NEW TESTAMENT - LESSON 16
- Jesus gives sight to a man who was born blind.
- Jesus teaches that he is the Good Shepherd.
A study of this lesson will help us have a greater understanding and
appreciation of Jesus Christ as the Light of the World and the Good Shepherd.
The Man Born Blind - John 9
- V1-3: "And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind
from his birth.
"And his disciples asked him,
saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born
"Jesus answered, Neither hath
this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made
manifest in him."
V4-5: "I must work the works of him that sent me, while it
is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
- It would appear that this man had a special calling. He was born blind
that the works of God would be manifest in him. He was born to be a unique
witness of the Son of God.
- Neal A. Maxwell: "This is a doctrine, likewise, which reminds
us mortals that we do not have all of the data. There are many times when
we must withhold judgment and trust God lest we misread, as did Jesus'
disciples when they inquired about the man blind from birth and Jesus gave
the immortal reply: 'Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but
that the works of God should be made manifest in him' (see John 9:1-3).
Trusting God's plan even in the midst of 'all these things' is thus made
easier, because he has so declared his purposes, plainly and simply, concerning
the proving and tutoring dimensions of mortality." (But for a
Small Moment, p94)
"As long as I am in the world,
I am the light of the world."
V6-7: "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
- It is interesting that the Master set the stage for this miracle by
proclaiming that he is "the light of the world". He would soon
bring physical light and sight to this man. In a spiritual sense, Jesus
brought eternal light to the blind inhabitants of the world. Those who
accept his gospel, will have their spiritual eyes opened as literally as
those of the man born blind.
"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."
Consider the testimony of the man born blind and how it it became stronger
as he continued to give his witness of this great miracle:
- It would seem that Jesus was diliberately violating the rules of the
- How did the Savior normally administer to the sick?
- In this instance, He made clay:
- He applied a healing remedy to an impaired person.
- There was a specific prohibition against the application of saliva
to the eyes on the Sabbath. This strange restriction came into being because
of a common belief that saliva was a remedy for diseases of the eye.
- Bruce R. McConkie: "Thus Jesus is putting the people in the
position of choosing between him as one sent of God to do the work of the
Father, as one who can open blind eyes, and the traditions of the elders
about Sabbath observance. They must make their choice at the peril of their
salvation. Once again it will be a day in Israel when the trumpet sounds:
'Choose ye this day whom ye will serve'." (Mortal Messiah, 3:201)
In contrast to the man born blind, consider the reaction of the Jewish
- V10-11: "Therefore said they unto him, How were thine eyes
"He answered and said, A man that
is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, Go
to the pool of Siloam, and wash: and I went and washed, and I received
- V13-15: "They brought to the Pharisees him that aforetime was
"And it was the sabbath day when
Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes.
"Then again the Pharisees also
asked him how he had received his sight. He said unto them, He put clay
upon mine eyes, and I washed, and do see."
- In these first instances, the man testifies of the simple reality of
- V17: "They say unto the blind man again, What sayest thou of
him, that he hath opened thine eyes? He said, He is a prophet."
- The man has now gone from the actuality of the healing, to a declaration
that Jesus is a man of God.
- V24-24: "Then again called they (the Pharisees) the man that
was blind, and said unto him, Give God the praise: we know that this man
is a sinner.
"He answered and said, Whether
he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was
blind, now I see."
- In essence, the man says that he does not know anything about Jesus,
but the reality of his healing is undeniable.
- The Pharisees continued to challenge this man about his healing. V30-33:
"The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous
thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine
"Now we know that God heareth
not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will,
him he heareth.
"Since the world began was it
not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind.
"If this man were not of God,
he could do nothing."
- The man declared a stronger witness as the Pharisees tried to challenge
the character of Jesus.
- V34: "They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether
born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out."
- By refusing to recant his testimony of Jesus as the instrument of healing,
the man brought upon himself the condemnation of this ruling body of Jews.
They declaring him born in sins and excommunicated him. Certainly this
man would know the potential consequences and yet he declared that Jesus
was doing the work of God.
- Bruce R. McConkie quotes Alfred Edersheim: "This was only the
beginning of what might be. 'Still more terrible was the final excommunication,
or Cherem [by which is meant being put out of the synagogue], when a ban
of indefinite duration was laid on a man. Henceforth he was like one dead.
