Lent 3, 2008
John 9:13-17, 34-39
“Blinded by the Light?”
Grace, mercy, and peace be to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
Yesterday, as I was walking back to the house from church, I was blinded by the sun and the sun’s reflection off the snow. It wasn’t until I got closer to the house and in the shade that I could finally open my eyes again and see. Very often the Sun and its reflection are so bright that they blind us and we either close our eyes, squint or put sunglasses on so that we can see. In John 7–8, Jesus is teaching in the temple. He shines as the light of the world (8:12) by his teaching, yet the Jews purposely close their eyes. They reject Jesus to the point of attempting to stone him (8:59). Leaving the temple unharmed, Jesus passes by a man blind from birth in the text for this Sunday.
Jesus leaves the Pharisees, religious leaders of Israel, who shut their eyes to whom Jesus was and what He came to do and finds a man born blind; a man who could not open his eyes to see. Jesus heals the vision of this man in more ways than one. But when the Pharisees heard about this they became upset; they had to discredit this Jesus. In order to do this they sent for the alleged blind man.
“They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind. Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man's eyes was a Sabbath. Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. "He put mud on my eyes," the man replied, "and I washed, and now I see.” (John 9:13-15)
The blind man had been healed. I think it’s fair to assume that the blind man wanted to be healed but was not expecting to be healed when he was. Of course after he was healed he must have been amazed with everything he could see. All of the sudden he was called in to speak with the Pharisees. He had done nothing wrong…what did they want with him? He quickly learned…they wanted facts and details of what “really” took place between Jesus and himself. So he told them.
The Pharisees just didn’t want to believe that Jesus really was the Messiah; the Son of God. There had to be something about him…something impure. “Some of the Pharisees said, "This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath." But others asked, "How can a sinner do such miraculous signs?" So they were divided.” (John 9:16)
The Pharisees just didn’t want to believe. Some made claims against him but they just didn’t stand up to the evidence at hand. He just couldn’t be the Christ. “Finally they turned again to the blind man, "What have you to say about him? It was your eyes he opened." The man replied, "He is a prophet.” (John 9:17)
At least the man didn’t say he was the Messiah. But the Pharisees still didn’t believe him. In verses 18-33 of John’s Gospel that are not included in our text we learn that the Pharisees called in the man’s parents to testify if this was indeed their child and if he actually was born blind. Yet the Pharisees still were not satisfied and called the blind man back and asked again what Jesus had done to heal him. So the man told them once again that “He put mud on my eyes, and I washed, and now I see.”
This infuriated the Pharisees. They mocked, insulted him, and said “You are this fellow's disciple! We are disciples of Moses! We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don't even know where he comes from.” (John 9:28-29)
“The man answered, "Now that is remarkable! You don't know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly man who does his will. Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing." To this they replied, "You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!" And they threw him out.” (John 9:30-34)
How cold the Pharisees truly were. They had closed their eyes to the Lord. They held on to their own false beliefs. They insulted this poor man whom they viewed as worthless and a lying disciple of the blasphemous Jesus. They couldn’t leave well alone and blamed the man for his own blindness. It must have been depressing to have your own leaders say such horrible things.
“Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, "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. Jesus said, "For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” (John 9:35-39)
Jesus sought the once blind man out. After all that had happened this man still sought His Lord and Savior. Jesus came to him to confirm the faith given to him. Jesus had healed the man’s physical blindness but more importantly healed the blindness of his soul. Jesus sought the man out to comfort him and to strengthen his faith. Such love and compassion that only our Lord could give.
In baptism we who were blind were given sight; we were given faith in Christ Jesus as our Lord. In this world our faith is constantly being attacked as well as Jesus himself. There are many that deny the miracles of Jesus ever taking place. There are still others that give Jesus credit but only as a miracle worker. Even Christians have doubts about Jesus and what He does.
Yes, Jesus performed many miracles but he wasn’t just a “miracle worker” he was and is the only begotten Son of God. Jesus comes this very day to seek you out of the misery of this world. He comes in the Word and in His very body and blood. He comes to offer you forgiveness, comfort, and strength to make it through this sinful world. And we surely need it as often as we can get it!
We need forgiveness because we often stumble and fall; we act like the Pharisees denying God’s role in our life. We need comfort and strength because the world is constantly attacking our very faith. There are many Christians that grow weary of these attacks and fall away from God’s truth. There are many Christians that are convinced that God’s Word isn’t always correct and pick and choose what they believe from Scripture.
There are many Christians that want to judge who should be saved and given faith. God’s Word is truth. No matter how hard it may be we must share that with others around us. I had the difficult task during this past week to share God’s truth. I had no idea what was going on but I somehow found myself in the middle of the abortion debate. I was speaking to a fellow Lutheran, although not a member of either Christ or Zion, as well as another Christian.
Their opinion was that abortion should be left up to be the woman’s choice. I asked them what Jesus would do today with that question. I was told, and I pray that they were joking, that Jesus would have an abortion if He knew that the child would be born with some kind of disease, sickness or disability. I shared the fact that “God loves life” and that abortion was sin according to God’s Word. They just said “choice” was their opinion and that would never change.
God’s Word is truth. Jesus came to give faith to a man that was born blind; a man that some would say should have been aborted. Jesus came to die for every person in this world regardless of what they might be born with disease, sickness, or disability. Jesus came that all may have life. God loved us all and sent His Son to die on the cross for people that were born with the disease of sin. All have been born with this disease. Yet out of love Jesus died for each of you.
Through the work of the Holy Spirit in each of you believers you are able to share your faith; to share God’s Word of truth with others; to be beacons of light in this dark world. You have been forgiven. You have been promised life eternal in heaven as children and heirs of our Heavenly King. Share the wonderful truth that God loves YOU! Amen.
Now may the peace of God which passes all human understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. Amen.