Summary: Restoration, forgiveness, repentance
I WAS BLIND, BUT NOW I SEE
John 9: 1-12 (p759) March 20, 2011
Wycliff Bible translators Bob and Jan Smutherman were assigned to the Macuna people of southeast Colombia, South America. Progress was going well in putting the Bible into the Macuna language. The chief's son was engaged as the language helper. Each portion of the Scripture had to be checked and double-checked for meaning and clarity.
After five years of labor, the Gospel of John was being finalized for publication. Gathered together - to hear the Word of God, the tribe sat patiently.
Beginning at John 9:1, the son read about Jesus' encounter with the man born blind. When he got to the verse where Jesus says that this man was born blind "in order that the works of God might e put on display," the old chief stood to his feet. Requiring silence by his uplifted right hand, he said, "We must stop killing our babies."
To a people steeped in animism, the normal process was to take their deformed babies to a desolate place. There the babies were deserted and exposed until dead.
The Macuna people viewed individuals as worthless if there was a physical weakness or defect. If you can't run like the gazelle, see like the eagle, or fight like the lion--you're weak and your life is worthless.
That is until God began to impact their thinking through his Word…As John 9 reveals the truth that God's power is made evident in our weakness…everything changed.
When the Word of God becomes the filter through which we view people…we see them in an entirely new light…when Jesus Christ invades..someone's heart they no longer see people in the same way…
The Apostle Paul, who used to be Saul the Pharisee, experienced this change of perspective…he writes to the Corinthians.
"So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view…though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer" (2 Cor. 5:16)
A worldly point of view assesses value by viewing someone through their power, their possessions, their prestige…
Jesus was a no account carpenter from a backwoods town…he hung around with riffraff. Nothing good comes from Nazareth's…Messiah don't hang out with sinners.
Oh really? Jesus said; this Messiah does…He eats and drinks with them…sick people need a doctor…and the Doctors "IN"!
Paul, the instrument of God experienced a spiritual eye transplant…He didn't see people through worldly eyes any longer…He saw them through spiritual eyes of reconciliation
"Therefore if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation, all the old things are gone and new things have come" (2 Cor: 5:17)
God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the strong (1 Cor 1:26)
So as we look at Good news for a bad news world our focus is adjusted through new sight.
I WEAKNESS ALLOWS GOD TO FLEX HIS MUSCLES.
For most of us when something bad happens we believe "I must have done something and I’m being punished". And yes, sometimes sin has painful consequences.
But Bad things don't just happen to bad people.
Even the disciples of Jesus thought like this…"Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents that he was born blind."
Being born blind through a wrench into the punishment philosophy…so the man's parents must have really sinned.
Jesus rejects this world view and says "Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life"
Folks, we know both this man and his parents had sinned in their past…we all have. But this man's blindness wasn't caused by his sins or his parents. This weakness was present so God could show what happens when he flexes His muscles. God wasn't punishing sin…He was displaying His power. Let me ask you a question…"Has God punished you immediately for every sin you've committed?
No? Me Either!
The heart that judges others too quickly or too stringently in this way is the heart of a Pharisee. It's almost always a heart that views God as a punisher instead of a redeemer.
I have a test: It's from one of my favorite books called, "Messy Spirituality". It involves a young idealistic college student named David that goes into the projects of N.Y.C. to share the gospel. He had no idea how or where to start but he walked into one of the buildings where he heard a baby crying behind a door so he knocked on it…A woman with a cigarette in her mouth and baby in her arms opened the door a crack….with the chain still latched. She yelled, "What the Hell do you want?" David said, I'd like to tale with you about Jesus." She said, "Go away…and she slammed the door in his face. He went back outside and sat on the curb. In tears he wondered "what in the world can I do here to be of any help?"