Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

John 9:39-41
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: John 9:39
v39: That man’s confession and worship of Jesus did not take place in private. People were watching, including some Pharisees who had begun to follow Jesus as disciples (Jn 8:30-31; 9:40). They, along with everyone else, had just observed a terrible miscarriage of justice. A man who had done nothing more than refuse to slander someone who had restored his eyesight had been “cast out” by the highest religious court in the land. That meant he was no longer a member of Israel’s spiritual community. The punishment didn’t match the offense. The harsh, arbitrary abuse of authority by those leaders was glaringly obvious, so Jesus used the moment to clarify in everyone’s mind what had just happened and to teach them how to choose the right leaders.

Monday: John 9:39
v39 (continued): The man may still have been kneeling at His feet when Jesus said, “For judgment (the result of a decision) I came into this world, so that the ones who do not see may see, and the ones who see may become blind” (literal). Jesus had already declared that He had not come to judge the world (Jn 3:17; 8:15). That assignment from the Father would wait until the end of the age (Jn 5:22, 25-29). Yet everywhere He went His presence forced people to decide for or against Him and to decide against Him brought that person into judgment.

Tuesday: John 9:39
v39 (continued): To understand Jesus’ statement we need to identify the group of people He called those “who do not see” and the group He called those “who see.” Obviously those “who do not see” were not people who were physically blind. In this case someone who was physically blind had spiritual sight, while many with physical eyesight were spiritually blind. Jesus’ presence had exposed which was which. The idea of “eyes that see” and “ears that hear” is a theme that went all the way back in Israel’s history to Moses (Dt 29:4) and was later used by the prophets (Isa 6:9-10; Jer 5:21; Eze 12:2). Spiritual blindness or deafness occurs when someone refuses to see or hear something God is trying to reveal. Both images (eyes and ears) point to the humility within a person which allows God to bring correction or teach a new truth. With this man whose eyesight had been restored in front of Him, Jesus pointed to the attitudes which made it possible for him to respond in faith. The man knew he was “blind” beyond the blindness of his physical disability. He was humble enough to recognize that he didn’t have a genuine relationship with God and honest enough to admit it.

Wednesday: John 9:39
v39 (continued): Another term Jesus used to describe these attitudes was “poor in spirit” (Mt 5:3). To be “poor in spirit” means a person understands their own spiritual poverty; they know they do not have a right relationship with God. On another occasion Jesus said it was “those who are sick” who need a physician (Mt 9:12). In other words, it is those who know they are spiritually sick who are willing to receive God’s remedy. On another occasion He said it was to “infants” that God had revealed the hidden things, not to the “wise and intelligent” (Mt 11:25). To enter God’s kingdom people must “become like children” (Mt 18:3). All of these images point to the same attitudes: humility and honesty. To know that we don’t know and to be honest about what we don’t have is the first step to gaining it. They allow us to look for help and to be willing to receive it when God sends it. The person who feels no such need, who believes they already know all they need to know and have all that’s necessary, is not open to more, is not willing to accept correction and is likely to reject anything different from what they already have. Someone like that tends to say, “The old is good enough” (Lk 5:39).

Thursday: John 9:39-40
v39 (continued): So Jesus’ statement about “those who do not see” and “those who see” was meant to expose the difference between those who felt they already knew all they needed to know and those who were painfully aware of how little they knew. To a man who knew he was spiritually blind, Jesus revealed that He was the heavenly Son of Man (v35). To those who proudly assumed they already saw all they needed to see, encountering Jesus rendered a judgment. By rejecting certain truths that He taught about Himself, they left themselves damaged, less able to “see” than before. v40: John makes it clear that there were Pharisees who considered themselves to be disciples of Jesus. He describes them as “the ones being with Him from out of the Pharisees” (literal). Nicodemus would be an example of such a Pharisee (Jn 3:1-2), though it appears he hid his appreciation of Jesus until after the crucifixion (Jn 19:38-40). As a group, the Pharisees strove to be biblically faithful. They intensely studied the Torah (first five books of the Old Testament). So when Jesus spoke about spiritual blindness their response was to say, “We are not also blind [like the other religious leaders]” (literal). They rejected the idea that they lacked knowledge. Not only did they know the Bible, but they were also learning from Jesus.

Friday: John 9:41
v41: Jesus said to them, “If you were blind you would not have had sin, but now that you are saying ‘we see,’ your sin remains” (literal). Though these students of the Bible were positive toward Jesus, judging from this statement, as well as the lesson Jesus was about to teach them concerning the Good Shepherd (Jn 10:1-18), there was an important truth these Pharisees did not believe. It appears they did not believe Jesus would die as a sacrifice for their sins (Jn 10:11, 15, 17-18). They believed enough of what He taught to admire Him and probably believed God had sent Him in some special capacity, but they didn’t believe enough to receive the gift of righteousness which is given only to those who place their faith in His death and resurrection. Even though Jesus repeatedly preached this truth (Jn 2:19-21; 3:14; 6:51-58) very few people, including the Twelve, understood or believed Him. To some He was a teacher; to some a prophet; to some even the Messiah but never the suffering Messiah, always a glorious Messiah who would soon bring God’s kingdom to earth.

Saturday: John 9:41
v41 (continued): These Pharisees had much knowledge of the Bible and therefore understood Jesus’ claims better than most (Mt 27:62-66). But based on Jesus’ statement to them, they, like Peter (Mt 16:21-23), must have decided that He was confused on this subject. So to them He said, in effect, “If you had not understood what I have been saying about My death, your ignorance would be an excuse, and you would be innocent of rebelling against God. But since you are convinced you know God’s ways better than I and reject the idea of My death on your behalf, you will continue in your sin because you do not [yet] have the righteousness of faith” (paraphrase).  

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