Participants: Deyvy Rodriguez & Jon Paulien
Series Code: JBOTB
Program Code: JBOTB00014A
00:20 Hello, friends, and welcome to "Books of the Book."
00:23 We're so glad that you can join us in this Bible study.
00:26 My name is Deyvy Rodriguez
00:27 and we're studying the Gospel of John.
00:30 And today, we are on chapter 9
00:33 and we're talking about a blind man.
00:36 And with us is Dr. Jon Paulien.
00:39 He is the dean of Religion at Loma Linda University
00:42 in Loma Linda, California.
00:44 Dr. Paulien, welcome back again.
00:46 Thank you. It's good to be here.
00:47 All right, we're going to talk about
00:50 the story of a blind man in chapter 9.
00:53 And by the way, this story is all of chapter 9, isn't it?
00:58 The whole chapter is this one story.
01:01 And it's very interesting and you're pointing out
01:04 earlier you said this is quite a funny story.
01:06 It is. It's hilarious.
01:07 Okay, I want to see
01:09 where the hilarious, funny part about it is.
01:11 But basically the story goes on
01:14 to say that Jesus was passing by.
01:16 He sees a blind man and His disciples
01:19 ask Him a few questions say "Rabbi.
01:22 You know, who sinned is this man
01:23 or his parents that he was born blind?"
01:27 And so Jesus take this opportunity
01:30 and He gives a few words
01:32 and then He does something quite interesting.
01:35 He spits on the ground.
01:37 He makes clay with His saliva
01:40 and then He anoints the eyes of this blind man.
01:43 And then He gives him a command to go wash into this one pool.
01:49 And so he does and he receives his sight.
01:52 And the neighbors are very confused,
01:55 you know, is this the man who used to be blind?
01:58 They start asking him questions
02:00 and after that they send him to the Pharisees
02:03 and the Pharisees--
02:04 I think it's him or no maybe it only looks like him. Yeah.
02:07 They called the Pharisees
02:10 or the Pharisees called the parents just to confirm
02:12 because apparently they don't believe his testimony
02:15 and he keeps repeating himself.
02:17 Yeah. This is what happened.
02:18 And the Pharisees just don't want to believe
02:21 or at least just want him to lie whatever the case might be.
02:25 So tell us more about this story and perhaps,
02:29 what will be eventually the spiritual outside of this.
02:33 I think its part of the irony in the Gospel of John.
02:37 One of the key elements of this book
02:39 is that it shows those who opposed to Jesus
02:42 as being down right stupid.
02:44 I mean, they just-- what's obvious to the reader
02:48 they just can't see, you know.
02:50 Well, this must not be the same guy
02:51 who was begging on the streets blind, you know.
02:54 Well, if it is the same guy,
02:57 must be the devil did this or something.
02:59 And then they keep asking him questions.
03:01 For instance, how come you keep asking me?
03:03 Do you want to be His disciples too?
03:05 And so it's really, it's about as funny
03:08 I think as any story, you'll find in the whole Bible.
03:11 But what we want to understand when we start,
03:14 it's not an isolated story.
03:16 It's all part of the Feast of Tabernacles scene.
03:20 The previous program chapter 7 and 8,
03:22 Jesus was in the temple on the Feast of Tabernacles
03:26 and this story is connected to that.
03:29 Why don't you take a look
03:30 at the last verse of chapter 8, verse 59.
03:34 "Then they took up stones to throw at Him
03:37 but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple,
03:41 going through the midst of them, and so passed by."
03:45 So Jesus is in the temple,
03:47 He's having this argument with the leaders there
03:50 and when they pick up stones to throw at Him,
03:53 He just sort of slips away into the crowd.
03:55 Now notice the first verse.
03:57 "Now as Jesus passed by,
03:58 He saw a man who was blind from birth."
04:01 You see, this comes right in on the other scene.
04:03 It's the same day. It's the same hour.
04:07 As Jesus encounter,
04:09 you know, with the woman taking in adultery
04:11 with the engagement with the Pharisees,
04:14 how, you know, you're son of the devil,
04:17 now I want to make you free and so forth.
04:20 So He comes right out of the temple
04:23 and runs into this blind guy.
04:24 So this story connects immediately upon the previous.
04:30 Now what do you suspect John is doing here?
04:34 This is John choosing what he's going to tell.
04:37 Why does the story come right on here?
04:40 Besides the fact that it happened that way,
04:41 but why does he use it?
04:43 I don't know. That's a good question.
04:45 But what does John do?
04:47 The stories in John are what?
04:50 Spiritual. They're spiritual.
04:51 They're like parables.
