Blind, Now I See”
- Jesus gives sight to a man who was born blind.
- Jesus teaches that he is the Good Shepherd.
A study of this lesson will help us have a greater understanding and
appreciation of Jesus Christ as the Light of the World and the Good Shepherd.
Scripture references for study:
Note: Underlined scripture references have been hyperlinked
to the LDS Scriptures at LDS.org and will open in a new window.
Lesson 16 Handout (PDF
The Man Born Blind - John 9
"And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his
birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master,
who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man
sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest
in him." (v1-3)
It would appear that this man had a special calling. He was born blind
that the works of God would be manifest in him. He was born to be a unique
witness of the Son of God.
Neal A. Maxwell: "This is a doctrine, likewise, which reminds us mortals
that we do not have all of the data. There are many times when we must
withhold judgment and trust God lest we misread, as did Jesus' disciples
when they inquired about the man blind from birth and Jesus gave the immortal
reply: 'Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works
of God should be made manifest in him' (see John 9:1-3). Trusting God's
plan even in the midst of 'all these things' is thus made easier, because
he has so declared his purposes, plainly and simply, concerning the proving
and tutoring dimensions of mortality." (But for a Small Moment, p94)
"I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the
night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the
light of the world." (v4-5)
It is interesting that the Master set the stage for this miracle by proclaiming
that he is "the light of the world." He would soon bring physical light
and sight to this man. In a spiritual sense, Jesus brought eternal light
to the blind inhabitants of the world. Those who accept his gospel, will
have their spiritual eyes opened as literally as those of the man born
"When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay
of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool
of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore,
and washed, and came seeing." (v6-7)
It would seem that Jesus was deliberately violating the rules of the Jewish
How did the Savior normally administer to the sick?
In this instance, he made clay:
He applied a healing remedy to an impaired person.
There was a specific prohibition against the application of saliva to the
eyes on the Sabbath. This strange restriction came into being because of
a common belief that saliva was a remedy for diseases of the eye.
Bruce R. McConkie: "Thus Jesus is putting the people in the position
of choosing between him as one sent of God to do the work of the Father,
as one who can open blind eyes, and the traditions of the elders about
Sabbath observance. They must make their choice at the peril of their salvation.
Once again it will be a day in Israel when the trumpet sounds: 'Choose
ye this day whom ye will serve'." (Mortal Messiah, 3:201)
Consider the testimony of the man born blind and how it it became stronger
as he continued to give his witness of this great miracle:
"Therefore said they unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He answered and said, A man that is called
Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, Go to the pool
of Siloam, and wash: and I went and washed, and I received sight."
"They brought to the Pharisees him that aforetime was blind. And it was the sabbath day when Jesus
made the clay, and opened his eyes. Then again the Pharisees also asked him
how he had received his sight. He said unto them, He put clay upon mine
eyes, and I washed, and do see." (v13-l5)
In these first two instances, the man testifies of the simple reality of his
"They say unto the blind man again, What sayest thou of him, that
he hath opened thine eyes? He said, He is a prophet." (v17)
The man has now gone from the actuality of the healing, to a declaration
that Jesus is a man of God.
"Then again called they (the Pharisees) the man that was blind,
and said unto him, Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner. He answered and said, Whether he be a
sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind,
now I see." (v24-25)
In essence, the man says that he does not know anything about Jesus, but
the reality of his healing is undeniable.
The Pharisees continued to challenge the man about his healing.
"The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing,
that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes. Now we know that God heareth not sinners:
but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth. Since the world began was it not heard
that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. If this man were not of God, he could
do nothing." (v30-33)
The man declared a stronger witness as the Pharisees tried to challenge
the character of Jesus.
"They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in
sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out." (v34)
By refusing to recant his testimony of Jesus as the instrument of healing, the
man brought upon himself the condemnation of this ruling body of Jews. They
declared him born in sin and excommunicated him. Certainly this
man would know the potential consequences and yet he declared that Jesus
was doing the work of God.
Bruce R. McConkie quotes Alfred Edersheim: "This was
only the beginning of what might be. 'Still more terrible was the final
excommunication, or Cherem [by which is meant being put out of the synagogue],
when a ban of indefinite duration was laid on a man. Henceforth he was like one
dead. He was not allowed to study with others, no intercourse was to be held
with him, he was not even to be shown the road. He might, indeed, buy the
necessaries of life, but it was forbidden to eat or drink with such an one.
