“I Was Blind, Now I See”

Lesson 16 - John 9-10

 

Introduction

 

Think of the many physical infirmities that Jesus healed during his mortal ministry.  They include lameness, palsy, and blindness.  Part of this lesson is about Jesus healing a blind man—a miracle he performed often.  Healing the blind was a significant miracle in the Savior’s ministry that had inherent symbolism—because the Savior’s power helps us overcome spiritual blindness and “see” or understand spiritual truths.  The scriptures studied in this lesson focus on seeing and hearing the Savior and on our responsibility to help others do the same so that we all might have a greater understanding and appreciation of Jesus Christ as the Light of the World and the Good Shepherd.

 

Jesus gave sight to a man who was born blind.

 

Before healing the man who was born blind, Jesus proclaimed, “I am the light of the world” (John 9:5).

John 9:6-7, 35-38 records that Jesus brought both physical and spiritual light to the blind man.

John 9:10-11, 15, 17, 24-25, 27, 30-33 show that the man who had been blind testified several times that Jesus had healed him.  From this man’s example, we are reminded that we have a responsibility to share our testimonies. The man courageously testified to many people, even those who rejected his testimony and threatened him. We should not do less.

John 9:11, 17, 33, and 38 show us how this man’s testimony grew as he continued to share it. His testimony grew from seeing Jesus as a man, to seeing him as a prophet, a man of God, and finally one to be worshipped. Here we see how a testimony can grow as we share it.

John 9:16 records the varied reactions of the Pharisees when they heard about the miracle. Why might they refuse to acknowledge that Jesus had performed this miracle by the power of God?—perhaps because of pride, anger about Jesus healing on the Sabbath, or fear that they would lose power or popularity.

John 9:16, 18-20, 24, 28-29, 34 show that the Pharisees tried to discredit Jesus. Of course, today we see that some people deny the power of God in our day.

John 9:18-23 records the response of the parents of the man who had been blind when the Pharisees asked them about the miracle.

John 9:22 the parents responded with “ask him” rather than suffer the wrath of the Pharisees.

Consider how we are sometimes like this man’s parents. Could we be more valiant in our testimonies?

John 9:34 records that the Pharisees punished the man when he continued to testify that Jesus had healed him by casting him out.  Being cast out meant being excommunicated.

John 9:35-37 When Jesus heard that the man had been cast out because of his testimony; he blessed him for remaining faithful during adversity.

John 9:39-41 In some way the Pharisees could see, and in other ways they were blind. They knew the law very well, but they were blind to its true purpose. They refused to see that Jesus came in fulfillment of the law.  Think about the difference between seeing with our eyes and “seeing” or understanding spiritually. Some causes of spiritual blindness might include unresolved sins, pride, selfishness, and worldliness. We learn from this account that overcoming spiritual blindness requires humility and a desire to be righteous.

 

Jesus taught that he was the Good Shepherd.

 

John 10:1-15, 25-28. In these verses, Jesus described how a shepherd would protect and care for his sheep. In Jesus’ time, sheep were led into an enclosure called a sheepfold for the night. One of the shepherds would guard the door while the others went home to rest. If a wild animal got into the sheepfold, the shepherd would give his life if necessary to protect the sheep. In the morning, each shepherd would return and call his sheep. They would recognize his voice and follow him to pasture.

John 10:4, 27 In Jesus’ discussion of the shepherd and his sheep, the sheep represent his disciples.

John 10:11 The shepherd is Jesus Christ.  Some qualities of a good shepherd as exemplified by Christ include:

John 10:11-14 contrasts the difference between a shepherd and a hireling. Jesus is obviously the perfect example of a shepherd. Refer to the previous list of qualities of a good shepherd and consider how Jesus exemplifies each of these qualities. See 2 Nephi 9:41-42 as you ponder how Jesus is the door of the sheep. As you consider Jesus’ willingness to give his life for us, see John 10:17-18.

John 10:3-4 Sheep recognize their shepherd by his voice. Consider how we hear the Lord’s voice while you review these scriptures:

§         D&C 1:37-38 He speaks with his own voice and through the voices of his servants the prophets.

§         D&C 18:33-36 He speaks to us by his voice and through his Spirit

§         D&C 97:1 He speaks with his voice and the voice of his spirit

We are protected when we know and follow the voice of the Good Shepherd.

John 10:1 The thieves and robbers who try to enter the sheepfold are people who try to harm the Lord’s followers or lead them astray.

John 10:10 We can discern between true shepherds and those who try to lead us astray by their motives and their fruits; by whether they give life more abundantly, or if they take from us that which we have.

John 10:9-10, 28 The sheep are rewarded with blessings of salvation, abundance, life, and eternal life for following the Good Shepherd. Think about how you have been personally blessed for following the Savior.

 

“Other sheep I have” (John 10:16)

 

To find out to whom Jesus referred in John 10:16, see 3 Nephi 15:21-24. These “other sheep” heard the Savior’s voice through their own prophets and, after his resurrection; they heard his voice in person.  This verse could help someone who is investigating the Church to have a better understanding of the Book of Mormon as Elder Howard W. Hunter taught: “Those who are familiar with the life and teachings of the Master from their knowledge of the books of the Bible will be interested to know there is also a record of his appearance to the people of the Western Hemisphere—the other sheep to whom he made reference. It is titled the Book of Mormon after the prophet who compiled and abridged the records of the peoples of the American continents. The Book of Mormon is another witness for Christ and records his teachings to the other flock in the New World” (Ensign, May 1983, 16).

 

Conclusion

 

Jesus is the Light of the World and the Good Shepherd. In following the Savior, we should remember our responsibilities as shepherds, considering how we too are shepherds for the Lord’s sheep and what we can do to help others hear and follow the voice of the Good Shepherd.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught: “Anyone serving in any capacity in the Church in which he [or she] is responsible for the spiritual or temporal well-being of any of the Lord’s children is a shepherd to those sheep. The Lord holds his shepherds accountable for the safety (salvation) of his sheep” (Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. [1966], 710).

 

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