Summary: Third in series reflecting on the "mission statement" of the Messiah.
Reflect the Purposes of Christmas
#3 – “(To proclaim) Recovery of Sight for the Blind.”
December 15, 2002
John Newton’s famous hymn has a famous line that most of us are familiar with. “I was blind, but now I see.”
He was not talking about physical sight, but about spiritual sight. He saw His need for a Savior, when he hadn’t before, and He saw the opportunity for forgiveness for his sins. Forgiveness for owning and operating a slave ship. And he saw the chance for a new life on earth, with a new life waiting for him in heaven because of his trust in Christ.
Today we are going to look at an episode in the life of Jesus that illustrates that a bit, as well as talking about physical sight.
Caleb read our passage for today, and that’s the passage our message comes from. But before we get into that, I want us to review the idea behind this series on reflecting the purposes of Christmas.
We have been focusing on a passage from Luke chapter 4, in which Jesus uses a quote from the prophet Isaiah to announce that He is the Messiah, the Savior of the world. I have it printed at the top of your bulletin, and I would like us to read it together.
18 "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor."
Today, rather than focus on a portion of that passage dealing with blindness, I want us to explore how Jesus uses one man’s blindness to communicate some very important truths that we need to hear and be reminded of.
But let me just give you a little background about something. The condition of blind men in Jesus’ day was not a pretty picture. The generally sat at roadsides begging for money just to survive. No employment, no prospects for marriage, no social honor. His future was bleak and he knew it.
So when Jesus walks by this man, His heart goes out to Him, and He determines that the Father would be pleased to heal him.
He wants to once again, as He did so often, reach out to the dregs of society, those who others had cast off, and give him a touch from God in the flesh.
We aren’t going to read the whole passage again, because of its length, but I want to pull out what I think are five lessons we can learn from Jesus’ healing of the blind man here in John chapter nine. If you need to find it again, it’s on page 758 of the Bibles in the seats.
I pray this will be a blessing to you, as well as a wake-up call for those who God might be speaking to about being blind spiritually, much like John Newton.
Five lessons from Jesus’ healing of the blind man:
1. Physical blindness is not necessarily a punishment from God.
If you have your finger at John 9, look back at the first three verses.
JN 9:1 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?"
JN 9:3 "Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.
The disciples and probably most of the Jewish population in New Testament times lived under the assumption that injury and illness were caused by sin.
So seeing the blind man, they just figured that someone had blown it – either him or his parents.
The parents may have sinned in a way that caused physical harm to the baby – maybe they smoked crack or something – we don’t know. The world is full of people born with physical infirmities because the mother did alcohol or drugs, or the father physically abused the mother while she was pregnant.
I’m not exactly sure how the baby could have sinned in the womb. He was born with a sinful nature, as we all are, but I’d have a hard time finding Scriptural support for saying the baby brought it on himself.
We live in a finite, decaying world that is corrupted both physically and spiritually by sin. It is just the nature of our condition that this world is not perfect, and that there are imperfections in it’s inhabitants.
I don’t understand it all, but I can tell you that God understands it all, and someday we will be able to understand. Until then we need to be patient, anticipating release from our broken down bodies into the new body God will give us in heaven.