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Was Blind But Now I See

05.30.21 Nathaniel Wall

  1. Full of Joy
    09.19.21 32m 40s
  2. Refuse to Fall
    09.12.21 40m 52s
  3. When the World Hates
    09.05.21 38m 58s
  4. Stay Connected to the Vine
    08.29.21 45m 09s
  5. Do Works Greater Than Jesus?!
    08.22.21 40m 38s
  6. For The Troubled Heart
    08.15.21 46m 45s
  7. Victorious Christian Living
    08.01.21 46m 07s
  8. What You Should Do With Clean Feet
    07.25.21 47m 11s
  9. Dinner with Jesus
    07.18.21 42m 53s
  10. 5 Truths for Troubled Souls
    07.11.21 49m 47s
  11. The Triumphal Entry
    07.04.21 43m 23s
  12. Mary Anoints Jesus
    06.27.21 42m 28s
  13. Raising Lazarus
    06.20.21 39m 15s
  14. Jesus and the Father are One
    06.13.21 47m 12s
  15. How Good is the Good Shepard?
    06.06.21 40m 16s
  16. Was Blind But Now I See
    05.30.21 45m 25s
  17. Live Free
    05.23.21 38m 07s
  18. The Light of the World
    05.16.21 34m 45s
  19. Condemnation and the Gospel
    05.09.21 34m 31s
  20. Not The What But The Who
    05.02.21 40m 24s
  21. The Significance of Feasts
    04.25.21 38m 53s
  22. Eat Jesus
    04.18.21 39m 06s
  23. Faith Through The Storm
    04.11.21 37m 51s
  24. Worship When You Struggle
    03.28.21 35m 25s
  25. Healthy Conflict
    03.21.21 43m 50s
  26. Pick Up Your Mat and Walk
    03.14.21 33m 45s
  27. Cling To His Word
    02.28.21 33m 07s
  28. The Scandalous Grace Of God
    02.21.21 38m 55s
  29. The Strength of Humble Faith
    02.14.21 36m 11s
  30. Life Over Death
    02.07.21 46m 45s
  31. Do Not Waver
    01.31.21 43m 16s
  32. Jesus Makes Wine
    01.24.21 36m 36s
  33. The Story of Us
    01.17.21 40m 44s
  34. What Made John Great?
    12.27.20 34m 29s
  35. Why Jesus?
    12.20.20 31m 51s
  36. The Word of Light and Life
    12.13.20 34m 02s

Was Blind But Now I See

05.30.21 Nathaniel Wall Light the Dark Series

I’m gonna invite you to John chapter 9. And when we dive here into John 9, it’s where we’re gonna be today. I want us to sort of start spinning our thinking wheels a little bit. I’m gonna give a phrase to you, and I want you to share with me who you think, or where you think this phrase comes from, all right? Some of these are slogans, some of them are phrases, but I’m gonna just toss these out. We’re gonna see how cultured you are here in America and then we’re gonna really maybe even find out how old you are with some of these. but here’s some, some slogans, let’s see how we do here.

“Like a good neighbor.” Who’s that assisted with? State Farm. State Farm, there you go.

“Snap, crackle and pop.” Rice Krispies. Yeah. I don’t think that’s been on TV for a while. So there you go.

“The greatest snow on earth.” Utah. Utah, all right.

“The happiest place on earth.” McDonald’s. McDonald’s or Disney. That’s a good one.

“Eat fresh.” Subway. Subway that’s Subway. That’s good.

“Melts in your mouth, not in your hand.” M&Ms. M&Ms, which I don’t believe that. As a kid I thought, “this is a rip off. It melts in my hands every time I hold it.” All right.

“The breakfast of champions.” Wheaties. Wheaties. Now, that one I don’t think has been around for a while, either.

How about this one, “Was blind, but now I see.” You know I’m going to trick you now, don’t you? Well, we often think Amazing Grace, right? But here’s what you need to know. John Newton totally ripped off a blind guy and it came out of John chapter nine, right? We take that phrase and we associate it with the song, which, which I think is great but that song is rooted in scripture. So John Newton has certainly popularized it.

