The last time we were in our study in John, we looked at 9:1-7 and saw Jesus give sight to the blind man. This blind man had been delivered from darkness and given sight by the compassion of Jesus. In tonight’s study, this formerly blind man is confronted by his neighbors, he’s confronted by the Pharisees, and by Jesus as well.
Tonight’s scene flows rapidly. This man’s growing knowledge of Jesus is easily seen. We are not going to look at every aspect of this passage tonight. Instead, we are going to concentrate on Jesus as seen by this man, that is, on the six stages of spiritual sight.
READ 8-12. In the first stage of spiritual sight we see that it is seeing Jesus as a man. Verse 11 points this out. All the healed man knew was that “a man they call Jesus” had commanded him to do certain things, and he did them and he received his sight. Here’s the outline of how it happened.
1. He was confronted by Jesus.
2. He was commanded to do some things.
3. He obeyed the commands of Jesus.
4. He was delivered from darkness and given sight.
Even though the blind man had an inadequate understanding of Jesus, He was blessed. But the crucial point in all this is that the man’s heart was right toward Jesus. It was tender and willing to do what Jesus said.
The first stage in any person’s spiritual journey is to learn about Jesus. You have to learn ABOUT Jesus before you can ever learn OF Jesus, that is, before you can ever come to know Him personally. But once you learn ABOUT Jesus, then it’s so important that you move on and come to know Him personally. The blind man could have stopped at any stage and failed in his spiritual journey.
There are many people like this blind man. They know ABOUT Jesus, but they don’t KNOW Jesus, not personally. They know His name, but little else. They don’t really understand His teachings and claims, His love and care, His power and His promises.
READ 13-15. The second stage of spiritual sight is seeing Jesus as a Helper or a Healer. This man was brought before the Pharisees because the Sabbath law had been broken. This was a serious offense to the Jews.
The man told the Pharisees, “This man Jesus put mud on my eyes and I washed and now I see.” He still saw Jesus only as a man, but as a man who had done a great thing by helping him and healing him. He saw Jesus as a great Helper and a great Healer. This is what we call confession; the man was giving an answer to some questioners. He was confessing Jesus to be the great Helper and Healer.
People today confess Jesus just as the man confessed him. They confess that he is a great man, a great teacher, healer, preacher, helper, law giver, or example. But the critical point is that this concept still comes far short of the truth. The delivered man did not yet know Jesus personally. He hadn’t reached the stage of belief, or true salvation and worship.
READ 16-17. The third stage of spiritual sight is seeing Jesus as a prophet. The man really progressed in his view of Jesus at this point. The people saw a prophet as the highest office a man could hold, the most authoritative voice among the people.
You see, a prophet was a man chosen by God to walk close to God, to represent God among the people, to proclaim the message of God, and to demonstrate the power of God.
But again Jesus was still seen only as a man, a godly man, yes, but only a man. So his concept of Jesus was still short. The blind man’s concept was still inadequate. He had not yet reached the stage of worship and belief.
READ 18-27. The 4th stage of spiritual sight is seeing Jesus as the Savior. We see that in verse 25. The man confessed, “One thing I know, I was blind but now I see.”
This man was undergoing the most severe questioning and attack imaginable. He should have been gripped with fear and shaking in his shoes, but instead he was giving one of the strongest confessions possible—his personal experience with Jesus. He was blind, but now he could see. He saw the hand of God in his own life, in the touch of Jesus, in the feeling within his heart and in the beauty of nature. This man was seeing things for the very first time in his life.
Note that he was confessing his personal experience. He couldn’t answer the theological question: Is Jesus a mere man as all other men, or is He of God? But he could answer one thing: his own personal experience.
The man had progressed in his view of Jesus. He saw that Jesus may be more than a mere man like other men, but he couldn’t say for sure. Just like a child, he didn’t know the theological terms nor how to express the nature of Jesus, but he did know that Jesus had delivered and saved him from blindness. Jesus was his Savior and Deliverer from blindness to sight.
READ 28-34. The 5th stage of spiritual sight is seeing Jesus as being “from God.” This was the man’s final answer to those who questioned his confession of Jesus. He confessed that Jesus was from God. Here’s how he reasoned that:
- Helping and delivering a blind man was God’s will
- Jesus delivered him. God heard Jesus’ prayer for him and empowered Jesus to heal him.
- So Jesus was bound to be from God.
The man knew that the works of Jesus were proof that He was from God. So Jesus must not be a liar or deceiver. He wasn’t an evil man. He was bound to be who He claimed to be. He was bound to be from God.
READ 35-38. The 6th stage of spiritual sight is seeing Jesus as the Son of God. Notice two things:
1. Again, Jesus was the One who did the seeking. He sought the man who had been thrown out. You know, anyone can throw a person out—a business, a church, a family, neighbors, friends. But Jesus seeks the person who is thrown out and rejected. He always does, no matter who the person is or what the person has done.
2. The climactic stage of spiritual sight is clearly demonstrated by the man’s experience. It’s seeing Jesus as the Son of God. It’s believing Jesus to be the Son of God, and worshipping Him.
READ 39-41. And then we come to the lesson of Jesus’ revelation.
1. Jesus stated that His mission on earth was to bring judgment, which lets us know that Jesus judges all generations of men.
a. He judges the person who knows they are spiritually blind and want to see. He takes the person who is spiritually blind and gives them sight—if that person really wants to see.
b. He judges the person who claims to have spiritual sight apart from Him. The person who says they see spiritually and claim to know God apart from Christ is judged to be blind.
2. The Pharisees expected exemption from judgment. They were opposing Jesus, so they expected him to say they were blind, but He shocked them. He said that blindness was an excuse. If they had been blind, they would have been excused because they would have been acting in ignorance, not knowing what they were doing.
But they knew the law of God, they knew about spiritual things. They claimed to see but didn’t recognize God’s Son. They were, therefore, guilty and were judged “blind” and were to be condemned.
So tonight’s study has focused on the 6 stages of spiritual sight. If we look closely, we can see that these 6 stages of spiritual sight are still in effect today. Think about the stages that a person must go through to finally realize that Jesus is who He says He is. Think about the stages that a person must go through to be saved.
1. Most people who are not acquainted with church will answer that they believe Jesus was a man. We as Christians know that this person must be convinced that Jesus was more than that.
2. So God allows time to pass. Maybe over that time the person becomes ill or knows someone very close that becomes ill, or they might have any number of burdens. They bring their concern to the pastor, or to you, their Christian friend, to pray. Folks, that can be an open door for us to share the love of Christ with them. Many times, God answers that request for healing or helping and the person gets better or the burden is lifted. NOW they know Jesus as the Healer or the Helper.
3. So they might start coming to church and hearing God’s Word preached and taught. They learn and begin to see that Jesus was a prophet, but time will show that He was even more than that.
4. As they continue getting closer to Jesus, they begin to see others who have loved ones that have been prayed for and those prayers answered. They begin to see Jesus as the Savior, one who is always there for them and willing to save them from whatever comes their way.
5. In that, they begin to see Jesus as being from God.
6. And the more time they spend in God’s Word, the more they see that Jesus is the Son of God.
It’s then that they know what they must do, and that is, accept Jesus personally as their Savior.
Let’s learn from this story tonight and learn to watch and see at what stage people might be in their spiritual sight. Let’s lend a hand in helping them to come to know Jesus personally. Remember, we who are Christians, were also once blind, but now we see.