Having Eyes That Do Not See
By: John Ankerberg Show
March 29, 2015
Message, Robby Gallaty, Senior Pastor
The title of the message today is “Having Eyes That Do Not See.” Having Eyes that Do Not See.
The comedian, Bill Cosby, told a story years ago how he stayed in a hotel room next to Ray Charles, the blind musician. And he went over to say hello to Ray Charles and so he knocked on the door and Ray yelled, Come on in. And as Cosby walked in the door, he realized that Ray was in complete darkness and he heard in the distance him shaving with an electric razor in pitch black darkness. And so he yelled out without thinking, he said, “Hey, Ray, why are you shaving in the dark?” And then he thought to himself, “Dumb, dumb, dumb response.” And Ray casually said, “Brother, I do everything in the dark.”
You know, there are 285 million people worldwide today who are visually impaired. In America, it is an interesting statistic that someone goes blind every 20 minutes. Now many people go blind later in life. They are not born blind. That is a rare occasion, but it happens.
And the man we are going to meet today is a man who was actually born blind from birth. As we study this passage which is familiar to us, I want you to see that it has nothing really to do with this man’s physical blindness, but it has everything to do with a deeper condition of his heart. He had a spiritual problem.
You know, light has an interesting duel purpose. For some, light can be a guide and for others, light can actually blind us, depending on where it is pointed. You see, if light is pointed in front of our eyes, it will guide our path. If light is pointed directly at our eyes, it has the same effect as darkness – it blinds us.
And I want you to see in this text, like every text, Jesus Christ is the Light of the world and He is going to be a guide to some’s path, but He will also blind those who have a hardened heart.
Now for us who are believers, born-again believers, it is hard for us to go back and remember what it was like to be living in the dark. Amen? And for those of us who have been believers for a longer period of time, it is even harder for us to remember what that is like. But you have to understand, many people in this world live as unbelievers in the dark. They are blinded. They can physically see with their eyes, but they spiritually are blinded.
And we know, as born-again believers, that the only remedy for their darkness is Jesus Christ. And that is what I want to show you today. My aim for you is to see how Jesus uses a blind man to reveal the unbelief of the crowd and to reveal and disclose His identity as the Messiah in order for our faith, even today, to be increased. And for those who don’t even have faith to begin a journey following Jesus.
If you have your Bibles and I hope you do, turn with me to John Chapter 9. John Chapter 9 Verse 1. We will consider the entire chapter today. And as we embark on this journey, I want you to see this entire encounter is an education for the disciples of the implications of unbelief. That is all it is about. The entire encounter is an education for the disciples of the implications of unbelief.
Remember, Jesus performs miracles and the masses will benefit, but the lessons are always for the twelve, always. He is training up these men who would take on the mission.
And so John Chapter 9 Verse 1, say “Word.” The Word of the Lord. “As Jesus passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ Jesus answered, ‘It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.’”
The first point I want you to see in this text…write it down if you are taking notes…and that is “The Healing Displayed the Identity of Jesus.” The healing displayed the identity of Jesus. And I want to break this down even smaller in a couple of parts. The first thing you notice is, we see this example of sin. Jesus uses a real world example of what they think is sin. The blind man is a representative of the human race. He is a picture outwardly of what is happening spiritually in his life.
The disciples assume at this point that the man’s blindness is a result of either his sin or his parents’ sin. Now the second is easier than the first to understand because you have to understand, in this period of time, the Jewish people had formulated this doctrine that the sins, from the text, from the Bible, that sins were passed down from the parents. And they got this from the Old Testament. They had formulated this theology of personal sin which was based on personal suffering. So if you are suffering, it is because of something you did, or a sin that you committed. And here are a couple of proof texts they used. You can write them down. Exodus Chapter 34 Verses 6-7. You know this one well. “God visits the sins of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.” So that was one text. They even used Ezekiel Chapter 18 Verse 20 as a proof text of sin leading to death. And finally, they realized that sinning came with a price of punishment based on Psalm 89 Verse 33.
Now what is puzzling is how in the world could they come to the place where this child in the womb could have sinned and now he is suffering the consequences of his own sin.
