There is no book, media, or form of communication that compares with God’s Word. In every way it is the complete revelation of God to us about the salvation we so need, are so undeserving of, and which has been so graciously given.
As we have opened to the final book about our salvation, Revelation, for the past months, we opened to a book filled with “heptads” or groupings of sevens. One element of John’s writing style in Revelation that is very prominent is his usage of sevens.
God Designed Revelation as a
Book Built Around Groups of Seven
There are seven stars, seven lampstands, seven churches, seven seals, seven trumpets, seven bowls, and seven angels. Beyond these seven named groups of sevens are many other sevens.
There are seven beatitudes, seven spirits, seven mountains, seven lamps, seven horns, seven eyes, seven heads, seven crowns, seven thunders, seven kings, and seven last plagues. Fifty-four sevens are noted by John in the book of Revelation.
John uses sevens to explain God’s plans about Heaven, the Church, and the end of the world, in the book of Revelation. But it isn’t only in Revelation that God uses sevens, today, we find that the way to eternal life has seven intentional markers along the way. As we open to John 20, let me show you this amazing chain of truths about salvation.
The Gospel by John is Also
Built Around Groups of Seven
The Gospel by John has seven titles of Christ in chapter one, and over the next 14 chapters shares seven very precious and powerful I am declarations of Christ. But God especially draws our attention to one string of seven elements in this Gospel with a closing statement about how God designed this fourth and final Gospel. Please turn with me to the last verse of John 20.
In John 20:31 we read that of the many things that Jesus did, seven of the most prominent miraculous deeds of Christ in this Gospel were chosen by God to be special signs that point to the miracle of salvation. These signs are to help us believe, and as we believe, they also help us understand what exactly salvation accomplished in each believer. There are seven sign miracles that Jesus performs, leading up to the Crucifixion.
Please follow along as we read what God says is the purpose of this Gospel by John, and the intended result God wants His truth to have in our lives.
John 20:30-31 (NKJV)And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.
The divine perfection of Jesus is reflected in the seven “Signs” John records from Christ’s life.
Now notice that John 20:31, unlike the other three Gospels, seeks to share the inner meaning—the spiritual significance—of our Lord’s works, so that each miracle is a “sermon in action.”
To begin with, the word John used in his book is not dunamis, which emphasizes power, but seimeon, which means “a sign.” What is a sign? Something that points beyond itself to something greater.
Seven Signposts that
Point to Christ our Savior
John built his whole Gospel as bridge with seven successive sign posts that transport you to the ultimate sign of chapter 20: The resurrection of Christ. John notes the ministry of Christ in light of its impact on the hearts of those who saw these signs.
What were the signs Christ performed to bring those who saw His ministry to belief? Out of the many miracles that Christ performed, John selected seven to prove His deity. (The eighth in chapter 21 was for the disciples alone and forms a postlude to the Gospel.) These seven signs are given in a specific order (note 4:54, “This is again the second miracle”), they prove Christ’s Deity, and they portray a beautiful picture of our salvation.
The first three signs show how
Salvation comes to the sinner:
- HE TURNS water into wine (2:1–11)—salvation is Miraculous; Jesus is Lord of Time and Creation, nothings exists apart from Him.
- HE HEALS the nobleman’s son (4:46–54)—salvation is by faith; Jesus is Lord of Space, no distance hinders Him.
- HE HEALS the paralytic (5:1–9)—salvation is by grace; Jesus is the Lord our Healer, nothing is impossible to Him.
The last four signs show the
Results of salvation in the believer:
- HE FEEDS the 5,000 (6:1–14)—salvation brings satisfaction; Jesus is the Bread of God, and the Bread of Life come down from Heaven.
- HE STILLS the storm (6:16–21)—salvation brings peace; Jesus is Lord of Nature.
- HE HEALS the blind man (9:1–7)—salvation brings light; Jesus is Lord of Sight.
- HE RAISES Lazarus (11:38–45)—salvation brings life; Jesus is Lord of Life.
These Seven Signs Point to
Christ and His Work in Believers
Jesus wants us to see past the miracle and into what He was doing so that we may believe in and hold onto Him.
It was not enough for people to believe in Jesus’ works; they had to believe in Him and in the Father who sent Him (John 5:14–24). This explains why Jesus often added a sermon to the miracle and in that sermon interpreted the sign.
