Evangelical Community Chapel at Liberal: a Molalla, Oregon Church

Molalla, Oregon

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Man Born Blind

September 27th, 2009 by Vic

John 9

In John’s gospel we only have 7 miracles before the crucifixion of Jesus.  First in the context of a joyful wedding feast, the water was changed to wine and Jesus was revealed as the provider of lasting joy.  The water heard the will of Jesus.

The royal official’s son was the second miracle.  This important man who could speak with authority, met Jesus.  Jesus spoke with an authority not limited by distance.  Jesus spoke and the son was healed miles away.

The cripple by the pool was the third miracle.  Jesus comes to those not seeking Him.  Jesus revealed himself as the Son of God who does not quit working because of men’s holidays and festivals.

The feeding of the 5,000 men was the fourth miracle.  Jesus was revealed as the Bread of Life.

The calming of the storm was the fifth miracle.  Jesus revealed himself as the “I Am” the presence of God.  His presence is all we need in life’s storms.

Today we will look at the sixth miracle.  It is recorded in chapter 9.  This is the only miracle in the NT that the person has suffered from birth.  Jesus never uses the same method for any 2 miracles.  There is no magic in the methods.  You will not find a formula to perform miracles.  John never talks about the faith of man doing the healing.

The Jews commonly felt that all sickness and disease was caused by sin.  We think like that.  We assume there is a cause and effect for everything.  Those who do right will be rewarded; those who do wrong will be punished.  Any personal disaster was evidence of sin and prosperity was a sign of God’s approval.  So this man today who was blind from birth could have sinned in the womb according to the Jews.  The Jews considered themselves as scholars.  They had everything worked out.  They had an answer for everything.  They assumed their theology and rituals were a direct gift from God.

A miracle scrambles their logic.  A man born blind receives his sight on the Sabbath.  Jesus reveals Himself as the Light of the world, but the theologians and scholars could not see.  What did light mean to this blind man?  What were some of the things he wanted to see for the first time?  What does the Light of Jesus mean to you?  What could the Light of Jesus mean to you?  The same light can soften wax and harden clay.

READ John 9

9:1  Jesus did not organize any hunger aid programs for the poor in Jerusalem.  He did not lobby legislature for the unborn child.  He did not fight against slavery.  He started no hospitals or orphanages.  He did not do the talk show circuit.  But “as He passed by,” He assumed it was a Divine appointment.  He saw the need as an opportunity to do the will of God.  Ephesians 2:10 tells us that God has planned before you were born, every good work that you will ever do.  In the routines of life, Jesus knew that every situation was a divine appointment.  How do you respond when you see a need?  Do you assume every situation is an opportunity to bring glory to God?  Do you see every event as a Divine appointment?  Do you assume that this may be a good deed that God has planned for you to do?  As you pass by this life, follow Jesus’ example, fear God and do good.

It seems more natural to think that every situation in my life is about me.  I assume this is my life.  I assume this is a problem I need to figure out.  But this is not my story.

Notice how Jesus says life is not about you.  It is all about God.  We are part of His story.

9:2  The disciples ask an honest question.  Maybe they were really wondering if all suffering was due to sin.  Maybe they were trying to be scholarly like the Jews and impress Jesus.  Maybe they were not thinking but just rambling like some of our questions.  It is easier to ask questions, do studies, and research than to exercise your faithing kind of love.

We ask a lot of unanswerable questions and the Lord is trying to teach us to trust Him.  What if I lose my job?  What if I fail the exam?  What if I am bed ridden?  We consider a lot of “if onlys”.  Do what you can and trust God.  Jesus says whatever happens, God can be glorified.  Just trust God.  It is so easy and yet so hard.

Jesus saw a needy man that God gave Him to love.  The disciples saw a theological problem.  Jesus saw God’s plan.  This was one of God’s opportunities to do good.  Jesus had compassion.  The disciples had curiosity.  There is no hint of love in their question.  They want to make a judgment.  They want to fit this person in a category and label him.   Love is not something you say but a demonstration that you care and accept the person just as he is, not how he ought to be

This morning I want you to imagine yourself as the blind man.  Your hearing is very sharp.  You have learned to read the hearts of men by their step and the tone of their voices.  You’ve learned to hear a lot that is not said.  What did you feel as Jesus passed by?  How close was He?  What do you feel when you hear the disciple’s question?  They are talking as if you’re deaf too.  Just because you can’t see does not mean you are stupid.