How did they get there? Well, you have to go back to the mindset of this audience of Jesus’ day. Now Jews, you know, did not believe in reincarnation. So this is not, I was a person in my former life and I came back as an ant in this life. My problem with reincarnation always is, the problem with reincarnation is you never know what you did wrong in the last life to correct it for the next life. It is a big problem they have. They haven’t figured that one out, but not to get you sidetracked.
So Jews did not believe in reincarnation. However, Pharisaical Judaism did teach that a child in the womb…follow me…had two inclinations that he could give into. The good inclination and the evil inclination. And if the child during that nine month period as the mother carried him or her, decided to give into the evil inclination and had animosity toward his mother or even at the last minute kicked his Mom coming out of the womb, God would punish them and they would be sick or ill. And so, in their mind they believe that this child either could have sinned in the womb or coming out of the womb or, his parents’ sinned. Both of which Jesus dismisses as nonsense. Look at the text.
Jesus says, no, that is not the reason this man as born blind. In fact, the reason he is born blind is so that the works of God might be displayed in him. While the Bible does speak of a relationship between suffering and sin, it is interesting that this sin, as all sin, leads…this sin, as all sin, is the result of the fall. You see, it is not that there was one particular sin that led to this man’s blindness, it is the fact that all sin from Adam sometimes leads to sickness. All sin has repercussions, in essence, we know that.
So this was not a personalized sin that applies to an individual. We know Hinduism even has affected the church with this idea of Karma. It has infiltrated the church and the body, that if you do something bad to this person, then it is going to come back around and have some repercussions on your own life.
Friends, I want you to understand. This man is not suffering the consequences of any sin. In fact, Jesus says, his blindness is a platform for the display of the gospel. That this man his entire life was blind so that God would show His glory.
It is an interesting thing because our minds have a hard time wrapping ourselves around that. We live in a world where sickness is everywhere. We live in a world where disease is everywhere. We live in a world where depravity is everywhere. And you and I both know, that will never be made right until the Second Coming of Christ. And so while we are in sin and we have the effects of sin all around us, we know that we are not immune from sin’s effects.
Friends, I want you to see right out the gate, this man, as we get further into this encounter, is about to be a trophy of God’s grace. And what a privilege that is. I believe there is no greater calling than to suffer for the glory of God so that your life would be a visible testimony of God’s grace.
So the first thing we see in the text is this man is an example of sin. But secondly, he has a test of obedience. He has a test of obedience. Now, follow with me because this doesn’t happen often, but you can book end it in your Bible. John Chapter 7 Verse 11 is where it begins and it goes all the way to John Chapter 10 Verse 21. Those few chapters are sequential. John doesn’t always do this. You know, John only talks about particular miracles in Jesus’ life to build a case for those who are unbelievers to become believers. But in this area, John follows everything that happens in that section from John 7 to John 10, is a sequential pattern in Jesus’ life. So what that means is, what happened in John Chapter 7.
Well, we have to go back to last week’s message. Jesus Christ takes His disciples to Jerusalem for a particular Festival. Do you remember what Festival that is? The Feast of Booths. The Feast of Tabernacles. There are hundreds, literally thousands of people there at this festival. That is going to come into play in just a few moments.
Verse 6. “Having said these things, Jesus then spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then He anointed the man’s eyes with the mud and said to him, ‘Go, wash in the pool of Siloam.’” That is interesting. “The pool of Siloam’ (which means Sent. So he went and washed and came back seeing.”
Now, this is a pretty odd miracle for Jesus, I have to say, because He normally doesn’t do anything like this, but He does something different here and I think it is to prove a couple of points.
The first question is, why would Jesus spit on the ground and take mud and then place it in this guy’s eyes? We can deduce that the man did not even have eyeballs to see from. He was born without them, so he has eye sockets. Jesus, as the Creator of all the world, Genesis 2:7, I think it is an illusion to God of the Old Testament taking the dust of the earth, the mud of the earth and creating man. And I think what Jesus is doing…this is what John is saying. John is saying, what I told you in John Chapter 1 Verse 3 that there is nothing…everything in the world is created through Him and there is nothing that is not created by Him. Let me show you what this looks like.
