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"The blind man in John 9 is someone Christ knows, the world hates, is touched by a sovereign God, who continues in faith, who is lost, was formerly unable to find anything on his own, is sought out by Jesus in grace, a nameless outcast, standing faithfully against the world, transformed, and testifying of his savior. If I didn't just describe you, you might need to ask yourself if you know Him. He is either crazy or He is the Christ."
No Mean Love
The Sovereignty of God in the Sabotage of Judas
When Jesus Took Up the Towel and Loved us to the Uttermost
Israel and You: A Good Example or a Horrible Warning
For This Purpose He Came: Unveiling God's Glory in His Humiliation
John: Where We've Been and Our Intention Moving Forward
A Perfect Message if you "Wish to see Jesus"
King Jesus: Why the Leaders Missed Him, Why You Must Not
Albert: A Living Picture of Lazarus a Man Once Dead
Lazarus: A Dead Man Who Becomes a Picture of Life
The Pivot Point That Is Personal Belief and The Rightness of Radical Response
What Should and Shouldn't Matter To You
Jesus versus the Ultimate Predator
The Reason for Everything and How We are to Respond to It
The Identity of the Good Shepherd and the Attributes of His Sheep
The Good Shepherd: What He is Doing, Why He is Doing It, and How it's Going to Get Done
A Blind Man You'd Better See Yourself In
Sons, Slaves and Freedom Indeed
Last night, very late, I tweeted that I think I've found a new favorite chapter in the Bible after studying all week long. It is in John 9. What I love about what we're going to see in John 9 is you're going to find out what it means to be his disciple. You're going to find somebody who ought to look eerily familiar. If he doesn't, it ought to concern you. It's a young man who you're going to find out decides to follow Jesus.
Last week, we talked about in John 8, verses 31 and 32, how it says, "If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."
Jesus says, "I am the truth, and if you know who I am and you believe that I am the truth and you continue in that understanding of who I am, no matter how much oppression, public pressure, how much persecution, how much putting out happens to you, that is how I know you're mine." "If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine…" We're going to take a look at a young man who is the prototype of every single true believer. You'd better hope you recognize him, and if not, I hope you identify with him this morning.
Father, we thank you for a chance to study your Word. I thank you that every time I open your Bible, every time I dive in I am blown away by the majesty and the brilliance, the beauty of the revelation that is there. I thank you just for the hope that we have as we see your unfolding, your revealing. That we're not left to our own understanding, our own considerations, our own pondering, or our own imaginations.
That you have given us what we otherwise could not have. You seek us in our blind, lost, illiterate state, and you show us the Word. I pray this morning there would be some in this room who for the first time their eyes would be opened. I pray that in this room there would be those of us whose eyes have been opened that we see a model of a man who we should follow and imitate him as he follows you.
We thank you, Father, for the fact that you've just brought us here this morning. The exact same miracle of grace that had this young man wander into the presence of your Son is the same miracle of fortune and goodness and grace that has had us wonder once again in the presence of Christ that we might find, not just a favorite chapter, but a life-changing truth. Would you teach us now? Amen.
John 9. What a great, great little section. We're going to read the whole story. Are you ready?
"As He [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 would be born blind?' Jesus answered, 'It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.
We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.' When He had said this, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and applied the clay to his eyes, and said to him, 'Go, wash in the pool of Siloam' (which is translated, Sent).
So he went away and washed, and came back seeing. Therefore the neighbors, and those who previously saw him as a beggar, were saying, 'Is not this the one who used to sit and beg?' Others were saying, 'This is he,' still others were saying, 'No, but he is like him.' He kept saying, 'I am the one.'
So they were saying to him, 'How then were your eyes opened?' He answered, 'The man who is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes, and said to me, "Go to Siloam and wash"; so I went away and washed, and I received sight.' They said to him, 'Where is He?' He said, 'I do not know.'
They brought to the Pharisees the man who was formerly blind. Now it was a Sabbath on the day when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. Then the Pharisees also were asking him again how he received his sight. And he said to them, 'He applied clay to my eyes, and I washed, and I see.'
Therefore some of the Pharisees were saying, 'This man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath.' But others were saying, 'How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?' And there was a division among them. So they said to the blind man again, 'What do you say about Him, since He opened your eyes?' And he said, 'He is a prophet.'
The Jews then did not believe it of him, that he had been blind and had received sight, until they called the parents of the very one who had received his sight, and questioned them, saying, 'Is this your son, who you say was born blind? Then how does he now see?' His parents answered them and said, 'We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; but how he now sees, we do not know; or who opened his eyes, we do not know. Ask him; he is of age, he will speak for himself.'
His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone confessed Him to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue. For this reason his parents said, 'He is of age; ask him.' So a 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 then answered, 'Whether He is a sinner, I do not know; one thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.' So they said to him, 'What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?' He answered them, 'I told you already and you did not listen; why do you want to hear it again? You do not want to become His disciples too, do you?'
They reviled him and said, 'You are His disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where He is from.' The man answered and said to them, 'Well, here is an amazing thing, that you do not know where He is from, and yet He opened my eyes.