- In the third sign of John 5:1-9, the healing of the paralytic on the Sabbath opened the way for a message on His deity as: the final judge of all who ever have lived or will lives.
- The feeding of the 5,000 (John 6:1-14) led naturally into a sermon on the Bread of Life. Whereas the first three Gospels major on describing events of this miraculous feeding, John emphasized the meaning of this event. This is why although all four Gospels record the feeding of the 5,000 but only John records Jesus’ sermon on “The Bread of Life” which followed that miracle. Jesus pointed to the deeper meaning of this miracle when He interpreted it for the people.
- Now, as we look at the sixth sign miracle in John 9:1-7, we see that the rejection of the healed blind man by his community in (9:34) was a perfect lead in for Christ to teach the sermon on the Good Shepherd who never casts anyone out (chap. 10).
God often uses vivid pictures most of us can relate to as teaching points. For example, the idea of spiritual blindness and being unsaved are often linked.
One of the most vivid descriptions of salvation is God turning us from spiritual darkness and blindness into being able to see and follow Christ.
There are Two Types of People Alive Today:
Spiritually Blind & Spiritually Seeing
The world according to Jesus is divided into two groups:
o Those that are in darkness, the spiritually blind and
o Those that have sight, the spiritually seeing.
There are only two kinds of people. There’s no half sight. There are no partially blind. You either see or you are totally blind. As the country preacher put it once, “ there’s only two kinds of people in the world, the saints and the aints, and that’s all!”
Miracle of Salvation
These seven signs are all about salvation and having life in Christ. Our passage we will study today contains the sixth sign, and introduces us to this amazing mighty miracle God performs in us called salvation.
In the story surrounding Christ’s birth we find lost and helpless sinners described as sitting in the dark, and blind in Luke 1:78-79.
In Isaiah 33:17 is one of the most beautiful promises of salvation is that when we get saved, our eyes are opened to see our King in His beauty.
In Acts 26:18 Paul hears Jesus explain that the very first step in salvation is when God opens our eyes.
The Sixth Sign Miracle in John 9
Healing the Man Born Blind
So as we open to John chapter 9 we open to the 6th of the 7 special sign miracles. At the end of chapter 8 they are trying to stone Christ to death. Chapter 9 open right after that as Jesus passed by the entrance to the Temple, He sees this particular blind man. And then one of the greatest miracles in all of the scriptures happens. He heals him. That’s the story. What is the message? After healing his eyesight, Jesus heals his soul.
Salvation is when we go from Sightlessness
To Seeing Christ (John 9:35-41)
14. In John 9: A believer in the Gospel according to Jesus is someone who worships Christ as their sight-giver.
John 9:35,38-39,41 Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said to him, “Do you believe in the Son of God?” 38 Then he said, “Lord, I believe!” And he worshiped Him.39 And Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.” 41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, ‘We see.’ Therefore your sin remains.
Remember we learned that each of these 7 sign miracles is Christ is presenting Himself as God in human flesh. He’s presenting Himself as the Messiah, the Savior of the world, God incarnate. And this is the burden of John’s message. This is what John the Apostle is doing in this whole gospel. He is presenting the deity of Jesus Christ. On every page it is Christ is God, Christ is God, Christ is God, Christ is God relentlessly, tirelessly, constantly.
This Miracle Portrays the
Grace of God in Salvation
And remember that Isaiah prophesied that Messiah would give sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, speech to the dumb, and healing to the lame (Isa. 29:18; 32:3; 35:5–6). When John’s disciples came to inquire of Jesus, He reminded them of these prophecies and applied them to Himself (Matt. 11:4–5). The miracles that Jesus performed were attestations to His deity. But to really grasp the wonder of this miracle make some observations:
o That blind man couldn’t have seen Jesus. No way, couldn’t see Him. He wouldn’t have known if Jesus had walked right by him. Wouldn’t have had any idea about it.
o God’s grace dominates this whole miracle. It isn’t this man running to Jesus saying, “Oh! Heal me, heal me!” No, Jesus saw him, and see that’s the way grace is, isn’t it?
o It’s Christ seeking us. We could not see Him except He saw us. We all born blind, we’re absolutely blind. We have no capacity to see God. We have no capacity to see Jesus Christ. We are incapacitated, we are stone blind, spiritually speaking. We can’t see.
