Summary: By the healing of a man born blind, Jesus shows that he is the Son of God. That opens our eyes! But for some it just leads to further blindness.
3rd Sunday in Lent – A
February 27, 2005
John 9:1-7,13-17,34-39 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… 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."… 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."
Jesus Opens the Eyes of the Blind
I. The blind from birth
II. Those who blind themselves
Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love (2 John 3). Amen.
It’s amazing what they can do with your eyes these days! Having cataracts removed is outpatient work. Laser surgery restores sight, so that glasses and contact lenses can be tossed in the garbage. But we haven’t learned how to eradicate blindness completely from the human experience. All the same, there is amazing technology out there to make life easier for those who can’t see. In Japan scientists are making cameras that are small enough to fit on a blind person’s glasses. The mini-cams recognize the white crosswalk lines and the stop & go lights, and through a miniature computer processes the information, and gives verbal commands: when it is safe to cross the road, or which direction will keep him in the white lines. They are also working on walking canes that detect approaching objects, warn of moving or parked cars. They are also working on GPS technology which will map a blind man’s route, informing him when to turn and when he is near his favorite café.
Yet, as amazing as this technology is, it can’t make the blind person see. What Jesus did in our Gospel reading simply cannot be outdone, even 2000 years later in this age of technological and medical achievement. What he did in John chapter nine, would still amaze the greatest scientist and optometrist. Yet, I wouldn’t be surprised, if just as many people would doubt the authenticity of the miracle. It’s this doubt, then, that is really the blindness that Jesus really wishes to relieve us of. It hinges in Christ’s question to the blind man, who had his sight restored: “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” For Christ, it’s not seeing that is believing, but believing is ‘seeing.’
Yet, without Christ, we cannot see, we cannot believe. We need him, for he is the “Light of the world.” To truly appreciate the light that Jesus is and the sight that he gives, we must consider the ‘blindness’ that he has come to remove.
Little did the disciples know it, but graduation time was coming pretty quick. Jesus is winding up his ministry in Judea, where he will soon be crucified in the capital of Jerusalem. Many disciples have already left Jesus, because he is being more and more specific about his relationship with God. He is claiming that God is his Father. His opponents have already tried to stone him in the temple courts for blasphemy. Other disciples are drawing closer. Three of them have seen Jesus transfigured and heard the Father himself claim Jesus as his Son. They are seeing things more spiritually. You could say that every day and every walk was like a field trip for the Twelve. So when they came across this blind man, they decide to make him part of their lesson for the day. “Rabbi (that is, Teacher), who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”