We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears him. Since the beginning of time it has never been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. If this man were not from God, He could do nothing.' They answered him, 'You were born entirely in sins, and are you teaching us?' So they put him out.
Jesus heard that they had put him out, and finding him, He said, 'Do you believe in the Son of Man?' He answered, 'Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?' Jesus said to him, 'You have both seen Him, and He is the one who is talking with you.' And he said, 'Lord, I believe.' And he worshiped Him.
And Jesus said, 'For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.' Those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things and said to Him, 'We are not blind too, are we?' Jesus said to them, 'If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, "We see," your sin remains.'"
All right. I love this text. This is brilliant. Now listen, if Jesus, in John 8, just made this incredible claim, "I am the Light of the world…" and you were going to go ahead and show people that you were in fact what you said, what might be the next thing that you do? How about giving light to a dark world? Something that no one has done?
You go back and you read your Old Testament. Isaiah 35 says that one of the marks of God in the flesh: Mighty God, Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace, Everlasting Father, one of the signs of this Messiah is that he would give sight to the blind. The lame would walk. We've already had that happen, but you're going to find out that person did not continue in his focus on who Jesus was.
So something far worse than lameness for 38 years may well have happened to him. You're going to find here in John 9, somebody who continues in his Word. If you were Jesus and you just got through saying, "I am the Light of the world…" might this not be your next sēmeion, your next sign?
There are seven of them in this book. This is the sixth, when Jesus gives sight to a man born blind, a man with a congenital effect. It is in his nature that he cannot see, just like you and just like me. There is something in his created state that makes him a danger to himself and unable to help others.
That, friends, is a picture of every single one of us. We are born into a blindness of the goodness of God. We come from a long line of sinners. It is in our nature. We are "…by nature children of wrath…" This immediately rubs up against some of you because you go, "No, man is morally neutral. We're born with a blank slate. What you do with it, the way we nurture you is going to determine whether you're a good or a wicked person."
To those folks I say, "Have your own children." You do not send them anywhere to learn to be selfish, controlling, impulsive, and mean. That is in our nature. I know you have lived for three or four decades when you brought them into this world, but they know at 6 that they are smarter than you, so they rebel against you.
They want nothing of the three-decade head start that you have, just like you want nothing of the eternal head start that perfection, that God, has over you. We are blind. We send, as one person observed, ourselves off to universities where we teach universal truth in the truest sense of wisdom.
But in that university where we can teach you about finite things, you will find in state schools you're not allowed to teach them about the unifying truth in all of creation so it's just a mockery. The same person I heard just speculate on this talks about how Rodin's Thinker is a perfect picture of man.
He is eternally sitting, pondering, wondering, meditating, trying to understand and make sense out of this world, but we cannot do it. We don't understand who we are, where we're from, so we have emotional problems. We don't understand each other, so we have interpersonal problems. We don't understand how to rule over each other, so we have governmental and societal problems. We don't understand how to relate to one another, so we have international problems.
We are blind. We are, as it says in Ephesians, without God and without hope in this world. Unless light is given to us, blind people cannot make themselves see, so we need grace. We need a divine encounter. This man in John 9, this nameless blind man who the world will reject, you'll find that God seeks and offers him grace. Reveals himself to him. What will he do with it? What will you do with Jesus?
So then John 9. Let's read it now. "As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth." I think I've talked about the picture there. It's his disciples who asked him this question. "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?" Look, if you didn't have an absolute conviction yet that we are ignorant, that we don't see things for what they really are, look no further. There is evidence right here in verse 2 of our blindness and ignorance.
Human explanations are always incomplete. The explanation that most people have is the reason bad things are happening to you is because you've done something bad because there is no way that a good God could allow evil, so there must be some explanation. If we can't figure it out in that person's life, we'll trace it back to previous lives. This is karma. You didn't do good in your past life, so this is what you have in this life.
In fact, that system is so self-serving. It allows folks who are prospering to feel self-righteous. In fact, it even gives them a permission, yea even obligation to not rescue the poor and the suffering and those who are experiencing the results of previous bad choices. In fact, if you jump in and you rescue them and you love them and you care for them? You'll be jacking with karma, which is bad karma for you. So you're not going to advance forward, you're going to slide back.
If you did not believe that man is ignorant and futile in his speculations and cannot on his own figure out truth, look no further than verse 2. We think this is the only explanation because we are ignorant and blind. Let me just tell you very quickly. I'm going to do this. I've taught this before, but I'll just do it. I'll throw it up there. Give you some bullets.
There are a number of reasons why trials come. You're going to find out that John 9, offers one of them, but it's not the only one. What I often see, in fact, when some people read Scripture, it's like they drive a stake in the ground and they go, "Right there! That's the reason things happen," but I would say in Scripture you have to be careful because often there's a number of different explanations as to why things might happen.
