Participants: Deyvy Rodriguez & Jon Paulien
Series Code: JBOTB
Program Code: JBOTB00014B
00:01 And again we're back to "Books of the Book."
00:03 We're studying the Gospel of John
00:04 and if you have a Bible with you,
00:06 you can turn to chapter 9.
00:08 We're studying the blind man and how he was healed.
00:12 And with us is Dr. Jon Paulien.
00:15 Dr. Paulien, so this man is healed,
00:18 he's asked to tell his testimony
00:21 but after a few times they don't believe.
00:24 And he keeps saying--he comes to a conclusion and he says,
00:29 "Do you also want to become his disciples?"
00:31 Almost, like saying, you know,
00:33 do you really want to follow Him but not?
00:36 And it seems that Jesus was somewhere in that area
00:40 and He heard that conversation, the Bible says,
00:44 and so He pulls him aside I suppose
00:47 and asks him a question and He asks.
00:49 In verse 35, Jesus says,
00:52 "Do you believe in the Son of God?"
00:53 So He asks him this personal question.
00:57 And apparently, he had never heard
00:59 of the Son of God or who He was.
01:01 "And he says, "Who is he, Lord, that I might believe in Him?"
01:07 and it is He who is talking with you."
01:11 And so then he says, "Lord, I believe."
01:15 Now what's interesting is the following, I guess,
01:18 the Pharisees also heard that--
01:21 Before we get to that, let me just point out,
01:25 here the Pharisees throw him out
01:28 and he's excommunicated.
01:30 He's de-synagogued, you could say,
01:33 so he's cut off from the community.
01:35 And many scholars believed that this reflects
01:39 a real situation at the time the gospel was written,
01:42 maybe 70 years after Jesus because for most of that time
01:48 Christians and Jews worshipped together in the same synagogues.
01:52 But around 80-85 AD, Jews seemed to have introduced
02:00 in a synagogue service, a curse against Jesus
02:03 and a curse against Christians.
02:05 And so what would happen is,
02:07 people would be reciting their prayers
02:10 and then you come to this curse prayer.
02:13 And what would the Christians do at that moment?
02:15 They go silent.
02:17 They wouldn't repeat that prayer.
02:19 And the Jews around would say,
02:20 "Okay, you're one of those Christians,
02:22 if you're not then recite the prayer in front of us now."
02:25 It's the way they identified followers of Jesus
02:27 within the synagogue and threw them out.
02:31 And so that appears to be going on around the time
02:34 that the Gospel of John is written.
02:37 And a story like this would have been very encouraging
02:40 to people at that time
02:41 because the Pharisees would represent the opposition
02:45 that they were facing in the synagogue.
02:47 Now the man would represent that second generation
02:50 and their experience.
02:52 So the man is thrown out of the synagogue,
02:55 he now fully discovers who Jesus is
02:58 and gives himself to Him.
03:01 And I would suggest this little scenario you just read
03:05 introduces the good shepherd.
03:07 Everything from chapter 7 through chapter 10
03:10 is all one scene, it's all one incident.
03:14 And Jesus tells the good shepherd story
03:16 in response to the story of the man who was born blind.
03:21 But to introduce that, let's look at verses 39-41.
03:26 "And Jesus said, 'For judgment I have come into this world
03:29 that those who do not see may see.
03:32 And that those who see maybe made blind.
03:36 Then some of the Pharisees who were with him heard these words,
03:39 and said to him, 'Are we blind also?'
03:42 Jesus said to them, 'If you were blind, you would have no sin.
03:46 But now you say, we see. Therefore your sin remains.'"
03:51 Here you see the spiritual gospel again.
03:54 Jesus has taken a man who is physically blind
03:57 and given him sight, but that's not all that happened here.
04:02 It is clear in the story that the man was spiritually blind,
04:07 he didn't know Jesus, he didn't have a relationship with God.
04:11 But through this encounter with Jesus,
04:13 through the receiving of his physical sight,
04:15 he also came to see spiritually.
04:18 As he was tried by the Pharisees,
04:20 he was talking himself into a disciple of Jesus.
04:23 So that when he finally meets Jesus again
04:26 and fully understands the situation,
04:28 he submits himself to Jesus.
04:30 So Jesus says, "I came so that the blind might see
04:34 and that those who see might become blind."
04:37 The Pharisees were not physically blind
04:39 after encountering Jesus,
04:41 but spiritually they had turned away
04:43 from the truth that they had known up to that point,
04:45 to reject the Messiah who had come to them to give them light.
04:52 What I want to point out
04:54 special in this text is a dynamic
04:57 that you see often in the Gospel of John.
04:59 It's a dynamic between God's previous intention
05:04 and our choice between some would call it
05:06 predestination and human responsibility.
05:10 You'll notice in verse 39,
05:11 it's almost like they didn't have a choice.
05:15 He says, "For judgment I have come into this world,
05:18 so that the blind will see
05:20 and those who see will become blind."
05:24 So it's almost like Jesus is on a mission.
05:27 He was sent by God to bring sight to the blind
05:31 and blindness to the sighted.
05:33 So that doesn't sound like they had a choice,
05:35 but then look at verse 41.
05:37 "If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin.
05:40 But now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains."
