This post is part of The Grave Robber series.
The work of God opens the eyes of the blind, but closes the eyes of the proud.
Good morning. I’d like to do a little experiment. And I’m going to have to ask some of you to close your eyes. Now, if you’re like me, you probably already have your eyes closed and your thinking “this is going to be awesome! What’s going to happen?” BUT if you’re like my wife, you’re thinking, “I don’t trust you.”
Fair enough. I’ll let you people slide through. But we’ll do it this way, if your birthday falls between January and June, close your eyes when I tell you. Everyone else gets to keep them open.
Alright, I’ll count to three and if you’re supposed to close your eyes, go ahead and close them. 1 -2 -3.
[Tech booth Scene 8]
[Wait about 30 seconds]
[Light up fluorescents (Zone 4 Top]
Okay! If your eyes are still closed you can open them. Tech booth you can get us back to normal.
[Turn off fluorescents (Zone 4 bottom) and back to Scene 2]
I already have the results from the experiment in—and no there is not a paycheck as part of the clinical trial. We all sat in the darkness and got pretty acclimated to the environment. But then, the entire room flooded with every light at once.
For those who had their eyes open, when the light first turned on, many of you closed your eyes, at least half-way.
But for those who had their eyes closed, when the light first turned on, opened your eyes a little.
Interesting. Hold that thought.
Raise your hand if you have a mother-in-law. Keep your hand raised if your mother-in-law has ever given you advice! Put your hand down if you didn’t want the advice. Only joking!
What is it about certain people giving us information that we can’t seem to appreciate it? That last one was more for the ladies, but guys—we have the same kind of issues. If we’re working on a project, be it plumbing, building, electrical or whatever, we don’t want our father-in-law, or our friend’s buddy who used to have his own contracting business hovering over our shoulder.
I think you’d agree, the information may be spot on, but there is something in our belly that gets a little acidy, and our lips get a little tight, and our eyes start looking around for someone you trust so you can give them the look that says “Are you kidding me!? I can do this myself!”
There is a term of this, actually. It’s called pride.
No that doesn’t mean your in-laws don’t have major issues, they probably do. But we’ve got to admit, when the light hits, some of us are humble and receptive—we open our eyes to it, while the rest of us close them.
Turn your Bible with me to John chapter 8 if you would please. Again that’s John 8. In our Sanctuary Bibles that is page 894. We continue our series called The Grave Robber today, but looking at the sixth major miracle of John’s Gospel—the healing of the blind man. If you’re in one of our Small Group studies or have been reading in the book The Grave Robber, you’ll realize the focus is on calling us to a richer faith in the God who interacts with His creation. So instead of repeating what Mark Batterson has to say in his material, Pastor Ron and I have been shedding some light on different angles of the same text.
That said, while the healing of the blind man occurs in John chapter 9, we need to get a little context—get up to speed on the situation at hand. I’ll sum up the chapter, but we’ll zoom in together on some specific verses.
We first see Jesus in the early morning at the Temple teaching and the famous scene of the adulterous woman being condemned. Right after this intense confrontation with the religious authorities, we look at verse 12.
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
This did not sit very well with the Scribes and Pharisees. They couldn’t understand where Jesus’ authority came from that would allow Him to say such things. But while these religious leaders didn’t trust Jesus, others did. Verse 30 reads As he was saying these things, many believed in him.
We are stuck once again at the crux moment when a choice must be made to either believe or not believe, to open your eyes or not open your eyes in response to the light. Jesus is giving them intense truth, forcing them to open their eyes to Him or close their eyes to Him. Jesus finally gives us an answer as to why some get it and some don’t. Jesus cuts to the pride issue in verse 43.
Verse 43 Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word.
That’s it right there. We can’t bear to hear the word. Or another way of putting it is, we can’t stand to be wrong. Or even further, we can’t stand to need help. Even if it is help from God Himself. In verses 58 and 59 Jesus makes bold, divisive claims about who He really is—God in the flesh.
Verses 58-59 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.
“I am” here is the Greek equivalent to the Hebrew name for God. Jesus is equating Himself with God. For those who could receive it, this was finally seeing the truth. For those who would not receive it, this blinded them from seeing truth.
