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Sabbath School Lessons on John
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About the Author
Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 41 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 8: The Good Shepherd *
Introduction: Have you ever been frustrated because you could clearly
see something and others could not? John chapters 7-8 show us the
frustration experienced by Jesus. Jesus faced, even from His own
family, doubts about His divinity. Hostile spiritual leaders directly
challenged Jesus' claim to be the Messiah. They all seemed to be
unable to see the truth. We continue our study of John by picking up
the story of a man who could not see anything other than the truth.
Let's jump into our study of John!
- The Blind Man
- Read John 9:1-2. What is wrong with this question? (It
assumes that someone sinned. The question is "who was it
who sinned," rather than "did anyone sin?")
- Is it fair to assume that sin causes sickness?
- Review John 5:14. Recall our study of the fellow at
the pool of Bethesda who was healed. Why did Jesus
say to him "stop sinning" after healing him?
- If this fellow in John 9 was blind from birth, why
would the disciples assume he could be responsible
for sin? (The New Bible Commentary says that some
rabbis taught it was possible to sin before birth.)
- Read John 9:3. What does Jesus say about sin causing
sickness? (He clearly says that sickness is not
necessarily created by specific sins. Of course, all
physical problems (including the ultimate physical
problem, death) are caused by the sins of Adam and Eve.
See, Romans 5:12-14.)
- What explanation does Jesus give for this fellow
being blind from birth? (He was blind from birth so
that God's glory might be displayed.)
- Think about this a minute. Does this mean that
terrible things can happen in your life just to
teach others a spiritual lesson? Just to give
God the opportunity to do some good work? (The
Bible Exposition Commentary reminds us the
original Greek had no punctuation. Therefore,
this could be translated, "Neither has this man
sinned nor his parents. But that the works of
God should be made manifest in him, I must work
the works of Him that sent Me, while it is day."
While this comment may be correct, I believe
that we need to accept that we are God's
creation and we have no right to complain to Him
about how we were created. See Romans 9:20-21.
Can a car complain to General Motors that it
lacks air conditioning? Our life is about God
and not about us.)
- Jesus is about to heal this fellow. Does this show he
is not a sinner? (John is teaching us about spiritual
vision. The lesson seems to be that we cannot make
judgments about the sins of another based on outward
- Read John 9:4-5. What lesson do you find in this for your
- Are you "light" to others? Are you someone who helps
those around you understand spiritual truths?
- Read John 9:6-7. Why did Jesus use mud and spit to heal?
In Matthew 9:27-30 He just touched. In Mark 8:22-26 He
used spit and touch. If you have a winning technique, why
not go with it every time? (That is the point. There is no
winning technique. It is the power of God that performs
the healing, not a magic formula or winning technique.)
- If the technique is not important, if the technique
obscures the spiritual lesson, then why did Jesus use
any at all? (William Barclay's commentary on this
text in John tells us that spit was commonly used to
cure physical problems. By using the "medical"
methods of the time, Barclay suggests that Jesus
obtained the confidence of His patient. In this
context consider Mark 6:13.)
- When was the blind man actually able to see? (It was
not when the mud and spit were applied by Jesus. It
was when he washed off the mud. He came home seeing.
He did not go seeing.)
- Is this an important point? (Yes. The man
exercised faith and obeyed. Only at that point
was he healed.)
- The Debate
- Read John 9:8-10. Why didn't these people recognize the
healed man? (Because his blindness was his defining
characteristic for some who knew him. Without being blind,
some of his neighbors did not recognize him.)
- What does that say about his neighbors? (They
obviously did not know the blind man very well. They
had a superficial knowledge of him based on what was
wrong with him.)
- When you have a sick or disabled person in your
church, is your focus on the disability or the
sickness? Or, is your focus on who they are?
- How about church members in general? Do you tend
to focus on what is wrong with them?
- Consider the parallels between the disciples
initial reaction to this blind fellow and the
way some of his neighbors viewed him.
- Read John 9:11-12. Notice when he was able to see. The
neighbors had a new focus, what was it? (The miracle
caused the neighbors' attention to move to Jesus.)
- Read John 9:13-16. On what were the Pharisees focused? (A
great thing had been done in this man's life. His
neighbors were now focused on who did it. The Pharisees
were focused on whether the law had been broken. Only
Jesus seems to be concerned about the man.)
- How are some of the Pharisees like some of the blind
man's neighbors? (Some of the Pharisees immediately
focused on what was wrong, not what was right with
- Read John 9:24-34. Let's concentrate on vv. 30-34. Who is
blind? (John wants us to notice that the man who had been
blind now clearly sees the situation. Whereas the
"sighted" spiritual leaders are blind to the situation.)
- Consider the arguments made by both the blind man and
the Pharisees. The blind man argues that the miracles
show the divinity of Jesus. The Pharisees say whether
Jesus sins and whether this blind man are a sinner
are the most important factors upon which to base
their decision. What do you think about the logic of
- Read Revelation 13:11-14. Here John shows us
that "miraculous signs" can deceive. Do the
Pharisees have the right approach? They say,
"Forget the signs, look at the underlying
- If you say, "yes," then what do you think
John is trying to teach us by the story of
the blind man?
- Read John 9:39-41. When I was a kid and danger
approached, I just closed my eyes. Is this the lesson
here? (John wants us to open our eyes to the character of
Jesus. If we cannot see His character, and accept Him as
Lord, then we cannot survive the judgment.)
- The Good Shepherd
- Read John 10:1-6. Based on this text and your imagination,
list for me the dangers to the sheep? (Robbers, dangerous
animals, wandering off and starving.)
- How long was the shepherd on call? What hours did the
shepherd work? (The shepherd worked around the
- How dangerous was the shepherd's work?
- Read John 10:11-13. Why is it appropriate for Jesus to
compare Himself to a good shepherd?
- Read John 10:4-5 & 14. What light does this shed on our
previous discussion about trying to tell whether miracle
workers are imposters or sent by God? (We recognize the
voice of our master. If the world is your master, if
television and the philosophy of the world is what you
listen to, then what hope do you have of recognizing the
voice of Jesus? On the other hand, if you take the time to
study the Bible, if your goal is to walk with God, then
you will recognize the voice of the Good Shepherd. Both
Jesus and the end-time counterfeit perform miracles. The
followers of Jesus will know His voice.)
- I have heard people say that they will be able to tell the
difference between Jesus' Second Coming and the
counterfeit described in Revelation 13 because Jesus' feet
will not touch the ground when He comes again. Is that
"rule," or anything like that a safe guide? (Picking one
technical point is precisely the error demonstrated by the
Pharisees. They said, "He broke the Sabbath, no need to
look any further." Jesus teaches us that we will know His
voice, we will know Him. That is a far cry from testing
based on some obscure fact or theological conclusion.)
- Friend, Jesus invites you to open your eyes and learn of
Him. Become His friend by studying the Bible and walking
in His way. Learn God's view of things. Then when He comes
you will know Him. Better, He will know you and take you
to live with Him forever!
- Next Week: A Devoted Soul and an Impending Cross.
* Copr. 2004, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.