The New Testament Miracle that Reversed an Old Testament Curse

Guest-blog post from Dr. Matt Williams of the Deeper Connections DVD Bible Studies

Jesus heals a blind man in John chapter nine. To most of us, this seems like a pretty cool miracle, and it is, but there is so much more behind this miracle that we miss because we do not understand the first century context. When we take the time to learn this historical context, the passage pops!

Blindness in first century Judaism was just slightly better than death. In Jesus’s day, blindness was seen as a punishment for sin. This was taken from OT passages such as Deuteronomy 28, where the Lord warns the Jewish people that he will bring curses upon them if they are disobedient: “The LORD will afflict you with madness, blindness and confusion of mind. At midday, you will grope about like a blind person in the dark” (Deut 28:28-29). Healing the blind man shows us that Jesus is reversing the curses of the Old Testament. He is fulfilling the Old Testament prophecies that when the Messiah comes to save us, the blind will see (see Isaiah 35). Healing the blind is a sign that our Messiah has come.

Another interesting background is that this miracle continues the theme of John 8, where Jesus says, “I am the light of the world.” The context of this statement is the Jewish feast of Tabernacles, where, at night, they would light huge fires in the temple courts and dance. It was a night like no other: when night time was as bright as day time. This was a special day in a context with no electricity. Into that context, Jesus declares himself the “light of the world,” the One who lights our path to the only true God, the One who takes darkness away from our lives, the One who lights our way to true life.

And Jesus only asks for one thing from the blind man…and from us today: to recognize who he is and have faith in him. Jesus asks the blind man (John 9:35-38),

Do you believe in the Son of Man?”

Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.”

Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.”

Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.

Those who believe in Jesus not only gain sight, but their entire life is illumined from within.

Dr. Matt Williams, Biola University — the associate professor of New Testament at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, La Mirada, California. A former missionary to Spain, Matt preaches and teaches at churches throughout the United States and Spain. He is general editor of Colección Teológica Contemporánea, a series of theological books in Spanish, and is the author of two books on the Gospels. Click here to learn more about Dr. Williams’ new DVD Series The Forgiveness of Jesus DVD Bible Study.

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Unlike other DVD studies available, this visually-stunning DVD study is written and taught by 6 biblical experts with specialized areas of knowledge who add a fresh perspective to well-known parables and miracles of Jesus, including Jesus healing the paralytic; dining with sinners; the restoration of Peter; the Parable of the Prodigal Son, and more!

Each session begins with a brief introduction from Israel that provides insight into each story’s cultural setting and is then shot from a variety of relevant locations that add depth to the teaching, including Arizona’s slot canyons, Glen Eyrie Castle, Lake Pleasant, and more. The diverse settings become a backdrop to the teaching, deepening your understanding of each miracle.

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Many of Jesus’ greatest teachings on forgiveness occur while he’s healing someone or even breaking cultural expectations. The crowds were amazed by his power to heal. But Jesus was showing them a greater truth— the power of forgiveness.

Session Overview—

  • The Forgiving Father: Parable of the Prodigal Son
  • Two Aspects of Healing: Jesus Forgives the Paralytic
  • Spiritual Sight: Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind
  • Hope for Sinners: Jesus’ Dinner Invitation
  • A Second Chance: Jesus Restores Peter
  • Released to Forgive: Jesus Heals a Woman on Sabbath

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“Taught by seasoned scholars and teachers of the New Testament, this series of videos will help you grow in your understanding of God’s Word, find faithful applications of the text in life, and come to know Jesus better. I gladly recommend it.” — Kenneth Berding, Ph.D., Professor, Talbot School of Theology at Biola University
“With introductions to each lesson set on location in Israel, these videos provide viewers the physical, historical, and cultural context in which to understand Jesus’ teachings about God’s forgiveness as they would originally have been heard… Each lesson is articulate, insightful, and personal, allowing Jesus to speak compellingly to us today. I enthusiastically recommend this series.”— Dr. Jon Lunde, New Testament professor, Talbot School of Theology, Biola University

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Plus! Optional participant guides are available! Perfect for personal study, church small group, or Sunday school! Click here for more information.

4 Key Features of the Forgiveness of Jesus DVD Study

  1. Engaging Footage of Israel—Begins with a short journey through the places Jesus walked to help you experience the historical context like never before. Travel to relevant locations, such as: Western Wall, the Sea of Galilee; Capernaum; the area of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem; and much more!
  2. Solid and Easy-to-Understand Teaching — Imagine being able to sit down with some of today’s top scholars and hear their insight. Features experts from Wheaton College, Biola University, Talbot School of Theology, and Dallas Theological Seminary.
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“Matt Williams brings a unique combination of trustworthy biblical scholarship, decades of teaching experience, and absolutely engaging communication skills. The Forgiveness of Jesus is sure to invite you and your group on an adventure of mind, heart, and Christ-following community.” — Dr. James Petitfils, Pastor and Bible professor
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Find Out Fascinating Facts That Will Add Depth To Your Understanding

Find out fascinating facts as you get a solid overview of the miracles of Jesus. Enjoy learning important background information, cultural context, and incredible insight, including:

  • In the Parable of the Prodigal Son, it was incredibly shameful in Jewish culture for the father to run because in order to do so, he had to lift his floor-length robes and expose his bare legs.
  • Tax collectors (known as tax farmers) actually bought the right to become a tax collector. They could set the “tax rates” for those in their region to whatever they wanted. They were hated because of this.
  • The Dead Sea is the lowest place on Earth. It’s salt content is so high you can’t even swim in it; you can only float.
  • In first-century Jewish society, to eat with sinners also meant to refrain from condemning them.

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