could see. They asked him what had happened. He told them what Jesus had done. They asked where Jesus was, but by then the man did not know where He was. (Wipe off your hands on the rag.)

Brought Before The Pharisees (John 9:13-34)

Say: This all had happened on a Sabbath day. The Sabbath was a special day each week that was set aside to rest and to remember the Lord (Exodus 31:13). Keeping the Sabbath was part of the Law that God had given to Moses (Exodus 20:8-11). God’s Law said not to do any work on the Sabbath. The Pharisees were very strict about keeping the Sabbath. Of course, it was right to rest and remember God, as God had instructed His people to do. But the Pharisees made the Sabbath into something it was not. They added SO many rules that it was almost impossible to keep the Sabbath. For example, a person could drag a chair across a hard floor, but he wasn’t allowed to drag it across dirt, because it would make a groove in the dirt that looked like the groove a farmer would make with his plow. Isn’t that ridiculous? If people didn’t follow all of the Pharisees’ rules about the Sabbath, they could be thrown out of the synagogue, which was the Jewish house of worship. Sometimes the Pharisees even stoned people to death for breaking the Sabbath rules. The Pharisees' rules even turned resting into work!

The Pharisees had it all wrong. The truth is: the Sabbath is for our good (Mark 2:27). It is good for us to rest and it is even better for us to remember God. It is not wrong for us to help others and glorify God on the Sabbath. Many times as Jesus walked the earth, He did good things on the Sabbath. Jesus said it is right to do good on the Sabbath (Luke 6:9, John 7:23).

The man whose sight had been restored was taken to the Pharisees. They asked him how he was healed.

"(Jesus) put mud on my eyes," the man replied. "Then I washed. And now I can see."

Some of the Pharisees said, "Jesus has not come from God. He does not keep the Sabbath day." But others asked, "How can a sinner do such miraculous signs?" So the Pharisees did not agree with each other. - John 9:15b-16

Some of the Pharisees were more concerned with what day it was than the fact that Jesus was able to heal a man’s sight! But some started to think He must be from God. They asked the healed man what he thought of Jesus. The man said, “He is a prophet.” (John 9:17)

Many people doubted the healed man’s story because no one had ever been healed from blindness before (John 9:32). They called in the man’s parents to ask them about it. His parents were afraid to say too much because they did not want to be thrown out of the synagogue.

"We know he is our son," the parents answered. "And we know he was born blind. But we don't know how he can now see. And we don't know Who opened his eyes. Ask him. He is an adult. He can speak for himself." - John 9:20

The Pharisees brought the healed man back in. The Pharisees tried to get him to say that Jesus was a sinner. The man refused to agree with them. He said, “I do know one thing. I was blind, but now I can see!” (John 9:25) They continued to ask him questions, trying to find fault with Jesus. They became very angry when they could not get the man to speak against Jesus. The Pharisees said of Jesus, “We don’t even know where this fellow comes from.”

The man answered, "That is really surprising! You don't know where He comes from, and yet He opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to godly people who do what He wants them to do. Nobody has ever heard of anyone opening the eyes of a person born blind. If this Man had not come from God, He could do nothing." - John 9:30-33

The Pharisees became furious at the man and they threw him out of the synagogue.

Face To Face With The Savior (John 9:35-38)

Jesus heard that the Pharisees had thrown the man out. When He found him, He said, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?"

"Who is He, sir?" the man asked. "Tell me, so I can believe in Him."

Jesus said, "You have now seen Him. In fact, He is the One speaking with you."

Then the man said, "Lord, I believe." And he worshiped Him. - John 9:35-58

What a beautiful picture of our Savior! Knowing the man was kicked out of the presence of the religious leaders, Jesus came to him. Because Jesus had healed him, the man knew Jesus was from God, but he did not yet know that Jesus WAS God. The healed man asked to see the “Son of Man.” This was a name that meant the Messiah (Daniel 7:13-14). Jesus said, “You have now seen Him.” Instantly, the man believed and worshipped Jesus. He chose to leave his spiritual darkness and place his faith in “the Light” in front of him.

Much more important than the man’s physical eyesight was his spiritual eyesight. Seeing with his eyes was a symbol for seeing with his heart. At this moment he could “see” more than the most educated Jewish teachers and Pharisees. Now he knew the truth about Jesus, the Light of the world.

Spiritual Blindness (John 9:39-41)

Jesus said, "I have come into this world to judge it. I have come so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind."

Some Pharisees who were with Him heard Him say this. They asked, "What? Are we blind too?"

Jesus said, "If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin. But since you claim you can see, you remain guilty.” - John 9:39-41

Here, Jesus was not talking about being blind in the eyes, but being blind in the mind (Strong’s Concordance). The Pharisees claimed to know (or “see”) everything about God and His law. They swore that they knew the truth, but they still did not believe in Jesus. Therefore, their sin would not be forgiven. But everyone who does believe in Him will become a child of God, saved from the punishment of his or her sin (John 1:12).

Application: First, notice that God can use suffering to reveal His glory. Jesus used the man’s blindness to show that He could work miracles. This grown man had been blind since he was born. This was a very long time to suffer in shame. Yet, Jesus used it to reveal that He was God. Illustration: Everyone put two fingers as close together as possible without touching. Teacher: demonstrate this by holding your two index fingers close together. Let’s say this stands for your time on earth. Now (carefully) spread your arms out as far as you can reach. Spread out your arms. Okay, this - plus forever farther - stands for eternity. The blind man’s problem brought him to a place where he needed Jesus. He suffered during his life on earth (hold up two index fingers), but then he encountered God and received eternal life (spread arms out). It is far better to suffer in this life, and gain eternal life, than to have no trouble in this life and miss out on eternal life. (Such was the way of the Pharisees.) Optional question: Do you think the man would say his years of blindness were worth seeing Jesus and living in heaven for all of eternity? Yes!

