Summary: If you place your trust in Jesus, he will open your eyes to the world as you’ve never seen it before.



March 2, 2008

John 9:1, 5-9, 13-17, 34-38 (NIV)

1 As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth.... 5 “While I am in the world,” [he said], “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...."

13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind. 14 Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man’s eyes was a Sabbath. 15 Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. "He put mud on my eyes," the man replied, "and I washed, and now I see."

16 Some of the Pharisees said, "This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath." But others asked, "How can a sinner do such miraculous signs?" So they were divided. 17 Finally they turned again to the blind man, "What have you to say about him? It was your eyes he opened." The man replied, "He is a prophet...."

34 To this they replied, "You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!" And they threw him out. 35 Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?" 36 "Who is he, sir?" the man asked. "Tell me so that I may believe in him." 37 Jesus said, "You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you." 38 Then the man said, "Lord, I believe," and he worshiped him.

In a previous church I served, we had a young couple in our congregation whose names were Barry and Cindy, and both Barry and Cindy were blind. This was an impressive young couple who managed to live a normal life despite their disability. They maintained their own apartment, held down jobs, cooked their meals, managed their finances, and all that. There was almost no place they couldn’t go on their own, almost nothing they couldn’t do.

For example, one Friday night, my wife and I went to the local movie theater, and there, to our surprise, were Barry and Cindy. We sat down on the row just behind them, and, after saying our “hellos,” we settled in for the movie, just like they had.

As the film was starting, Barry asked me if I would do him and Cindy a favor. “Sure,” I said. I didn’t know what they might need, but I was willing to do it. “Could you narrate the action of the film for us?” Barry said. “You know, just describe to us what’s happening on the screen.”

I looked at my wife. She nodded. And I leaned forward and said, “Of course.” And I positioned my head just behind and between theirs. And from that moment to the end of the movie, I did my best to give them a running commentary on everything I saw. I described any and every detail I noticed on the screen. Indoor and outdoor settings. Climate conditions. Who was on camera. Movements of the characters. I don’t believe I’ve ever worked so hard trying to take in every aspect of a movie. I was concentrating to make sure I didn’t miss a thing so that our friends wouldn’t miss a thing.

When we left the theater that night and said our farewells to Barry and Cindy, I realized once again how precious and beautiful a gift is sight, the simple ability to see. Imagine, if you were blind, and someone were able to make you see. How would it affect you?

Think about this man Jesus encountered. John tells us that he was “blind from birth.” And in that day and time, of course, society made no provision for unsighted people. Programs that taught independent living skills were not available, and so, unlike my friends Barry and Cindy, this man could not work; in fact, he could not do much of anything -- because he could not see. He was reduced to begging.

But Jesus changed all that. And I love the way he did it. Talk about detail! John tells us that Jesus “spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes.” Whenever I read these words, I think about another occasion when God did something remarkable with mud. In Genesis 2:7 we read that, at the very beginning, at the creation of all things, “the LORD God from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”

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