Summary: A look at the implications of Jesus healing of a blind man for him then and for us now.
One day at a busy airport, the passengers on a commercial airliner are seated, waiting for the cockpit crew to show up so they can get under way. The pilot and co-pilot finally appear in the rear of the plane, and begin walking up to the cockpit through the center aisle.
Both appear to be blind. The pilot is using a white cane, bumping into passengers right and left as he stumbles down the aisle, and the co-pilot is using a guide dog. Both have their eyes covered with huge sunglasses. At first the passengers do not react; thinking that it must be some sort of practical joke. However, after a few minutes the engines start spooling up and the airplane, starts moving down the runway.
The passengers look at each other with some uneasiness, whispering among themselves and looking desperately to the flight attendants for reassurance. Then the airplane starts accelerating rapidly and people begin panicking. Some passengers are praying, and as the plane gets closer and closer to the end of the runway, the voices are becoming more and more hysterical. Finally, when the airplane has less than 20 feet of runway left, there is a sudden change in the pitch of the shouts as everyone screams at once, and at the very last moment the airplane lifts off and is airborne.
Up in the cockpit, the co-pilot breathes a sigh of relief and turns to the Captain: "You know, one of these days the passengers aren’t going to scream, and we are gonna get killed!"
I don’t know if any of you have seen the movie daredevil but its about a superhero who is blinded by toxic chemicals when he was a young boy and as in all superhero stories, toxic chemicals don’t make sick or kill you they give you superpower and his powers of hearing and touch are enhanced so he can see with a kind of sonar. Anyway he is in a coffee shop and his friend tells him a beautiful girl has come in so he tries to chat her up by asking her where the mustard is. She is sitting in her chair reading her magazine and says its over there and points. He replies you going to have to do better than that can you pass it. She replies “What are you blind or something.” To which of course he replies yes, she looks up sees the white cane and is very apologetic. But her comment is at the very heart of story this morning, “What are you blind or something?”
John chapter 9 is very much linked to John chapter 8. The issues raised in chapter 8 in the midst of a big argument with the pharisees are exemplified in an incident in the life of Jesus. So for those of you who weren’t there on Wednesday for the Bible Study, here is a summary of John chapter 8.
J: The Father testifies about me
P: Where is you father?
J: You don’t know the father because you don’t know me. I am going where you cannot go but you will die in your sins
P: Are you going to commit suicide?
J: No you are going to kill me and when you do that will be the final proof of who I am. My father is God.
P: We’re not illegitimate like you, our father is Abraham
J: Abraham pointed to me, if he was really you father you would follow me but you are trying to kill me. You’re father is the Devil.
P: You have a devil.
J: If you believe in me you can escape death
P: Are you greater than Abraham
J: Before Abraham, “I am”
P: Lets kill him now
For those who don’t know when Jesus says ‘I am’ he is referring to time when God appeared to Moses and when he tells Moses his name is ‘I am’. It is important to know that Jews avoided using the words ‘I am’ like this and would use other ways of speaking to avoid this kind of reference, so that when Jesus says this it is a very clear way of making a claim to be God. This is why the Jews immediately attempt to stone him for blasphemy. And this is at the very heart of this chapter. The whole thing that the argument and discussion is pointing to is one of the focuses of the next chapter. It is a matter of identity, authority and power. Who is Jesus, why does he have the power to do what he does? Does he have the power to say what he says and claims? If so why? How does he fit with the system? In the confrontation between Jesus and the Jewish leaders and pharisees, who is from God, who is from the devil, who is a sinner and who is not?