“I Was Blind, But Now I See!”
(July 1, 2001)
I’m sure many of us here have tried to imagine what it would be like to be blind. And yet I’m willing to guess that none of our attempts come very close to the real thing.
Not personally knowing the hardships associated with blindness, I cannot relate from an emotional standpoint.
But in our passage today, Jesus uses a condition most people do not experience and brings it to bear on a condition we all experience.
We are going to look at the story of Jesus healing a man born blind, and how He not only heals the man of his physical affliction, but uses the occasion to bring out significant lessons about spiritual blindness.
Please turn in your Bibles to John 9, which can be found on page 758 of the Bibles in the seats.
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 work of God might be displayed in his life. 4 As long as it is day, we must do the work 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 Having said 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.
8 His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, "Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?" 9 Some claimed that he was.
Others said, "No, he only looks like him."
But he himself insisted, "I am the man."
10 "How then were your eyes opened?" they demanded.
11 He replied, "The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see."
12 "Where is this man?" they asked him.
"I don’t know," he said.
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 do such miraculous signs?" So they were divided.
17 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."
18 The Jews still did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they sent for the man’s parents. 19 "Is this your son?" they asked. "Is this the one you say was born blind? How is it that now he can see?"
20 "We know he is our son," the parents answered, "and we know he was born blind. 21 But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don’t know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself." 22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews, for already the Jews had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Christ would be put out of the synagogue. 23 That was why his parents said, "He is of age; ask him."
24 A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. "Give glory to God, " they said. "We know this man is a sinner."
25 He replied, "Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!"
26 Then they asked him, "What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?"
27 He answered, "I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples, too?"
28 Then they hurled insults at him and said, "You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses! 29 We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from."
30 The man answered, "Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly man who does his will. 32 Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing."
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."
40 Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, "What? Are we blind too?"
41 Jesus said, "If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.
In this story, there are 3 main characters, and we will be examining them as we look for how this passage applies to us here and now.
The first is the…
3 Main Characters:
I. Blind Man
4 Things about the blind man:
Born Blind – not due to sin of him or his parents, but to display the glory of God (v.3).
Question: what kind of a sin could an unborn infant commit that would cause God to punish him?
Blindness was the only condition he knew. He had grown up with it, and was able to function, even as a beggar.
Since this was all he had known, he did not have the added burden of losing his sight later in life.
Scripture doesn’t tell us how old he was, but he was apparently an adult, as we see from the reaction of his parents to the questioning of the Pharisees.
So we have a grown man who knew only darkness.
Healed (vv. 6-7).
We have this man, and here’s an interesting thing: he did not seek out healing.
In other cases from Scripture, those needing healing came to Christ to be healed, but there is nothing here to indicate that this man came seeking Jesus.
Yet Jesus recognized that this was an opportunity to bring glory to God, and so He healed this man. I’m sure the man didn’t object, even though he was about to experience something totally foreign to him – sight.
Jesus makes some mud and applies it to the man’s eyes before sending him to wash, and quietly steps out of the picture until verse 35.
Having been healed, he then…
Testified (vv. 8-11, 15, 24-25, 30-33).
Can you imagine the scene? After he began to see he had to have help sorting out everything, since he had no idea what anyone or anything looked like.
He goes home and says, “Mom and Dad! I can see! I can see! That Jesus guy put some mud on my eyes and had me wash, and now I can see! Check it out! No really! Give me a hug, Mom! Oops – sorry, Dad. Wow! I can’t believe it! This is so incredible! I need to go tell my friends about this! Woohoo!”
So he goes out, and even some of the people don’t believe it. But Scripture tells us of four times that he declared that Jesus had healed him.
There’s a lesson for us right here: this man didn’t go to Bible school to learn how to testify about Jesus. He didn’t go to seminary, Sunday school, or even church.
He hadn’t memorized the 4 Spiritual Laws or the Bridge to Life, or studied the Discipline of the Wesleyan Church.
He just told people that Jesus had made a difference in his life. He testified – he witnessed to what Jesus had done.
But there’s another thing: he met Jesus once again, and this time he…
Believed and worshiped (vv. 35-38).
Jesus found him and discussed a deeper issue – who he would place his eternal trust in.
Jesus didn’t say, “So, how’s the sight?”
He confronted the man with the question of his eternal destiny, and the man responded with belief and worship.
Notice here that just like when it came to testifying about Christ, he didn’t go through some education and rationalization about Christ. He had experienced the power of God in a very personal and powerful way. He didn’t need to go home and read Augustine, Luther, or Wesley.
He took Jesus at His Word. There’s a lesson for us there as well.
He knew that this man was the Son of Man, capable of offering eternal life, and he worshiped.
I’d be willing to bet that he went home later testifying that he had found the Messiah, and not only found Him, but because of the grace and mercy of Jesus, had actually seen Him.
The blind man illustrates those who are spiritually blind who are enabled by God to see their need.