04:54 They have a deeper meaning.
04:56 Well, what was the central theme
04:58 that Jesus was bringing out
05:01 at the Feast of Tabernacles in the temple?
05:03 Remember the Feast of Tabernacles
05:05 is about water and about light.
05:08 So read from verses 1-5
05:11 and we'll see where he's going with us.
05:13 All right, picking up in verse 2.
05:15 "And his disciples asked him, saying,
05:17 'Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents,
05:20 that he was born blind?'
05:22 Jesus answered, neither this man, nor his parents sinned
05:26 but that the works of God should be revealed in him.
05:29 I must work the works of him who sent me,
05:32 while it is day, the night is coming,
05:35 when no one can work.
05:36 As long as I am in the world,
05:38 I am the light of the world."
05:41 All right.
05:42 This phrase was repeated
05:44 from something that's said in chapter 8.
05:47 Go to 8:12.
05:50 Okay, it says, "Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying,
05:54 I am the light of the world. He who follows me..."
05:56 Okay, that's fine.
05:58 You see, this story is introduced
06:01 by the light of the world.
06:03 This is going to be an acted parable
06:06 of Jesus is the light of the world.
06:07 How was He the light of the world to this blind man?
06:12 It was kind of like a follow up.
06:13 The blind man received sight.
06:17 So Jesus physically opens his eyes.
06:21 But in John, it isn't only about the surface.
06:25 John turns this whole story into a spiritual parable.
06:30 Some people are blind.
06:31 When Jesus comes along they see.
06:33 Other people are blind spiritually.
06:37 Now when Jesus comes along they gain spiritual insight.
06:40 They come to see spiritually.
06:43 So the story of the blind man
06:46 also is the story of spiritual sight
06:50 that comes to people who are formally blind.
06:54 Go back to chapter 7:37-39,
06:59 because there's another major theme
07:02 in the Feast of Tabernacles story.
07:05 And we are reading verses--
07:07 Verses 37-39, chapter 7.
07:10 "On the last day, that great day of the feast,
07:12 Jesus stood and cried out, saying,
07:14 if any man thirsts, let him come to me, and drink.
07:18 He who believes in me, as the scripture has said,
07:21 out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.
07:25 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit,
07:27 whom those believing in Him will receive
07:30 for the Holy Spirit was not yet given
07:32 because Jesus was not yet glorified."
07:36 So you have two themes in the Feast of Tabernacles story.
07:40 You have the theme of the water, the pouring of the water,
07:43 and where did that water come from?
07:46 That water came from the Pool of Siloam.
07:49 That's the same place that Jesus sends this man too.
07:54 His whole message was the Feast of Tabernacles
07:56 has this water here for you.
07:59 But there's a better water, there's the spiritual water.
08:03 And when Jesus says, "Anyone comes to me,
08:06 He won't ever get thirsty again."
08:08 And meaning, spiritually when you come to Jesus
08:11 you will be filled with water that will never run dry.
08:14 So you have the water theme, you have the light theme.
08:16 Jesus is the water and the light.
08:19 In this story the two come together.
08:22 The man is blind, he comes to see.
08:24 How does he see?
08:25 Jesus sent him to the water.
08:27 But the waters of the pool
08:29 from which the Feast of Tabernacle water came,
08:33 doesn't heal him until Jesus gives the command.
08:37 So Jesus is the true water giver
08:40 and He is the true light giver.
08:43 So this story just builds on
08:46 the other story to illustrate it,
08:48 to give a living representation, a parable.
08:54 Now in the Feast of Tabernacles story,
08:57 while Jesus is exhibiting Himself
08:59 as the true light and as the true water,
09:03 He's resisted all the way through,
09:05 by the leaders of the people, by the priests,
09:09 by the Pharisees and so on.
09:12 That opposition continues here,
09:15 but now it's focused not on Jesus, but on the blind man.
09:20 The one that Jesus heals now takes the brunt of it.
09:24 So in this story,
09:26 it's the Pharisees that are leaning in.
09:31 And here's the amazing thing in the story,
09:34 I wish we had time to read it through in detail
09:36 but you've already shared it with us in a nutshell.
09:40 In this story, first of all,
09:42 the man starts out not knowing anything.
09:46 You know, who opened your eyes?
09:48 Oh, He's the man called Jesus.
09:50 Now who is this man?
09:51 Well, I think He's a prophet.
09:53 Oh, why do you think He's a prophet?
09:55 You know, I mean, you know, He's just an ordinary man.
10:00 Well, no, I think He's from God, you know.
10:04 Nobody's ever opened eyes like this man has so.
10:07 You can see the man's faith growing as he talks.