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to question the cause of someone’s calamity and how hard it is to contribute to the cure?  How did you ever get yourself into that mess?  Why did you do that stupid thing?  Why don’t you shape up?  Those questions are easier to ask than, “How can I help?”  It takes no effort to criticize.  The world does not need more critics.  It needs more lovers.

You can tell when people are asking out of love or asking out of judgment.  The disciples were asking so they would not have to do something.  It is easier to form a committee than to do good as you pass by.  It is safer talking than touching.  But Jesus says for those following Him every situation is a divine appointment.  Can’t you see?  Life is His story.  God is in control.  He is wanting to bless us.

9:3  Jesus does not blame anyone.  We don’t need all the answers.  It isn’t our story.  He simply sees an opportunity to do good and glorify God.

Was the blind man expecting Jesus to condemn him?  Hadn’t everybody tried to blame his blindness on something?  Everyone had looked for a cause.  What did he feel when he heard Jesus speak?

9:4-5  When we pass by a needy person we can do the work of God or fail to do the work of God.  Theological discussions are not the work of God.  John 6:29 said the work of God is to believe in the reality of the spiritual.  Believe that Jesus is God and has brought us into the kingdom of God.

You are the blind man again.  You have been blind from birth.  What does it mean to you when Jesus says, “I am the light of the world”?  What would light mean to you?  Warmth.  There is something more to life than what I am experiencing.  I lack the light of the world.  A different world.  It reveals a different way of life.  Light allows people to avoid tripping and falling.  Light gives dimension and beauty to life.  In chapter 8, light was the focus of celebration.  Here in 9, light is a whole new way of life.

Today Jesus says to all, “I am the light of the world.”  What does that mean to the one who is spiritually blind?  Do you feel warmth?  Do you really think you are seeing everything?  A different world.  Maybe love.  Jesus is what I am missing.  His light shows me a new world.

This blind man says nothing, but his thoughts are spinning.

9:6-7  Jesus used a common medical practice.  The spit of a person fasting or a prophet had even more power than a normal person.  Jesus healed within the customs and common assumptions of that day.  Our scientists would look for the active ingredient in the clay and spit.  They would assume the word itself could not heal.  We would figure out the healing agent and market it.

Jesus was the one Sent by God.  The name of the pool could mean sent one.  The pool was the one sent by Hezekiah from the Virgin’s Spring.  The sent water facilitated the healing.  Jesus is the sent water, the living water.  The blind man was sent by the Sent of God to the Sent water.  John was using a play on words.  The pool was fed by a spring through a tunnel under the city walls.

Jesus claimed to be the light of the world.  Darkness is only the absence of light.  The darkness has no power over the light.  It just appears when the lights are off.  Jesus is the Light.

As the blind man, what are you feeling when Jesus applies the clay?  What are you thinking as you stumble along to the pool?  This mud really stings.  Have you brought your lunch bucket, your wallet, and your sleeping bag?  Critics may be laughing and saying, “You are hopeless.”  Jesus has never healed this way before.  Usually when Jesus speaks, people are healed.  Usually when Jesus touches someone he is healed.  Jesus spoke to you and touched you and you were not healed.  Why are you going to this pool?  You really look foolish.  You’re a muddy mess.  No one has ever been cured of the kind of blindness you have.  There is no hope for you.  You’re making a fool of yourself… but you obey!  There is no healing outside the sphere of obedience.

The only thing you really know about light is its warmth.  You felt warmth in the touch of Jesus’ hands.  Your heart was warmed.  You are going to do what He has commanded.  Now you wash your eyes and the first thing you see is how dirty you are so you wash all over.