What I would tell you is you need to drive another peg over here, another peg over here, another peg over here. I'm going to give you at least six reasons why there is suffering and evil in this world this morning. What you have to do is stretch a rubber band around all those pegs. When you see suffering and evil in the world, you'd better not assume that you know which peg is the reason.
Sometimes it's abundantly clear. Often it's a combination. It's somewhere in the middle of that circle that is surrounded as we've stretched truth out and we've seen it. So here we go. What are the reasons that evil and suffering are in the world? I did a whole message on this in the Why series, but here we go.
1 . It's because the influence of evil in a fallen world. This is not as it should be. Sin has entered into the world, and with sin has come death and evil. Evil was already here before we were created in the person of the Serpent, in the person of Satan, in the person of the Enemy of God who tempted us to believe that God was not good and we should follow ourselves, follow him.
You'll find out that at times what he does is he brings chaos into the world to make us hate God, to, if you will, testify as to why we shouldn't trust God. He made a claim against Job. The reason Job is righteous and blameless and fears God and shuns evil is because things are going well for him, but you start jacking with his health, you start jacking with his family, he is not going to love you. God said, "Yes, he will." So evil is at work in this world.
The book of Job… In fact, Job's friends started with John 9, verse 2, as their explanation. "Job, look we love you, dude, but something has gone wrong in your life. God doesn't let this kind of stuff happen to good people." In fact, Job starts by saying, "No, sometimes it's the best people who he lets evil befall because he is going to do something through them."
There are a few people in our community, there are many friends who I have that I marvel at what God has allowed to come into their lives. We have a young man who is a freshman at Lake Highlands who God, a couple of years ago, gave him the gift of suffering, who we continue to pray for that God would allow his body to have strength come into him, but I watch and marvel at this young man as he keeps seeking God though his body weakens.
Our friend Angela Andrews in here, who a number of years ago was serving with us and leading and helping us with our A/V stuff. Angela doesn't help with our A/V stuff anymore because she is blind. Lost her eyesight. Lost her health through severe symptoms from diabetes. I think about my friend Nick Vujicic who was born without arms and legs.
You go, "Why in the world would a good God allow that to happen?" Well, God didn't intend for man to be created that way, but he can use it for good. If you don't know anything about Nick Vujicic, you go back and watch when I gave a little series on worldview What in the World Are You Thinking? about suffering and you watch Nick communicate right here. Amazing.
Joni Eareckson Tada, why did that little teenage girl get paralyzed from the neck down? What did she do wrong? I will tell you sometimes in this broken world things happen in a way that is not as it should be. Sometimes it's a test. Sometimes it's just because this isn't our home, but if you tell people, "It's because I know what you did, and you had this coming," you are an abuser. You are ignorant as Job's friend.
Job was required to offer a sacrifice for the bad counsel. It was an offense to God when they spoke as if they were enlightened and could see all things. It's something in their arrogance they believed could not happen outside of their understanding. God said, "That offends me." Job had to offer a sacrifice for the bad counsel and opinion of his friends. Trials come sometimes because of influence of evil in this world.
2 . Sometimes trial comes because of consequences of choices that we have made. There are things that we do that are wrong and stupid, so we pay a price for them. Jonah is a great illustration of this.
3 . Sometimes trials come because of the influence the Lord wants you to have on other people. Joseph is a great example of this. Joseph hadn't done a lot wrong. He was a little bit arrogant with his brothers. He didn't know how to handle the blessing that God had given him, but by and large, Joseph sought the Lord. There was trouble after trouble that kept coming to him, and what men intended for evil in Joseph's life, God was going to use for good. You're going to see that in many of these, you'll see multiples reasons for these things.
4 . Sometimes trials come because of the influence the Lord wants you to have on your character. James, chapter 1, verse 12, said, "Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him." So sometimes it's because God wants to produce something in your character. "And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."
5 . Trials sometimes come because of the intention of the Lord to glorify himself through your circumstance. See also John 9. That is often the case in many of the cases that I believe have happened, as I mentioned even earlier. God is up to something we cannot see. There's a sixth reason. I get it from Deuteronomy 29:29. I would just tell you is…
6 . Sometimes we just don't know. I think it's always a mistake to tell somebody, "Hey, I know what God is doing. He is doing this to build something in your life." Well almost always he is doing that. He wants to take whatever is going on and work it "…for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."
No question there is suffering in this world because sin is in this world. No question none of us are perfect so sometimes some of the things that happen to us because of our own rebellion against God. No question that often what God is going to use… What's evil in the life, God is going to use to help others.
In all of them, you're going to see God, if we'll just walk with him, glorify himself. At the end of the day even beyond all of this, we don't know. Deuteronomy 29:29 says, "The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law."
In other words, study God's Word. Get all the insight you can. Take all the light God gives you, but remain humble. You aren't God. You don't know. Just know that God is good. He loves you, and you can trust him. God is never going to shortchange you. I look at some of these folks. I just go, "Lord, I don't know if you could ever repay these people for the suffering they've done." He goes, "Just watch me. Just watch me."