10:12 The more they ask him about Jesus,
10:14 the more that he believes.
10:16 In contrast, the Pharisees grow in opposition.
10:21 They started out saying, okay, you know.
10:23 He was blind, now he sees, it must have happened,
10:25 how do we explain this?
10:27 And then they're uncertain.
10:29 Well, you know, could He really be?
10:31 Let's call the parents.
10:33 Let's find out if it's really the same guy.
10:35 And then they try to trap him,
10:38 to say, what they want him to say.
10:40 And then they start to reject him.
10:43 Oh, you know, you're not--
10:46 you're from the devil and so on.
10:47 And in the end, they vilify Him
10:49 and throw Him out of the synagogue.
10:51 So the man's faith grows
10:55 and as it grows the opposition grows to meet it.
10:59 So as He receives more light, they receive more darkness.
11:02 Exactly, you see and that goes to show
11:06 that if a person makes
11:08 an executive decision to reject the light,
11:12 God will give them plenty of evidence.
11:15 You see, they in a sense chose,
11:17 they did not want Jesus to be glorified by this.
11:21 So they chose to twist the facts and change the whole thing.
11:26 You know, why do people reject?
11:28 And it reminds us back in Chapter 3 of John.
11:32 It says, "They reject the light because their deeds are evil."
11:36 And they don't want their deeds to be exposed.
11:39 We're very, very protective of our reputations.
11:43 We're very protective of what people think of us.
11:47 And when that's under threat, people will lie,
11:50 will cheat, will steal, will do almost any thing
11:53 to protect what they think belongs to them.
11:56 Now we see this story playing out here with this blind man.
12:02 So the Pharisees had a problem going into the story.
12:08 The healings suggest that Jesus is from God.
12:13 But the fact that He healed on the Sabbath
12:17 suggested them that He's not from God.
12:21 So they didn't know what to do with this.
12:23 You know, nobody could heal a man like this
12:27 unless God was with him.
12:28 But, yeah, it's on the Sabbath, so God must not be with Him.
12:31 So they used the circumstances to twist themselves in a knot
12:35 and avoid the truth of the situation.
12:39 So I think this story illustrates to us
12:43 that spiritual blindness is often chosen.
12:46 I remember once, I had a friend that says
12:49 I want you to come visit a friend of mine,
12:52 he's an atheist.
12:53 He used to work with me and he used to believe in God,
12:57 he was a good elder in the church, now he's an atheist.
13:00 I thought wow, okay, well, let's go visit him.
13:04 We went and visited the guy.
13:07 And I did something I wouldn't normally do.
13:10 You know, in the first visit,
13:11 but I only was going to see the guy once.
13:12 So I just said to him, you know,
13:14 he kept asking me question after question.
13:17 And I'd answer questions and he'd asked more
13:20 and I'd answer them and he'd asked more.
13:22 And I could just see there was no end to this.
13:25 If he answered a 100 questions,
13:26 came back he'd have 100 more the next day
13:28 because the questions were keeping a distance.
13:32 And I said, you know, in my experience
13:34 when people asks a million questions like this
13:37 it usually means at some point in their life,
13:41 they have transgressed their own moral code
13:43 and have never made it right.
13:47 And while I'm saying this to him,
13:48 his wife is sitting behind him
13:50 and she's going like this, you know.
13:54 And he said, wow, and he says,
13:57 "I really have to think about that."
14:00 You see, somewhere in his life he had,
14:03 had a moral fall of some kind.
14:05 He hadn't made it right. He hadn't confessed it.
14:07 He kept it secret.
14:09 And it was driving him to deny any evidence
14:13 that would bring that sin backup into play.
14:17 Now this blind man who received the light
14:19 did not keep that light to himself,
14:21 meaning that he expressed it,
14:25 he could not hold on to it
14:29 because, you know, they bring even his parents
14:32 and they forced him almost to lie
14:34 but he says, you know, I've told you already
14:36 it was this man named Jesus,
14:39 this is what He did and now I can see, it is me.
14:41 And so although they are
14:45 those as you said those who reject the light
14:50 and then they are those who will--
14:53 shed that light to others that you can't just hold it on.
14:57 So this story is an acted parable in two ways.
15:00 First of all, it's an acted parable
15:02 of how Jesus is the light of the world.
15:04 But second of all, it's an acted parable
15:07 how everyone who follows Jesus will face opposition.
15:10 And this man becomes a representative character
15:14 for the true second generation believers.
15:16 All right.
15:17 And we're going to continue on this gospel
15:20 on the blind man in chapter 9 of the Gospel of John.
15:24 So stay with us after this break.