The second character in this story that I want to discuss here is actually a group of people. They are the…
The Pharisees were the main religious rulers of the time, and they had already had their fill of this Jesus guy. They were already looking for reason to arrest Jesus (prev. chapters).
And now they have another reason to be upset – Jesus healed somebody on the Sabbath. He had done it before, and He would do it again, and these guys didn’t have a clue as to why Jesus would do such a thing.
These guys lived by the rules – and they had plenty of them. And these rules, as I have mentioned previously, had gotten in the way of true godly living and love for God.
But I want to point out something about how they responded to this incident with the blind man.
They brought him before them and questioned him. Then, after he didn’t respond the way they wanted him to,…
They insulted the man rather than answer the argument (vv. 24, 28).
All they could see was Jesus the Sabbath-breaker. They couldn’t see Jesus the Great Physician, and when the man challenged them in this, they responded with an insult that is ironic given the question of the disciples at the beginning of the chapter: “You were steeped in at birth!”
You will find many people using this tactic when discussing God, esp. the need to take Christ as Savior.
Examples of this would be along the lines of , “You Christians are so intolerant.” Or, “You Christians are just a bunch of hypocrites.”
Or something like that. They don’t answer the question, “Jesus says He is the only way to Heaven, so what will you do with Him?”
The Pharisees illustrate those blinded by their religion from seeing their real need.
Well, it will come as no surprise that the third person I want us to look at today is…
First I want to point out that Jesus says that He was the…
Light of the world (v. 5).
In verse 5 Jesus says, “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
I want you to keep that in your mind as we close out the message in a bit.
Jesus came to bring light to the world. The world is full of darkness, and it was back then. But Jesus came to bring the light of God’s truth, love, and holiness to this dark and dreary world.
Thank God. Can you imagine the state of our world if Jesus hadn’t come down to save men and make them new creations in Him?
We probably wouldn’t be here – we would have destroyed ourselves by now.
But because the light of the world came down to earth, we have hope for eternity and for our world today.
Next I want to point out that Jesus…
Healed the man. “No kidding, Preacher! Tell us something we don’t know!”
Let me just point out something here: Jesus was not obligated then, nor is He obligated now to heal anything, whether it is physical, emotional, relational, or whatever. Not even spiritual.
However, He has obligated Himself to give eternal life to all who call on Him.
But no where in Scripture do we find that Jesus felt obligated by the person to heal him or her.
This was an act of mercy and grace, and served to bring glory to God not only in the wonder of the physical healing, but in the greater sense that the man came to possessing eternal life at the hands of his healer.
The last thing I want to point out here is something Jesus says just after the man worships Him, that He…
Came into the world for judgement (v. 39-41).
Unfortunately, in our efforts to bring our friends and loved ones to Christ, we want to gloss over the fact that there will be a judgement.
I know I don’t like to tell people that. But we are being less than honest if we do not mention the fact that Jesus came to save us from the judgement we deserve.
And part of the process is that the spiritually blind will be able to see to be able to avoid that judgement.
Make no mistake, folks, there will be a judgement, and I will tell you at the end of our time together how to avoid the judgement it.
Jesus illustrates the fact that the need is fulfilled in Him.
There we have it – the blind man who now sees, the religious people who thought they could see and were blind after all, and the One who could cure them all.
As we go into the conclusion, I want to point out three things that we can take away and apply from this passage:
A. Matthew 5:16.
In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
Remember what Jesus said about Him being the light of the world? Well, here He’s saying we are the light of the world. He said that while He was in the world, He was the light, but now we are the light.
We are to take His light to the world to let the people know that they can…
B. Come to Christ and escape judgement.
I mentioned that I would tell you how to escape the judgment Christ talked about.
You do that by acknowledging that fact that Christ, being God, took on flesh to suffer and die for your sins, and that He rose from the grave.
Confess your sinfulness to Him and call on Him to give you eternal life and make you a new creation in Him.
He’ll do it, and He promises that if you do that, you have crossed over from death to life, and will not face condemnation.
That’s a wonderful promise, folks. And if you have not done that yet, I beg of you not to let your preconceived notions about Christianity get in the way of securing your eternal home in heaven.
Then you can sing along with such people as John Newton, the man who wrote Amazing Grace, which you sang last week.
Here’s a man who was active in the slave trade, yet God miraculously saved him.
And there are others who could say the same thing, that “once I was blind and now I see.”
And lastly, I want point out something that Jesus makes clear to the Pharisees, and that is that…
C. Pharisees were responsible for what they should have known.
The Pharisees had the Word of God. They studied it day in and day out, yet they could not see the Messiah in front of their eyes.
And Jesus made it abundantly clear that they are responsible for what they should have known.
What does that mean for you?
The gospel is available here in the U.S. like on no other country in the world.
If you are here this morning and you have not given your life yet to Christ, you will have no excuse about not having access to the information needed to make a decision for Christ.
Any adult can go to church, read the Scriptures, and talk to others to find the Good News of Christ.
Take advantage of that, and make your move for eternal life.