When your blind eyes can see, what does light mean to you now?  It is a whole new world, a whole new way of life.  A born again experience.  Your excitement is inexpressible.  You look at your parents.  You visit all your neighbors.  You can’t go to sleep because the moon and stars are so bright.  Each new color, every movement, every flower, all the relationships of things behind things.  Light is so much more than warmth.  Light is the revelation of a whole new world.  Jesus is more than a warm religious feeling.  Jesus offers you a born again experience.  You can be healed of your spiritual blindness.  Jesus says, “I am the light of the world.”  Do you want to get out of your spiritual darkness?  Come to the Light.

9:8-12  Four times in this chapter people ask, “How were you healed?”  Everyone wants to know how you were healed.  The right question is “Who” not “How”.  It is a simple exchange of letters.  In the excitement you have not had a lot of time to think about Jesus.  But to their question of “How” you state the facts as you know them, “The man called Jesus anointed me and then told me to wash.  I did what He said and received my sight.”  That is still true today if we obey.

In this brief statement you give a testimony of the authority of Jesus.  “When He spoke I obeyed and He is worthy of that obedience.”  You have not had time to think about Jesus’ statement that He is the light of the world.  You know everything has become new and the man called Jesus is responsible for the change.

9:13-23  Now you are brought to the Pharisees.  Your friends are excited for you.  Nothing like this has happened before.  Let’s get the news out.  Jesus must be the Messiah.  Let’s see what the teachers think.  You have never been permitted to come in here before.  Your handicap made you legally unclean.  Now you are asked to share your testimony.  These are the teachers you have never seen before.  These are the great scholars that everyone respects and fears.

Then you listen to these scholars debate the character of Jesus.  They were judging Him by their law.  They were confused because one breaking their law was doing good.  You listen to the debate.  You hear more Scripture quoted than you have heard all your life.  You listen intently.  You can see the anger and jealousy in the faces.   You hear the frustration in the voices.  You hear the tones and innuendoes.  You are not impressed with their logic.

After a lengthy debate they turn to you and ask, “What do you think about this one who has opened your eyes?”  They were afraid to even mention His name.  You see and hear their fear.  But just the thought of Jesus gives you the confidence to proclaim, “He is a prophet.”

These men had been quoting Scripture that the Messiah would come giving sight to the blind.  They had reviewed the history and stated that no one has ever been healed before who was blind at birth.  They knew that satan would not do good.  Their discussion has helped you understand that Jesus is definitely a prophet.  So you proclaim it with confidence.

But when you answered their question, the Pharisees did not like your answer.  They say you are in a conspiracy with Jesus.  You have never been blind.  They sent someone to get your parents to prove that you were lying.  They feared the Truth.  They wanted to discredit your testimony.  They wanted to get rid of the evidence.

You saw the fear in your parent’s eyes.  Were they going to deny your testimony?  No they confirmed that the healing had happened.

9:24  “Give glory to God” is the Jewish way of promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  It suggests you should confess your sin and stop lying.

The Jews were judging on the basis of one issue: a prophet would not break the Sabbath laws.  They were one issue thinkers.  Maybe like some Christian voters today.  God’s perspective is greater than our issues.  The Bible says, “Fear God and do good.”  That applies to persons, not issues.

Since being healed you’ve been listening and thinking.  What difference does it make if this Jesus did good on the Sabbath rather than some other day?  A great miracle has occurred and these men are debating a theological issue.  They are quoting Scripture and then ignoring other Scripture.  They are being inconsistent in their logic.

The truth begins to form in your mind.  If this man were not of God he could do nothing like this.  God must hear this man and according to the Scriptures, God does not hear bad men so Jesus cannot be bad, He must be good.  This is a miracle without parallel.

The Jews said “we know” he is a sinner so their mind was set and no evidence could change it.  They believed in the Messiah as a theological truth, but not as a personal reality.  They refused to change and obey.  Their logic had no place for Jesus as the Messiah.

9:30-34  What do intelligent people do when they lose an argument?  Criticize your morals or your family, scoff at your intelligence.  When people criticize you, what are they telling you about themselves?  I know of no statue in the world that has been erected for a critic.  Abuse, insult, and force are the weapons of the weak and reveal a bitter heart.  They reject the man and fall further into darkness.

