John 9

These small group studies of John contain outlines, cross-references, Bible study discussion questions, and applications.  Visit our library of inductive Bible studies for more in depth inductive studies on this and other books of the Bible you can use in your small group.

John 9 Inductive Bible Study

Outline:

  1. Jesus heals the man born blind (John 9:1-7)

    1. The question: what is the cause of his blindness? (1-2)

    2. The answer: the glory of God (3-5)

    3. Jesus heals him (6-7)

  2. The crowd learns that he has been healed (9:8-12)

    1. They debate if it was really the beggar who had been blind (8-9)

    2. He talks to them about being healed (10-12)

  3. The Pharisees meet with the man and his parents (9:13-34)

    1. The man reports to the Pharisees what happened (13-15)

    2. The Pharisees are divided on Jesus (16)

    3. The man claims Jesus is a prophet (17)

    4. The Jews call in and talk to the man’s parents (18-23)

    5. The Pharisees claim Jesus is a sinner (24)

    6. The man sticks to the fact that he was cured of blindness (25)

    7. The Pharisees revile Jesus and his disciples (26-29)

    8. The man defends Jesus (30-33)

    9. The Pharisees excommunicate him (34)

  4. Jesus talks with the man born blind (9:35-41)

    1. The man believes in Jesus as Lord (35-38)

    2. Jesus tells one reason why He came into the world (39)

    3. The Pharisees believe they are righteous (40)

    4. Jesus says they are not (41)

Questions:

What is the ultimate cause of all suffering/disease?

What is the immediate cause of suffering/disease?

Does suffering/disease come because of our sin?

Can you think of anyone in the Bible who suffered a disease because of their sin?

Why was this man born blind? Is this a “fair” reason?

How can this help us to answer questions when people ask “why do bad things happen in the world” or “why do good people suffer”? How would you answer these questions?

What is the “night that is coming” in verse 4?

Since Jesus is not in the world physically any longer does that mean His light is not either?

Why do you think Jesus used the clay and spittle to heal the man instead of simply saying “you are healed”?

What does the crowd’s reactions show about people’s willingness to believe in miracles?

Do you think it is a coincidence that many of Jesus’ recorded miracles occurred on the Sabbath day?

Why were the man’s parents afraid to take a stand?

Are you sometimes afraid to take a stand? Why?

What is ironic about verse 24? What does this reveal about the Pharisees’ hearts?

Talk about the man’s response. Why is this a great response? What can we learn from this about how to debate/respond to unbelievers and critics?

Have any of you doctors ever heard about a person born blind who was healed?

What is the problem with the Pharisees’ attitude that made it impossible for them to learn from others?

What kind of attitude should we have so that we can learn from others?

What does Jesus means in verse 39 that he came into the world for judgment? Didn’t we read earlier that he didn’t come into the world for judgment?

What does Jesus mean in verse 41?

Cross-references

1 Corinthians 11:27-30 (2) – Some are sick and dead because of sin in the area of communion.

Hebrews 12:5-11 (2) – God sometimes disciplines His children

2 Kings 5:25-27 (2)- Gehazi became a leper because of his sin.

2 Chronicles 21:13-15,18-19 (2) – Jehoram suffered a severe disease because of his sin.

John 11:4 (3) – Lazarus’ sickness/death was also for the glory of God.

Galatians 6:9-10 (4) – While we have chance must do good to all people.

John 14:11 (3) – Jesus said to believe in Him because of the works that He was doing.

Ecclesiastes 9:10 (4) – Do everything with all our might because in Sheol there is no knowledge or activity.

Ephesians 5:16 (4) – Making the most of the time because the days are evil.

Colossians 4:4 (4) – Making the most of the opportunity.

2 Kings 5:1-19 (6-7) – Elisha healed Naaman in a similar way.

Mark 7:33-35 (7) – He healed a deaf and mute person by touching his tongue with saliva.

John 3:2 (16) – Nicodemus was one who believed in Jesus because of His signs.

Isaiah 53:1 (18) – People would not believe Jesus’ message.

Revelation 21:8 (22) – The cowardly are listed with murderers and sorcerers as people who will be left out of the kingdom of heaven.

Luke 12:4-9 (22) – Don’t be scared of those who kill the body, but can do nothing to the soul. (There are many references in the New Testament where fear of the Jews kept the disciples or others from doing something they should have done, Peter is one example.)

Romans 1:16 (22) – Paul was not ashamed.

2 Corinthians 3:12 (22) – The boldness we have should encourage us to be bold.

Ephesians 6:19-20 (22) – Paul should speak out boldly and so should we.

Philippians 1:20 (22) – We should desire not to be put to shame in anything, but with all boldness to let Christ be exalted through our body, whether by life or death.

Psalms 66:18-20 (31) – If we have wickedness in our hearts God will not hear us.

1 Peter 5:5 (34) – God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

John 3:17, 5:22-27, 8:15 (39) – Jesus talking about Himself and judgment.

Proverbs 26:6-12 (40-41) – There is more hope for a fool than for one wise in his own eyes.

Teaching Points

1-7 Jesus heals the man born blind

During that time the cause of suffering was often considered to be sin. If somebody had a sickness or a disease many assumed it was a direct result of their sin. This problem became troublesome though when a person was born with a handicap. It couldn’t very well be a result of their own sin and it wouldn’t be that fair if they had the handicap because of their parent’s sin. So some of Jesus’ disciples asked Jesus to help them solve this difficult dilemma.

First Jesus shows that their assumption is wrong. Neither this man nor his parents had done any specific sin leading to his handicap. It doesn’t mean they had never sinned, but that the handicap wasn’t a direct result of any specific sin. Wrong assumptions will lead to wrong conclusions so be careful about making assumptions. The Saduccees made a wrong assumption that in heaven their would still be marriage so their conclusion was if a person had married several people on earth it would e a mess in heaven. Make sure your assumptions have a Scriptural base.

Second, Jesus told them the specific reason for this particular disease. It wasn’t the direct consequence of somebody’s sin, but rather an opportunity for God to be glorified and His works to be shown. The man was born blind to give Jesus a chance to heal Him publicly for everyone to see and give us a lasting witness of His healing power. This should motivate more people to believe in Jesus, just as the man himself did later on in this chapter.

Now let’s talk more about the cause of suffering in the world. It is a question that I often get. People ask me “why do bad things happen in the world” or “why do good people suffer”. Do people ever ask you this kind of question? How do you answer them?

What is the ultimate cause of all suffering/disease?

What is the immediate cause of suffering/disease?

Does suffering/disease come because of our sin?

Can you think of anyone in the Bible who suffered a disease because of their sin?

Why was this man born blind? Is this a “fair” reason?

1 Corinthians 11:27-30 (2) – Some are sick and dead because of sin in the area of communion.

Hebrews 12:5-11 (2) – God sometimes disciplines His children

2 Kings 5:25-27 (2)- Gehazi became a leper because of his sin.

2 Chronicles 21:13-15,18-19 (2) – Jehoram suffered a severe disease because of his sin

Sometimes we know the immediate reason for someone’s disease or suffering. If somebody has AIDS it is almost surely because they sinned. If somebody is thrown into prison it is probably for stealing or murder, etc. If a child disobeys his parents and runs into the road he may be hit by a car. But more often, we don’t know why certain people have cancer, why they are handicapped or crippled. We don’t know why they lose their job or have their house burned down, etc. Jesus is Almighty and knew, but we don’t. So unless it is clear we shouldn’t try to tell people the reason they are suffering. We can provide some possibilities, such as to learn to have faith or patience, etc, but shouldn’t state absolutely what it is because our assumptions could be wrong just as the disciple’s were.