"There were twenty-four grounds for imposing this final type
of excommunication, including resisting 'the authority of the Scribes, or any of
their decrees,' and leading others 'either away from the commandments, or to
what was regarded as profanation of the Divine Name.' (Edersheim 2:184.) Those
who confessed that Jesus was the Messiah would, of course, be guilty of these
violations." (The Mortal
"Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found
him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? He answered and said, Who is he, Lord,
that I might believe on him? And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both
seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee. And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped
The man born blind had suffered much in this life. In the greatest moment
of his life, he becomes an outcast of Jewish society. However, he was a man
with a pure heart. He recognized truth and refused to deny it. As we see
the conclusion of this story, the man becomes a follower of the Master.
In contrast to the man born blind, consider the reaction of the Jewish
"Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God,
because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that
is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them."
One wonders who was truly blind. Many of the Pharisees were so caught up
in their narrow interpretation of the law, that they were "blind" to the
true meaning of the Sabbath and condemned Jesus for doing good on their
It appears that not all of the Pharisees were totally blind. There were
at least a few who wondered how "a sinner" could perform such a miracle.
"But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been
blind, and received his sight, until they called the parents of him that
had received his sight." (v18)
These Jews did not want to even believe the reality of this miracle. The
testimony of the man's parents confirmed that their son had been blind
"Then they reviled him, and said, Thou art his disciple; but
we are Moses' disciples. We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this
fellow, we know not from whence he is." (v28-29)
As the Pharisees continued to challenge the man, their spiritual blindness
becomes more apparent. They claim to follow Moses and yet they refuse to
see the truth about him whom Moses served, worshiped, and prophesied.
"They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in
sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out." (v34)
So blind and corrupt were these men that they condemned the man for his
testimony and threw him out of mainstream Jewish society.
McConkie: "And with these words they rejected their King, cast
their lot with Lucifer, and sealed their own doom." (Mortal Messiah, 3:206)
WHY DO YOU THINK THE PHARISEES REFUSED TO ACKNOWLEDGE THAT JESUS HAD PERFORMED
A MIRACLE, DEMONSTRATING HIS POWER AS THE SON OF GOD?
If they acknowledged the validity of Jesus' miracle and accepted him as a
prophet, or as the Messiah, they gave up their base of power and influence
in Jewish society.
They were the worst kind of sign seekers. After receiving a sign of Jesus'
power they refused to acknowledge it. As discussed in Lesson 13, sign seeking
"is an evidence of supreme and gross wickedness on their part."
(Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p714)
HOW DO PEOPLE TODAY DENY THE POWER OF GOD?
ARE WE EVER PROMPTED BY SIMILAR MOTIVES TO DISREGARD TRUTH?
The Good Shepherd - John 10
"The shepherd was famed for his devotion to his sheep. At night several
flocks would be driven into the sheepfold, an enclosure with high walls
topped with with thorns to prevent wolves from leaping in. During the night
each shepherd took a turn guarding the sheep by lying across the open entrance,
literally becoming the gate, while his fellows went home to sleep. If a
wild animal, driven by hunger, managed to leap over the walls, the shepherd
would give his life if necessary to protect the sheep. When the other shepherds
came in the morning to claim their flocks, each sheep recognized its masters
call. For a sheep to be kept safe, it had to follow its master closely
as he led it to good pasture." (New Testament Gospel Doctrine Teacher's
Manual, 1989, p18)
JOHN 10:1-18. Christ is the good shepherd.
WHO DO THE SHEEP REPRESENT?
Bruce R. McConkie: Those "who came from pre-existence with the special
talent to recognize the truth." (Mortal Messiah, 3:213)
HOW IS JESUS THE DOOR OF THE SHEEP?
It is only through him that we may obtain eternal life.
WHO MIGHT THE THIEVES, ROBBERS, AND HIRELINGS BE?
