Summary: This is the first message of my Lenten series on Jesus. This message is about the transforming power of the touch of Jesus.
The Touch of Jesus
March 9, 2003
Jesus: Up Close and Personal
It was 1818 in France, and Louis, a boy of 9, was sitting in his father’s workshop. The father was a harness-maker and the boy loved to watch his father work the leather. "Someday Father," said Louis, "I want to be a harness-maker, just like you."
"Why not start now?" said the father. He took a piece of leather and drew a design on it. "Now, my son," he said, "take the hole-puncher and a hammer and follow this design, but be careful that you don’t hit your hand." excited, the boy began to work, but when he hit the hole-puncher, it flew out of his hand and pierced his eye! He lost the sight of that eye immediately. Later, sight in the other eye failed. Louis was now totally blind. A few years later, Louis was sitting in the family garden when a friend handed him a pinecone. As he ran his sensitive fingers over the cone, an idea came to him. He became enthusiastic and began to create an alphabet of raised dots on paper so that the blind could feel and interpret what was written. Thus, Louis Braille opened up a whole new world for the blind--all because of an accident!
Louis Braille opened a whole new world to those who are blind through the power of touch. This morning I want to look at how Jesus changed the life of a blind man through the power of His touch.
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?" 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. 8 His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, "Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?" 9 Some claimed that he was. Others said, "No, he only looks like him." But he himself insisted, "I am the man." 10 "How then were your eyes opened?" they demanded. 11 He replied, "The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see." 12 "Where is this man?" they asked him. "I don’t know," he said.
I. The teaching (1-5)
A. Jesus teaches the disciples about God’s work
1. The blind man sparks a discussion
a.) Jesus and His disciples encounter a man who was born blind. It is likely, they saw the man begging on the side of the road because he did not have the ability to work.
b.) Note that Jesus sees the man while the disciples see merely an issue to be resolved
2. The disciples’ question
a.) The Jewish mindset connected physical problems and suffering directly with sin. This equated suffering with punishment for sin and thus anyone who was suffering from physical problems was seen as sinful. This led to their question about whose sin caused the man’s blindness.
b.) Jesus blows this theory out of the water. He clearly states that the man’s blindness was not caused by sin but that God would be glorified through this man’s life.
c.) God can use our suffering and our problems to bring glory to His name. In times when we suffer, others will see how we live our lives. In times when we suffer, we draw closer to God. In times when we suffer, the true measure of our faith is revealed.
B. Jesus teaches about His mission
1. Jesus tells the disciples He was sent by God
a.) Jesus tells His disciples, “We must do the work of him who sent me.” Notice that Jesus said we and not I. We all have a part to play in the work of God’s kingdom.
b.) The work of God
1.) The work of caring: One of the biggest sins in the church today is that no one cares anymore. We would all be in a desperate straight if God cared about us the same way we care about other people.