The ultimate cause of all suffering is sin, but this doesn’t mean that the direct cause of our suffering is our own sin. It might be as in the above four verses, but it might not be. If we are suffering we should consider if we are being disciplined and repent if some of our sin is the cause.

So having discussed this how would you answer the question “why do bad things happen”, “why does suffering exist”, “why do bad things happen to good people” or “why would a loving God allow me to get cancer”? Keep in mind the answer may be different for a believer and an unbeliever.

Ultimate cause – sin

Immediate cause – disciple for sin (believer), trial for character refinement (believer), glory for God, punishment for sin (unbeliever), etc.

4

What is the “night that is coming” in verse 4?

Since Jesus is not in the world physically any longer does that mean His light is not either?

Why do you think Jesus used the clay and spittle to heal the man instead of simply saying “you are healed”?

Galatians 6:9-10 (4) – While we have chance must do good to all people.

John 14:11 (3) – Jesus said to believe in Him because of the works that He was doing.

Ecclesiastes 9:10 (4) – Do everything with all our might because in Sheol there is no knowledge or activity.

Ephesians 5:16 (4) – Making the most of the time because the days are evil.

Colossians 4:4 (4) – Making the most of the opportunity.

The night probably represents death or loss of opportunity. Obviously when Jesus died the disciples could still keep working. But for Jesus His death/ascension brought about the end of His physical work here on earth. In other words each of us have a limited amount of time in our lives to serve Christ. There will come a point in time where we can do nothing else for Him in this world. Because we only have a limited amount of time and the things we do matter for eternity it is all the more important to use our time wisely and not waste any opportunity. Read and discuss the above verses.

I really encourage all of you to evaluate the way you use your time. Are you doing the works of God? Is what you are doing really going to make a difference for God? When you are dead I can guarantee you won’t wish you did less work for God. It is almost sure you will wish you had done more while you had the chance. You can make a goal to do something for God everyday. Maybe one day it is to give a Bible to your friend. Another day it is to share the gospel with a colleague. Another day it is to send a message and encourage another believer. Another day it is meet with a brother and share something you learned in your quiet time, etc. Don’t waste your life! No one dies and wished they spent more time at the office. In the end our life is not about our jobs, although it is important to do a good job. In the end our life isn’t about our friends, although it is important to be a good friend. In the end our life isn’t about our family, although it is important to be a good family member. In the end our life is about the difference we made for God at our job, with our friends, to our families, and to strangers. Remember this and decide to make the most of your time because it is limited!

5 Since Jesus is not in the world physically any longer does that mean His light is not either?

Although Jesus Himself is not physically in the world any longer we are. We are not THE light, but we are to be A light. We can reflect the light of Christ to those around us to let them see Christ in us. Also once again Jesus ties together a statement about Himself to a miracle He did. He can heal the physically blind. He can also heal the spiritually blind.

6-7 Why do you think Jesus used the clay and spittle to heal the man instead of simply saying “you are healed”?

This healing is very similar to when Elisha healed Naaman the leper. Perhaps the reason Jesus did this was because He wanted the beggar to show His faith by obediently carrying out Christ’s instructions. Certainly Jesus could have just said, “boom, you are healed”! But He gave the man some instructions to follow. To God the end result is important, but so is the process. Some people say use whatever means necessary to get to a particular end (Jack Bauer for example). But to God the process is important. For example, He could have made Scripture more simple and made it more clear, just outlining in simple statements what we want to know. But instead we have to study and dig it out. I believe it is because the process of digging out the truth from Scripture is rewarding and helps us grow much closer to Him spiritually.

The most amazing thing here is that the man was healed! Have any of you heard of anyone ever being healed born blind? In the history of the world, even with modern medicine, people can’t heal those born blind. But Jesus did! If Jesus could heal this man then He can heal anybody!

8-12 What does the crowd’s reactions show about people’s willingness to believe in miracles?