If God is culpable for anything in Scripture in fact, it's not for underpaying; it's for overpaying people. So all I want to do, I stand around some of these saints who are suffering right now physically, kids who have mentors named Sandusky or Newman, and I marvel. I am overwhelmed that I am in the presence of people who God is saying, "Okay, just hang in there with me. What man has intended for evil, I can use for good."
People whose bodies are weakening when they should be getting stronger. People whose bodies are paralyzed, whose eyes have become blind. Sometimes it's easier to die quickly than it is to live in a longsuffering way. That's true of all of us. If somebody walked in this room right now and said, "Todd, do you follow and love Jesus?"
I'm going to say, "Yeah, put a bullet through my brain and send me to glory. I'll take that." But you make me live for four decades in some state that I'm uncomfortable with, with wickedness around me and persevere, now that's a man. That's a godly woman. The fact is all of us have to do that. This is earth. You aren't home yet. There's going to be some suffering.
What are you going to do with it? Are you going to trust God? Are you going to continue in his Word? Don't be a fool, a blind man who thinks you know why everything is going down. You study his Word, the things which were revealed are for you to give you a sense of hope that God is good, he hasn't forgotten you, he will take care of you, but right now there is a war going on and this is your role in it. Play it to his glory. You won't regret it. That was free. Not even a part of the message. Here we go.
Verse 3. When they said to him, "Why is all of this going on?" "Jesus answered, 'It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.'"Let me tell you something. I am not reactive as a God primarily. I am proactive. Sometimes I'm permissive in things that go on, but I'm always providential. I'm right in the middle of this."
Look, there are certain things that without these things, we can't learn what we need to learn about God. There is a reason that God created free creatures. First of all, because he created people in his image. Perfect creatures. Perfect creatures had to be able to love. In order to be able to love, you have to be able to not love.
God gave everything we needed to know him and to enjoy him, but we left him. When we left him and sin came into the world and death with it, what you're going to find out is that through rebellion and through sin, we learn about mercy and compassion. These would've just been philosophical ideas. If everything was good and everything was right, we wouldn't know that there is any not right, not good.
What one person said centuries ago is that, "Evil was just an anthological parasite and a philosophical possibility that became a practical reality when sin entered into the world." In other words, if there is no small, there is no big. We're going to learn about the holiness and goodness of God by seeing the results of unholiness. We're going to learn about compassion, about mercy, about justice, about righteousness.
All this is revealed because of sin which has come into the world. So even here in this guy's blindness, what Jesus is going to say, "Look, God is at work right now that the works of God might be displayed in him." Verse 4. "We must…" Every one of us, every single one of us, all of us, "We must work the works of Him who sent [him] …" Jesus is saying, " [I have to] work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work."
I'll just say this. I love driving down Northwest Highway. I love driving by Park Cities Baptist Church. I love the clock up there. Have you ever looked at what's on that clock? What's it say? "Night cometh." I just go, "What a good hellfire and brimstone thing to put on your church clock." I love that!
We don't have a church clock. We might buy one and put it out there. "Night cometh." Get ready! It won't be day for long. You won't be able to revel and play and run around and rebel at your free will long. Night is coming when you can't do jack, so repent while it is still time. I love that. I drove by that. Fine.
I mean, listen, I've driven by that thing for decades. The other day I was in the car and I was like, "Do y'all see that? Y'all better repent while there is still time. Every one of you, because night is coming. Are you ready?" "We don't know what you're talking about, Dad." "I'm talking about the clock and all the truth lying there within." So we just had a little message about judgment and certainty, grace and mercy, and take it now.
Night cometh. Jesus is saying, "Look, there's going to be a day when you can't do the works of God." By the way, what are the works of God? Remember back in John 6, that said, "What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?" What did Jesus say? "…believe in Him whom He has sent."
So what Jesus is going to do is give you another day to believe in him who he has sent before night cometh. Night is coming. By the way, I'm going to tell you something else. Jesus knew that he wasn't going to be around long to give you this revelation, to be the visible image of the invisible God.
He was about to leave, and the place that he was going you could not follow. So you'd better get what you can from him while you can, before 10:15 today. I'm going to tell you. Get what you can from John 9, before you leave. I'm going to do the work of God. I know I'm going to die, so while I'm alive I have to be busy. He says, "While I am in the world…" Ego eimi "…I am the Light of the world.""So I'm going to reveal myself while I can."
Verse 6: "When [Jesus] had said this, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and applied the clay to his eyes…" All right, this is too good. Genesis 1. Dirt plus God equals life. John 9. Now look, Jesus is saying, "I am," so clay plus God equals man equals life. John 9. Clay plus the life of Jesus (I'm going to tell you why I say that in just a minute).
There's a reason John puts every detail in this thing. Okay? He didn't need to spit. He didn't need to make clay. He could've said, "Be healed. See," and he would've seen. The Word of God is a created power, but Jesus is revealing something about who he is. He said, "Listen, we have to do the work of God. I'm going to do the work that only God can do." Hint, hint. Nudge, nudge.
