Summary: The First Part of a Three Part Sermon Series leading up to Easter • Believing is… Seeing • Believing is… Finding • Believing is… Devastating
The First Part of a Three Part Sermon Series leading up to Easter
• Believing is… Seeing
• Believing is… Finding
• Believing is… Devastating
“My Shortest Sermon Ever – (Believing is… Seeing)”
My family has been pleasantly ill this past week with this wonderful flu that has been going around. It has left me with very little voice left. This has forced me… to write my shortest sermon ever. By some people’s measure… this also makes it… my best sermon ever.
Today’s scripture is quite long… 41 verses. But the point is quite direct. The question pushed time and time again… is what do you see?
Our story begins with a man who cannot physically see. In his mercy, Jesus takes some mud… places it upon the man’s eyes, and tells him to go wash it from his yes… do so… and he would be able to see.
The Pharisees then get wind of what has happened and call the man to be interrogated. And this is where the true blind people enter our story. In the midst of the beautiful grace and power of Jesus Christ… the Pharisees were spiritually blind. They didn’t believe… so they didn’t see. They didn’t see the Christ… they saw a common man from Nazareth. They didn’t see a messiah… they saw a troublemaker. They didn’t see their Lord… they saw a bug needing to be squashed. They didn’t believe… so they didn’t see.
Now… isn’t it supposed to work the other way around. Don’t they say, “Seeing is believing?” Isn’t that how it normally works? We expect the proof up front… we want the evidence laid out for us. Then… if it is proven… we will believe.
It’s only natural for us to work this way. It’s hard to take people’s word for it. Even if it is someone you trust… even if it is someone you love. You’re spouse tells you the car isn’t working… and what is the first thing you do… go check the car. Your child tells you they brushed their teeth… what is the first thing you do? Smell their breath.
And this is the inconsequential stuff!!! What if it was something earthshaking like… the son of God were here! We would definitely need some pretty impressive proof in front of us. Proof… like a blind man given sight. “Wow, this blind man was healed… I see it with my own eyes! I believe.” Seeing usually leads to believing.
But that’s not exactly how it works in today’s text. The Pharisees have the hard evidence right in front of them, they have the proof in plain sight… the simple blind man even makes their theology point for them in verse 30:
The blind man said to them, “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.”
It’s a strange little paradox of sorts that Jesus presents us with today. Believing leads to seeing. The blind believed… and he gained his sight… not just his physical sight… but his spiritual sight. He saw Jesus exactly for who he was. The Pharisees did not believe… and so only saw the common man… the troublemaker… the annoyance.
The point that John wants to drive home is this… the proof is out there. We know the story of Jesus… we know what awaits us at Easter. It is not a simple case of “Seeing is believing.” It’s a case of… believing is seeing.
What do you see? Do you see the simple man from Nazareth… or do you see the Christ?
If you see the weight of all this evidence, and choose not to believe, then Jesus is just a wise man. Jesus is perhaps just a prophet. Jesus becomes just a great example to follow… just one more alternative to many wonderful choices of religions. Perhaps, even a myth… a story made up to keep us in check. Not believing… leads to blindness.
But if you do believe… then you see him as the blind man in today’s text sees him… as the light of the world, bringing sight to those who were blind? As the light of the sun breaks through the darkness of night… bringing sight to the entire world that was residing in darkness… so Jesus brings sight to us when we believe in him… lifting the shadows the cloud our vision.. helping us to see in great detail what we could only make out as gray shadows before.
Brothers and sisters… believing is seeing! And that makes all the difference leading up to Easter as we get closer and closer to the empty tomb.