THE GOSPEL OF JOHN
LESSON TWENTY-ONE


    This lesson begins where the last one ended. First, it is important that we review a bit, of what was taking place when
we left off. The Jews, as was usual were tormenting Jesus, but he said several things that were hard for them to
understand; One, that he was from God the Father, but they were from their father the devil; two that no one who kept
his sayings, would never die. This then led into a discussion about who he was, and the Jews saying that they were
Abraham’s Children. Abraham and all the prophets of old were dead; did he think he was greater than they were? This
brings us to our study for tonight.

John 8:56-59
    56. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.
    57. Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?
    58. Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.
    59. Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the
          midst of them, and so passed by.

     [A] Verse fifty-six
            [1]   Jesus stated that Abraham rejoiced to see his day.
                    [a]  What did He mean by this?
                    [b]  What day was he referring to?       
            [2]  Then Jesus goes on to say, Abraham saw my day and he was glad.        
                    [a]  How did Abraham see his day?
                    [b]  This leads us into the next verse

     [B] Verse fifty-seven
            [1]  The Jews asked Jesus how Abraham had seen his day, especially since he was less than fifty years old.
            [2]  How did Abraham see his day?
            [3]  Was Abraham still alive?

     [C] Verse fifty-eight
            [1]  Jesus told them, Before Abraham was, I was
            [2] Questions
                    [a]  What did he mean by this?
                    [b]  How could he have been before Abraham?

     [D] Verse fifty-nine
            [1]  The Jews took up stones to stone him
                    [a]  Apparently the reason the were about to stone Jesus was because he was claiming to be God
                    [b]  The only way for him to have been before Abraham would have been for him to be God       
            [2]  Apparently Jesus hid somehow in the temple, and slipped outside away from them.
                    [a]  How was he able to pass through them without being stoned?                

John 9:1-7
    1.   And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man, which was blind from his birth.
    2.   And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
    3.   Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made
          manifest in him.
    4.   I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
    5.   As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.
    6.   When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the
          blind man with the clay,
    7.   And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore,
          and washed, and came seeing.

     [A] Verse One
            [1]  I find it interesting that we just read of how Jesus had to make an escape from the temple because he was
                     about to be stoned, yet here we find him stopping as he passes a blind man who had been born without
                     sight.
                    [a]  The reason I find this interesting is because of the way we operate
                    [b]  Mostly when we are about the Father’s business, and someone confronts us, and causes us to harm or
                            hard feelings, what is our usual response?           
`                              [1-a]  Get mad
                            [2-a]  Quit doing the work of the Lord
                            [3-a]  Blow up at the other person and cause a fight.
            [2]  It is also interesting that this instant is the only one mentioned in the Gospels, the only one spelled out
                     which the person was born with whatever problem Jesus confronted and healed. There may have been
                     others, but this is the only one that states he was born blind.
                    [a]  Why is this important - because someone who developed a problem, even the loss of sight had at one
                             time seen, so therefore they had the nerves and so on to see again. When one was born blind,
                             there was  no accident, and no way they were ever going to see again, without a miracle.
                    [b]  I remember one of my professors when I was studying for the ministry, who said, the miracles Jesus
                             performed were not real miracles, but instead the people only had psychosomatic illnesses,
                             therefore when he told them they were healed, they were healed, although I believe this to be a lie,
                             for I believe that very miracle Jesus did was a true miracle, a man who was born blind could not have
                             been suffering from a psychosomatic illness.