So he is going to do what only God can do. That's the work of God. There's an old phrase, you probably call… You see somebody at K-Mart in 1901. "That young man is a spitting image of his daddy." Have you ever heard that? Looks just like his daddy. In the original phrase was not, "spittin'" Like I do if you sit up here close. You know that.
The original phrase was not, "spittin' image." The original phrase was, "spit and image." Now listen, a lot of y'all have been around folks who have died. I've been around several folks on their deathbed and what do they need? Little ice chips. Why? Because they are drying up. They are on their last days. There is not much spit. It is…
Spit is a perversion or a corruption of the word spirit. When a man's spirit is not there, his life is not there. So the understanding was that life was in the spit. Dead men don't spit. When it says that he is the spit and image, what they're saying is he is the life and likeness of his daddy. That man's life is just like his daddy. That man's image is just like his daddy.
That's what you're really saying there. The expression, we've reduced it to maybe often just physical likeness, but when you are the spit and image of somebody, it means you are like them. What you're going to find out right here is that Jesus is going to create man in the image that he intended for man to be created. That he can see. That he is not blind. Genesis 1, dirt plus God equals man, equals life as it should be. Dirt plus Jesus, with his spit and the image of Christ on him, that is man as he is intended to be.
John didn't waste a word here. Watch this. I love it. I love it. I love it. He "…said to him, 'Go, wash in the pool of Siloam' (which is translated, Sent)." I've been there. "So he went away and washed, and came back seeing." Now look, here's what's going to happen. There was a pool. It was at the very southern end of the temple mount down just on the other side of David's city. It was a pool that formed there from a distant spring. It was seen by the people as a gift from God in this arid region that provided life for others.
Something from far away that gathered where people were that they could go and be refreshed and find life. "So you go to the sent one, the one who came from a distant land, who was there to offer you life and light. You go wash yourself in the distant promise of God, that one day there would be a deliverer who would come and set you free from sin. You take my word, you respond to my word, you go and wash yourself in the promise of my word, and you will be restored." That's the picture here.
Watch what happens. What you have right there in verse 7, he says, "You go. You trust in my Word. You take the resource that my Word tells you to take. You wash in it and you will see. You will no longer walk in darkness. You will no longer bang your shin as you walk through this world. You'll no longer walk aimlessly or helplessly off curbs or cliffs. You'll no longer have to live at the mercy of this cruel world, because you will see."
You get that? That's what's going on here. No longer are you a slave to your flesh. No longer do you have to ponder, "What should I do? Alcohol, drugs, sex, or money?" No, there's life somewhere else. You can see and, boy, haven't a lot of us done this? We've wandered around aimlessly and we have the bruises and bandages to show our wandering and our blindness, don't we?
This guy was no longer subject to the guidance of others. He now could see for himself. He knows what is really there and why it's there. Only believers know what is really here and why it's here. We're the only ones. Christopher Hitchens, who wrote God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, agreed with us.
"You are the only ones who have a plausible, logical, coherent explanation for why this world is the way that it is. I just reject it for no good reason. I just obscure the facts because I don't want to believe the facts." It was his own testimony. I was there when he just said, "I can't respond to any of the reasons for the existence of God. I think those are logical arguments. Your arguments make sense. I just reject it. I know better than you."
I wish he did, for his sake. But this guy knows what's really there. "Therefore the neighbors, and those who previously saw him as a beggar, were saying, 'Is not this the one who used to sit and beg?'""We don't have an explanation for this. So what's this young guy going to do? Is he going to continue in the word? How is he going to respond?" "Others were saying, 'This is he,' still others were saying, 'No, but he is like him.' He kept saying, 'I am the one.'"
"I know there's been a radical transformation here, but that was me. It is no longer me. Now I see. I once was blind. Now I see," he is going to say a little bit later, but he kept saying, "I am the one." Now watch this. When God does something for you, it is deeply personal. Don't ever let it be private. It is not intended to be private. The whole world should see the radical transformation, and you should tell the whole world why it is there.
It is amazing to me how many folks, when you start to engage them in spiritual… "Yeah, that's a very personal thing." I go, "Great, it is a very personal thing. It's just not supposed to be private." In fact, I got a call from a telemarketer a couple of weeks ago. He called me at home. He said, "Mr. Wagner?" I said, "Yes, sir." He said, "I want to call and talk to you about your energy bill."
I go, "You want to talk to me about my energy bill?" "Yeah, I see that your electric bill is extremely high, and I want to know if I can help you." I go, "I'll tell you what. I will listen to you tell me about my electric bill and how there is a wage there that I may not be able to pay, when in fact I have been but I may not be able to if it continues to climb, if you'll let me talk to you about a wage that I know you won't be able to pay, but I'm going to make a provision for you. Do you want to make that trade?"
He goes, "What are you talking about?" I said, "Well, I'm talking about where you are in relationship to a God, that you have a wage of sin, and the debt for that is death." "No, no, no, Mr. Wagner. I don't want to go there. That is very private." I go, "Hang on a second. You called me at my house. You stepped into my home, my private residence, and you want to engage me about private information. How do you even know what my electric bill is? That's extremely personal."