After Jesus healed the man only some believed that it was actually the beggar who could now see. Others said he just looked like him. They weren’t willing to admit that a great miracle had been done. They didn’t have much faith so they were trying to explain away what had happened. The beggar kept insisting he was the guy.

13-34

  1. The Pharisees meet with the man and his parents (9:13-34)

    1. The man reports to the Pharisees what happened (13-15)

    2. The Pharisees are divided on Jesus (16)

    3. The man claims Jesus is a prophet (17)

    4. The Jews call in and talk to the man’s parents (18-23)

    5. The Pharisees claim Jesus is a sinner (24)

    6. The man sticks to the fact that he was cured of blindness (25)

    7. The Pharisees revile Jesus and his disciples (26-29)

    8. The man defends Jesus (30-33)

    9. The Pharisees excommunicate him (34)

Do you think it is a coincidence that many of Jesus’ recorded miracles occurred on the Sabbath day?

Why were the man’s parents afraid to take a stand?

Are you sometimes afraid to take a stand? Why?

What is ironic about verse 24? What does this reveal about the Pharisees’ hearts?

Talk about the man’s response. Why is this a great response? What can we learn from this about how to debate/respond to unbelievers and critics?

Have any of you doctors ever heard about a person born blind who was healed?

What is the problem with the Pharisees’ attitude that made it impossible for them to learn from others?

What kind of attitude should we have so that we can learn from others?

What does Jesus means in verse 29 that he came into the world for judgment? Didn’t we read earlier that he didn’t come into the world for judgment?

John 3:2 (16) – Nicodemus was one who believed in Jesus because of His signs.

Isaiah 53:1 (18) – People would not believe Jesus’ message.

Revelation 21:8 (22) – The cowardly are listed with murderers and sorcerers as people who will be left out of the kingdom of heaven.

Luke 12:4-9 (22) – Don’t be scared of those who kill the body, but can do nothing to the soul. (There are many references in the New Testament where fear of the Jews kept the disciples or others from doing something they should have done, Peter is one example.)

Romans 1:16 (22) – Paul was not ashamed.

2 Corinthians 3:12 (22) – The boldness we have should encourage us to be bold.

Ephesians 6:19-20 (22) – Paul should speak out boldly and so should we.

Philippians 1:20 (22) – We should desire not to be put to shame in anything, but with all boldness to let Christ be exalted through our body, whether by life or death.

Psalms 66:18-20 (31) – If we have wickedness in our hearts God will not hear us.

1 Peter 5:5 (34) – God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

13-15 In these verses the beggar reported the Pharisees what happened. It seems like a lot of Jesus’ miracles took place on the Sabbath. As Jesus mentioned before this was a day to do good. He used it for that. At the same time I think it was likely He wanted to straighten out some of the misconceptions they Pharisees and other Jews had about the Sabbath and restore it to the kind of day that God intended.

16- The Pharisees were divided. Some believed in Jesus because of His works. Others said that He was a Sabbath-breaker. Nicodemus was one who had believed in Jesus because of His signs. John 3:2

17 – The blind man, like many Jews at that time, thought Jesus was a prophet.

18-23 – The Pharisees didn’t believe that this man had been blind so they called in his parents to testify. When his parents both affirmed he was their son, they could not, according to their own law, disbelieve it because where two or three witnessed to a fact it was deemed true. His parents, however, did not want to get involved as to how he could now see. They instead chose to sit on the fence. The reason they didn’t want to get involved is because they were scared of the Jews. They didn’t want to get kicked out of the synagogue. To them good standing in the community and respect from others was more important than the truth. They were afraid to take a stand because they didn’t want to face the consequences.