Here it is. He takes mud from the ground. He puts mud in this man’s eyes and He is about to form eyeballs, if you will. And if his eyeballs are there, we can even assume He is going to form sight, regardless. We can definitely go there.
Jesus then sends the man down to the Pool of Siloam. Now why is the Pool of Siloam important? Because this is in the midst of the Feast of Tabernacles. I mean, Jesus, why did You pick this pool. You could have picked any other pool there. You could have sent him to one of the porticos. You could have sent him to one of the outside pools. No, Jesus says, I am going to send you to the main thoroughfare in the midst of this Festival before hundreds and thousands of people to watch this man walk by. And this was no easy task.
I mapped it out online. To travel from the Temple where Jesus would have met him, to the Pool of Siloam, guess how long the journey was? Almost a half mile. And this is not just walking in an open street or a dirt road here. You have to understand, this man is going through the main thoroughfare. He is bumping into person after person. He has no escort. He is blind. No one is helping him. He hadn’t taken a bath in weeks, if not months. He is traversing at the last section a steep hill down to the Pool of Siloam and he does it alone.
Do you think anybody noticed this crazy man with mud in his eyes walking through the crowd that day? Everybody did! Who is this guy? He has mud on his face. It is coming down his cheek. Look at this guy. This guy is a joke. Let’s see where this guy is going, right? Wait a minute. Is that the blind guy? They all knew who he was. And so they follow him down to the Pool of Siloam. And I want to submit to you right now, Jesus does this, not by accident, on purpose as a walking billboard of the manifestation of the miracle that is about to happen. It would be similar to an ice cream truck driving through your neighborhood on a hot summer day blaring that aggravating music. You cannot deny it is outside your door, right? That is what this man was. He was a walking billboard.
Now watch what happens. Not only do we see this healing displaying the identity of Jesus, Jesus is calculating, every choice that He is making up to this point. Jesus is going to use this miracle to expose the unbelief of the Pharisees or the religious leaders. He is going to use this miracle and this healing to expose the unbelief of the religious leaders.
Two aspects here…or three aspects. The interrogation of the man, write the first one down. The interrogation of the man. Now follow me for a moment. Throughout Jewish history, the Jewish people believed that when the Messiah would come, we would know He would come because He would be the only one who would be able to perform three, what they called Messianic miracles. These Messianic miracles were miracles that only God Himself could perform.
You have to understand, Rabbis and prophets had the ability to perform miracles at times. So that was not extraordinary. But there were three miracles that they said over time, only the Messiah could perform. The first one is this, you can write it down, the Messiah would come and heal a leper. The second one is the Messiah would come and cast out a demon from a man who could not speak. You see, the Jewish had protocol on how to cast out a demon and you had to talk to the demon first, according to the Pharisees. You had to ask the demon his name, which you remember, Jesus did this. What is your name? Our name is Legion. How many? There are many of us. And then Jesus cast them out.
On another occasion, you will notice Jesus causes the demon to come out of a man who is dumb, if you will, he can’t speak. He is not dumb intellectually. He can’t speak.
But then the final Messianic miracle was that the Messiah would come…it was the hardest of all…and the Messiah would heal a man born blind. Now there were cases of people who had gone blind, but no one born blind. Now I would submit there could be a fourth one and that is Jesus, God Himself, could only heal a man after he has been dead three days because Jews believed that the soul remained in the body for three days which is why Jesus, next week, don’t miss Easter Sunday, next week Jesus will heal a man on the fourth day…just a side note.
So the three Messianic miracles were being looked at by all of the Jewish people. No one had ever on record had healed a man who was born blind. And they believed that only God could do that. And I will prove it to you. Go to Psalm 146. Psalm 146 gives us a picture of the theology concerning the Messiah and what God would do Himself.
Psalm 146 Verse 7. When you are there, say “Word.” “The Lord sets the prisoners free; (who does that? The Lord) The Lord opens the eyes of the blind The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous.”
Go to Isaiah 35:1 Here is the big one, the one they all would have known well. Isaiah 35:1. When you are there, say “Word.” “The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus; it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God. Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who have an anxious heart, ‘Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.”
Watch this. What will He do when He comes? “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then the lame man shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.”