He was not allowed to study with others, no intercourse was to be held
with him, he was not even to be shown the road. He might, indeed, buy the
necessaries of life, but it was forbidden to eat or drink with such an
"There were twenty-four grounds
for imposing this final type of excommunication, including resisting 'the
authority of the Scribes, or any of their decrees," and leading others
either away from "the commandments," or to what was regarded
as profanation of the Divine Name.' (Edersheim 2:184.) Those who confessed
that Jesus was the Messiah would, of course, be guilty of these violations."
(The Mortal Messiah, 3:205)
- V35-38: "Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he
had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God?
"He answered and said, Who is
he, Lord, that I might believe on him?
"And Jesus said unto him, Thou
hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee.
"And he said, Lord, I believe.
And he worshipped him."
- The man born blind had sufferred much in this life. In the greatest
moment of his life, he becomes an outcast of Jewish society. But he was
a man with a pure heart. He recognized truth and failed to deny it. As
we see the conclusion of this story, the man becomes a follower of the
- V16: "Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not
of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, How can a
man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them."
- One wonders who was truly blind. Many of the Pharisees were so caught
up in their narrow interpretation of the law, that they were "blind"
to the true meaning of the Sabbath and condemned Jesus for doing good on
their holy day.
- It appears that not all of the Pharisees were totally blind. There
were at least a few who wondered how "a sinner" could perform
such a miracle.
- V18: "But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he
had been blind, and received his sight, until they called the parents of
him that had received his sight."
- These Jews did not want to even believe the reality of this miracle.
The testimony of the man's parents confirmed that their son had been blind
- V28-29: "Then they reviled him, and said, Thou art his disciple;
but we are Moses' disciples. We know that God spake unto Moses: as for
this fellow, we know not from whence he is."
- As the Pharisees continued to challenge the man, their spiritual blindness
becomes more apparent. They claim to follow Moses and yet they refuse to
see the truth about him whom Moses served, worshiped, and prophesied.
- V34: "They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether
born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out."
- So blind and corrupt were these men that they condemned the man for
his testimony and threw him out of mainstream Jewish society.
- Bruce R. McConkie: "And with these words they rejected their King,
cast their lot with Lucifer, and sealed their own doom." (Mortal Messiah,
- WHY DO YOU THINK THE PHARISEES REFUSED TO ACKNOWLEDGE THAT JESUS HAD
PERFORMED A MIRACLE, DEMONSTRATING HIS POWER AS THE SON OF GOD?
- If they acknowledge the validity of Jesus' miracle and accept him as
a prophet, or as the Messiah, they give up their base of power and influence
in Jewish society.
- They were the worst kind of sign seekers. After receiving a sign of
Jesus' power they refused to acknowledge it. As discussed in Lesson 13,
sign seeking "is an evidence of supreme and gross wickedness on
their part." (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p714)
- HOW DO SOME PEOPLE TODAY DENY THE POWER OF GOD?
- ARE WE EVER PROMPTED BY SIMILAR MOTIVES TO DISREGARD TRUTH?
The Good Shepherd - John 10
- "The shepherd was famed for his devotion to his sheep. At night
several flocks would be driven into the sheepfold, an enclosure with high
walls topped with with thorns to prevent wolves from leaping in. During
the night each shepherd took a turn guarding the sheep by lying across
the open entrance, literally becoming the gate, while his fellows went
home to sleep. If a wild animal, driven by hunger, managed to leap over
the walls, the shepherd would give his life if necessary to protect the
sheep. When the other shepherds came in the morning to claim their flocks,
each sheep recognized its masters call. For a sheep to be kept safe, it
had to follow its master closely as he led it to good pasture."
(New Testament Gospel Doctrine Teacher's Manual, 1989, p18)
- READ V1-18. Christ is the good shepherd.
HOW ARE THE SHEEP REWARDED FOR FOLLOWING THE GOOD SHEPHERD? HOW HAVE
YOU BEEN BLESSED FOR FOLLOWING THE SAVIOR?
- WHO DO THE SHEEP REPRESENT?