To be put out of the temple was a serious problem.  It was suppose to mean that you were cut off from fellowship with God.  It also meant that you may not get a job.  You may not be able to buy and sell in some stores.  Being put out by the Pharisees was a serious punishment.  That is why the parents were so afraid.  How much would you give up to keep your relationship with God?  What will cause you to compromise your beliefs?

When your testimony seems to separate you from those you love, Jesus comes near.  Commitment to Truth brings you close to the Creator.  When you know you have been blind, then you can see.

9:35-41  This blind man was honest in his ignorance.  He confessed the truth he knew and more truth was revealed to him.  He gets more and more light with each step.  Are you being honest with yourself and with God?

When I was a child I bought a nice Columbia (push bike) bicycle.  I bought a basket for the front, a luggage rack and saddle bags in the back; I had a horn on it, and a light.  Do you remember the narrow road with no white lines along the edges?  You have one spot of light to follow.  If you go too slowly the bike wobbles and the light does not stay on the path you want to travel on.  Jesus is our light in the dark world.  The more we know Him the greater that Light becomes to us.  The greater the light becomes, the greater our freedom in a dark world.

Jesus has come and said, “I am the light of the world.”  Could your spiritual life be described as darkness?  Are you avoiding the light?  Is Jesus missing in your life?  Do you want to see?  You may not understand how Jesus is the light of the world, but you may sense the warmth of his love touching the eyes of your heart.  If you really want to see, if you really want to know what it means to walk in the light, you need to obey Jesus.  You need to consider that all have sinned, including you.  Jesus died for your sins.  Go to the water and wash.

Many people begin their pilgrimage to light by confessing their sin.  Others begin by making restitution.  Others begin with an intellectual study.  All begin with obedience.  God will reveal what is required of you.  You must obey.  Go wash.  Repent of your sin and follow Jesus.

When you take that first step of obedience, your world will be changed.  You will not understand everything, but as you think about Jesus, more will be revealed.  And when you find yourself separated from your friends and loved ones, Jesus will come to you and reveal Himself as the Son of God.  In that special time you may feel your knees dropping before Him.  You may feel your heart singing praise.  You may feel you eyes wet with tears.

And you will say, (9:38) “Lord I believe.”  And you too will worship Him.

This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all. (I John 1:5)  Also read I John 2:7-11.

Let Jesus turn your lights on.  Come to the Light.

Where are you in your spiritual journey?  Who is it that has touched your life?  A man (9:11),  a prophet (9:17), or Lord (9:38)?

The blind man was ready to risk everything rather than deny Jesus.  Are you?

In this chapter we see 4 groups of people who think differently.  The parent’s logic was distorted by fear.  The neighbor’s logic was distorted by excitement.  The Pharisee’s logic was distorted by jealousy.  The disciples’ logic was distorted by traditions, expectations, or scholastic theology.  The healed man’s logic was corrected by his choice to believe.

1.  The parents had never been able to take their son to the synagogue.  They needed the synagogue to have access to God.  They knew Jesus had healed their son and they were excited, but they did not want to lose their access to God.  Maybe their son would go blind again if they did not continue to worship.  They did not want to be under a curse.

2.  The neighbors were excited.  They realized that something had happened that was not of this world.  Surely their priest would be excited about this.  They wanted to be the first to tell them.

3.  The Pharisees knew that God doesn’t work on the Sabbath so Jesus was a sinner because he worked and healed on the Sabbath.  He did not take a stand against abortion.  He did not do pre-marital counseling.  They knew that God spoke to Moses.  They did not know that God was still speaking.  They could control the God of the past, but could not see that God was alive today.

4.  The disciples had a Jewish worldview that believed God was in control of every aspect of life.  God caused everything.  He was a judge who punished the wrongdoer and rewarded the good.  God as a loving father had not entered their thinking.  The Greek thinking of the day believed that everything had a cause and every cause had an effect.  Jesus said God’s ways are not our ways.  The kingdom of God is not understood by Greek logic.  Some things just are.  All things or situations are opportunities to glorify God.  Bad things happen to good people.  The rain falls on the just and the unjust.  This man is blind, but God can be glorified in that.

Jesus is with us this morning.  Do you feel the warmth?  Do you realize that life can be much greater than what you see?  Come to the Light and be healed.

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