05:45 So here they clearly had a choice,
05:48 there's a tension between those two.
05:50 This happens over and over again in the Gospel of John.
05:53 Another example is in chapter 12:38-43.
06:00 John 12:38.
06:09 It says verse 38,
06:11 "This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet.
06:14 Lord, who has believed our message
06:17 and to whom is the arm of the Lord been revealed.
06:20 For this reason, they could not believe."
06:24 Because as Isaiah says elsewhere.
06:26 "He has blinded their eyes, and deadened their hearts,
06:30 so they can neither see with their eyes
06:31 nor understand with their hearts,
06:33 nor turn and I would heal them."
06:37 So Jesus is here saying that,
06:40 in this blindness that is taking place,
06:43 the will of God is being worked out.
06:45 So that sounds like God's sovereign
06:49 presetting of the situation.
06:51 But then, go to verses 42 and 43.
06:54 "At the same time many
06:55 even among the leaders believed in Him.
06:59 But because of the Pharisees
07:01 they would not confess their faith,
07:03 for fear they would be put out of the synagogue.
07:06 For they loved praise from men more than the praise from God."
07:10 So here you see on the one side,
07:12 you know, God is acting in the situation
07:15 and the result will be people become blind,
07:18 their hearts become hardened.
07:19 But then we see those same people are blinded
07:23 and hardened through their own choice.
07:26 So there's a dynamic in here.
07:28 On the one hand, God is in control of the situation.
07:32 On the other hand, people still have a choice.
07:36 And I think Christians have argued through the ages here,
07:39 "Do we have choice or is God sovereign?"
07:42 And John's answer is, yes.
07:46 He doesn't say one or the other,
07:48 he says both are true. Go to chapter 6.
07:54 I wish we had a little more time.
07:55 But we can get a taste of this at least.
07:58 Chapter 6:36-47.
08:04 "As I told you, you will have seen me,
08:08 and still you do not believe.
08:10 All that the Father gives me will come to me,
08:14 and whoever comes to me I will never drive away."
08:17 There you see its God's action.
08:20 All right.
08:21 "For I have come down from heaven not to do my will
08:23 but to do the will of him who sent me.
08:25 And this is the will of him who sent me
08:27 that I shall lose none of all he has given me,
08:30 but raise them up on the last day."
08:33 Yeah, it looks like God's completely in control here.
08:36 "For my Father's will is that everyone
08:38 who looks to the Son and believes in Him
08:42 shall have eternal life,
08:44 and I will raise them up at the last day."
08:46 All right, there is a choice.
08:48 Those who believe in Him will be raised up.
08:52 "At this the Jews began to grumble about him
08:54 because he said, 'I am the bread that came down from heaven.'
08:59 They said, 'Is this not Jesus, the Son of Joseph,
09:02 whose father and mother we know?
09:04 How can he now say, 'I came down from heaven?
09:08 Stop grumbling among yourselves," Jesus answered.
09:10 "No one can come to me
09:12 unless the Father who sent me draws him.'"
09:16 You see that's the sovereignty of God.
09:19 Nobody comes to God unless God is engaged in that process.
09:22 "And I will raise them up at the last day.
09:24 It's written in the prophets,
09:26 'They will all be taught by God.'
09:28 Everyone who listens to the Father and learns
09:31 from Him comes to me."
09:33 You notice that?
09:34 It isn't just a prejudgment on God's part,
09:37 but people need to listen and they need to respond.
09:41 "No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God,
09:45 only he has seen the Father.
09:47 I tell you the truth, He who believes has everlasting life."
09:52 So these two truths are placed side by side,
09:55 nobody comes to God, unless God has drawn him.
09:59 At the same time, nobody is forced to come to God.
10:02 We still have a choice.
10:04 And how do you put those two together?
10:08 You know, without God's drawing, nobody comes to Jesus.
10:14 But in the end we still make our own decision.
10:18 So I have put these two together in this way.
10:22 As I look to the past,
10:25 it's clear that God has intervened in my life.
10:28 Amazing things would happen.
10:30 If God were not doing stuff, I had no control over.
10:33 I wouldn't be where I am today.
10:35 So as I look to the past, it's clear that God
10:40 has brought me where I am,
10:41 that He is sovereign and He has done this.
10:44 But as I look to the future,
10:47 it's clear that there are choices still to make.
10:52 I have decisions to make as well.
10:54 So we live in this tension that on the one side God
10:58 is everything to us without God
11:00 nothing good would possibly happen.
11:03 Without the cross of Jesus Christ which happened
11:05 before I ever knew Him, I couldn't come to Him.
11:09 I couldn't be reconciled to God.
11:11 The problem between me and God is on my part.
11:14 God has built the bridge across to me without that bridge
11:19 I couldn't make it back to Him.
11:21 But now that He has built that bridge,
11:23 He gives me the choice whether I will cross it or not,
11:27 and the two work together.
11:29 And so living in spiritual darkness is one's decision. Yes.
11:35 And that's when we harden our hearts
11:37 to that light that we receive.
11:39 And, well, friends, I pray that
11:42 you too cannot harden your hearts
11:45 on what the light that God has shed on your lives.
11:48 And I thank you for joining us in this Bible study
11:51 and we hope that you can join us next time
11:53 on "Books of Book." God bless.