But where that phrase comes from is actually John chapter nine which we’re going to be in today. John chapter nine, verse 25. You want the particular of that verse. “I was blind, but now I see” that’s the testimony of a guy whose life is transformed in this story. And we’re going to see it this morning. Why that phrase was a phrase that John Newton Phillip felt like he needed to steal for his own life. And I hope that phrase becomes something that you can learn from this story today too, and make it a part of your life.

It’s good to, I mean slogans are memorable to different companies, organizations and we just went through that game. But this statement, this statement “Was blind but now we see” is the heartbeat of really what Christianity is. And so to understand this phrase as John Newton came to identify his life with this phrase I think is viable. It’s important for the Christian life. When you get into John chapter nine, we’re still in the Feast of Booths.

It seems like when you read this story, Jesus did a lot on this holiday. Did he not? We’ve studied this, this holiday for the last several days or the last several weeks. And it’s in this moment that Jesus heals a blind man. And when you think about just that thought, Jesus heals a blind man. That in itself is an incredible story. And this is one of the reasons I love John. You read the book of John, you see something like that and you think “This, this is powerful.” But then when you start to understand the cultural context as to why this particular story is in John, what did John really want us to know? It takes this story from just being a great story to being a life altering a phenomenal event that takes place In how Jesus chose to perform this particular miracle and what he wants us to understand from it. So that our soul starts to echo that same theme, “I was blind. But now I see.”

So look at this with me, John chapter nine, verse one here’s the miracle. “As Jesus passed by, He saw a man who had been blind from birth.” When you begin with that phrase, I think it’s important for us to know if we want to relate to this guy that Jesus is about to interact with. This blindness creates adversity and especially during the time of Jesus, this man’s life would have been extremely difficult. By this label in verse one, of how Jesus sees this man as he’s passing by, it would already communicate to us a few things about this guy, because of the culture in which Jesus lives in.

One, he would have been uneducated. Two, he would have lacked resources. And three, if I just add a little further thought, he probably was very limited in his relationship. Not married, no kids, very isolated. In fact, I would say he would be so isolated that the most of society would have ostracized him. Now, when I say things like that, we look at this blind man, all the things I described, we could ask the question “Well, how do you know Nathaniel?” I mean, that’s pretty harsh to say about someone just judging them based on verse one that he would live this kind of life.

He would have not been educated, not not had any really sort of occupation in life, would have been very lonely. How do you know that that’s true? Well, if you read just the next verses ahead of this, particularly in verse eight, let me just identify this and I’ll come back to verse two. In verse eight, it says “So the neighbors and those who previously saw him as a beggar were saying, “is this not the one who used to sit and beg?”

So Jesus does something for his life that changes his life where he’s no longer sitting in begging but one thing they identified about him and being a blind man was that he sat out and begged. And so that’s identifying for us. There’s this guy was likely, he wasn’t educated. Therefore, he didn’t have an occupation.

In Jesus’s day they did education a little bit differently. You learned a trade, you followed after someone and they taught you how to do their craft. And then in that education then you had this occupation. But then when you look in verse two, so why you see where he’s limited in his resources. That’s why he’s begging. It says in verse two, “And his disciples asked Jesus, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?”

What they’re identifying through their question, very innocently, sort of an idea that resonates in their culture that would communicate to them how they would treat this blind man. And what they’re saying is something happens somewhere to make God mad that caused this man to be cursed. And we’re not sure if it’s his parents’ fault or his fault but it’s somebody’s fault. And therefore, because God obviously doesn’t like this guy. We don’t want to be near this guy because we would be guilty by association.

When you read the New Testament and you see the type of healing that Jesus does with people, that thought could easily attach itself to everyone that Jesus heals. Because in this day and age, they see anyone facing any sort of suffering like this as being under the judgment of God which is why they want to ask this question. Whose fault is it? Whose sin led to this moment? And what they’re saying without saying it is if you want to know who’s lonely in first century Israel, it’s this guy. It’s this guy. This guy would have lacked friendship. This guy would have likely not been married. Would have not had children. People wouldn’t have been near him. He was considered cursed by God.

