“Unit 14, Day 3: John 9,” New Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2016)
“Unit 14, Day 3,” New Testament Study Guide
Jesus healed a man who had been born blind. The Pharisees questioned this man and cast him out of the synagogue because he refused to condemn Jesus as a sinner for healing on the Sabbath. The Savior sought out the man and questioned what he believed, and the man worshipped Jesus as the Son of God.
Identify a few examples of adversities that people around you experience or that people you see on your local news experience:
Some people wonder why God allows adversity to drastically affect their lives. As you study John 9:1–5, look for a truth that can help us better understand one reason why God allows adversity to affect our lives.
While Jesus was in Jerusalem, He met a man who had experienced adversity since birth. Read John 9:1–2, looking for the adversity this man faced.
What did the disciples ask about the cause of this man’s adversity?
Many people in the Savior’s day believed that the adversities people faced were the consequences of sins that they or their parents had committed. Do you think this belief was correct? Why or why not?
Read John 9:3–5, looking for the Savior’s teachings to His disciples about this man’s blindness.
What do you think it means that “the works of God should be made manifest in him”? (John 9:3).
From the Savior’s teachings in these verses, we learn that God can use our adversities to show forth His works and power. In other words, while there may be many causes of adversity in our lives, God can use our challenges to help accomplish His righteous purposes.
To better understand this truth, read the following statement by Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
“We are sent here to be tested. There must be opposition in all things. We are meant to learn and grow through that opposition, through meeting our challenges, and through teaching others to do the same. … The Lord will not only consecrate our afflictions for our gain, but He will use them to bless the lives of countless others.
“Jesus taught this lesson when He and His disciples met a man who was born blind. [Elder Oaks then quoted John 9:2–3.]
“If we see life through the lens of spirituality, we can see many examples of the works of God being furthered through the adversities of His children. …
“When we understand this principle, that God offers us opportunities for blessings and blesses us through our own adversities and the adversities of others, we can understand why He has commanded us again and again to ‘thank the Lord thy God in all things’ (D&C 59:7)” (“Give Thanks in All Things,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2003, 97–98).
Think of an adversity you have faced or are currently facing. As you continue to study John 9, ponder ways in which God could demonstrate His works and power through you because of that adversity.
Read John 9:6–7, looking for the way in which God manifested His works and power through the blind man’s experience.
What do you imagine it was like for this man to see for the first time?
As recorded in John 9:8–15, after the blind man had been healed, some people disputed whether he was really the man who had been born blind. Others wondered how he had been healed, and they brought him to the Pharisees, who began questioning him.
Search John 9:14 for the day on which the Savior healed the blind man.
What reaction do you think the Pharisees had to Jesus healing the man on the Sabbath?
Read John 9:16, looking for what the Pharisees’ conclusions about Jesus were.
Read John 9:17, looking for what the blind man concluded about Jesus.
As you continue your study of John 9, notice the progression of the blind man’s view of the Savior.
Doubting that the man had actually been blind, the Pharisees brought his parents in for questioning. In John 9:19–23 we learn that when asked, his parents testified that he was their son and that he had been born blind, but they claimed not to know how he had been healed. Afraid of being banished from the synagogue and the community, they did not want to say that they believed Jesus was the Messiah, so they suggested that their son speak for himself.
- Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal: What stands out to you about this man’s answers?
“Synagogues served as the religious and social center for many Jewish communities. Synagogues offered access to spiritual instruction and worship, as well as educational and social opportunities. Because the synagogue was so integral to Jewish society, to be cast out of the synagogue … meant more than being excommunicated and losing fellowship with the religious community. It meant banishment from cultural and social affairs as well” (New Testament Student Manual [Church Educational System manual, 2014], 230).
Why do you think this man was willing to stay true to what he knew about Jesus Christ, even though it meant being cast out of the synagogue?
His declaration “Lord, I believe” and the fact that “he worshipped him” (John 9:38) indicate that his spiritual eyes had been opened and that he recognized Jesus Christ for who He is, the promised Messiah and the Son of God.
From this account we learn that as we remain true to what we know in spite of opposition, our testimonies will be strengthened. Over time, our testimonies will grow even stronger.
- Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
Why do you think our testimonies are strengthened after withstanding opposition or trials of faith?
How has your testimony been strengthened as you faithfully endured opposition?
To identify another principle from this account, close your eyes partially so you can only see a little bit of light. Then open them halfway. Then open your eyes wide. Notice how your vision changes in each instance.
Remember that the blind man’s physical vision became clear once Jesus healed him. Read John 9:11, 17, 33, 35–38, looking for phrases that describe the man’s maturing spiritual vision or understanding of who Jesus is.
Initially he referred to Jesus as “a man that is called Jesus” (John 9:11), and he later referred to Him as “a prophet” (John 9:17) and defended Him as being “of God” (John 9:33). Over time his spiritual vision became clearer until he finally saw that Jesus Christ is the promised Messiah and the Son of God.
Why do you think his vision and understanding of the Savior became clearer? In what ways did he exercise faith in Jesus Christ throughout his experience?
Speaking of this man’s experience, President Howard W. Hunter taught: “Now sight had been given twice—once to remedy a congenital defect [a physical defect from birth] and once to behold the King of Kings before He would ascend to His eternal throne. Jesus had quickened both temporal and spiritual vision. He had cast his light into a dark place, and this man, like many others in that day as well as in our own, had accepted the light and had seen” (“The God That Doest Wonders,” Ensign, May 1989, 16–17).
From this account we learn that as we exercise faith in Jesus Christ, our spiritual vision and understanding become clearer.
Why do you think exercising faith is necessary in order to see and understand spiritual truth more clearly?
Some Pharisees were standing nearby when the man saw and worshipped Jesus as the Son of God. Read John 9:39–41, looking for what the Savior taught about blindness.
In response to the Pharisees’ question, “Are we blind also?” (John 9:40), “the Savior used a metaphor, teaching that individuals who were ‘blind’—those who did not know who He was—‘should have no sin’ (John 9:41). On the other hand, individuals who could ‘see’—those who had received enough witnesses concerning the Savior and His divine mission that they should have known who He was—would be accountable for their actions. The Pharisees were among those who could ‘see,’ and thus their ‘sin remaineth.’ Spiritually speaking, they chose to be blind because they refused to recognize Jesus as the Son of God, despite the many witnesses they had received” (New Testament Student Manual, 231).
- Look at the last two principles you learned in this lesson, and ponder how you might apply them in your life. Write your goals to apply these principles in your scripture study journal. Pray for guidance to achieve your goals.
- Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied John 9 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: