The Light of the World

John 9-12

The Feast of Booths is over and the Pharisees had attempted to stone Jesus but He slipped away. In Chapter 9 we read that as Jesus was leaving He and his disciples came upon a man who was blind from birth. As Jesus and His disciples walked by the man the disciples asked Jesus if the man’s blindness was a result of his or his parent’s sin. The reason the disciples asked Jesus this question was because the Pharisees taught that things like blindness were a result of sin. Thus this man’s blindness must have been a result of the man’s sin or his parents'. Of course this teaching heaps guilt on the man, the family, and leads others to judge and condemn them.

Jesus says He is the light of the world and the works of God will be displayed in this man’s life. When Jesus healed the man it revealed who Jesus was, the nature of God, God’s love for mankind, and also the absurdity of the teaching of the religious rulers.

The Pharisees, or religious rulers, accused Jesus of breaking the Sabbath by doing work. The work Jesus did was making clay and putting the clay on the blind man’s eyes. Jesus instructed the man to go and wash his eyes and it was at that point he received his sight. Of course this creates quite a stir among the people who knew the man, his neighbors, his family, and the religious rulers. What each of these people believed was revealed in this encounter with Jesus.  This is always the case when we encounter Jesus; whether it is when someone tells us about Him, we encounter Him as we read the Bible, or see Him work in our lives or the lives of others. An encounter with Jesus always exposes what is hidden in the heart. This is the case in Chapter 9:35-41 where we read that the Pharisees were blind spiritually as Paul describes in 2 Corinthians 4.

There is a danger that the Church can fall into blindness as well which happens when one follows a leader rather than Jesus. The church in Corinth was in danger of doing that and Paul addressed the danger in 1 Corinthians 3&4.

The response of the Pharisees to this encounter continues on into Chapter 10. Their response exposes that they have taken the way of world leadership which is the way of power over the people who are like sheep. Instead of leading the sheep they drive the sheep, fleece the sheep, and burden them with guilt from judgement and condemnation while they exult themselves in the eyes of the people.

God’s plan for leadership is that of a shepherd which Jesus is modeling and is described in Psalm 23. In Chapter 10:1-21 we see that Jesus is not only the Light of the world but also the gate. To help us to understand what this means to us we need only to turn to John 14:6.

Several months pass between verse 21 and 22. Jesus had been staying away from Jerusalem but returned for the Feast of Dedication or Hanukkah. Again He has an encounter with the religious rulers. In verses 25-30 He tells them He has the power to give His sheep eternal life. Upon hearing Him say this the Jews took up stones to kill Him but He escaped to the wilderness. In Chapter 11 we read that He demonstrated that He was able to raise the dead to life.

In the Bible death means separation from God. As I write this I am sitting in a hospital surgery waiting room awaiting the outcome of a risky surgery for one I dearly love. As a pastor, I have spent a lot of time in hospital waiting rooms. My age and these experiences have taught me that deep down inside we know we are meant to live forever and we struggle to live. However, one day our soul will be separated from our body and we will be declared dead. But the reality is that our soul will live on, so where will it go? If we are a believer in Jesus Christ and are born again our soul goes to be with the Lord and will one day return with a new body when He comes back. The soul of those who have not put their faith in Jesus will be separated from God for eternity.  In John 11:25&26 we read, “…I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” NASB

As we move on in Chapter 11 and 12 we will see that when one encounters the Light of the world how one responds reveals the answer to the question Jesus asked. The same is true for us, even as we read this study. How we respond and what we believe will reveal where we stand. We would be wise to remember that the Pharisees thought they were in the seeing but were in fact blind and in the dark. John 9:39-41  

It is clear here that light and seeing has to do with understanding God's Word and His plan.

Come into the Light. John 3:19-21

Pastor Dave