And that’s why I say, when we read this study in verse one, this story, as it unfolds. This guy’s life had adversity and in first century Israel, it would have been extreme. It was a struggle. But just for a moment, I think it’s worth just entertaining the disciples question, right? Who sinned that led to the results of this guy’s life? I think it’s worth noting that yeah, sometimes sometimes we do things in life. There are natural consequences that take place. We can do wrong things and suffer because of it.

But just because bad things happen doesn’t mean it’s a curse from God or necessarily the result of sin that we have performed. They assume bad things happen to bad people and good things happen to good people. But the reality is sometimes just bad things happen and we don’t fully understand why. And so to just simply assume what these disciples assume is a wrong assumption. It is true that when you suffer physically, your spirit can suffer with that. Or when you suffer spiritually, it can be carried outwardly physically on your countenance. I think our body and soul are very intertwined in that way.

In fact, our body and soul are considered to be or intended to be so intertwined that when God created us in the beginning, it says he forms us. And then he breathes in us the breath of life and then man becomes a living being. It’s not until body and soul are combined that man becomes a living being, right. And then at the end of life, when you read the end of Revelation, when human beings are judged, your judgment doesn’t take place until your body and your soul are both resurrected and brought back together. Body and soul are intended to be intertwined.

It’s divinely, physically, you’re created by your creator, intentionally, intimately and spiritually as well. And so I think that’s why when we physically suffer, we fear it. We feel it spiritually, or we can anyway. Or when we spiritually feel low, we often physically can wear that on our countenance. That that can be true, could be true of this guy right here. This blind man in the story. But, it doesn’t necessitate that just because bad things happen, that God hates you or God’s judgment is upon you. Sometimes difficult things happen. And in fact, verse three that’s where Jesus goes, verse three, 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.”

What’s Jesus saying here? Jesus is identifying in this story that God wants to reveal this glory, His glory in this man, right? So this circumstance is not out of the realm of God that God in this moment will use this for his glory. You want to know what this moment’s about? This is when he tells His disciples that God’s glory could be displayed in this moment. And that people around could see the hand of God that’s about to take place. That’s why that’s here now. Now, I want us to understand when you read a passage like this that the temptation is to make this unique for this guy.

Like, wow, it’s amazing that God did this. But guys, let me just tell you that that statement about what God wants to do in the life of this man is also true for you. God created you, that his glory could be displayed through your life, that he could display his glory to you in you and through you. So what God is saying is not that this guy is unique from you. That God doesn’t, God wants to show his glory to this guy but not to you. I mean, the Bible tells us that God’s creation, declares his glory. Meaning at any moment, you have opportunity to connect to creator who displays his glory for you and know his glory in your life. So that is that’s always true, but here’s what he’s saying uniquely to these disciples.

Don’t assume God’s curse is on this guy. God loves this guy. That there is no one too far from the Lord that his glory cannot be displayed. Jesus is elevating this guy. That yes just as you think, disciples, the Lord loves you. The Lord also loves him. And Jesus Is demonstrating this by saying, “and God’s glory wants to be in his life too.” Don’t consider this man cursed. And don’t cast this man out. He is not beyond the grace of God.

And I’m going to show it by showing God’s glory through him because God’s desires that his glory would be made known in all of your lives. In fact today, if you belong to Jesus or you deny Jesus, you can bow now, or you can bow later but one day you will bow. And his glory will be made known. God desires to display his glory in and through everyone. And this is what Jesus says about his disciples. We, with us, we have problems. That’s true. But with God, we have possibilities because with God He fulfills his promises. We focus on problems and we see it as an impossibility.

God, I know you can reach them, but not this guy. I mean, he’s the most insignificant personal life. He’s the beggar on the side of the street. You don’t care about him. Obviously he’s cursed because because of his situation. God hates him and Jesus shows up and says there could be nothing further from the truth. In fact, this moment will be used that my glory would be displayed through the person you consider insignificant because I see the value of who he is. And then in John four, he says this “We must carry out 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.” Because I’ll look at this and I realize Jesus was saying this. When He walks the earth and then he was gone or he was crucified and he was gone from the earth. But the Bible clearly says to us that God is still active and moving today. And so his light can be made known in this world. His light is on display through his people in this world. And so when I read the statement, I realized it’s not just the context of the disciples in this moment.