He says, "Now why do you want to argue with me?" I go, "I don't want to argue with you. I'm just trying to ask if you would agree." He goes, "I can't talk about that at work." I go, "Great, you have my home phone. Give me your home phone, and I will call you there later and we can talk about this." He goes, "Man, why do you want to do this to me?"
I go, "Why do I want to save you from a debt that you cannot pay? I believe it's for the same reason that you want to call me. In fact, I take that back. I know that it's going to do well for you if I buy what it is that you're selling, but it's not going to do me anything other than give me great gladness that you have been freely given the gift that I want to share with you that will cost you nothing."
He goes, "Man, you're wearing me out. What are you a pastor or something?" Which I hate that question. I go, "This is not the way pastors talk. This is the way people who love God and have freely received a gift that they otherwise could not earn, talk. Do you know that God and do you have any friends like that?" He goes, "No, I don't. I could tell you probably won't listen to me."
I go, "I'll listen to you. I want to know if you're going to listen to me. You keep rejecting the question." "It's too personal." I said, "I'm going to agree with you again it's personal, just like calling somebody at their house is personal and finding out what their electric bill is personal, but you told me that information is not private and you found it on a website. Let me just tell you something. God says when you have what I have; it shouldn't be private either, so I freely share with you."
The conversation went on from there, but we don't have much time so I'll let it go at that. It's amazing to me how I keep hearing this same thing. "It's too private." What they really mean is, "It's too personal." Most of y'all in this room are too young. Maybe not 9 o'clock. Y'all are old enough, right? You know, this Lady Clairol Christian where no one but you knows for sure? That just isn't how it should be.
Does everybody who works with you know what you say you believe? Do folks around your neighborhood know what it is that you believe has given you sight and understanding? Because if not, that isn't right. "I am the one who has freely received the grace of God and I have to tell you about it. I'm going to work it into a conversation. I'm not going to beat you up with it every time I see you, but there is going to be no mystery why I see."
Now look, there's another part to this. Not only should they know why you think you can see, they should be asking you, "Hey look, what happened, dude? You used to walk off cliffs just like us. Your life used to be as beaten and bruised and battered as ours. Why are you now not walking off the same cliffs and curbs that you used to walk to? Something has changed."
If you're not getting that question, there's another problem. The Scripture says that we are to become like Christ wants us to be, enlightened men who live and love as enlightened men can only live and love. Then it says, "…always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you…"
If no one is asking you why you can live the way you're living and love the way you're loving and reconcile the way you're reconciling and give the way you're giving and serve the way you're serving, it's because you're still as blind as them and all you think you have is understanding of what it means to see.
Jesus says, "I'm not sure that's the way it's supposed to go." When you are blind and you can see, there is a radical transformation. Or in the case of us who, by grace, like prayerfully my kids from an early age have seen, if they don't consistently hear from friends, "Hey dude, can you explain to me why you don't have all the bruises and scars that I have?"
They can say, "Let me tell you why. Because from an early age, I became friends with Jesus. I have walked, not as a victim of my hormones. I have walked, not at the pleasure of my peers. I have walked, not according to Glee or Desperate Housewives or porn, but I have walked the way that Jesus, who is life and light, has shown me. That's the only reason. I'm not better than you. I just bumped into him earlier. But let me tell you who he is."
I like this stuff. Look here. "He answered…""Look, you want to know how my eyes were opened?" Verse 11: "The man who is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes, and said to me, 'Go to Siloam and wash'; so I went away and washed, and I received sight." This is pretty simple. This is not a great defense. This is not William Lane Craig here. It's not Josh McDowell.
Here's what he is going to say. Are you ready? There are five things he is going to say in verse 11. "Jesus made provision for me. He told me how to appropriate that provision in my life. I listened to his command. I was changed." Can you say that? That's all you have to be able to do. Let me just tell you how: Jesus.
This guy said, "Spit and dirt. He made provision for me." You say, "He went to a cross for me. Came to earth for me. He told me in his Word what I was supposed to do. I did it. It changed me." Can you do that? Don't you dare worry what you can't do. You just do that. Look at verse 11. "Jesus made provision, told me how to appropriate it. I appropriated it. Ta-da."
Verse 12: "They said to him, 'Where is He?' He said, 'I do not know.'""I was blind, remember?" Verse 13: "They brought to the Pharisees the man who was formerly blind." They're going to say, "We don't know what to do with you. Let's take you to the intellectual elite." Now watch this. We're now past the commoners. We're now going to the professors, the media elites, the intellectuals. We'll figure this thing out. See if he caves now or if he will continue in his word.
That was the Sabbath. On that day when Jesus made the claim, he opened his eyes. Jesus did this on the Sabbath on purpose. I'm not going to go into this very much. Jesus wanted to let you know he was the Lord of the Sabbath. Even though the Sabbath was about rest and healing, the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. The traditions of the Pharisees were oppressive. Jesus came to set people free. That's why he did it then. We've talked about that before.
