A brief overview for Sunday School teachers and Bible study leaders, of Lifeway’s “Explore the Bible” lesson of John 9:24-38, for Sunday, February 12, 2023, with the title: “You Have Seen Him.”
(A video version of this overview is available on YouTube at:
??? The Leader’s Guide has a good opening question: “What’s your favorite photo, and why?” (Maybe have your group show their favorite photo on their phone!) After talking about that for a while, then you could introduce today’s story, about the man born blind.
OR: ??? You could begin class by asking you group: what’s one of the best salvation testimonies you have heard?
??? OR open class by sharing your own salvation testimony
??? OR line up one of your class members, or someone else from church, to share their testimony to open the lesson time.
Then say: today we are going to look at the testimony of another man whose life was changed by Jesus: the man born blind in John Chapter 9…
The focus passage is John 9:24-28, but the context is this whole story in John 9, of the blind man that Jesus healed. You can’t just start in the middle of the story, so you’ve GOT to spend some time and catch them up with the story before you get into the focus passage. And there’s SO much in those early verses:
— “as He passed by” — SO much ministry is done “as you pass by” and God brings people across your path to minister to!
— “a man blind from birth” — ALL of us, in a sense, have a problem from birth, in the blindness of sin. We ALL need a touch from Jesus.
— then there’s the “pop theology” question the disciples asked Jesus: “Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?” They thought sickness was always directly related to a person’s sin, and Jesus has to correct that — there’s STILL a lot of that bad theology around!
— then Jesus says “I AM the light of the world” in :5, (another one of those 7 “I AM” statements, and He heals the man by making clay with spit and dirt, and has him wash in the Pool of Siloam and he is healed.
Then there is a controversy by those who see him, over whether this was really the same man who was born blind. They finally bring him to the Pharisees in :13, and :14 says “Now it was a Sabbath on the day” Jesus healed him. (We talked about that before, in Chapter 5, when He healed the lame man and he carried the pallet on the Sabbath.). The Pharisees said in :16 “This man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath.” But “THERE WAS A DIVISION AMONG THEM” the last part of :16 says, because many were saying: “How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?”
This brings us to our focus passage, John 9:24-38.
I. The Power of Testimony
II. The Presence of Persecution
III. The Personal Commitment
I. THE POWER OF TESTIMONY:
Under questioning by the Pharisees, the man says in :25 “Whether He is a sinner, I do not know; one thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.”
Of course this great verse is the basis of the opening verse of John Newton’s “Amazing Grace”: “I once was lost, but now am found; was blind, but now I see.”
If you have testimony of what Jesus did for you, you need to share it with others.
I remember when I was about eight years old, I was talking with a friend from down the road, on the the side of the road where he lived. And I told him about Jesus, and how if he would ask him to save him, he would. I led him in a sinner’s prayer, and afterwards he said something like, “I feel so good!” I hadn’t been to seminary; I didn’t have any theological training. There were probably things I didn’t do right. But one thing I knew: Jesus had saved ME, and I could share that with someone else, who could ask Jesus to save THEM.
Sometimes we make things too complicated. I think some of that is the devil’s work: Oh, you don’t know enough; oh you better not say anything, you might not get it right, and so on. When in truth the gospel is so simple: I was was blind, but now I see — and Jesus did it! Ask Him to save you! Don’t make it too complicated. Just point people to Jesus!
Sharing your testimony can be one of the most powerful ways to witness. Someone has said that many people will say they don’t want to listen to a “sermon,” but they will listen to something that happened to you — your testimony story. People love stories.
You might share another testimony at this point in the lesson: (or if you didn’t ask at the beginning, ask for members to share either their testimony, or an impactful testimony they’ve heard.)
Our mission partner Grozdan Stoevski shared his testimony with our ACS Chapel today: how as a teen he had numerous failing marks in school, and he was very despondent. He lived about 10 floors up in an apartment building, and he thought, if I just jump out that window, all my problems will be over. He said he got up on a table by the window to jump out, but something stopped him.
Not long after that, a couple of men came to his school and shared the gospel. At first he thought they were just “religious wierdos” — but one of them gave him a little pocket-sized Gospel of John, and Grozdan took it home and read it all, in one sitting; he said it only took about 30 minutes. But he said when he had finished, God had touched his heart, and his life has never been the same since! Now he is a pastor, and the coordinator for our mission teams in Bulgaria.
