Jesus has been traveling. In chapter 6 He is in Capernaum, 6:24,59. In chapter 7 He eventually goes secretly to Jerusalem, 7:10,14; 8:1,2. In John 10:40 Jesus goes to Betharba, which is just over the Jordan River and in Perea, see 1:28. It is from Betharba that He hears about Lazarus’ sickness and death in chapter 11, and goes to Bethany.
Jesus is having serious conflicts with the religious rulers. This continues to increase from the events of chapter 9 and the subsequent teachings of chapter 10.
Chapters 9 and 10 go together. They cannot be separated as most bible teachers do. The healing of the man born blind in chapter 9 is the occasion for the teaching of chapter 10. The doctrine of the Good Shepherd cannot be separated from chapter 9, nor from the recipients of the message. It is imperative for the correct understanding of chapter 10 that these be kept in mind – the occasion of the teaching, and that the Pharisees are the main recipients.
This is a critical pair of chapters, often overlooked and misused. This section deals with spiritual blindness, spiritual sight, and honor.
II. Word, Phrases, Concepts
A. Light against blindness – 9:5,39,41. Seeing spiritually or being blinded spiritually
B. Shepherd, Door – verses 1,2,7,9,11,12,14. One who cares for sheep; an entrance or separation.
C. Abundant Life – 10:10. A reference to eternal life as opposed to religious life
D. Power to take again – 10:17. Inherent Ability to return, come back to life.
III. John 9:1-7, God’s Glory
Jesus is always led by the Holy Spirit, doing the will of His Father. Here He doesn’t simply “happen” to pass by the man born blind.
A. Sin cause this man’s blindness?
2. God’s glory is God’s goal, verse 3.
B. Working – time to be busy about God’s true business.
1. His business is that which is of importance to Him and His glory, not me or mine.
2. The time is coming when work cannot be done, so……?
C. Light of the World
1. This is a key concept to these chapters
2. Man born blind contrasted to Pharisees who claim to see
The blindness of the man is illustrative of spiritual blindness. This is the lesson that Jesus will teach His disciples, the people, and the religious rulers.
Q: Do I see with eternal eyes and values, or with temporary and worldly eyes and values?
IV. John 9:8-38, Reaction to Healing
A. Division created
1. Neighbors and acquaintances are astonished
2. Pharisees offended, divided – verse 16
When the Lord does a work, and it is not according to the peoples rules, immediately the Lord is questioned, not the people’s rules.
3. parents are afraid, verses 22,23
B. Healed man is condemned by Pharisees
What does this say about the compassion, the shepherds heart of the Pharisees?
1. Pharisees are arrogant, verse 34. They “cast” him out, meaning that they di9d it with contempt and violence. Apparently this was a normal attitude of the Pharisees, for no one seems to think it strange.
2. Jesus does NOT cast him away.
Throughout Scripture there are warnings about true disciples being “cast away” by people. This should be expected because being a true disciple is offensive to most people, especially religious people.
V. John 9:39-10:18
This constitutes a continued, unbroken message. Jesus now uses the mans physical blindness, healed, to teach about spiritual blindness. Sin blinds people to the Truth, and no amount of good deeds can remove blindness. Jesus came to remove blindness. However, the religious rulers were blind teachers, ignoring the Truth, and causing great harm to people.
False teachers always sound religious and even right. They can quote Scripture, be friendly, etc…. Peter spoke of these false teachers in the letter of 2 Peter. Read it and see what he says.
1. Jesus came as The JUDGE, He is given that authority by His Father.
2. Jesus causes division, separates people
3. People who are willing to admit to their sin and spiritual need are granted true sight, and experience a life change. Those who cannot admit to sin remain in blindness regardless of their good deeds or religious appearance.
As in the previous lessons, only those who can admit to sin and truly believe in the Lord Jesus are set free. What about me?
B. Shepherd and Door
Jesus continues to teach the Pharisees. Others, including the disciples, are listening, but Jesus is directly addressing the Pharisees. Imagine how the Pharisees feel knowing that so many are listening as Jesus rebukes tme for being blind and for not knowing the Truth. No wonder they hate Him so. This is imperative to keep in mind as you study and interpret the teaching here.
1. Jesus makes a clear distinction between the true Door/Good Shepherd and the hireling/thief and robber.
a. It is between Him and the current religious rulers
b. This is not about Satan, the devil. Do not let anyone convince you that verse 10 is about the devil or about some kind of prosperous life here on earth. That is a false teaching and has resulted in a tremendous amount of spiritual harm to people.
2. The religious rulers would be reminded of the passages in Jeremiah and Ezekiel in which the Lord rebukes the “self-righteous and self-ish” shepherds of Israel.
Q: What are the marks of the true Door/Good Shepherd in this passage?
3. As you read through the teaching and come to verse 10, read it as a continuing message. Once you do that, then look at who Jesus is talking about when He speaks of the thief who comes only to kill, steal, and destroy.
a. Kill: sacrifice – the religious rulers and their false teachings are harming the people a sacrifice to their own plans.
b. Steal: to seize with force something that belongs to another, or is not ones own. The religious rulers are stealing what little the people might have, as they are greedy as well as blind.
c. Destroy: to utterly bring to ruin.
All false teachers, regardless of their religious affiliation, do what the Pharisees were doing. The same is true today.
The Pharisees NEEDED to hear this from Jesus if they were ever to be set free.
C. The Authority of Jesus
1. Jesus has other sheep not yet in the “fold”.
a. Speaking about future Believers
b. Speaking about the “church age” in which we live.
2. One shepherd is the goal – Religious leaders are to be “under-shepherds” – see 1 Peter 5:1-5.
3. “Hearing His voice”
a. Often misused by religious people to say that they are led by Jesus when they have not studied the Word but merely have a thought…..
b. His Word is the first and foremost method used by the Holy Spirit to hear His voice – see Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 1:1-3; Colossians 3:15,16.
4. Jesus lays down His life on His own accord
a. Not forced
c. With a definite purpose
5. Jesus has authority and power to raise Himself from the dead – no other can do this, nor can any claim it to be possible.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the greatest evidence for the Truth of Jesus’ teaching and Person. What other religious leader, regardless of their influence in the world, can claim to have this power or authority?
This is the purpose of the Gospel of John. To show that Jesus is truly God in the flesh, the “I AM”. The Creator, the Judge, and Messiah and King.
VI. Truths Presented
A. God’s Glory is His right
B. Blindness is caused by sin and ignorance of God’s Truth
1. People must admit to their sin and guilt
2. Seeing is the result of coming to Jesus with one’s spiritual blinds
C. Abundant Life is not about prosperity
D. Hearing the Shepherds voice first comes by His Word
1. Study is required
2. Anything one might come to think or believe MUST be judged by God’s Word
E. Jesus prophesied His resurrection
1. No one else has ever done that
2. Proof of Jesus deity and authority
F. Jesus as the Good Shepherd wants people to come into His fold
1. No other Doorway
2. No other Truth – He laid down His life