Letters to the Prison - Week 95

Hello, everyone!
It is fitting that, right after Christmas, we’re studying the account in John’s gospel of a man who received a profound gift from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ...  and he got his eyesight back, too!  We’re in the early verses of John chapter 9 where Jesus has said:
•4 We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”     -John 9:4-5
Then, without any further reported conversation… not even to ask whether the man born blind wanted to be healed (as Jesus asks elsewhere –John 5:6 and Mark 10:51), Jesus immediately backs up his claim to be the light of the world doing the works of the One who sent him (and his stunning claim that “before Abraham was, I AM” -John 8:58) by restoring the man’s sight –with a muddy mixture of dirt and spit.  This act alone gives us plenty of reasons to pause and just consider what has happened and what it means to everyone involved –including us.  There’s a lot to think about –too much to cover in this study.  
So, we encourage you:  Sit for a while and consider the mighty works of God Jesus does in this chapter… even at this moment recorded in John 9:6-7.  As we do, some questions come to mind:  How does this event compare with others we see in Scripture?  Consider 2 Kings 5:1-14; Acts 9:10-19; and Mark 10:46-52 –How do the different people involved behave and react as they experience the mighty works of God?  What works of God are evident besides the obvious?
Returning to our present study, the astonishing restoration of sight to the man born blind immediately raised a ruckus among the people who knew him.  We see in John 9:8-9, some people have a hard time even believing that he is the same man.  That’s how profound and miraculous this event was.  But as amazing as this external, obvious work of God was, the internal work Jesus did in the man born blind was even more astonishing.  We begin to see evidence of it in John 9:10-12.  As the people became aware of his healing and began to question the man about it, he openly and plainly told them who did it and how.  Why is this simple testimony so astounding?  Consider this:
•Yet for fear of the Jews no one spoke openly of [Jesus].-John 7:13
In a city full of people who didn’t want to speak openly about Jesus for fear of what other people might think or do to them, here was a man who was not ashamed to speak plainly and clearly about what Jesus had done for him.  We’ll see that this simple testimony about the miracle Jesus worked in his life was just the beginning of the bold witness this man was about to proclaim –even to the Jewish leaders.  And he would suffer for it, as we will see.  Remember last week’s suggested reading of Matthew 5:1-12?  We encourage you to review those verses and consider how they apply to the man born blind.  We’re about to see a walking, talking example of what a person who lives according to those words looks like.
What can we learn from him?  Right away, we will learn that the gift of physical sight Jesus gave him was just the beginning… just the tip of the iceberg compared to the gift of spiritual sight the man also received on that day.  We love you!  We’ll continue our study next week.

Dean A.

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