Turn to chapter nine.
Jesus hides Himself, goes out of the Temple, and soon enough finds the perfect object lesson for spiritual sightlessness—a man blind since birth.
Let’s read verses 1-7
As he 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.” Having said these things, he 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” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.
You’ll notice a few interesting things here. First, chat about if someone sinned. I’d love to talk about this in depth, but I think Mark Batterson did a fine job in his book and material, so I won’t repeat all of that. Suffice it to say, God will do something with your pain if you let Him. Next, you’ll notice Jesus once again calls Himself the light of the world. You can see this section of John’s Gospel is 100% interconnected. Jesus then spits on the ground, makes mud, and puts it on the man’s eyes. Scholars debate, as to why make mud, but I am fairly certain it was to once again push the button of the religious leaders who had laws against both healing and against making mud on the Sabbath day, which it was. The man is to go and wash at the pool called Sent, and once he did, he came back seeing.
The people are so amazed and bewildered, they bring the man to the Scribes and Pharisees.
I heard a story about a game warden who noticed one of his friends was really raking in the fish. Each day his cooler would be three times as full as anyone else’s. So the warden asked if he could tag along and learn a few things. Out on the boat, the warden looked up when he heard a hissing noise, the friend had lit a stick of dynamite and threw it out into the water. After a huge boom, the man grabbed his net and started scooping up fish. When he caught his breath, the warden began berating his friend for the danger he is putting people in, the damage to the environment, and the laws he had broken when he looked down and saw a lit stick of dynamite on his lap. Looking up, his friend asked “Are you going to complain all day or are you going to help me fish!?”
Sometimes dynamite falls on your lap, the lights are suddenly turned on, or in the case of the Scribes and Pharisees, a man born blind is healed. And it’s in that moment you’ve got to make a decision. Do I humble myself and believe, or do I stand my ground and refuse to admit I’m wrong.
Throughout chapter 9 we see a beautifully written account of the religious leaders trying to deal with the miracle—and it was causing quite a stir.
Verse 16 reads
Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” And there was a division among them.
The light has been flipped on. Will I open my eyes?
The religious leaders interrogate the man again and again, even bringing in his parents to testify that he was actually born blind. But they can’t get past the testimony of what God has done. I love verse 25:
He answered, “Whether he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.”
There is subtle humor in this chapter if you can catch it. On the surface, the man is being judged. But through him, Jesus is being judged. Yet in reality it is the Pharisees themselves who are being judged by their response to Jesus who is the light of the world
And in the end, they are judged as blind. In Verse 43 we read
Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.
How sad. How would things have turned out if they humbled themselves like the man who was healed?
Verse 38, He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.
The man went away physically healed, and spiritually healed because he recognized his need for healing, and trusted in Jesus as the healer.
Like Jesus said when He was talking with Nicodemus by the fire, this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. (John 3:19 ESV) and here verse 9:39 For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.”
Will you admit your blindness and need for spiritual healing today?
This morning we will be partaking of Communion together. This is where we eat bread and drink juice, representing Jesus Body and Blood, broken and spilled on the cross for our sin.
And like the blind man, you may be ready to admit this morning you need healing. And if you are, it’s time to take action on that. Like the man believed the word of Jesus and went and washed in the pool, THEN came back seeing, so you must take a step of faith. Perhaps as you eat the bread, and drink the juice this morning, this is your act of washing and you will come away seeing.
And for those who have already asked Jesus to heal their spiritual blindness, for those who are believers, perhaps the challenge you face this morning is to go and testify as the blind man did. Would you remember when you washed in the pool called Sent this morning as you receive Communion?
John 9:25 is all you need. Read this with me:
One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see. Nobody can argue with that!
Let’s respond to God together.
Thank you for letting us know if you are interested in Financial Peace University. Before you leave, know we have a prayer team up front who would love to pray with you for any need in your life. Connection cards and Small Group sign-ups can go in the baskets.
C.S. Lewis said I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.
Please stand and receive the benediction from Ephesians 5:8 ESV
For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light… You are dismissed.