Summary: 8th in the series "Coversations With Jesus." Jesus gives sight to one blind man, but the spiritually blind Pharisees fail to perceive the Light of the World.
Clip from DVD "AT First Sight" where bandages are taken off of Virgil’s eyes.
Medical experts have found that Virgil’s experience is typical of those who have either never had sight or who lost it at an early age. Even if a medical miracle is somehow able to restore the physical apparatus of sight, the mental apparatus--the frame of reference that gives meaning to all the raw data is missing. Some are able to overcome this obstacle and others sadly are not--so that some having all that is physically required to see, never truly acquire sight.
In a spiritual sense the same is true, although all the information is available, God’s truth has been revealed, not everyone will comprehend or benefit from the revelation. In fact in our story today we encounter not just one blind man but many. The man at the center of the story has not only his physical but his spiritual eyes opened, but the others whose physical sight is fine are unable to perceive that Jesus is, as he says in verse 5, "the light of the World"
Interrogative: So the questions for us today are, "What prevents us from seeing the Light?" And, "How can our spiritual eyes be opened?"
Transition: Let’s begin with those who fail to see the light. What is it that keeps them blinded? The first thing is
1. a Private Agenda
v. 24 A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. "Give glory to God," they said. "We know this man is a sinner."
In our last two conversations with Jesus we have seen Jesus coming into conflict with these religious leaders known as the Pharisees, first in the case of the woman who they had caught in sin and then last week as Jesus questioned their spiritual heritage, calling them children of the Devil. So the conflict is pretty well established and now the Pharisees are out to discredit Jesus no matter what it takes. This is their private agenda and it has blinded their spiritual eyes from seeing what’s going on here. JESUS HAS HEALED A BLIND MAN!!! And their hearts don’t say, "Praise the Lord!" Instead they say, "Hey, wait a minute, He can’t do that on the Sabbath!"
Repeatedly they call the man in for questioning and look for some way to use this MIRACLE against Jesus. There agenda is laid out right here when they call the man in the last time, they’re not asking anymore they’re telling: "We know this man is a sinner."
ILLUSTRATION: George Turklebaum’s employers at a publishing house have some explaining to do. The 51 year old proof reader had been employed at a New York firm for 30 years. Apparently he had a heart attack in the open-plan office he shared with 23 other workers, but nobody noticed until Saturday morning when an office cleaner asked why he was still working during the weekend.
His boss Elliot Wachiaski said: "George was always the first guy in each morning and the last to leave at night, so no one found it unusual that he was in the same position all that time and didn’t say anything. "He was always absorbed in his work and kept much to himself."
A post mortem examination revealed that he had been dead for five days after suffering a coronary. Ironically, George was proofreading manuscripts of medical textbooks when he died (Reuters oddly enough). You may want to give the person sitting nest to you a nudge occasionally.
In an office of 23 people, George’s passing went unnoticed because people were moving about with their own private agendas.
How often do we miss the truth in front of us for the same reason? How often is God whispering to us in the circumstances of our lives while we march on oblivious? How often have we already decided what’s important instead of quieting our hearts before Him to ask His agenda?
Another way that we are blinded is by our...
2. Previous Assumptions
vv. 28-29 Then they hurled insults at him and said, "You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses! 29We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from."
"Look here," they tell the man who’s received His sight, "We know the deal, we know who we are, we’ve got everything figured out. We don’t need to be bothered by the fact that Jesus performed a miracle."
ILLUSTRATION: For centuries people believed that Aristotle was right when he said that the heavier an object, the faster it would fall to earth. Aristotle was regarded as the greatest thinker of all time, and surely he would not be wrong. Anyone, of course, could have taken two objects, one heavy and one light, and dropped them from a great height to see whether or not the heavier object landed first. But no one did until nearly 2,000 years after Aristotle’s death. In 1589 Galileo summoned learned professors to the base of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Then he went to the top and pushed off a ten- pound and a one-pound weight. Both landed at the same instant. The power of belief was so strong, however, that the professors denied their eyesight. They continued to say Aristotle was right. (Bits & Pieces, January 9, 1992, pp. 22-23)