Read the above verses on fear and boldness. How should we, as believers, respond to a situation like this? We need to be willing to take a stand for God no matter what the consequences are. It is far better to please God than to please man. Don’t be scared of losing your job, friendships, or society’s respect. We need to bold and courageous to take a stand for God, even it means sacrificing something. Being a Christian is not something to be ashamed of. It is not something to hide. It’s something to freely confess before others. Godly principles also are not something to be ashamed of or hidden either. These days there are a lot of wishy-washy people who are unwilling to commit and unwilling to stand on any principles. They say that everything is relative and dependent on your viewpoint. No! As believers we need to be committed and bold. We have Christ as our solid rock foundation. Stand on Him because the gates of hell cannot break it!

24 – 34 – The man is called back in a second time. First they try to confuse the point by saying that Jesus is a sinner. It is so ironic that they who are supposed to be teaching people how to live righteously could be excited even if Jesus was a sinner. Obviously they just wanted power and didn’t really care about people’s spiritual lives.

I love the beggar’s responses in this section of Scripture. He almost surely wasn’t a learned man since he was blind and a beggar. Yet he presents a great argument. He doesn’t have much experience and can’t answer all their questions, but he is a person who knows what happened to him and isn’t going to be railroaded by the group-think. Again and again he comes back to the point that Jesus healed him from his blindness. This was a great sign and one that they should believe in. It also seems like the more he talks the more he is convinced that Jesus is from God and the miracle was from God (compare 25 to 31-33). The man’s logic in verses 30-34 is irrefutable. The Old Testament does teach that God doesn’t listen to the sinner. Psalms 66:18. The Pharisees, however, have no desire to listen to reason or actually think about what the man said. Their attitude is completely prideful and they don’t think they can learn anything from anyone. In the end they put him out of the synagogue.

The man’s boldness cost him something. He was cast out of the local synagogue. This would cost him his status in society. We will see in a minute that this was completely worth it and that what he gained was much greater than what he lost.

From the Pharisees we see what we should not do. That is, to be prideful and not listen to others. 1 Peter 5:5. No matter how poor or unlearned someone is we can learn something from them. Do not look down on others and think that you are much wiser and smarter and cannot learn anything from them. You can. Be humble and listen to others. God wants us to learn from each other. That is a big reason He gives us the church to fellowship with. Be a learner. Seek out others’ opinions and thoughts even if you think you know more about the Bible than them. Don’t talk down to them in a condescending way or laugh at them if they ask a question sincerely that you think has an obvious answer. You guys can learn from me, but I can also learn from you, and you can also learn from each other. But you have to have a humble attitude and make the effort.

35-41 What does Jesus means in verse 39 that he came into the world for judgment? Didn’t we read earlier that he didn’t come into the world for judgment?

What does Jesus mean in verse 41?

John 3:17, 5:22-27, 8:15 (39) – Jesus talking about Himself and judgment.

Proverbs 26:6-12 (40-41) – There is more hope for a fool than for one wise in his own eyes.

Jesus went to find him to ask him to believe. Jesus told him that He Himself was the Son of Man, the Messiah. The man had a great response. In complete faith he believed and worshiped Jesus. Jesus did not reject the man’s worship as angels do, but He accepted it because it was the proper action.

Question on verse 39. John 3:17, 5:22-27, 8:15 (39) – Jesus talking about Himself and judgment.

Proverbs 26:6-12 (40-41) – There is more hope for a fool than for one wise in his own eyes.

[For judgement] The word “judgment,” here, has been by some understood in the sense of condemnation – “The effect of my coming is to condemn the world. But this meaning does not agree with those places where Jesus says that he came not to condemn the world, John 3:17; 12:47; 5:45. To judge is to express an opinion in a judicial manner, and also to express any sentiment about any person or thing, John 7:24; 5:30; Luke 8:43. The meaning here may be thus expressed: “I came to declare the condition of men; to show them their duty and danger. My coming will have this effect, that some will be reformed and saved, and some more deeply condemned.”

40-41 Proverbs 26:6-12. The Pharisees thought they were righteous and saw therefore they did not repent. What does it mean that “if you were blind, you would have no sin?”

Study John 10:1-18

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