Jesus Had Time for
This Blind Man
Now here is the most precious, striking, and beautiful truth from this whole account – Jesus had time for this blind man. Remember the circumstance?
o Jesus is running for His life. Running to get away from being stoned. at the end of the last chapter (John 8:59). But Jesus never too busy to stop, to gather up a blind sinner, and bring him along.
o That should remind us of Jesus on the cross. Jesus was dying on the cross, bearing the sins of the world, the whole sin of the world, on the sinless Son of God. Talk about problems. Talk about the guilt, the shame. And so unoccupied with His own problems, that He was hanging there on a cross, gathering into His arms a dying thief to carry along to paradise with Him that same day. That’s always the way Jesus is, isn’t it? Always concerned about the one who needs.
When Jesus explains salvation to us, it is always about:
Our Inability &
First, this man born blind is as good an illustration of sin as there is anywhere in the New Testament. Because it’s that character of blindness that makes total incapacity to see that so aptly describes spiritual blindness.
We cannot recognize God; we cannot recognize truth; we cannot recognize Christ. We are blind to spiritual reality.
We did not seek Him. He sought us.
We had no capacity to even behold His glory. He had to reveal it to us by His own touch.
That’s how grace works. Lost man, blind, sees no God, sees no Christ, sees no truth, sees no love, sees no anything and Jesus comes along and looks at that blind man with compassion in His heart, with love in His heart, comes over, offers grace and spiritual life and light to that man and that’s sovereign grace. He must give sight for we could not see Him in our sinfulness.
Salvation is Beautifully
Portrayed by This Miracle
Secondly the way Jesus healed this blind beggar demonstrates how we are saved.
Jesus found the blind beggar: that’s an illustration of grace. Jesus had every reason to pass by this blind man. It was the Sabbath and Jesus needed to rest (v. 14). The disciples could only speculate about why the man was blind, but Jesus could do something for the man. Jesus came to seek and save the lost, and He does.
Jesus made the blind beggar want to be clean: that’s an illustration of conviction. Even the smallest speck of dirt irritates our eyes; can you imagine how a hand full of clay, pushed into his eyes must have felt? But the dirt irritating his eyes prompted him to go wash. That’s what happens when God’s Word is preached: it irritates the souls of sinners with God’s conviction so that they want to do something about their sins. (as we can see in Acts 2:37.)
Jesus created sight for this the blind beggar: that’s an illustration of regeneration. The man proved his faith in Christ by being obedient to the Word. “Religion” today only offers substitutes for salvation, but Jesus Christ alone can deliver anyone from the blackness of sin and the horrors of hell.
What a Savior
Well that is our Savior.
He perfectly illustrates grace. He perfectly illustrates conviction. He perfectly illustrates regeneration.
He comes looking for us because we are blind and can’t see Him.
He makes time to find us in our darkness of sin.
He causes us to become sick of our sin, and then offers Himself as our only hope.
Then He reaches out, touches us, and makes us see.
That makes me think of the words of that old hymn: Hallelujah what a Savior (#175).
P.P. Bliss wrote these words in 1875 just before his death. He sang it first at the State Prison in Jackson, Michigan. Many of those prisoners later testified it was at that meeting they surrendered to Christ and were saved. Christ opened their eyes and set them free and became their great Savior.
Why not join me in thanking Jesus for being such a Great Savior.
Man of Sorrows! what a name
For the Son of God, who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
In my place condemned He stood;
Sealed my pardon with His blood.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Guilty, vile, and helpless we;
Spotless Lamb of God was He;
“Full atonement!” can it be?
Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Lifted up was He to die;
“It is finished!” was His cry;
Now in Heav’n exalted high.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!
When He comes, our glorious King,
All His ransomed home to bring,
Then anew His song we’ll sing:
Hallelujah! What a Savior!
 Quoted from Wiersbe, Warren W., The Bible Exposition Commentary, (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books) 1997.
 Warren W. Wiersbe, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines on the New Testament, (Wheaton, Illinois: Victor Books) 1992.
 From a transcript of John MacArthur tape GC 1525 JESUS OPENS BLIND EYES” John 9:1‑12.