EVERY CHRISTIAN should have our testimony ready to share. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Just follow a simple outline:
— My life before I met Jesus
— How I met Jesus
— My life since I met Jesus (how I changed; how it is different)
You might give your group a sheet with this outline on it, and encourage them to fill it out, practice sharing it, and then watch for a chance God gives them to share it with someone.
And remember: it doesn’t have to be long. It could be just 30 seconds: “Before I met Jesus, I thought I had to be ‘good’ to get to heaven, but then I heard about Jesus in Vacation Bible School, how He died on the cross to pay for my sins, so I asked Him to forgive me. Now I know I’m going to heaven NOT because of the good things I do for Him, but because of the good thing HE did for me, when He died on the cross for me.”
Just a short testimony like that can powerful.
I read of a business executive who said that every business person ought to have what they called a “30-second elevator speech” that they can share with people they meet on the elevator, about what their business is about — the person might be a potential investor, or employee, or business partner.
When I heard that I thought: “Every Christian ought to have a ’30-second elevator speech’ too”! We should have our testimony ready to share in 30 seconds: with a person on an elevator, or at Walmart, or at the ballgame, wherever we are, and wherever God opens up the door. But it will take some preparation: write it down, get it in a good, concise form, and be ready to share it. If you’ll get ready, God WILL use it!
Talk with your group about how powerful this man’s testimony was — and how God can use THEIR testimony too. Encourage them to get it ready to share, and ask God to give them an open door to share it.
The formerly blind man’s testimony was powerful: and your class members testimonies can be too!
II. THE PRESENCE OF PERSECUTION
After he gave his testimony, :26 says they began asking him more questions: “What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?”
It almost turns into a comedy: In :27 the man says: “I told you already and you did not listen; why do you want to hear it again You do not want to become His disciples too, do you?”
They get FURIOUS: saying in :28, “You are HIS disciple, but we are disciples of Moses.”
In :30-33 the man basically begins preaching to them, saying How can you not know where He is from — yet He opened my eyes?” He says in :33, “If this man were not from God, He could do nothing.
Psalm 8 says “Out of the mouths of babes You have prepared praise for yourself”: sometimes God uses relatively young/unlearned to expose the hypocrisies of supposedly more “wise/godly” people. That is the case here …
:34 says they got angry, saying, “You were born entirely in sins, and are you teaching us?” So they put him out.
His simple logic and clear testimony stung them — the truth often hurts, doesn’t it?
One important thing to understand: when it says, “they PUT HIM OUT,” it means “they put him out of the synagogue.” If you look back at :22, it says “If anyone confessed Him to be the Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue.” So they didn’t just “put him out of the room,” they threw him out of the “church,” in a sense; they threw him out of the synagogue. Basically saying, “You’re lost; you’re a heretic.”
So here’s a second application: sometimes we pay a price for belonging to Christ. If we live for Christ; if we share our testimony, we will often suffer for it. The Bible says that will happen:
— Jesus said in John 15:20 “If they persecuted Me they will persecute you also.”
— II Timothy 3:12 “All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted”
When our Bulgarian mission coordinator (Grozdan Stoevski) was here, and I asked him about a couple I had met in a little town, in which a certain man and his wife were literally THE only Christians in town. Grozdan discovered them somehow, and so when we were there on mission we visited in their apartment, and we had the Lord’s Supper with them — the first time they had had it in years. I left some Christian books for kids, about Noah & the ark, and Jesus’ Resurrection. It was a sweet time. I keep them on my prayer list, because I can’t imagine how hard it must be, to literally be the only Christians in a Muslim town. So I asked Grozdan how they were. He told me that the kids in school found out they were Christians, and began bullying the little boy and girl, so they ended up taking them out of school there and she moved them to be with her parents. But I just thought, WOW, these people are really suffering for their faith.
You can share that example, or you may have other examples you could share.
??? And you might ask your group: have you/someone you know, ever suffered for your faith in Christ???
Most of us probably have NOT too much here in the USA.
There may be two different reasons for that:
- our country has a Christian background, and Christianity been the majority here (although it is declining)
- But a second reason: many of us are not living for the faith in any kind of way that would cause anyone to persecute us!
