The following images will walk through John 9:1-10:21. This is the text from the Narrative Lectionary for this coming weekend. It tells the story of the sign Jesus gave by healing the man born blind. This sign points to the fact that Jesus is the Light of the World, the Gate for the Sheep, and the Shepherd whose voice the Sheep know and follow. Feel free to use these images in your teaching and preaching.
Jesus is the living water, and his spit turns dirt into life-giving mud. The blind man first hears Jesus’ voice, then obeys by washing in the pool of Siloam. Now he can see who has healed him. This is one of Jesus’ signs.
Jesus claims that he is the light of the world. This is not the first time he has claimed this (see John 8:12).
John 9:8-40 records the dialogue that follows and surrounds the sign. The religious leaders are upset that Jesus performs this sign on the Sabbath day. The interrogate the man and his parents. The parents hide in the shadow of fear. The man boldly testifies to what Jesus has done. The leaders can only see him as a sinner and cast him out.
Jesus demonstrates in John 9:35-41 that his Kingdom continually brings the great reversal. The people who think they can see (the religious leaders) are actually blind and the ones who are physically blind (or outcast in any societal way) are the ones who can actually see the truth.
Here is where many preachers and lectionaries make a mistake. John 9:41-10:21 are not a new pericope in which Jesus uses the Gate and Shepherd metaphor. These verses are actually the discourse that Jesus gives to explain the sign.
He is the Gate that leads to abundant life. The false teachers are thieves that jump the fence and miss the point. The sheep don’t listen to them.
Jesus is not only the Gate, but he is also the shepherd. The Shepherd will lay down his life for the sheep. The Sheep know the shepherds voice and they follow him.
This sign, dialogue, and discourse is about how those who believe in Jesus are those who see him for who he is, hear his voice, and live in relationship with God through him.
The conlcusion in John 10:19-21 demonstrates how the leaders are now divided over Jesus. Some think he is a demon and needs to die. Others wonder whether he is a voice worth hearing.
Here is another way to “see” it.