It’s true in the context of his disciples in every moment that as long as God gives us today, there’s the opportunity to carry this message forth. Jesus cares about this blind man and Jesus’ care continues in this world today for the people that we would consider maybe the more insignificant forgotten people in this world. Jesus is saying, while you’ve got the moment, seize the opportunity.

Think about this story and the way it transforms life and realize you still follow the same God. He’s still active in this way. And He, and he wants to work in your life to display His glory to this world that others, others can know Him too. And then it goes on in verse six, it says this. “When he had said this, he spit on the ground and made mud from the saliva and applied the mud to his eyes, and said to him go wash in the pool of Siloam, which is translated, sent. So he left and washed and came back seeing. So the neighbors and those who previously saw him as a beggar were saying, “this is not the one who used to sit and beg.”

Well, this was an interesting story, right? I mean, how does, I thought about titling this sermon rather than “Was Blind And Now I See” titling it, “When it’s appropriate for a Christian to spit on someone.” This is, this is a bizarre thing. Like, you think about Jesus in this moment he’s looking at the scenarios like, you know what this needs, I don’t know. The last guy just said you’re healed and it was done. But you know, this is going to take a little bit more. I’m going to need to hock a loogie. How does he decide that? What makes him think oh, this is one of those circumstances where spit as required, right? And then he just low and behold just spits right on your face. Right?

What if I said after service today, “We all need a little bit more Jesus. And so to honor that, I’m just, as you leave I’ll be there to spit on you.” Why? Why is that the solution? Why is it? I mean, God’s like, guys I’m going to show you how awesome I am. You know, the last guy just said you’re healed but this guy from 20 feet away I’ll be spitting on his face and he’ll walk away just cured. Why does Jesus decide that this will be the method that he chooses to heal this person? It’s the most bizarre thing. And if you call yourself a Christian you follow the guy that spits on people. That is, that is not normal, man. Like, your leader is a spitter on people. Especially a begger, like how low does it get? But what Jesus is doing in this story, he’s teaching us something important.

Without even saying a word he’s declaring for us, his identity. And that’s what makes this story so profound. When you understand what he’s saying from verse six to eight, I mean, this takes, this takes the story from a great story and seeing a blind man healed to thinking the gospel of John is just phenomenal because it, the way that it shares this story, it really does it with every story in revealing the significance of Jesus. So let me ask you this.

When was the last time God formed something from the dirt? Creation, right? God takes from the earth. And He forms. And the word form there is, it’s a very intimate shaping, very intentional shaping. He takes the clay of the earth and he formed something and he breathed the breath of life. And man becomes a living being. And now he comes before a man who has no eyes. And he’s about to perform the miracle to help this man see. And what does Jesus do? The same thing he did in the garden of Eden.

He bends down to the ground and he takes the clay and he forms from nothing, something new. And without ever saying a word, just taking the dirt from the ground, the Jews would have instantly known what Jesus is saying about himself. He’s creator, God. He’s creator, God making something new. And he places it in the eyes of this man and tells him to go wash it off. But when the man washes it off, he finds he has eyes and he can see. Creator God has touched him and made him new. In addition to that, Jesus is also declaring something else about his identity in this story. If you think about what’s happening here Jesus heals a blind man. Look, let me ask you this.

How many times in the Old Testament did we read about a man blind receiving his sight? A man born blind, receiving his sight. You know how many times it happens in the Old Testament? Zero. Zero. But you know what the old Testament says about the coming of the Messiah? Isaiah 35 verses four and five. It gives this declaration that when the Messiah comes, He will give sight to the blind.

Remember when the John the Baptist was in jail and he’s sitting there all by himself and he starts to doubt whether Jesus is who he thought Jesus was. And he sends his disciples and says, go ask Jesus if he is who he is, because John thought to himself, “If Jesus is the Messiah, then, then the Messiah would obviously care about me and break me free from prison.” But John himself remaining in jail and knew that his time was limited. And so he sent his disciples and Jesus responded by quoting the Old Testament and saying, “Say to John: the lame walk and the blind see.” Because he knew, he knew that was the mark of the Messiah and when John heard that statement, John would know the Messiah had come.