Everybody was looking for the Messiah. They were looking for Him. They were waiting for Him. They were holding on with baited breath. Could this guy be the Messiah?
Here is just an interesting tidbit. One hundred years before Jesus is coming and one hundred years after Jesus is coming, twelve men rose up and claimed to be the Messiah in Israel. Did you know that? Twelve men rose up one hundred years before and one hundred years after in that time period and claimed to be the Messiah. Everyone but one was real. We know that. So they were always looking for the Messiah. Even John the Baptist was waiting for the Messiah, even though he knew Jesus was the Messiah, he is thrown in prison. And he is in prison and he sends a message through his disciples to Jesus in prison, and he says, “Are you the one to come or should we look for someone else?”
Now why is John asking that? John, you know He is the One to come. You leapt in the womb when Jesus came in in Mary’s stomach. You said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” You said, “I am unworthy to tie your shoes. I must decrease.” What are you saying, John. This is what John is saying. John is saying, if You are the Messiah, then why am I still in prison. That is what he is saying.
And the very first thing Jesus says, (I love this), He says, go back and tell John what you have seen and heard. Here is the first thing Jesus says. Tell him that the blind receive their sight. Do you know what He is doing here? He is quoting Isaiah 35. Tell him that the lame walk and the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear and the dead men are raised and the poor have been given good news to preach to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by Me.
So what He is saying to John is, I am the Messiah. It is happening. Stay encouraged. You are exactly where you need to be because God has you there.
Now, lets go back to the text, John Chapter 9. In this text, guess how many times the word “blind” is used in the entire chapter. Take a guess. Thirteen times! Thirteen times! The phrase…are you ready for this?…born blind is used five times. That phrase. I will give it to you. Verse 1, Verse 2, Verse 19, Verse 20 and Verse 32. The leaders when they interrogate this man after he comes back, because what they do, they bring him in and interrogate him. Look at Verse 16.
“Some of the Pharisees said, ‘This man is not from God, (talking about Jesus) for He does not keep the Sabbath.’ But others said, ‘How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?’” What are they saying? He didn’t say, do signs because a lot of people had done signs. He said, “Do such signs.” Do you know what he is saying? He is saying, how can a man who is a sinner do the Messianic miracles? This must be the Messiah.
So then they go from this man and they interrogate his parents. So the first interrogation is of the man. The second interrogation is of the parents and it gets kind of weird here. Look at Verse 18. This is his Mom and Dad they are talking to.
“The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight, until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight and asked them, ‘Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?’ His parents said, ‘We know that this is our sin and that he was born blind. But how he now sees we do not know, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.’ (Now his parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone should confess Jesus to be the Messiah (Christ is Messiah)…if anyone confesses Jesus to be the Messiah, he was to be put out of the synagogue.) Therefore his parents said, ‘He is of age; ask him.’”
You see, what his parents are doing here is, they plead the Fifth because they are fearful of being excommunicated from the synagogue. For the Jewish culture, there were three levels of excommunication and the last level of excommunication was the worst. It would be the equivalent to being removed from society or another way to say it is to be dead. That is what they are threatening here. If you claim Jesus as the Messiah, you are excommunicated from the community.
Arnold Frictenbaum, who is a Jewish theologian says this: “To be separated from the Jewish community was considered to be the curse of death. A person who was put out of the synagogue could have no communication from anybody in the community from that day forward. It was similar to being dead.”
So the parents say, we don’t know what is going on. Ask our son. So they go back to the man. And finally we see the excommunication of the man – the interrogation of the man, the interrogation of the parents – the excommunication of the man.
Verse 24. “So for the second time they called the man who had been blind and said to him, ‘Give glory to God. We know that this man is a sinner.’ He answered them, ‘Where he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know is that I was blind and now I see.’ (A lot of rich theology here, as you can imagine.) They said to him, ‘What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?’ He answered them, ‘I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become His disciples?’ (I like this guy.) And they reviled him, saying, ‘You are His disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. We know that God has spoken to Moses but as for this ma, we do not know where He comes from.”