- Bruce R. McConkie: Those "who came from pre-existence with
the special talent to recognize the truth". (Mortal Messiah, 3:213)
- HOW IS JESUS THE DOOR OF THE SHEEP?
- It is only through him that we may obtain eternal life.
- WHO MIGHT THE THIEVES, ROBBERS, & HIRELINGS BE?
- "I (Jesus Christ) am the door by which men must enter to be
saved. All the ministers of the past, of the present, and of the future,
who do not testify of me and teach my gospel -- including you priests,
scribes, Pharisees, and Rabbis -- are thieves and robbers; you are teachers
in the employ of Satan and are seeking to steal the souls of men. But the
true sheep will not follow you." (Mortal Messiah, 3:213-214)
- IN VERSE 10 THE LORD TALKS ABOUT THE ABUNDANT LIFE? WHAT IS THE ABUNDANT
LIFE? HOW HAS JESUS BROUGHT IT TO YOU?
- Harold B. Lee: "In commenting about these things that seemingly
have existed in America, the president of one of our great American universities
said this: 'But the ideal of comfort which is the best we have been able
to think of for ourselves will never do as an aim for a world order. Men
can never be comfortable enough: we can never have enough material goods,
if material goods are what we want. Any world order with this ideal will
be torn to pieces by the divisions to which it leads.'
"As long as it is assumed, then,
that it is the duty of all of us to get all we can and make the ideal of
comfort our goal in life, then we may expect a similar fate to that nation,
or community, or that family which builds on such an ideal. They will certainly
be torn to pieces by the divisions to which such an ideal will lead."
(Stand Ye In Holy Places, p97)
- According to President Lee, the abundant life the Savior speaks of
is not a life of material abundance. He continued: "I think I would
be safe in saying, and I believe you would agree with me, that perhaps
never before in the history of the world has so much been said about the
abundant life and so little effort expended in obtaining the essentials
that make for an abundant life." (Stand Ye In Holy Places, p97)
- How then do we obtain the abundant life? President Lee: "Only
can an individual receive that joy and that abundant life whose life is
patterned to the standards as laid down in the gospel of Jesus Christ"
(Stand Ye In Holy Places, p100). And as the Prophet Joseph Smith stated:
"Happiness is the object and design of our existence; and will
be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it; and this path
is virtue, uprightness, faithfulness, holiness, and keeping all the commandments
of God" (TPJS, p255)
- V17-18: "Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down
my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay
it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take
it again. This commandment have I received of my Father."
- WHY WAS IT NECESSARY FOR JESUS TO HAVE COMPLETE POWER OVER HIS LIFE?
- D&C 19:16: "For behold, I, God, have suffered these things
for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent."
- B.H. Roberts: "I can think of no greater evidence of God's
love than that exhibited in the act of permitting his Son, Jesus Christ,
to come to the earth and suffer as He did for the sins of the world, that
they might not suffer if they would but conform to His laws, and thus accept
the terms of Salvation. It would seem, too, that the same attribute of
love exists in the breast of the Son, for the sacrifice He made for the
redemption of the world was a voluntary act. He was not compelled to make
the Atonement, but of His own free will He volunteered to become our ransom."
(The Seventy's Course in Theology, Third Year, p186)
- HOW DID HE GAIN THIS POWER?
- Joseph Fielding Smith: "Our Eternal Father to whom we pray
is the Father of the body of Jesus Christ and from his Father he inherited
life, and death was always subject to him. He had the power to lay down
his life, because he was the Son of Mary who was like us, mortal, and he
had the power to take his life up again." (Answers to Gospel Questions,
The man born blind was given not only his physical sight, but also had
his spiritual eyes opened. As we seek to follow the Good Shepherd, our
spiritual vision will become sharper and we will enjoy the abundant life.
The world is full of spiritual confusion. Most people want the abundant
life, but don't know how to achieve it. How blessed we are to have the
restored gospel of Jesus Christ that enables us to see better in order
to find the true path to the abundant life.
Lesson 17: Mark 10:17-30; 12:41-44; Luke 12:13-21; 14; 16
Additional Reading: Matthew 19:16-30; Luke 18:18-30; 21:1-4;
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Changes last made on: Fri Apr 16 1999