Next, let’s look at the testimony of the healed man in front of the Pharisees. They questioned him over and over. They knew SO much more about the Scriptures than he did. He knew almost nothing about Jesus, but what he did know, he stated boldly. He said, “I do know one thing. I was blind, but now I can see!” This is a great lesson for us! You don’t have to have all the answers in order to share about Jesus. If He answers your prayers, if He gives you peace, if He has changed your life, tell others!

And finally, we have to look at the Pharisees. Why did they choose to remain in their spiritual darkness instead of receiving the light of new life that Jesus freely offers to all people? The Pharisees had SO much knowledge. They had great educations; they had memorized God’s Law. They knew every Scripture that pointed to Jesus (John 5:39-40). They heard Jesus teach, and they even saw Him perform miracles with their own eyes. How could they know so much about God, and still not “see” Him? The problem was: they were not abiding in God. They were depending on themselves and the rules they kept. They leaned on their own understanding. They knew about God, but they didn’t know God. No Pharisee, other than Nicodemus, came to Jesus really seeking to know the truth. How does God say we can find Him?

Then you will call out to Me. You will come and pray to Me. And I will listen to you. When you look for Me with all your heart, you will find Me. - Jeremiah 29:12-13

PPT CUE: Key Verse

Key Verse: Jesus said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." - John 8:12b

PPT CUE: Main Point

Main Point: Jesus brings light to everyone in darkness.

Note to Teacher on the Pharisees’ view of the Sabbath:2

“In 167 B.C. Antiochus’ army put a stop to the Jew’s sacrifices. The people of Jerusalem, under the leadership of Matthias, revolted and then fled to the desert. Their hiding place was soon discovered, and the pursuing soldiers demanded that they repent and surrender.

The Jews refused to give in, but they also refused to fight because it was the Sabbath. They would not block the entrances to their caves or fight in any way. Approximately 1000 men, women and children died without resistance, because they considered the Sabbath sacred.”

The death of 1,000 people resulted from the sincere conviction that the Sabbath should not be violated. Although this event happened nearly two centuries before the healing of the blind man in John chapter 9, it does give us a feel for the intensity of the conviction of devout Jews that the Sabbath could not be broken. As a matter of fact, the intervening years between the days of Matthias and Christ did not weaken this conviction, but strengthened it.

The sect which especially set out to protect the Sabbath was the Pharisees. In the light of many pagan forces at work to corrupt the purity of the Jewish faith, the Pharisees took upon themselves the task of keeping Judaism pure of foreign and pagan influence. As a result, the Pharisees were separatists (the word Pharisee means separated). Initially devout and well-motivated, this sect became more and more rigid and legalistic. The central issue for the Pharisees was the preservation of the Sabbath.

“The Jerusalem Talmud contained 64 pages, and the Babylonian Talmud 156 double pages, with specific rules on observing the Sabbath.”

The Pharisees succeeded in turning the Sabbath rest into a burden, rather than a blessing.

“The scribes drew up a list of forty works save one which were forbidden and which, if done knowingly, rendered the offender liable to stoning, and if done inadvertently demanded a heavy sin-offering in expiation. These thirty-nine works in the technical language of the legalists were called ‘fathers,’ and the subsections of derivative pieces of labor were called ‘descendants.’”

For example, plowing was a ‘father’ prohibited on the Sabbath. Digging was a ‘descendant.’ Dragging a chair on the ground would make a kind of furrow, and therefore was forbidden, but dragging a chair on a hard surface was permitted. Another ‘father’ was carrying a load, and this prohibition was attended by a host of ‘descendants.’ To wear an unneeded garment was prohibited. A tailor had to leave his needle and thread at home, and a scribe could not carry his pen. One matter which caused a great deal of discussion was what a man could do if his home caught on fire on the Sabbath. Nothing could be carried out, but clothing, if it were put on one piece at a time, could be worn outside, taken off, and then one could return for another garment. People must have come from miles around to watch the spectacle as the house of a devout Jew burned down!

Although we have only scratched the surface of the issue, you can easily see why our Lord viewed the regulations of the Pharisees as a heavy burden upon the Jews (cf. Matthew 11:28-30; 23:1-4). Those who were skilled in the Law also were skillful in devising ways to circumvent most of the meticulous rules which they had laid down. Worst of all, these traditions of the Pharisees were so intertwined with the Old Testament Law that to violate these traditions was viewed as breaking the Law of God.

Such was the backdrop for this healing of the blind man recorded in John chapter nine.

1 © 2010 All rights reserved worldwide. May be reproduced for personal, nonprofit, and non-commercial uses only. Unless otherwise noted the Scriptures taken from: Holy Bible, New International Reader’s Version, (NIrV®) Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by International Bible Society / Used by permission of IBS-STL. All rights reserved worldwide.

2 Bob Deffinbaugh, The Light of the World (John 9:1-41) ©1996-2006 Biblical Studies Press, reprinted with permission from

Related Topics: Christology, Children, Children's Curriculum

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