Verse 30, “Why, this is an amazing thing! You do not know where He comes from, and yet He opened my eyes.” Do you know what he is saying? I know where He comes from because only God can open eyes and this man is from God. That is what he is saying. “We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, God listens to him. Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, (look at what he says) He could do (what?)…He could do nothing.’ They said to him, ‘You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us?’ And they cast him out.”
The key phrase there is “born in utter sin.” You are going to love this. That phrase “born in utter sin” is the same terminology we have today according to David Stern, the author of the Jewish New Testament Commentary, for the phrase illegitimate child. Illegitimate son. It is the Hebrew word, “manser” which means utter sin. Technically it could mean the offspring of a marriage that was prohibited in Leviticus Chapter 18. So this man is an illegitimate child. And I just love Jesus here. I mean, you have got to think of Jesus. He always does this. He takes a man who is the lowest class of society. He is an outcast. He is a beggar. He is an illegitimate child. He is a man who has been on the streets most of his life and he uses this man to school the religious leaders of Israel in a message on the Messiah. He goes into the PhDs of the world and he teaches them theology! He says, why are you guys so hard headed? Don’t you see who this man is?
And I want you to notice how deep this theological discussion is. He says, I was blind and now I see. Pretty deep, right? He doesn’t know the ends and out of sotereology. This man doesn’t have a seminary degree, just to let you know. He doesn’t have a PhD in preaching. This man basically says, all I know is that I was blind and now I see. Do you know what he is showing us? He is showing us the power of your testimony. The power of your testimony. Don’t ever underestimate the power of your testimony.
Do you know what a lost world has a hard time arguing with? A changed life. A changed life. And your life, let me tell you, is one of the greatest examples for a lost world, of the power of the gospel.
Just like the woman in John Chapter 4, the woman at the well, she simply goes into the town. She has a history and a past but she says, Jesus changed me. And the whole town, it said, started to believe in Christ.
Let me ask you. When was the last time you shared your testimony with a lost person? You need to be ready to have a five minute testimony that you can share on the fly. This is who I was before Christ. This is what happened the day I met Christ or the experience of my life when I came to Christ. Christ called me out of sin. I responded in repentance and faith. And this is what God has done after that moment. And don’t miss that part because so many people stop here. Let me tell you what God is still doing in my life now.
Don’t ever underestimate the power of your testimony. You see, the Pharisees were not having any of it. Their desire for power and their pride had kept them from seeing who Jesus was and they took it out on this man. They excommunicated him from the community. Notice what they said, “You were born in utter sin and would you teach us? And they cast him out.”
Do you know what it shows me as I was studying this week. I just got to thinking about it. Sometimes it takes more faith to disbelieve than to believe. It takes more faith. I really believe for the atheist, it takes more faith to be an atheist in our day and age than it does to be a true believer. There is a lot of faith to believe that no one out there created us. That takes a lot of faith. And these guys, because of their pride and power, would rather stay where they are than to admit their wrongdoings and put their faith in Christ.
So let me give you the final thing of this text. We are not going to spend a long time, but let me show you what happens. The healing resulted in this man’s salvation. Once again, we see Jesus giving a follow-up consultation with a man who experienced the miracle.
Verse 35. “Jesus heard that they had cast him out, excommunicated him, and having found him He said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?’ He answered, ‘And who is He, sir, that I may believe in Him?’” Now why would he say that? Think about this. When Jesus put mud in his eyes, he was blind. And then Jesus sends him on a journey a half mile away. He has never met Jesus. He don’t know who Jesus is. He says, tell me who He is and I will believe in Him. Jesus said, “You have seen Him. It is He who is speaking to you.” Imagine that moment. “He said, ‘Lord, I believe,’ and he worshiped Him. Jesus said, ‘For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.’ Some of the Pharisees near Him heard these things, and said to Him, ‘Are we also blind?’ Jesus said to them, ‘If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.”
Jesus goes out and finds the man and basically He says, I am the guy that you got in trouble for. But though you got in trouble for physically seeing and there is a deeper satisfaction you have here and that is that you spiritually see, you are saved, in a sense. And I want you to notice the contrast in the text. The contrast, watch this, is against the man who was born blind but then was able to see. On this side we have religious leaders who were able to physically see, but they remained blind in their sin. And friends, it is better to be blind and saved and spiritually see than to be able to physically see and be lost and headed to a Christless eternity.
