Summary: We often don’t know what we cannot see, because we’ve never seen it. There is a way to gain spiritual sight. What is it? How can we see what we are blind to in our world? Let’s learn what Jesus taught about it in John 9:1-41.
We often don’t know what we cannot see, because we’ve never seen it. There is a way to gain spiritual sight. What is it? How can we see what we are blind to in our world? Let’s learn what Jesus taught about it in John 9:1-41.
John 9:1-5 As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. 2 “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?” 3 “It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him. 4 We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work. 5 But while I am here in the world, I am the light of the world.”
When confronted with blindness, the disciples looked for fault! To avoid all sickness we could begin by choosing parents free of genetic weakness. Then we could avoid all contact with people, animals, any processed or tainted food. Yet still, some believers today criticize the sick as sinners or lacking faith.
Can we really avoid all contact with sickness and suffering? The roads to sickness are varied and many. How should we look upon the sick? Jesus' first thought was to lift the man up, not put him down. And then the super religious criticized Jesus for healing on the Sabbath.
John 9:6-7 Then he spit on the ground, made mud with the saliva, and spread the mud over the blind man’s eyes. 7 He told him, “Go wash yourself in the pool of Siloam” (Siloam means “sent”). So the man went and washed and came back seeing!
The church’s approach to healing is from James 5:14-16. Elders pray and anoint with olive oil. Is this the only right way? Jesus gave several other examples of different approaches to healing. In our Gospel text, He spat in some dirt to create mud to heal a blind man.
The military theory of “last orders” would preclude anything prior to James, but that is not a biblical teaching. Where there is no ban, we have freedom in Christ and follow His example. We may approach requests for healing in a variety of ways including the traditional anointing with oil.
John 9:24-34 So for the second time they called in the man who had been blind and told him, “God should get the glory for this, because we know this man Jesus is a sinner.” 25 “I don’t know whether he is a sinner,” the man replied. “But I know this: I was blind, and now I can see!” 26 “But what did he do?” they asked. “How did he heal you?” 27 “Look!” the man exclaimed. “I told you once. Didn’t you listen? Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples, too?”
28 Then they cursed him and said, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses! 29 We know God spoke to Moses, but we don’t even know where this man comes from.” 30 “Why, that’s very strange!” the man replied. “He healed my eyes, and yet you don’t know where he comes from? 31 We know that God doesn’t listen to sinners, but he is ready to hear those who worship him and do his will. 32 Ever since the world began, no one has been able to open the eyes of someone born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he couldn’t have done it.” 34 “You were born a total sinner!” they answered. “Are you trying to teach us?” And they threw him out of the synagogue.
Some people think they know it all, but are blind to the truth. We see it in blind bigotry, one-eyed politics and denominational prejudice. In our Gospel text, Jesus gave a man sight to his eyes and to his soul. Like the Pharisees, some religious intellectuals are blind to divinity.
Many cannot see the obvious all around them. Their eyes were on their interpretation of the Sabbath law. Jesus emphasized the far greater spirit and not the letter of the law. Blinded by their own legalism, by keeping the letter of the law they could not see the real Jesus.
John 9:35-41 When Jesus heard what had happened, he found the man and asked, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 36 The man answered, “Who is he, sir? I want to believe in him.” 37 “You have seen him,” Jesus said, “and he is speaking to you!” 38 “Yes, Lord, I believe!” the man said. And he worshiped Jesus.