“Was Blind, But Now I See”
1. John 9 is the story of how a man who had never seen anything came not only to see plainly everything, but also to see the most important thing of all.
2. What it places under examination is the response of people when “the light of the world” breaks into the darkness of their lives.
a. The prophets said that the opening of the eyes of the blind would accompany the times of the Messiah (Isa. 35:5; 42:7; 61:1).
b. The ministry of Jesus was characterized by the recovering of sight to the blind (Lk. 4:18; Matt. 11:5).
c. There is no record of any other healing of the blind in either the Old Testament or Acts.
3. The fact that John Newton borrowed the words of the man who had been blind to conclude the first verse of “Amazing Grace” illustrates how meaningful the spiritual application of this event is.
1. Receiving your sight
a. The whole thing starts, not with what the man could not see nor with what others saw when they looked at him, but with what Jesus saw (v. 1).
i. As he passed by, he saw a man, a person in whose life the works of God might be displayed (v. 1, 3).
ii. He called attention to the urgency of working “the works of him who sent me while it is day” (v. 4).
iii. He repeated his claim to be “the light of the world” (v. 5; 8:12).
iv. Then, as if to demonstrate the truth of that claim in a tangible manner, he spat upon the ground, made mud with the saliva, and anointed the man’s eyes with the mud (v. 6).
v. When he had done that, he told the man simply to go and wash in the pool of Siloam–a name which, significantly, means “Sent” (v.7, cf. v. 4).
b. The man’s entire manner of existence changed when he cooperated with the Lord by doing what he had been sent to do.
i. “So he went and washed and came back seeing” (v. 7).
ii. Was it difficult? Did he look silly? Is it what he thought would help?
iii. He acted like Abraham, the father of all who believe, did (Gen. 12:4).
iv. His conduct was opposite to that of Naaman, the Syrian commander who had leprosy (2 Kings 5:10-12).
v. The simple fact is that the helpless beggar received his sight when he had done what the Lord told him to do (v. 12).
(1) He is an example of what “by grace through faith” means.
(2) The principle is crucial in our own response to the gospel of Christ (cf. Acts 22:16).
2. Maintaining your focus
a. We might have thought it would all be joy and celebration now, but not everything became clear just because the man could see.
i. Some of what he had to see must have been hurtful and distracting.
ii. The disciples: “Whose fault is it?” (v. 3)
iii. His neighbors and those who had seen him before: “What is this?” (v. 8-9).
iv. The Pharisees:
(1) “We’re divided” (v. 16).
(2) “We don’t believe it” (v. 18).
(3) “We know that this man is a sinner” (v. 24).
v. His parents: “We would rather not be involved” (v. 19-21).
b. Any one of these might have drawn the man’s attention completely away from the new light in his life, but he kept his focus. How did he do it?
i. He consistently and clearly stated what he knew (v. 12, 15, 25).
ii. He was humble and non-defensive about what he did not know (v. 12, 25).
iii. He used his mind about what was going on.
(1) This was a fellow who could ask why of the other side (v. 27).
(2) He was capable of insightful and sound reasoning (v. 30-33).
(3) His conclusion was strong enough to withstand the opposition of his proud critics and to pay the price of displeasing them (v. 34).
3. Seeing your Lord
a. By the time the man who had received his sight said “Lord, I believe” (v. 38), his faith in Jesus had developed and grown considerably.
i. First, he was “the man called Jesus” (v. 11).
ii. Then, the man considered him “a prophet” (v. 17).
iii. Next, he was someone who might deservedly have disciples (v. 27)–among whom the man who had been blind apparently already counted himself
iv. Then, he was one who was from God and able to do these signs (v. 33).
v. Finally, he was the Lord, worthy of the worship that belongs to God (v. 38).
(1) The man’s faith had been maturing.
(2) It was partly because he wanted to believe, and partly because he had endured some difficulty.
b. The Lord acted in such a way as to prove that this man’s – or any man’s – trust in him was well-placed.
i. He had given the man what he needed, and then the space and time to think and to form convictions.
ii. When he was cast out, the Jesus went and found him (v. 35).
iii. He helped the man clarify the issue: “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” (v. 35).
iv. When the man expressed his desire to believe and his willingness to rely on him, Jesus made known to the man what he had actually seen (v. 37).
v. He then accepted the man’s submission and worship (v. 38).
(1) What any person does when he sees the point will make all the difference, now and forever.
(2) It’s like what happened to Saul of Tarsus (cf. Acts 22:10).
1. If you were with us last week, may I point out how this fits with what we said we would try to do this year?
a. This is about what we believe, and why.
b. It’s about getting into people’s lives.
c. It’s even about family.
2. Jesus saw in this whole episode a reflection of the judgment for which he came into the world (v. 39-41).