"I (Jesus Christ) am the door by which men must enter to be saved. All
the ministers of the past, of the present, and of the future, who do not
testify of me and teach my gospel -- including you priests, scribes, Pharisees,
and Rabbis -- are thieves and robbers; you are teachers in the employ of
Satan and are seeking to steal the souls of men. But the true sheep will
not follow you." (Mortal Messiah, 3:213-214)
THE LORD TALKS ABOUT THE ABUNDANT LIFE? WHAT IS THE ABUNDANT
LIFE? HOW HAS JESUS BROUGHT IT TO YOU (see
Harold B. Lee: "In commenting about these things that seemingly have
existed in America, the president of one of our great American universities
said this: 'But the ideal of comfort which is the best we have been able
to think of for ourselves will never do as an aim for a world order. Men
can never be comfortable enough: we can never have enough material goods,
if material goods are what we want. Any world order with this ideal will
be torn to pieces by the divisions to which it leads.'
"As long as it is assumed, then, that it
is the duty of all of us to get all we can and make the ideal of comfort
our goal in life, then we may expect a similar fate to that nation, or
community, or that family which builds on such an ideal. They will certainly
be torn to pieces by the divisions to which such an ideal will lead."
(Stand Ye In Holy Places, p97)
According to President Lee, the abundant life the Savior speaks of is not
a life of material abundance. He continued: "I think I would be safe
in saying, and I believe you would agree with me, that perhaps never before
in the history of the world has so much been said about the abundant life
and so little effort expended in obtaining the essentials that make for
an abundant life." (Stand Ye In Holy Places, p97)
How then do we obtain the abundant life? President Lee: "Only can an
individual receive that joy and that abundant life whose life is patterned
to the standards as laid down in the gospel of Jesus Christ" (Stand
Ye In Holy Places, p100). And as the Prophet Joseph Smith stated:
is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof,
if we pursue the path that leads to it; and this path is virtue, uprightness,
faithfulness, holiness, and keeping all the commandments of God." (TPJS,
"Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life,
that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down
of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.
This commandment have I received of my Father." (v17-18)
WHY WAS IT NECESSARY FOR JESUS TO HAVE COMPLETE POWER OVER HIS LIFE?
"For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all,
that they might not suffer if they would repent." (D&C 19:16)
B. H. Roberts: "I can think of no greater evidence of God's love than
that exhibited in the act of permitting his Son, Jesus Christ, to come
to the earth and suffer as He did for the sins of the world, that they
might not suffer if they would but conform to His laws, and thus accept
the terms of Salvation. It would seem, too, that the same attribute of
love exists in the breast of the Son, for the sacrifice He made for the
redemption of the world was a voluntary act. He was not compelled to make
the Atonement, but of His own free will He volunteered to become our ransom."
(The Seventy's Course in Theology, Third Year, p186)
HOW DID HE GAIN THIS POWER?
Joseph Fielding Smith: "Our Eternal Father to whom we pray is the Father
of the body of Jesus Christ and from his Father he inherited life, and
death was always subject to him. He had the power to lay down his life,
because he was the Son of Mary who was like us, mortal, and he had the
power to take his life up again." (Answers to Gospel Questions, 1:33)
HOW ARE THE SHEEP REWARDED FOR FOLLOWING THE GOOD SHEPHERD? HOW HAVE YOU
BEEN BLESSED FOR FOLLOWING THE SAVIOR?
Gospel Doctrine Notebook
The man born blind was given not only his physical sight, but also
had his spiritual eyes opened. As we seek to follow the Good Shepherd,
our spiritual vision will become sharper and we will enjoy the abundant
life. The world is full of spiritual confusion. Most people want the abundant
life, but don't know how to achieve it. How blessed we are to have the
restored gospel of Jesus Christ that enables us to see better in order
to find the true path to the abundant life.
Record your thoughts on the account of the man born blind. Why is it
important to make Jesus Christ your shepherd?
Resources Used In This Lesson
Answers to Gospel Questions, Volume 1, by Joseph Fielding Smith.
But for a Small Moment by Neal A. Maxwell.
Mormon Doctrine by Bruce R. McConkie.
Stand Ye In Holy Places by Harold B. Lee.
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith selected and arranged by Joseph Fielding
The Mortal Messiah: From Bethlehem to Calvary, Volume
3, by Bruce R. McConkie.
The Seventy's Course in Theology, Third Year by B. H. Roberts.
Gospel Doctrine Class
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Changes last made on:
10 March 2015