Verse 15: "Then the Pharisees also were asking him again how he received his sight." Let's see how he does now before the intimidating intellectual elite. He said to them, watch this, "He, Jesus, (two) made provision for me." He skips three because he is not really looking to argue. He is just going to make it simpler. He doesn't get more complex with more enlightened people. "He, Jesus, made provision for me. I did what he told me to do. I see." Down to four.
"Therefore some of the Pharisees were saying, 'This man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath.' But others were saying, 'How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?' And there was a division…" Here. Remember I've said this? Jesus did not come to unify the world. He came to divide light from darkness, good from evil, sheep from goats. What we're going to figure out right now is who is a son of Abraham and who is a son of rebellion.
Jesus said, "I hate sin so I'm going to winnow out sin and I'm going to walk with the light." He goes on right here. "So they said to the blind man again, 'What do you say about Him, since He opened your eyes?'" What's he going to choose? What's he going to do right here? The pressure is coming on. Test number one is right out. "You decide. We want to know what you think."
He said, "I like him. "He is a prophet." I say he is good. I am a fan and a follower." I know some people make a big deal out here about not being a fan. I want to tell you something. I am a fan of Jesus and I'm a follower of him. When they say that a lot of times, they are saying, "Don't just be okay with Jesus," and in that sense you're right. You don't want to just be a fan, but this guy is saying, "I like him. I'm for him. I believe he is who he says he is. He is a prophet. He is from God. He is who he said he was. I don't think he lies."
Verse 18: "The Jews then did not believe it of him, that he had been blind and had received sight…" Scoffers abound, but here's what you do when scoffers abound. You ready? When you're scoffed at for your belief, you keep walking in the light and you keep telling them of your source of light. That's all you have to do. Let me say it again. When scoffers abound, you don't need to go and write a rebuttal to the God delusion. Keep walking in the light and tell them the source of your light.
Now by all means, grow in all your understanding you can, but don't wait until you're ready to be published to give testimony to who Jesus is in word and walk. Boy, this is good. Look what happens next. "The Jews then did not believe it of him… [so] they called the parents…" It's impossible for somebody to be born again. It's impossible for somebody who was blind to see. Certainly is if you're depending upon the law and religion. Verse 19:
"…and questioned them, saying, 'Is this your son, who you say was born blind? Then how does he now see?' His parents answered them and said, 'We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; but how he now sees, we do not know; or who opened his eyes, we do not know. Ask him; he is of age, he will speak for himself.'"
It says that they did this because they knew that the Pharisees already decided that if you follow Jesus, you are going to be put out, and they did not want to leave their social circles. There were certain laws that were coming down from the Pharisees that if you did this we were to shun you for a day. I see you coming; I'm going to walk on the other side of the street.
There were certain things that if you did, I was going to shun you for a week. There were certain things if you did that were just below being stoned to death that we said, "You are no longer one of us. You are unwelcome in the temple. Do not go into the court of women or the court of the Jew. You have to stay out there in the court of the Gentiles. You're no longer a part of our nation." And that was a death sentence. You left. You went to Egypt. You were gone.
The parents, they did not know who Jesus was. They loved the world. Let's see what this boy does. Will he continue in the Word? So the parents, because they were scared and they didn't want to lose all this said, "Ask him…" So, the second test. "So a second time they called the man who had been blind, and said to him, 'Give glory to God…'" If you know your Bible and you go to Joshua 7, this is when Achan… This is a phrase that is used throughout Judaism.
Achan had taken some things that were under the ban. There was judgment that had fallen on the entire nation because of the act of one man. They had been defeated in battle, and Joshua was told to go before the nation and God was going to show him who did it. When it came down to Achan, Joshua and the leaders looked at him and said, "My son, I implore you, give glory to the LORD, the God of Israel…""Acknowledge your sin, admit what you did is wrong, be reconciled to us. Take your punishment, repent, and give glory to God."
What they are saying is, "Son, quit lying. We don't know how long you've been working this ruse. All we know is that you have not been blind and now you can see or this man Jesus who we said is not of God could not have been the one who did it. Give glory to God. Repent of saying you like him because we don't like him. If you like him, we don't like you. What are you going to do? We know Jesus is a sinner, and you'd better not like him."
Verse 25: "Whether He is a sinner, I do not know; one thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see." It's even simpler. We're down to two. "Look dude, I don't know much. I know this. I was blind. I now see." What did I tell you to do? Keep walking the light. Keep telling about the source of your light.
Boy, there are a thousand messages that have been preached right there in verse 25. We move on. "So they said to him, 'What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?' He answered them, 'I told you already and you did not listen…""You all laughed when I said it the first time because it was funny." "…why do you want to hear it again? You do not want to become His disciples too, do you?' They reviled him…"
He loses the acclaim of men. Are you ready for this? Are you signing up for this? Men are not going to like you if you say Jesus is "…the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through…" him. Just book on it. Count on it. You're done. You're gone. You're out.
It says, "They reviled him…""We spoke poorly about Jesus. You like Jesus. I'm speaking poorly about you. You are now our enemy." "You are His disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. We know…""We know more than you. We are the intellectual elite, the philosophers, the wise of the day, and you say you know more than us? What are you doing?" I love this.