We each need to evaluate ourselves: why don’t I face persecution — is it because people around me are tolerant of Christianity, or because I am not living for Christ like I should?
It may become increasingly common even here, in the days to come, as morals and standards continue to decline in our country.
But we need to be ready to suffer, if need be. Never “seek it” as some do, but be ready if it comes. “The presence of persecution” like this man faced, may one day come to us as well.
III. THE PERSONAL COMMITMENT
Then in the last few verses (:35-38+) we see this man nail down his personal commitment to Jesus.
I think it’s interesting that it says “Jesus … FINDING him …”
Jesus purposefully FOUND this man. He didn’t leave him as he was, to find his own way. Jesus found him. He loves us, He cares for us, He FINDS us.
Some people say things like: “I found Jesus.” Well, I know what they mean, but in all honesty, Jesus found YOU!
And then Jesus asks him: “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
??? WHY do you think Jesus asked him that???
(I don’t know if we know THE definitive answer, but I think one answer is that He was giving the man the opportunity to confess Him as his Lord & Savior.).
AND: notice Jesus used the term, “Son of Man.” Now, I used to think that this term, “the Son of Man,” was a term of humility that Jesus used to hide His real identity as the Son of God, the Messiah. But that is not right. If you look in Daniel 7:13, you’ll see that in Daniel’s vision there he saw “One like a Son of Man was coming …” and :14 says “And to Him was given dominion, glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations and language might serve Him … His Kingdom is one which will not be destroyed.”
So the Jews knew this prophecy of Daniel. They knew “The Son of Man” was the Messiah that Daniel had prophesied. So Jesus wasn’t “fooling anyone” with this title. He knew what He was saying — and THEY knew what He was saying. It is an outright claim that He was the Messiah.
Then in :36 the man says, “Who is He?” (I tend to think he really knew; he was just making sure) and Jesus says in :37 “He is the One who is talking with you.” And the man says in :38; “Lord I believe.” So he confessed his faith in Jesus. (I think that’s why Jesus asked him: to give him an opportunity to confess Him.)
It IS important that we confess Jesus publicly as our Lord & Savior. And the New Testament way of doing that, is in baptism. Baptism doesn’t save us, but it is a strong public way of aligning yourself with Jesus.
I’m told in the Muslim countries in Africa, they don’t care if a person “says” they are a follower of Jesus; they are very tolerant of that. But if someone takes the step of actually getting publicly baptized, THAT is a different story. THEN that person gets persecuted, and may be killed. I think it’s interesting that even the MUSLIMS see baptism as an important public step.
And it ought to be important to us too. NO, baptism doesn’t save us, there’s nothing magical about that water. BUT it is an important, Biblical means of saying publicly, “Jesus is my Lord & Savior.” And if you have given your life to Christ, you need to be publicly baptized. You might encourage your group members, if they have never done it before, to talk to their pastor, and take a public stand for Jesus in baptism.
But as this passage reminds us: in addition to baptism, we may have many other opportunities to stand for Christ: at work, at school, on the job, with our families. Let’s be ready to follow this man’s example, and stand for Jesus wherever we are this week!
If you write something in the Comments below, I’ll be sure to pray for your and your group by name this week.
Per my licensing agreement with Lifeway:
– These weekly lessons are based on content from Explore the Bible Adult Resources. The presentation is my own and has not been reviewed by Lifeway.
– Lifeway resources are available at: goExploretheBible.com and: goexplorethebible.com/adults-training
– If you have questions about Explore the Bible resources you may send emails to firstname.lastname@example.org
Your teacher’s overview is so helpful as I prepare the lesson for Sunday. Your questions and applications are so meaningful. Thank you for your prayers as I teach this lesson next week.
I’m on a monthly rotation teaching in our adult class. I usually have a routine of reading the passage, making careful note of things that strike me as remarkable, and then read a number of commentaries to frame my lesson plan. Reading your blog has become a part of this routine. I appreciate your structured approach and insight. Thank you so much for posting,
That sounds like a great routine, Kennon. I’m grateful that the blog has been a helpful part of it. God bless you as you teach; I’m praying with you this week! Please let me know if I can help you in any way in the future.