Sermon on John 9:1-7, 13-17, 34-39
Text: As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
6 After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. 7 “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.
13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind. 14 Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man’s eyes was a Sabbath. 15 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.”
16 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 perform such signs?” So they were divided.
17 Then 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.”
34 To this they replied, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out.
35 Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
36 “Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.”
37 Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.”
38 Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.
39 Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”
Throughout the Scriptures, you find references to light and darkness, and not just physical light and physical darkness. These terms are also used to describe being with God and without God. The same holds true for seeing and being blind. At times, it means quite literally having or not having the ability to see. At other times, it means being given the ability to see with the eyes of faith and not being able to see what God places right in front of you. This morning, as we study God’s Word together, we are going to meet a man, who was blind, in both senses of the word. Yet, in the end, he is able to see. By God’s grace, we are able to see, as well. JESUS CHRIST, THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD 1. Gives Physical Sight and 2. Gives Spiritual Sight.
As Jesus and his disciples were going along, they came across a man who was born blind. His disciples asked a question. They asked, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” They wanted to know if this man was being punished for a sin that he had committed or, perhaps, he was being punished for a sin that his parents had committed. It is true that there are times when you can directly point to a circumstance and say that this is the result of a particular sin that the individual committed. Sometimes, you do have to deal with the consequences of your sins directly. However, this is not always the case. There are times when difficulties or injuries happen because of the presence of sin in the world, not just one particular sin.
Jesus replied, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” Jesus told his disciples that this man’s blindness was not the direct result of a particular sin. The suffering that this man was going through was going to give the people there an opportunity to see God’s divine purpose and work. Then we read, “he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. ‘Go,’ he told him, ‘wash in the Pool of Siloam.’” We might ask ourselves why Jesus healed this man in this way. Obviously, he could have simply spoken the words and the man would be able to see. However, we will never be able to know for sure. Perhaps, Jesus wanted to make it obvious to the man and to all, who later would try to discredit the miracle that he, Jesus, had in fact done this. What were the results? “So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.” Jesus showed his almighty power as the Son of God and he gave physical sight to this man.
Later, it was reported to the Pharisees that this man had been healed. So, the man was brought before the group and questioned repeatedly about how he had received his sight. Apparently, it was the next day when he was questioned, because it mentions that he was healed on the Sabbath and the Pharisees would not have convened a meeting on that day. When they asked the man what had happened, he very succinctly said, “He put mud on my eyes and I washed, and now I see.” This caused a division in the group. Some of them said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” Obviously, he is not a righteous man, because he did this work on the Sabbath. Of course, Jesus was not breaking any of God’s laws. Rather, these were regulations that the Pharisees had added to and put to the same level as God’s laws. Others were not so sure. They said, “How can a sinner perform such signs?” They accepted the reality of the miracle, in spite of the alleged Sabbath violations. They recognized Jesus’ power. So, which group was right? They needed to get to the bottom of this.
What we have before us is just a sampling of the questioning that went on about this incident. The Pharisees questioned the man a number of times, trying to get all of the details. They called the man’s parents in and asked them if he really was born blind or was this some sort of farce. If it was not a farce, how was he healed? The parents acknowledged that the man was born blind, but they would not answer the question as to how he was healed, for it says they were afraid of the Pharisees. They wielded great power and influence. So, the parents told the Pharisees to talk to the man, himself. When they did, the man did not bow to the pressure to keep quiet. He said that he did not know who had done it, but obviously, the man was from God. That is why we read in verse 34, “To this they replied, ‘You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!’ And they threw him out.” They did not want to hear what the man said, so they threw him out of the synagogue, which meant that he could no longer worship there.
This brings us to the last part of our text, where Jesus sought out the man. You see, the man had not seen Jesus after he was given his sight. He had been instructed to go to the Pool of Siloam and wash the mud off of his eyes. He went and did so, but Jesus had not gone with him to the Pool of Siloam. He did not know who Jesus was. That is why Jesus sought him out. We read, “when he found him, he said, ‘Do you believe in the Son of Man?’” This was a term that was used in the Old Testament for the Christ who was to come. There is no doubt that the man would have known this. By asking this question, Jesus was finishing the work that he had began by giving this man his sight.
The man replied, “Who is he, sir? Tell me so that I may believe in him.” The man had faith enough to go and wash in the Pool of Siloam. However, he lacked full knowledge. The man’s heart was ready to learn more about the one who had given him his sight. Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.” The one who gave you sight is the one who gives you even greater sight. The man said, “Lord, I believe.” He began to worship Jesus.
What a tremendous couple of days this man had. First of all, he was given his physical sight. This was the first time in his entire life that he was able to see the wonders of God’s creation, to see the faces of loved ones. As wonderful as that miracle was, an even greater miracle occurred when Jesus revealed himself to the man as the “Son of Man.” The man was brought to faith and saw all of the blessings that were his because the Son of Man had come into the world.
By God’s grace, we have had the same miracle worked in our lives, as well. We are all born blind, not physically, perhaps, but definitely spiritually blind. To help illustrate the peril that we were in, because of this blindness, imagine that you were in a cave. This cave is deep underground. Imagine that there is no light. It is so dark that you cannot see your hand in front of your face. Now, you are told that there are holes all around you that are 100 feet deep. You do not know where they are. Can any of us imagine just walking around in there, assuming that we would not fall into any of them? I would think that we would all hold still. Yet, by nature, we venture out on our own, thinking that we will not fall into hell. We do not even know that it is lying right in front of us. Because we are by nature sinful, we would swiftly and surely fall headlong into hell. We could do nothing else because we are, by nature sinful.
However, through the working of the Holy Spirit, we have been given our spiritual sight. He gives us sight to see all of the blessings that Jesus has won for us. He shows us the forgiveness of sins that Jesus won for us through his life, death and resurrection. He shows us the gift of eternal life that is now ours. Instead of falling into the pit of hell, we are led along the path that leads to heaven. For most of us, this occurred when we were baptized. For others, it happened later in life. Either way, we, who were once blind, have now been given sight. We thank God that we have been, as Peter says in his First Epistle, “called . . . out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
Jesus makes the application of this chapter in verse 39, where he says, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” Jesus states that his coming into the world has two diametrically opposed effects. Some, who realize that they are spiritually blind, receive Jesus with joy and are blessed with spiritual sight. Other, who do not realize that they are blind, boast that they can see. We might think of the scientist, who does not believe that there is a God, who made all things. He thinks he has great insight as he talks of things happening by chance. We might think of people who say it really doesn’t matter what you believe, as long as you are sincere about it. All religions are basically the same. They all end up rejecting Jesus and the blindness remains. We thank God that he has taken us, who were blind and given us this sight that beholds all of the wonders that God has given to us. It truly was a miraculous day for us, as well.
If I were to ask you, which of your five senses you would least like to lose, I would guess that a majority of us would say the sense of sight. As a matter of fact, in a survey of college students, 75% said that they would least like to lose their sense of sight. Few of us can imagine living in a world of darkness. This is the state that we were all in. We were in spiritual darkness, until Jesus, the light of the world came in and pierced that darkness with his wonderful light. We have been called from this darkness into the light of life. It is no wonder that the hymn writer spoke of amazing grace, for we, too, were blind, but now we see. Amen.
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