“He said, Lord I believe, and he worshiped Him.” John 9:38; Lent 4; March 22, 2020
Sometimes it’s very hard to see! Maybe like in the children’s message it’s because you’re too short to see it all. Or maybe it’s because someone tall sat right down in front of you. Maybe it’s because something else is in your way. I remember one time I got tickets to a game at old Tiger stadium and they were obstructed view seats. There was a post right in front of me and I always had to crane my neck around it to see. Sometimes, like mentioned before we might be too tall to see something, and we may really need to stoop down to see.
Too small, too tall, too far away, too near, obstructed view, too blurry, and then there’s the case where we just can’t see at all. Maybe because we’ve become partially blind due to some problem like a cataract, macular degeneration, or glaucoma.
It’s interesting that the Bible compares this physical blindness to spiritual blindness as well. Spiritual blindness is the condition where a person can’t see things in a spiritual way. They cannot see their sin. They cannot see their need for a Savior. And, they don’t know who the Savior really is.
Today in our text in John 9, we meet a man born physically blind. We can only imagine the heartache of the man, living in an age before any advancement, like braille, and other types of help for those who are handicapped. And what is worse, there is the stigma from the ancient world attached to this man that he or his parents must have sinned grievously to receive a burden like this.
And that is exactly what the disciples ask Jesus, “Rabbi, (teacher) who sinned, this man or his parents that he was born blind? But, Jesus replies, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” The physical blindness was here to show something more. Something that was not yet apparent to the man, and even to Jesus’ disciples, because the works of God would be displayed in and through him.
So often in life when we also meet up with difficulties, we have tendencies to question and grumble to God, like, “What did I do to deserve this?” What did we do to deserve this ? Maybe you’ve asked this question a time or two lately especially with the coronavirus so drastically changing our lives! What did we do to deserve this? Well first, there is truth that sin has caused the condition of the world that we are in. A study of the Bible shows that sin causes sorrow, disease, thorns, thistles, and even death itself. But, rather than asking, what did I/we do to deserve this? Jesus calls us to ask, “What will God display through it? Lord, forgive us for grumbling and complaining against you and help us to see, really see what you will display. Open our eyes for you are the light of the world!
Many people say that “Seeing is believing” but faith in Jesus says, “Believing is really seeing! “ And so, in our text for today from John 9, the man born blind was the recipient of a miracle in at least two ways. Jesus spits on the ground and makes mud with the saliva. He covers this man’s eyes with mud, then says, “Go wash in the pool of Siloam.” So he went and washed and came back seeing. It’s interesting how Jesus handles the situation. He makes mud with His own spit. And since God made the first man from the dust of the ground, so God’s Son, Jesus, brings health and healing to the man with this new ground. His sight was recreated. He was washed and He was healed.
It sounds too simple to believe at first. At least for the Pharisees. They had viewed this man as a sinner because he was blind. How could a man like this be healed? He put mud on my eyes, and I washed and I see.” The man said. But, the Pharisees couldn’t believe this, because they were spiritually blind.
We are now in the 4th week of Lent. Each week we have been looking at the depth of the sin of this world to which Jesus came. What amazing love Jesus had as He came willingly to a world stuck in sin. He came to people like Nicodemus and the woman at the well. He came to people like the man born blind. He even came for His enemies like the Pharisees. Today He comes to us as well.
For when we came into this world, we were born spiritually blind, spiritually dead, and even enemies of God. We couldn’t see or believe on our own. But, as Paul says in Ephesians 2, “But because of His great love for us, God who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” (Ephesians 2:4-5)
This grace, this undeserved love has been poured out to us through Jesus. Out of His most excruciating death on the cross, He gives us forgiveness and every blessing in Christ. It’s there on the cross, that God shows that He brings all things together for good. He brings us forgiveness, health, and healing for every moment of the day.
As I mentioned before, the man born blind had two miracles performed on him. The first, is that he was physically healed, so that he could see. Just try to imagine what that would have been like to physically see for the first time. But, the greater work of God was that now He would believe in Jesus as his Savior. Jesus asked him, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” And he answered, “And who is He sir, that I may believe in Him.” Jesus said to him, “You have seen Him, and it is He who is speaking to you. He said, “Lord, I believe, and he worshiped Him.”
Sometimes even though we say we believe in Jesus, our faith gets pretty cloudy. Sin, like a cataract, keeps coming into our lives so that we cannot clearly see and believe. We begin to doubt God and we complain and grumble, and say, “Why me?” “What have I ever done to deserve this? Rather that believing that the works of God will be displayed.
So, what do you see? When you look out on today’s world, your community, your own life? With this coronavirus pandemic so much has changed so quickly. So many problems. And add to them divisions, poverty, greed, and hatred. They are all there, it’s true. But remember so is Jesus. He is present in this world. And because of Him, “The works of God will be displayed.” He said, “In this world you will have trouble. But, take heart, I have overcome the world.”
Just think how Jesus will display his works right now. I’m praying that through this time, many will come to faith in Jesus. God’s word promises that “all things will work together for good for those who love the Lord and have been called according to His purpose.”
I pray that this will be true for you in Jesus name…that God would grant you eyes to see and that His works would be displayed in you life right now.
Remember, believing in Jesus is really seeing!
God grant it…