And so we see in this text this wonderful ending. And I think the whole passage really has to do with salvation. It is a picture of salvation, how we go from death to life and we spiritually see.
Let me give you two walking points as we close. The first one, write it down. I want you to realize that God works through your suffering. God works through your suffering.
You know, it is very difficult for us to empathize with this man because we have sight. It is hard to empathize with a person who lived their entire life in the dark. This man has never seen a beautiful sunset in his entire life up to this point. He has never experienced what it is like to see a sunrise. He has never gazed into the heavens and looked at a marvelous rainbow before. He has never counted the stars in the sky. He has never seen the spring green grass growing in the fields. He has never seen any of that. Darkness was all he knew.
It reminds me of Helen Keller. She said it this way. She said, “Gradually I had gotten to the place where I was used to the silence and the darkness that surrounded me and I forgot that it had been different until she came into my life, which was my teacher. She began to set my spirit free, she said. She began to realize that she could do more with her life and she said she felt like her spirit was set free. And I believe this man’s spirit was literally spiritually set free the day he met Jesus.
Try to put yourself in his position that day. He goes out to his place of begging. The place he had always picked. It was a hot spot, if you can imagine. He had been there for a while. He had been doing this for a long period of time, and so he knew where to go. And he was particularly encouraged this day because there was a Festival. A few times a year there were people who would make pilgrimage to Jerusalem. And so he was in for a good reward, if you will, a good day’s work. And so he sits down in a normal routine day and he plops himself down and he has his cup and he starts to beg. But today is different. I want you to imagine that you were him. You hear in the distance this man, this Rabbi. You try to hear but you can make it out, who starts to say, “As long as I am in the world, I am the Light of the World.” And then all of a sudden, this man, he senses, kneels down next to him. And then all of a sudden he starts to hear this man spitting into the ground and forming a mud cake with his hand. And just when he starts to make sense of what is happening, he feels this moist mud being pressed into his eye sockets. And then he hears from the Man. If that wasn’t enough from the damp mud, he hears from the Man, Go to the Pool of Siloam. Imagine at that point, his heart starts to pound, his blood pressure starts to rise and he starts to ask himself, could this really happen? Can I really be healed? And he starts to ask himself, should I trust this man. I don’t know this man. Should I obey this man? Think of the obedience of this man here. He is going to be the laughing stock of the community if he is wrong. But thank God, he goes for it.
He stumbles to his feet and he tries to make his way down to the Pool of Siloam by himself. No one helps this man. He makes his way all the way down to the Pool of Siloam in the midst of hundreds and thousands of people. He probably gets to the water. He feels to the edge of the water and he probably plunges his head straight down beneath the surface. Imagine this. Picture this. And when he lifts his head out of the water and wipes the mud from his eyes, the first thing he sees in the water is his reflection for the first time. It is the first time he saw what he looked like. And then he wipes his eyes, probably again and he looks around and he sees people for the first time. Imagine this. And he looks up in the sky and he sees clouds and the sun for the first time. And I imagine he starts to yell, I CAN SEE! Can you picture that? I CAN SEE! I WAS BORN BLIND AND I CAN SEE! He starts running around. People are thinking, here is this crazy guy. He can see. What is he yelling for? And so they try to follow him. And I imagine the first place he goes is back home. Mom and Dad, no longer do I need this walking stick. I can see!
I want you to imagine what it was like for this man. What a picture of salvation! But friends, the miracle was not for him. The miracle was for the crowd. And God decided to use this man as a trophy of His grace. This man God chose before the foundation of the world to be put on a pedestal as a platform for sharing the gospel. This man’s sin is what God had preordained to be used for His own glory. He was a walking billboard of the kindness and the goodness of God. He was an example, a visible manifestation of the gospel.
And friends, let me ask you a question, did you ever think that your present suffering right now may be the very means that God is using to bring other people to Himself and to bring glory to Himself? Have you ever thought about that? That may be the reason you are in the midst of pain and suffering is because God is using you as a trophy of His grace. And He has hand selected you for the task. What an honor!
