Summary: 1st of 4 messages on spiritual shepherds. The story of Jesus mixing mud with spit and giving sight to a man in John 9 is not really about the blind man. It’s more about the Pharisees...
A Shepherd’s Heart
20/20 Vision and Still Blind as Bats
The story of Jesus mixing mud with spit and giving sight to a man in John 9 is not really about the blind man. It’s more about the Pharisees who were spiritually blind to God, to the people in their world, and finally (and this is the most condemning of all) to their own sin. The irony is that the blind man saw what the Pharisees refused to see.
Several years ago I sat at lunch table with a good man who was upset by a decision of the elders. It wasn’t a matter that was scriptural but one which was against the traditions of his childhood religious training. He kept repeating during the course of the meal "I just don’t understand how you could make this decision!" I finally (after listening to his twentieth exclamation) pointed out that it wasn’t a matter of not understanding the decision but that it was of refusing to accept it.
When I suggested that he needed to submit to the Elders and support them in their work of ministry he said that he only submitted to the elders when he agreed with them. (Think that comment over - It’s a little oxymoronic to say the very least.) The problem that this man was struggling with was the same matter the Pharisees were facing - being spiritually super-sensitive and yet totally blind to the important matters of God.
This coming Sunday I will be starting a four week series of teaching on "A Shepherd’s Heart." I’ll be teaching you about what it means to be a shepherd and how a good shepherd is motivated from the heart of God. Jesus is our example and his work is our mission - people.
This week you will learn:
How this blind man came to see - not just with his eyes but with his heart.
How it’s not "How" and "When" that matters spiritually but "Who" and "Why".
And the critical factor to your own spiritual life is linked to what you must be willing to see yourself honestly.
Getting these lessons down in your personal life will change how you live and how you see others - including those who God has called to guide and teach His people
The blind man came to see – with his heart as well as his eyes
He answered, “… One thing I do know: I was blind, and now I see.”
Look at the Pharisees: This story is more about the Pharisees than it is about the Blind Man
There is a kind of irony involved in this event because as you read the story it’s obvious that the blind man had better vision than the Pharisees with their 20/20 religious vision and spiritual training.
The final observation of the whole narrative is that these self appointed spiritual shepherds of Israel are really just hypocritical hirelings.
Here are the Pharisees – separated from the world and devoted to God – yet they were blind as bats to spiritual truth
The Meaning of “Pharisee” The origin of the name “Pharisee” has been debated, but most scholars agree that it derives from the Hebrew root meaning “to separate.” This makes sense, because the Pharisees were separatists.
One such group of Pharisees were known as the "bruised and bleeding" Pharisees. This was because in the attempt to avoid lust they would walk about with their eyes covered - and as a result fall into holes or walk into walls. Their bruises became their proof of spirituality and commitment to God.
The Pharisees were those people who set themselves up as the religious leaders of the people while being separate from them and better then them.
Now look at the blind man: Here is a man – blind from birth till this very moment – yet he came to see clearly. Here was a man who bore a burden that was clearly unfair. It wasn’t fair and it wasn’t easy. The whole of his community looked down at him and assumed that either he or his parents did something that made this calamity happen to him.
Sound familiar? Do you know anyone who has been dealt a tough hand in life? Maybe they have birthmark that covers half their face, ears that stick out like cup handles, or a body that attracts calories like a magnet picks up metal filings. Maybe it’s a little less visible – a father who didn’t love them; a mother that was too busy to care for them; a school full of children that taunted them; or being stuck with a 2 star intelligence rating in a community that values 5 star kids.
Yet when Jesus came along he put mud and spit in his eyes (and the man let him) and sent him to the pool of Siloam to wash them out. This isn’t quite as yucky as we think of it – at least the spit part wasn’t. This was before germs were discovered and the people of that culture believed that spit had medicinal and cleansing value – just like my mom did back in the good old days when she’d spit on a hanky at the restaurant to clean the ketch off my face. Now we use sanitary wipes.