“NEW SIGHT” JOHN 9
WHAT HAVE YOU NOTICED TODAY? FLOWERS…SUNSHINE…RAIN…SMILE OF A CHILD…WARM GLANCE OF A FRIEND…THE GIFT OF SIGHT.
We know more than ever about sight…We know a part of sight is learned…babies and colors…learning shapes and faces…at one point we thought that doing surgery on adults born blind to help them…well it is too late because they couldn’t learn and change…the mind is an amazing thing. Argus II…a pair of shades with a small camera…sends visual information to electrodes in the eye…people have benefited from the new technology…helps them gets shades and maybe some forms…it is a far cry from Jesus spitting into some dirt and covering your eyes and telling you to go wash it off…but still far less effective. Our technology still doesn’t hold a candle to the Light of Jesus…But again He is the Light of the world.
THE COMPASSION OF JESUS. Jesus knew just how important the gift of sight is…And when Iread the miracle stories of Our Lord I am constantly touched by the compassion of our master. Can you not since the joy the blind man must have felt when he first gained sight. He had been blind from birth….and there in the water…maybe he went all the way into the water and went under and immersed himself and washed away the mud, the dirt, the covering over his eye…and rose out of the water and saw, and saw clearly for the first time and there was joy in his heart…once I was blind but now I see…I love this story…the blind man experiences the touch of Jesus and he sees, he believes…he is a wonderful testimony of faith. What a blessing to be touched by Jesus.
Well you might be thinking yeah but he was born blind…what about all of those years of blindness? And you might be thinking…well He got touched by Jesus but what about all of those people are not healed? Why do people have to suffer? That was the question the disciples asked…surely someone must have sinned for this blindness to have happened…from birth…was it the sin of the blind man of the sins of his parents? The question of suffering…theodicy. Well clearly sometimes our own sins immobilize us, paralyze us, blind us…sometimes our own sins engulf us….but just because someone has a disability it doesn’t mean that someone was in sin…truth is we are all in sin. Why is there suffering? Clearly the Word speaks of sin being behind sickness and death…but why do some experience some suffering and not others?
If there is a God why is there suffering? Why is there beauty with no God? Why evil with a God? Why all of the incredible joy…no God? These two questions can butt heads with other and probably will until the end of time…the real question is what will you do with your own life…what will you do with the opportunities you have today…and for the rest of your life? Will you see life as a gift…or curse life because somehow some way you feel slighted…
The other day I heard the story of William Frey, a retired now Presbyterian bishop from Colorado. When he was younger he had volunteered to read to a blind degree student named John. One day he had built a relationship with John and so they talked about his blindness. John lost his sight in a chemical explosion when he was 13. He said that he felt like his life was over…he rarely left his room…his parents brought him meals and he just stayed primarily in his room for about 6 months. Then one day his father walked into the room and said to him…John winter is coming and it has been your job for years to put up the window coverings outside of the house…it is still your responsibility and I want them put up today…I expect them to up when I get home…and John said he stormed out of his room and slammed his door. John said He sat there and thought..well doesn’t he know I’m blind…and then he thought well you know if I fall off the ladder I might be paralyzed and blind…but the longer he sat there the madder he got at his dad and so he decided to go and do it and if he screwed it up…well he screwed it up and so he got off his chair…and found his way to the garage…and fumbled around finding the right tools and the ladder and he went and felt his way through the project…he managed somehow to get those covers up…later he realized that his father had not been far off watching all the while.
When bad things happen do we go through the rest of our lives bitterly asking why did this have to happen? Who sinned , the man or his parents?
Jesus said, neither…this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. Seriously? Really Jesus? The first time I read that I remember thinking…seriously? A guy was born blind and went through countless struggles so that years later you could trot into his life and spit on the ground and make a mud pack? Seriously? That stinks Jesus. No that is our distorted thinking.
Seriously! This man had the opportunity to live and to give glory to God…to be aware of his blessings and to daily glorify the Lord.
And he had the opportunity to see Jesus-one of the first people he saw physically was Jesus. And he was able to say Jesus is the light of my life…and all of us have the opportunity to say…Jesus is the light of my life. All of us have the opportunity to do the work of God so that God might be displayed, so that Christ might shine in our lives.
2. COMPASSION…I marvel at the compassion of our Savior. When I read the stories of the bible I am struck at the vision of our Lord. He was just one human person in human flesh…yet He was so perceptive…He had such great vision. He saw the man born blind and waited for the disciples to see him and to respond. He so often took time…he celebrated with the newly married couple and turned the water into wine, he saw the pain in the official and healed his son, He saw the paralysis of the man by the pool and had compassion and helped the man take responsibility…He saw the hunger in the multitudes and had compassion…he saw the fear in the eyes of the disciples and calmed the waters…Jesus had compassion. Oh how He loves us.
I am amazed at how the miracle stories vary…how Jesus varied in His responses…even in the miracle stories of healing the blind…there is one miracle story where Jesus heals a blind man by touching His eyes…and he asks how is your seeing…I see…but people look like trees…and He gave Him a second touch…the learning of the eyes of modern science? He touched people and dealt with people to help them grow and find faith…In the story today he took some earth, and added his spittle and mixed it up and placed it on the blind man’s eyes and told him to go and wash it off…at Siloam’s pool. Using spittle was a common practice of that day…mixing it with the earth and telling him to go and wash it off is ..do probably an act of faith…the early Church for years taught this passage on a baptismal Sunday.
3. Compassion. Have you experienced the compassion of the Savior? In your seeing, have you seen the compassion of Jesus in your life? Contemplate such thoughts. I revel, I praise God for His compassion in sending us Jesus Christ…oh how He loves us.
Jesus-this happened to the blind man so that the work of God may be displayed in his life; As long as it is day…hear this WE must do the work of Him who sent me. Jesus waited for the disciples to see the blind man…to question Lord what is going on here…to participate in the Master’s healing.
In other places Jesus will say I and the Father are one…I have been called to do my Father’s work…here WE must do the work of Him who sent me.
I marvel at the compassion of the Savior. And I marvel at the compassion of those who have truly been with Jesus. WE must do the work of Him who sent me.
Years ago Dan Rather wrote a little book…The Camera Never Blinks. In it he spoke of amazing moments of his life as a reporter. One chapter he spoke of being at a National Convention…and he had the opportunity to speak for a few moments in the midst of the crowd with Dr. Martin Luther King. Rather made a comment in that book that has stayed with me. He said that Dr. King in the midst of that auditorium and in the midst of being around thousands of people had the incredible gift of focusing on Dan…Dan said I felt like I was alone with him…that I had his full attention and he had all the time in the world for me. He was focused. Compassionate strength. You see Dr. King had learned something at the feet of Jesus…We must do the work of Him who sent me. AS long as it is day…do the work. Do the work of compassion.
When you learn of Jesus…when you are touched by Jesus…you learn compassion. IN MORE JESUS, LESS RELIGION…Steve Arterburn writes…about the work of a Wycliffe Bible translator in a remote village in Papua New Guinea…when the opening chapter of Genesis were first translated into the native language, the attitude toward women in the tribe changed overnight. They had not realized or understood that the woman had been specially formed out of the side of the man. Without even hearing this concept developed, these people immediately grasped the idea of equality between the sexes and began adjusting their behavior. The people heard. They believed. They obeyed. They changed. Just like that. That change doesn’t mean everyone in the tribe immediately came to faith in Christ. While they immediately recognized the respect God has for both men and women, the member of this tribe had there own hard to abandon gods and superstition. One of their practices was to spit on the wounds of the sick. Their medicine men were known as spitters…they did not want someone like Jesus to take away their status in the village. However, their attitude changed as more of the bible was translated into the tribe’s dialect. When translators read the passage where Jesus cured a blind man in the most unusual way, the medicine men pricked up their ears. The Master spit on the ground, made a paste of mud, put it on the eyelids, told him to wash it off…and the man was healed…when the tribesman heard this they found one of their own…a Savior who also a spitter. And they came to the Lord because of this simple connection.
Jesus did the work of compassion…HE saw the blind man and waited for the disciples to get on board and in compassion he heals. And the scripture says…it was the Sabbath. And by this time Jesus knew that the religious leaders would give Him grief about healing on the Sabbath…you can almost feel…geez here we go again. Jesus healed on the Sabbath…He went ahead and had compassion for the man…and that challenged the uptight out of sight self righteous Pharisees. Keep the Sabbath holy…they had built a hedge around the law…39 prohibitions for the Sabbath…Jesus actually broke three of them…
-Kneading…mixing of the spittle and the earth…kneading. –anointing the eyes…not on the Sabbath…it can wait till tomorrow…-healing on the Sabbath…if it can wait…wait…apparently Jesus couldn’t wait.
Night is coming when no one can work…I am the light of the world.
Jesus was compassion…
This story….increasing insight/hardening blindness.
The blind man…
Jesus comes upon Him…puts mud packs on his eyes…tells him to go to the pool. He does…he sees.
Pharisee question him…what happened…he tells them…what do you have to say about Him-prophet.
The Pharisees call his parents…what happened? Why don’t you ask him…he is of age.
They question him a second time…this time more abusive…the man…do you wish to become a disciple as well.
All I know…once I was blind, now I see…
Jesus finds him…do you believe in the son of man…who is this man…Jesus…you now see Him…lord I believe…and he praised and worshipped the Lord…
His eyes were opened in faith.
IN the midst of compassion and healing is also judgment…as the blind man’s eyes were opened so the Pharisees eyes were increasingly closed.
Talked to man….talked to parents…talked to man again…they weren’t listening…the compassion of listening.
Jesus: God so loved the world He gave His only Son…whoever believes will not perish, but have eternal life…For God did not come into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him…not condemned…who doesn’t believe condemned already…this is the verdict…Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness rather than the light…because their deeds are evil…Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. Whoever lives by the truth, comes to the light…
JESUS: IF YOU WERE BLIND, YOU WOULD NOT BE GUILT OF SIN…YOU CLAIM TO SEE…YOUR GUILT REMAINS.
PEOPLE: DO NOT GO THROUGH LIFE BLIND.
-ACCEPT THE LIGHT
-ALLOW HIS TRUTH TO OPEN OUR EYES AND MAKE US MORE AND MORE CELEBRATE HIS GRACE.
-CELEBRATE IN THE BEAUTY OF THE LORD
-PRACTICE COMPASSION…PARTICIPATE IN THE WORK OF THE FATHER…
-SO MUCH FEAR, JUDGMENT, HOSTILITY…PERFECT LOVE CASTS OUT FEAR.