     [B] Verse two
            [1]  The disciples asked Jesus a strange question. Died this man’s blindness come from something he did, or
                    from his some sin his parents committed
            [2]  There are several different things at work here, and several different things that were taught among the
                     Jewish faith.        
                    [a] There were some who believed in prenatal sin. These believed a man start sinning while he was still in
                             his mother's womb. In the imaginary conversations between Antoninus and Rabbi Judah the
                             Patriarch, Antoninus asks: "From what time does the evil influence bear sway over a man, from the
                             formation of the embryo in the womb or from the moment of birth?" The Rabbi first answered: "From
                             the formation of the embryo." Antoninus disagreed convinced Judah by his arguments, for Judah
                             admitted that, if the evil impulse began with the formation of the embryo, then the child would kick in
                             the womb and break his way out. Judah found a text to support this view. He took the saying in Gen.
                             4:7: "Sin is couching at the door." And he put the meaning into it that sin awaited man at the door of
                             the womb, as soon as he was born.
                     [b]  At the time of Jesus the Jews believed in the preexistence of the soul. They got the idea from Plato
                             and the Greeks. They believed that all souls existed before the creation of the world in the garden of
                             Eden, or that they were in the seventh heaven, or in a certain chamber, waiting to enter into a body.
                             The Greeks had believed that such souls were good, and that it was the entry into the body which
                             contaminated them; but there were certain Jews who believed that these souls were already good
                             and bad.
                    [c]  In the time of Jesus certain Jews did believe that a man's affliction, even if it be from birth, might come
                             from sin that he had committed before he was born. It is a strange idea, and it may seem to us
                             almost fantastic; but at its heart lies the idea of a sin-infected universe.
                    [d]  The alternative was that the man's affliction was due to the sin of his parents. The idea that children
                             inherit the consequences of their parents' sin is woven into the thought of the Old Testament. "I the
                             Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and
                             the fourth generation" (Exo.20:5: compare Exo.34:7, Num.14:18). Of the wicked man the psalmist
                             says: "May the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the Lord; and let not the sin of his
                             mother be blotted out" (Ps. 109:14). Isaiah talks about their iniquities and the "iniquities of their
                             fathers," and goes on to say: "I wil measure into their bosom payment for their former doings" (Isa.65:
                             6-7). One of the keynotes of the Old Testament is that the sins of the fathers are always visited upon
                             the children. It must never be forgotten that no man lives to himself and no man dies to himself.
                             When a man sins, he sets in motion a train of consequences which has no end.

     [C] Verse three
            [1]  Was it the mans sin who caused him to be blind
            [2]  Was it the man’s parents who caused him to be blind?
            [3]  Why, according to Jesus, was this particular man born blind?
                    [a]  So that the works of God could be manifest.
            [4]  In this passage we find two great eternal principles.- Jesus does not try to follow out or to explain the
                     connection of sin and suffering. He says that this man's affliction came to him to give an opportunity of
                     showing what God can do. There are two senses in which that is true.
                    [a] For John, miracles are always a sign of the glory and power of God. The writers of the other gospels
                             had a different point of view; and regarded them as a demonstration of the compassion of Jesus.
                             When Jesus looked on the hungry crowd he had compassion on them, because they were as sheep
                             not having a shepherd (Mk.6:34). When the leper came with his desperate request for cleansing
                             Jesus was moved with compassion (Mk.1:41). It is often urged that   in this the Fourth Gospel is quite
                             different from the others. Surely there is no real contradiction here. It is simply two ways of looking at
                             the same thing. At its heart is the supreme truth that the glory of God lies in his compassion, and
                             that he never so fully reveals his glory as when he reveals his pity.
                    [b] But there is another sense in which the man's suffering shows what God can do. Affliction, sorrow, pain,
                            disappointment, loss always are opportunities for displaying God's grace. First, it enables the sufferer
                             to show God in action. When trouble and disaster fall upon a man who does not know God, that man
                             may well collapse; but when they fall on a man who walks with God they bring out the strength and
                             the beauty, and the endurance and the nobility, which are within a man's heart when God is there. It
                             is told that when an old saint was dying in an agony of pain, he sent for his family, saying: "Come
                             and see how a Christian can die." It is when life hits us a terrible blow that we can show the world
                             how a Christian can live, and, if need be, die. Any kind of suffering is an opportunity to demonstrate
                             the glory of God in our own lives.  Second, by helping those who are in trouble or in pain, we can
                             demonstrate to others the glory of God.

