There are two kinds of blindness; one is physical, and the other is spiritual. Both were common during the first century, and both Jesus encountered. But spiritual blindness, according to Jesus, is self-chosen. Some will refuse to believe in Jesus as the Messiah, no matter how much evidence is in front of them. They will remain willfully blind. In today’s passage, we will see how a faulty interpretation and application of the Bible led some to miss the work of God happening right in front of them.
In today’s story, we see three main parts:
- Jesus heals a blind man and then leaves.
- The Pharisees interrogate the person healed.
- Jesus reenters to clarify that some have received sight while others remain blind.
Here John Shows the Following: Jesus>Religion.
- Most of Jesus’ ministry happened beyond the walls of religious institutions. So
should yours (9:1).
a. Education happens in the synagogue/Church
b. Transformation happens in the streets
c. What you do away from this service is the real measure of your faith in Jesus.
Religion emphasizes the place of service over and above the people we are to serve Jesus emphasizes meeting with the family of God so that we can serve those away from God.
- Jesus uncouples the direct, causal link between personal sickness from personal sin (9:1-5, cf. 9:33, 34). Or, to say it another way, people with disabilities or parents of children with disabilities are not being punished for past sins.
a. Generally speaking, sin can bring about unhealthy
b. But this is not an absolute maximum
c. A disability can be a moment for God’s glory to shine through
Religion says there are good people, and there are bad people, and good people look like us. Jesus says I alone am good, but I extend my goodness to you through love
- Jesus confronts a bad interpretation of the Old Testament
a. The Pharisees interviewed the person healed (9:13-15)
b. The Pharisees apply an incorrect understanding of the Sabbath (v. 16)
c. Bad interpretation leads to the bad application (9:18-22)
Religion kicks people out over small differences about rules that are not even in the Bible. Jesus welcomes people in with a small seed of faith.
d. The interpretation (and legalistic application) of the Law contained thirty-nine categories of work prohibited on the Sabbath. These include:
- Kneading (This was what Jesus was guilty of)
ii. As a result, they were closed off from God’s work happening right before them. (9:28-34)
e. The important lesson: don’t let a weak interpretation of the Scriptures keep you from these two things (9:39-41)
i. Helping someone
ii. Seeing God’s work
Ponder for just a moment- Is your interpretation of the Bible keeping you from:
- Loving someone
- Helping someone
- Forgiving someone
Romans 5:6-8 (NIV) 6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.