This is Matthew 10:19 through 23 at work where he says, "…do not worry about how or what you are to say [on that day] …""I'll give you the words what to say." These are the words that God gave him to say in that moment. "Well, here is an amazing thing, that you do not know where He is from…" You're clueless where this guy is from. "…and yet He opened my eyes. We know that God does not hear sinners…"
"This guy apparently has some relationship with God, because I was blind and now I see." "Since the beginning of time it has never been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. If this man were not from God, He could do nothing.""So you guys say you're smart, but this is pretty amazing. I'm illiterate." Why do I say this guy was illiterate?
Because blind men can't read. The Braille school was not fully functioning at this time in Israel. "Look, this is an amazing thing. I'm illiterate and I figured it out." Verse 34: "'You were born entirely in sins, and are you teaching us?' So they put him out." You are evil and you are born in your sins. You're teaching us and you're stupid. So they put him out. "I'm going to kill you. We're done with you. Get out of here. You're anathema."
You ready for that? Hey, if you want to be Mr. Joe Popular and have the world love you and the intellectual elite embrace you, this is not your King. But if you know truth and the truth has set you free, you'll say, "Look, all I know is I was blind and now I see." I have to close with this. It's time to shut it down. We're not even going to get to sing, but let me just say this to you.
I love verse 35. A long time ago there were bumper stickers that had on the back of them, "I found it!" Remember that? Remember the, "I found it!" campaign? The same people who know the Lady Clairol Christian comment would know that one. Like we had stumbled upon Jesus and we, in our brilliance, had sought him out and studied all the great religions of the world and we assessed them and we used critical thinking and we discovered life in Jesus Christ.
That is not the picture, people. Let me just tell you something. There is a divine, sovereign act of grace. We are no-named individuals who are illiterate and unable to help ourselves. All we can do is walk off curbs and cliffs. He finds us. When we are out there, we're put out. This is, by the way… What a great set up.
What would you do if you just got done with this? In John 10, Jesus would tell another story. "I know my sheep. I'm the Good Shepherd. I'm going to find every one of them." Here's one of his sheep who has been put out and he goes and gets him. He says, "I don't mind that Israel has gotten rid of you. You don't need to worry about Israel. You worry about Israel's Daddy. I want Israel to come with me, but they may not come. Just make sure you come with me."
He finds him. He found him the first time and saved him. Jesus is here this morning. He wants the exact same thing for you. He wants to find you, but here is the thing. Watch what he says to this blind man. "Do you believe in the Son of Man?" It's not enough. What did he say back there in John, chapter 5? He said, "Hey, listen, you've been lame for 38 years. Go and sin no more or something far worse would happen to you."
He is going to do the exact same thing to this guy. "Look, you were blind, but now you physically see, but there's something far worse than physical blindness. It is spiritual blindness. You need to know who I am. Who is the one who gave you eyes?" That guy said, "Sir, I don't know. "'Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?' Jesus said to him, 'You have both seen Him, and He is the one who is talking with you.'"
In other words, "The one who you see now is the one who gave you sight. I am the one who brings light to dark. Will you follow me? Will you believe in me?" "And he said, 'Lord, I believe.' And he worshiped Him." And that's exactly what you should do. You're either going to be a blasphemer or you're going to worship. There is division right here in this chapter. Let me just tell you something.
This Scripture is so filled with a picture of what a true believer is. I mean, Christ knows him, the world hates him, he is touched by a sovereign God, he continues in the faith, he is lost, he is unable to find anything on his own, he is sought out by Jesus in grace, he is a nameless outcast, he is standing faithfully then against the world, he is transformed, and he testifies of his Savior.
If I did not just describe you, would you come this morning and would you change and would you repent and would you consider this Jesus? This is either crazy or he is the Christ. I like him. I think he is a prophet. I'm a fan. I'm a follower, and I recommend him to you. You have to choose for yourself this day whom you will serve.
Father, I pray if there is anyone in this room who is sick and tired of being a victim to this world's stumbling, bumbling ways, they have been led by cruel people, by uninformed people, they have themselves thought and pondered endlessly, they are broken and tired and weary, they just want to see, I pray as they run into Jesus this morning, they would come.
They would say, "Save me. Give me sight. I want to see. Would you take my death, add Jesus to it, give me life? Would you help me understand who you are, what you've done, how I appropriate it? Let me do it and change me." Lord, don't let them leave. If they can see, don't let them shrink back. Let them stand against their peers. Let them stand against the intellectual elite. Let them simply give the truth.
I pray that we would walk in the light and we would tell others of the source of that light. I pray we would go get others who are banged up and beaten up and fallen down and we'd tell them where they can get eyes. I pray we would live in such a way that others would demand from us a testimony. We could tell them that, "I was blind and now I see. It was Jesus." In Christ's name, amen.
Read your Bible. Follow Jesus. Tell the world! Have a great week of worship. We'll see you.