We don’t see things the way they are as much as we see things the way we are.
We don’t see people the way they are as much as we see people the way we are.
We can have physical or spiritual or social or emotional blind spots. John chapter 9 is full of eyes that are opening and eyes that are closing. It contrasts light and darkness.
Bible study questions:
- How did the disciples see the blind man?
- What was wrong with the disciples’ questions about the blind man? In what direction did their questions take the conversation?
- How did Jesus change the direction of their thinking? What is the difference between “why?” and “so that?”
- Because poor blind beggars were considered cursed, Jewish people walking by them would sometimes spit on the ground beside the beggars to shame them and communicate their disgust with them. This man born blind would be conditioned to the sound of human spit splashing the ground and he would know what it meant. Why did Jesus choose to use a mixture of spit and mud on the man? How did Jesus change the act of spitting on the ground from a curse to a blessing?
- Why did Jesus require this man to grope his way to the pool of Siloam with muddy spit paste all over his face? How would the people he walked by react to him? Why didn’t Jesus just zap him like He zapped others? What does this teach us about God’s role and our role in relationship?
- Where do you see evidence that Jesus not only set the man free from his condition but also set him free from what he used to do because of his condition?
- This newly healed man had to tell his story several times, mostly under the duress of interrogation. How do you see his view of Jesus expanding with each narration? What does this teach us about the potency of our faith story? How much expertise do we need about Jesus in order to start telling our story?
- How did the religious leaders view the man?
- How did the religious leaders view God?
- Legalism is the elevation of rules and regulations over God. How did the religious legalism of the Pharisees cause them to bury the lead? What were they unwilling to see and appreciate?
- How do you interpret the response of the parents to the religious leaders’ questions? Why would they throw their son under the bus? What does this say about the power of legalism?
- Verse 34 indicates the religious leaders still viewed the man as cursed even though he had been miraculously healed. What does that tell you about the way religious rigidity affects how we see other people?
- How do you interpret Jesus’ disappearance? Why didn’t Jesus stick with the man during the interrogations or at least show His face so the man would know what his new Eye Doctor looked like? Why did Jesus wait until the man had been kicked out of Jewish worship life before finding him? Does their encounter at the end of the chapter give you any clues about Jesus’ curious behavior? What do you think of the idea that Jesus is faithful but not predictable?
- The fact remains, Jesus DID look him up. What does this teach us about God’s heart?
- Jesus was the only One who viewed and treated this man like a human being and like a child of God. What are the evidences of this in the chapter?
- This man experienced two miracles in one day, and he got to participate in both of them. What was the second miracle?
- How could you use this man’s story to help somebody understand what it looks like to follow Jesus?
- How did Jesus view the religious leaders? What does this teach us about God’s heart?
C.S. Lewis “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen; not only because I see it but because by it I see everything else.” (from The Weight of Glory)
- Scotosis is the technical name for a hardening of the mind or heart against unwanted wisdom. Scotosis is an unwillingness to see. There are four forms of scotosis in this chapter. Where do you see the blindness of desensitization to the plight of other people? Where do you see the blindness of legalism? Where do you see the blindness of prejudice? Where do you see the blindness of self-preservation?
- What is the role of Jesus in your story?
- What is your version of the two most important words in John 9 (v.1 – “He saw…”)? How does Jesus see you differently than anybody else sees you?
- What is your version of Jesus changing a curse into a blessing, sometimes using the same physical or emotional or relational material?
- When in your journey have you experienced Jesus being faithful not NOT predictable? When have you thought Jesus was being too hard on you? Have you reached the end of that story yet? If you are in the middle of that story, what keeps you going?
- When / how has God in Christ opened your eyes? What is your version of the man’s “so I went there” statement of obedience in verse 11?
- What is your story of how you used to be one way and now you are becoming another way (v. 25)?
- What is your version of the statement “When Jesus found the man” in verse 35? When/where/how has Jesus intentionally found you in order to open your faith-eyes and change your identity?
- To whom are you telling your story?
- The Pharisees were blind to Jesus’ identity because He did not do things their way. What are some current examples of this same form of blindness, a blindness that says God can only be God if God does things our way?
- In what ways are your eyes still closed, especially when it comes to how you view certain individuals or people groups? What are your blind spots and how did you acquire those blind spots?
- Are you willing to do whatever it takes to have your eyes opened by Jesus?
- When Jesus heals us from forms of blindness He also sets us free from whatever lifestyles we engaged in because of that condition. Are you willing for Jesus to set you free not only from your blindness but also from what you have been doing because of your blindness?
- How is the Holy Spirit using John 9 to give you new reality checks or insights about the life of faith? Are you willing to let Jesus do whatever it takes to grow your faith?
God in Christ – Please open our eyes to see what You see. Please open our ears to hear what You hear. Please open our minds to receive what You know. Please open our hearts to trust where You lead, especially when You are being faithful and unpredictable. Please transform us into people who love like You love. In the name of Jesus, amen.
Grace and peace,
Rick Jordan (www.rickcarlajordan.com, firstname.lastname@example.org)