“… Before Abraham was, I AM (Jn. 8:58).”
If there was ever a drop-the-microphone moment in the Gospel of John thus far, this was it. Jesus strikes at the knowledge of His fellow Jews present in this moment with His words, and His proclamation demands a response: “So they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple (Jn. 8:59).” Little did the Jews present that day know that what they were witnessing was all part of the plan. Jesus was laying the groundwork to rescue and redeem the entire world … and they completely missed it.
Ironically, though, one of the people who could see it was a blind man—something we read about immediately following this last showdown.
As Jesus passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ Jesus answered, ‘It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.’ (Jn. 9:1-3, ESV)
And to God’s glory, this foreshadowing by Jesus above is exactly what we see play out. Jesus echoes in John 9:5 something He elaborates on more fully in John 8:12 (ESV):
I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.
The blind man receiving his sight becomes a beacon of hope for all of us who follow suit in how we also respond to Jesus. By acknowledging Jesus’s rightful place in his life, the formerly blind man sees something so few often do: Jesus is God, and only He has the power to shine the light that consumes the darkness. He tells the unbelieving Pharisees as much in John 9:30-33 (ESV):
Why, this is an amazing thing! You do not know where [Jesus] comes from, and yet He opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, God listens to Him. Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, He could do nothing.
And “nothing” is exactly what the Pharisees did. For as we see in John 9:40-41, whereas the formerly blind man could now offer up testimony to the true nature of Jesus, the “esteemed” religious leaders could not. They would remain lost and unable to see.
‘For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind. … If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.’ (Jn. 9:39, 41, ESV)
QUESTIONS TO PONDER AS YOU STUDY:
- What do you find most compelling about the woman caught in adultery who was brought before Jesus and how He responded to both her and the Pharisees? How do they compare? What did He want them both to know?
- What does it mean that Jesus is “the light of the world?” What does that mean for us?
- Why does Jesus make a point to the woman caught in adultery that while no one “condemns” her, she is to go and “sin no more?” How do you make sense of this?
- What does it take for us to “see” Jesus for who He is and what He wants to do in our lives as well as for others?
- Why does Jesus invoke Abraham in His exchange with the Jews in John 8:39-59, and what is His point in this part of His discussion?
Our study of the GOSPEL OF JOHN in review: