We are starting back on our Wednesday series going through the book of John verse by verse. This sermon is for Wednesday, April 8th, 2009.
John part 40
John 9:1-5 ISV – 1 As he was walking along, he observed a man who had been blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that caused him to be born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned. This happened so that the works of God might be revealed in him. 4 I must work the works of the one who sent me while it is day. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
Well, we are tonight getting back into our study of the book of John. We are going verse by verse through the text, asking that the Holy Spirit speak to us from the text itself.
Let’s do just a little backtracking before we begin. In Chapter 8, Jesus has one of His conflicts with the Jews. He declares that He is the great I AM when He states:
John 8:58 ISV – Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly I tell you, before there was an Abraham, I am!”
At this these Jews became so angry, that v. 59 states, “At this, they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.”
It is here that this context begins of Jesus healing the blind man.
Chapter 9 is more than just a narrative or a great story of Christ’s power over blindness. It serves as a major transition point in Jesus ministry. He had just declared Himself to be greater than Abraham in Chapter 8; from here on out He will give signs making statements in His public ministry that will prove His words. Some will believe; most won’t and will be condemned for their refusal to believe.
Let’s begin tonight.
The situation: A man born blind.
John 9:1 ISV – As he was walking along, he observed a man who had been blind from birth.
As Jesus was going along, after leaving the Temple area, He saw this blind man. This possibly occurred at the city gates of Jerusalem. People who were afflicted with diseases like blindness, or couldn’t walk would usually set at the city gates and beg for alms because they couldn’t provide for themselves because of their affliction. Jesus met up with many blind people and sick people at city gates or along roads this way (Matthew 20:30), and so did the Apostles as well (Acts 3).
Notice that the Scripture states that this man had been blind from birth. This is the only occurrence that we know of that Jesus healed someone born blind. The others Scripture either doesn’t say, or they became blind sometime in life.
The question: Whose fault is this person’s blindness?
John 9:2 ISV – His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that caused him to be born blind?”
Have you ever wondered why the disciples asked Jesus this type of question? Well, there are quite a few reasons:
• In the Jewish culture of Jesus day, they believed that health and wealth were proofs of God’s favor, and sickness and poverty were proofs of sin. It didn’t matter the fact that Herod, as evil as he was, was prosperous, or that many people in the day who were sinners were not sick, they only focused on this faulty belief.
• The Jewish Leaders of Jesus day had a misunderstanding of some Old Testament texts.
Exodus 20:5-6 ISV – 5 You shall not bow down to them in worship or serve them; because I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the iniquity of the parents, to the third and fourth generations of those who hate me,6 but showing gracious love to thousands who love me and keep my commandments.
There are other texts within the 5 books of Moses, but they essentially say the same. We’ve got to view these texts in a national sense. The point God is stressing here is there will be affects of one wicked generation upon the other generation. A cycle was started, and unless it is broken by returning back to God, each generation would become more wicked and pay the penalty for their sins.
Now are we still punished by God for our sins today? Well, let’s look at two passages and see what they say:
John 5:14 ISV – Later on, Jesus found him in the temple and told him, “See, you have become well. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.”
This was the man Jesus healed at the pool of Bethesda. It doesn’t state what his sin was, but notice Jesus told him to quit sinning or something worse may happen.
Well, what about believers, can there be consequences to our rebellion and sin?
1 Corinthians 11:27-34a ISV – 27 Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks from the cup in an unworthy manner will be held responsible for the Lord’s body and blood. 28 A person must examine himself and then eat the bread and drink from the cup. 29 For the one who eats and drinks without recognizing the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That’s why so many of you are weak and sick and a considerable number are dying. 31 But if we judged ourselves correctly, we would not be judged. 32 Now, while we are being judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined lest we be condemned along with the world. 33 Therefore, my brothers, when you gather to eat, wait for each other. 34 If anyone is hungry, he should eat at home, so that when you gather it may not bring judgment on you.
The Corinthians were not honoring the Lord in the Lord’s Supper and they were judged by the Lord. Some were sick, some were weak, and some died.
• Finally, the Jews believed that you could sin before you were even born. Some Jews in the time of Christ believed in the pre-existence of the human soul. They got this belief from Greek philosophy. Whether this came into play here in the disciples question or not, I don’t know, all I know is that they brought up the possibility of the man sinning before birth.
The answer: Neither, but so that God’s works might be displayed.
John 9:3 ISV – Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned. This happened so that the works of God might be revealed in him.
First off, Jesus does not state that this man nor his parents were sinless, because that it obviously not true. He states that his blindness was not a direct result of their sins, or the cause of his blindness. Evidently this was nothing more than a birth defect.
Then it almost sounds as if Jesus is stating that God’s purpose and plan was for this man to be born blind, so that years later, Jesus could heal him, does it not?
Well, I don’t think that this is what Jesus is saying either. There is a deeper truth here we can miss if we hold this view: Sickness, affliction, sorrow, pain, and loss are all opportunities for God to display His works and His great grace. It is during these times that we see God in action. Jesus has just met up with this blind man, He is about to show both God’s Works and God’s grace in action for this man (which is proof of Christ earlier statements of being the “I AM” and greater than Abraham).
The Principle: Jesus works God’s works because He is the light of the world.
John 9:4-5 ISV – 4 I must work the works of the one who sent me while it is day. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
When you are physically blind, you literally walk in darkness. Jesus came to this earth, not just to open up physical blinded eyes, and to more importantly open up spiritually darkened and blinded eyes. While He walked this earth, what He taught, what He did, was the very works of God for the purpose of opening blinded eyes.
There are still people walking around blind tonight. They are blind to the Gospel, they are blind to the truth of Jesus, blinded in sins, heresy, false religion, pride and the list goes on and on.
While we are here, let’s be a light to them. Let’s shine the light of the Gospel, asking God to once again open up blinded eyes. I’m ready to see true conversions, not just people repeating prayers and signing membership cards. How about you?