     [D] Verse four and five
            [1]  Jesus goes on to say that he and for that matter, all of his followers must do God's work while there is still
                     time to do it.
                    [a]  God gave men the day for work and the night for rest; the day comes to an end and the time for work is
                            also ended.
                    [b]  For Jesus it was true that he had to press on with God's work in the day for the night of the Cross lay
                             close ahead.
                    [c]  This is true for every man. We are given only so much time. Whatever we are to do must be done
                             within it.         
                            [1-a] We should never put things off until another time, for another time may never come.
                            [2-a] The Christian's duty is to fill the time he has--and no man knows how much that will be--with the
                                    service of God and of his fellow-men.
            [2]  There is another opportunity we may miss. Jesus said: "So long as I am in the world I am the light of the
                     world."
                    [a]  When Jesus said that, he did not mean that the time of his life and work were limited but that our
                            opportunity of laying hold on him is limited.
                    [b]  There comes to every man a chance to accept Christ as his Saviour, his Master and his Lord;  
                            [1-a]  This can occur as early as seven or eight;
                            [2-a]  It increases gradually to the age of ten or eleven;
                            [3-a]  It increases rapidly to the age of sixteen;
                            [4-a]  It declines steeply up to the age of twenty;
                            [5-a]  After thirty it is very rare.
                    [c]  God is always saying to us: "Now is the time." It is not that the power of Jesus grows less, or that his
                             light grows dim; it is that if we put off the great decision we become ever less able to take it as the
                             years go on.
                    [d] Work must be done, decisions must be taken, while it is day, before the night comes down.

     [E] Verse six
            [1]  As far as I know, this is the only time Jesus used anything to cure a person. All the other times, he simply
                     spoke, and told them they were well.
            [2]  What medicinal potent did Jesus use on this man
                    [a]  He mixed clay and his spittle together, making a paste
                    [b] This paste he then put on the man’s eyes
            [3]  This is an interesting medicine - is it not. Lets consider it for a moment.        
                    [a]  Who made man?
                            [1-a]  
John 1:1-4
                                     1.   In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
                                     2.   The same was in the beginning with God.
                                     3.   All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
                                     4.   In him was life; and the life was the light of men
                            [2-a]  Jesus made everything that was made, including man.
                    [b]  What was man made from?
                            [1-a]  
Genesis 2:7
                                     7.   And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the
                                           breath of life; and man became a living soul.                         
                            [2-a]  Man was made from the dust of the ground.
                    [c]  The same person who formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into him the breath of life,
                           took the dust of the ground that day spat in it, and caused a blind man to see.
                            [1-a]  There is probably nothing in the mud that made the man see
                            [2-a]  There is probably nothing in the spit that made the many see
                            [3-a]  It is entirely possible that the one who made man in the beginning used the mud to make this
                                     man a new set of eyes.
            [4]  I want to ask you something
                   [a]  Where was the man when the disciples were asking what caused him to be blind?
                   [b]  Apparently, he was right there listening to everything that was said.
    
     [F] Verse seven
            [1]  After Jesus placed the mud on the man’s eyes, he sent him to the pool of Siloam to wash the mud off his
                     eyes.
                    [a]  Why did he have to go to the pool?
                    [b]  Could Jesus not have just spoke and the man would see?
            [2]  How far the pool was, or whether the man had anyone to help him is not told us, but the trip to the pool could
                   have been very difficult for him.
            [3]  Have you noticed, with every healing Jesus performed, the person had to do something
                    [a] What if he had not gone to the pool?
                    [b]  What if he had wiped the mud off and went home?
                    [c]  Would he have been healed?               
            [4]  He went to the pool, and washed as Jesus told him to do, and came away seeing for the first time in his
                    life.                         
                    [a]  Can you imagine the joy he must have felt?
                    [b]  Can you imagine seeing the temple for the first time or your children?