Summary: God’s work cannot be seen by those who are proud of their spiritual sight.
Jesus’ miracles are “parabolic sermons” — they teach by acting out truth. This is especially the case with the seven “signs” John records, the sixth of which we study this morning, a miracle demonstrating the process of salvation. God enters the world, but the world in its blindness cannot see. God will not be stopped by our sin, however; he finds the lost and opens their eyes. And his people worship. Let us read of the miracle of salvation in John 9. [Read John 9.1-41. Pray.]
I am intrigued by how the same hot sun both hardens clay and softens wax. So it is with Jesus. The blazing light of God’s love walks on earth and the blind see, while those who think they see remain in the dark – very different responses to the same Son.
There are three main characters in this expertly told short-story. Each offers us profound lessons about God and how to live a life well pleasing in his sight. Let’s begin with Jesus and note that he…
1. Jesus Reveals God’s Response to Sin and Suffering
The previous chapter drew to a close with the Jewish leaders stooping down to pick up stones to throw at Jesus. This chapter opens with Jesus stooping down to make a mud-salve and heal a blind man. Quite a contrast between compassion and condemnation, between humility and pride, between a holy God and sinful men. What do we learn from Jesus actions?
1.1. God’s Plans Are Never Frustrated
Suppose I say something today which makes you crazy. In your frustration and anger, you call me names and chase me from the church. I run to the parking lot, hop in my car, and speed away. I surely would not notice a poor beggar beside the front door. Jesus does.
John 9.1: “As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth.” The man does not see Jesus; he is blind. He does not come forward; Jesus finds him. He does not cry for help; Jesus initiates contact. In the midst of personal attack, scathing criticism, and confused disciples, God does not overlook his needy children. Sinful actions and difficult circumstances do not stay God’s sovereign hand. He keeps his eye on his people and their needs, governing every creature and every action for our best good.
Psalm 33.18-19: Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love, that he may deliver their soul from death….
1Peter 3.12: For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer….
Civilla Martin met a Mr. and Mrs. Doolittle in 1905. Mrs. Doolittle had been bedridden for twenty years. Her husband (Mr. Doolittle) was crippled and confined to a wheelchair, in which he propelled himself to his business every day (long before handicap laws made that a reasonable expectation). Civilla writes: “Despite their afflictions, they lived happy Christian lives, bringing inspiration and comfort to all who knew them. One day while we were visiting with the Doolittles, my husband commented on their bright hopefulness and asked them for the secret of it. Mrs. Doolittle’s reply was simple: ‘His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.’ Civilla was inspired to compose a hymn with these words: ‘Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come, why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home, when Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He: His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.’”
God’s plan for your best is never frustrated.
1.2. God’s Power is Always Sufficient
There is an old joke told that two golfers were caught in a lightening storm. The first said, “We better run for cover.” The other man said, “Not to worry; I have a foolproof solution.” He went to his golf bag, pulled out a 2-iron, and held it high over his head. The first man asked him what he was doing. He responded: “Even God can’t hit a 2-iron.”
That’s funny because duffers find it so hard to hit the low irons. But I tell you something far harder to do – restore sight to a man blind from birth. Surely this is one reason God gave this particular miracle as a sign of Messiah’s arrival – it cannot be counterfeited!
Luke 7.20-23: And when the men had come to him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you, saying, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?’” (In that hour he healed many people of diseases and plagues and evil spirits, and on many who were blind he bestowed sight.) And he answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.” Jesus is quoting Isaiah 35: giving sight to the blind is a sure sign of the Messiah.