Summary: A sermon on the healing of the man born blind.
Good morning. If you have your Bibles, why don’t you open up to the gospel of John 9:1. If you have been here for a while, you know we have been going through the book of John. We have been looking at the miracles and ministry of Jesus Christ. We just finished off chapter 8 which involved a rather lengthy and somewhat heated discussion between Jesus and the Pharisees. You may recall in chapter 8 about verse 12, Jesus at one time makes this statement. He says “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” Today, as we begin reading in chapter 9, we see that light begin to work out in very practical and real ways as Jesus begins to give light to a blind man and most importantly begins to shed some light on his soul. Once again, we are going to be reading the gospel of John 9:1. If you want to use the red pew Bible, I think it is on page about 1061. (Scripture read here.)
As we begin to look at this passage, in the next few weeks we are going to look at the remaining verses, but we are going to look at the first 12 verses here again today. It starts out pretty straightforward. It says as Jesus went along he saw a man who was blind from birth. His disciples asked him “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus saw a man. Jesus saw a need. Jesus saw an opportunity to meet a need. What the disciples saw was an opportunity to have some sort of a discussion, some sort of a theological debate. What caused this man to have blindness? Was it the sin of the parents? Was it the sin of the man or possibly something else? We ask why would somebody ask something like that. The reality is back then people had different views of what caused people to be born into a certain condition or poverty or handicap. Some would believe that actually it was the sin of the parents that would be carried on kind of like a hereditary sort of thing. There were others who were more of the pagan belief or new age type belief. They believed in reincarnation. They believed if you were to sin in some sort of a prior life or commit a crime or commit some sort of atrocious sin, then the consequence of that would be carried on to future lives until there was made atonement for those particular sins. There were even those who believed somehow that a child could somehow sin within the womb. In fact, some of the Jewish scholars would make a case for that. They would point back to the issue with Jacob and Esau who were in the womb of Rebecca and they began to jostle around. They began to fight. Some would point at that to say sin can happen within the womb. What does Jesus do? He puts a lid on all of this. He stops and corrects them. He says listen, let me tell you something. “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me.” Keep in mind, Jesus was not implying that the parents had never sinned. He was not implying that this man had never sinned. What he was saying was that was not the cause of his blindness. He is also not saying that somehow God was the cause of his blindness. That God somehow randomly picked out this man of all the humanity and said I am going to cause this person to become blind in order that I may reveal my glory and that I may display my works within the life of this person. That is not what it means.In fact, a little bit of a Greek lesson.
The underlying New Testament is written in Greek. In original Greek, there was no punctuation. It was like one long sentence all the way through. The scholars would have to sit back and decide where to put the punctuation. They base it on context. They base it on other manuscripts. They look at a lot of different things. They generally do a pretty good job. This particular passage could actually be looked at in a different way. Instead of it saying like it says here, it could be said “Neither this man sinned nor his parents, but so that the works of God can be displayed in him, I must work the works of him that sent me while it is still day.” Do you see the little bit of nuance there? Basically what it is saying is mom or dad didn’t sin and the man didn’t sin and it really doesn’t matter. All I see is an opportunity for the works of God to be displayed in this person’s life. Don’t get caught up in what is the cause behind it. Just see this need as an opportunity to do the work of God in this person’s life.