And for some of you, you are going to need to repent right now for blaming God for your present situation. You are going to need to stop pointing the finger at God for the predicament that you are in. And you are going to need to start trusting God more and realizing that He knows better than you do and that He holds you in His hands and He knows the hairs on your head and He knows your future better than you know your own past. And He knows exactly where He is taking you and He knows that He works the best in your weakness. And so, give glory to God. Amen! He works in our weakness.
Secondly, it is important for us as believers, so called believers, to examine ourselves to see if we are saved. I am talking to believers now, so-called believers. We need to examine ourselves to see if we are even saved. I think this is a great challenge for us to judge ourselves. These Pharisees for all practical purposes, had it all figured out. They were the spiritually elite of Israel. They were the Delta Force of Christianity back then, if you would, or Judaism, not Christianity, Judaism.
And Jesus says, you guys are far from me. It reminds me when Paul said in I Corinthians, “Examine yourself to see whether you are even in the faith.” John’s entire gospel, if you have read John’s gospel and as we continue to journey on, is one sign after another. It is miracle after miracle after miracle so that John would show us today who are reading this book, that we would believe in Jesus as the Messiah. And we know from the text that back then, Jesus’ hearers did not believe in Him. They paid the price for their sin and they were rejected from God.
Look at what Jesus says, “We see that our guilt still remains on you.”
You see, what the Pharisees were great at is that they had doctorates in diverting attention away from their own sins onto the shortcomings of others. They were masters of doing that. They never looked at themselves. They always looked at other people. And if we are not careful, we can do the same thing. And so I think it is healthy for us to think of our own life and examine ourselves. If not, we turn into what Jesus said in a parable of Luke 18 with the Pharisee and the tax collector. Do you remember that one?
Jesus said two men went up to the Temple to praise God an pray. The first man was a Pharisee. He was not like the other man. He stood over to himself and he looked up to the Lord and he said, Lord, I thank you, God, that I am not like this man over here, this scoundrel of a tax collector. I tithe to you, Lord. I pray and I fast often.
Jesus said, the tax collector on the other hand was so downtrodden, discouraged of his own sin, he couldn’t even raise his eyes to heaven. He simply beat his chest and said, Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner. And Jesus said, I tell you the truth, the tax collector went home justified in the eyes of God.
Friend, when was the last time you shined a search light on your heart? When was the last time you took a look at the landscape of your life? When was the last time you took an honest look at yourself to determine where you are? When was the last time you inspected your mind to see about the things that you are allowing to enter your head. When was the last time you took a sin inventory list of your life? Have you ever done that before? A sin inventory list. These are the issues of sin that I am struggling with. And we are going to attack these head-on. Pride, immorality, anger, resentment, selfishness. We are going to attack these head-on. It is good for us to do that from time to time.
Alexander Wright, the great preacher of the 20th Century was in his study one time. An evangelist had come to town. Many people had come to this revival and one of his assistants had come into his study as Mr. Wright was preparing. And he said, You are never going to believe this. The Evangelist who had come to Edinburgh is criticizing all the local ministers. He said, he is getting up on the platform and he is making fun. He is criticizing and calling out these guys. He said, Really? Like who? And he said, You are never going to believe like Dr. Hood Wilson. He said that he is not even a Christian. And Wright said, that scoundrel. I know this man. He is a Christian. And he said, yes, better yet, you are never going to believe this. He said that you are not even saved! And Wright sat there for a moment. He put his face in his hands and after a season of silence, he looked at his assistant and he said, Leave me alone. I must examine my own heart right now.
You know, Charles Spurgeon said, it is not our littleness that hinders the working of Christ, but our bigness. It is not our weakness that hinders Christ, but our strengthen. It is not our darkness that hinders Christ, it is our supposed light that holds back His hand in our life.
There are some people who are here today who may be blinded to the fact that they are even blind. And that is why I think it is important for us to cry out to the Lord. Ask God to shine a light upon our heart.
Friends, if you are far from God today, my challenge to you is if you are in the dark, ask God to open your eyes. If you are a believer today and you feel like you are in sin, you need to ask God to forgive you of your sins. And finally, if you are in the midst of suffering, would you cry out to God and say, God, use this for Your Glory. Use this in a way, God, where You alone get the glory.
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