The blind being cured means there’s the rescuer who’s arrived for his people. And so, without even saying words, simply by picking up the dirt from the earth, applying it to this man’s eyes and telling the man to go wash, wash his eyes. The declaration that Jesus has given to the people around him is that He is creator God. And that He is savior Messiah. In fact, in John chapter nine, verse 32 if you went just a little further ahead and read this it says, The Pharisees give this declaration about Jesus that says, “Since the beginning of time it has never been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind.” Even the skeptical people are affirming that this miracle just hasn’t happened before. It’s never happened.

And so this was part of their frustration because they don’t want to acknowledge who Jesus is but they’re also recognizing while denying Jesus, the very miracle that the Messiah said he would perform, Jesus has performed. “If this man were not from God, He could do nothing.” That’s the statement they give.

And then in addition to that, part of the frustration of the religious leaders is not only that Jesus is calling himself God here, not only that he has given the identification the Messiah, but he’s also, he’s also breaking the Sabbath which to them is a big note. And I remember, I’ve shared this a few times that in Jesus’s day they had the old Testament law told them particular rules they were to obey over 600 rules in the old Testament. They were to try to live up to, which was an impossibility but the Pharisees became so legalistic about these laws, that they decided in order to protect the laws that God gave them, they would write laws that existed before those laws.

So, they added additional laws on top of the laws that already existed in order to prevent someone from never breaking those original laws God gave. They had like preventative laws in front of God’s laws. And they had several laws about the Sabbath. And they even say to us, in verse 13, look at this. “They brought the man who had been, who was previously blind to the Pharisees. Now it was a Sabbath on the day that Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. And then the Pharisees also were asking him again, how he received his sight. And he said to him ‘He applied mud 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.'”

And then they asked the man in verse 17, “Well who do you say he is?” And I love what the man does here. He says in verse 17, “Well, he’s gotta be a prophet.” I mean, this guy’s thinking, I don’t know. Like this guy came, he spit on my face. I’ve never seen someone before so I couldn’t tell you what he looks like. He spits on my face. I got mud on my eyes. So now I can definitely not tell you what he looks like. Then he sends me away. I’ve never seen this guy, but whoever he is he’s got to be a prophet. So in this guy’s mind, he’s elevating this person he encountered to the highest degree that he knows possible in Israel, which to him is a prophet which would have been a phenomenal statement in and of itself because prophets hadn’t existed in Israel. for hundreds of years.

Then so now to call Jesus this prophet, would have been a profound thought. A very elevating thought for a person among people. We know Jesus is, Jesus has more than that, but they identify in the story while they’re so frustrated with Jesus, right? He heals on the Sabbath and then he works on the Sabbath because it tells us he bends down and he’s kneading the clay. He’s forming clay. You’re not to work on the Sabbath and needing was against the law wall on Sunday. And you can see the Pharisees. Jesus, Friday’s okay.

The Sabbath would have been Saturday for them. Saturday is a no but Sunday you can do things for God on Saturday though, you cannot do things for God. God’s business shuts down on Saturday and you got to listen to us. And so Jesus kneads. And then he tells this guy, “On the Sabbath in Israel, you’re only to walk no more than a quarter of a mile on the Sabbath. And he tells this guy to walk to the pool of Salone which because of that command, the man would have gone further than he was supposed to go according to their Sabbath rules. Now they’re infuriated. God, God will not honor this not, and he’s breaking our rules.

Why did Jesus do all this? Jesus wants us to clearly understand who he is. And this is where the battle takes place. Right, starting in verse 18, you start to see this battle among the blind man and everyone around. In fact, when it starting in verse 18 I don’t have time to go through the whole text but you see the majority of the crowd or really all of the crowd, all of the Jews not siding with this blind man.

You see the Pharisees certainly not siding with this blind man. Even this guy’s parents. Even this guy’s parents it tells us starting in verse 18, that they call his parents to come and testify that he was indeed a blind beggar. We don’t believe it. Bring them, bring the parents in. We need to hear from the parents.

So they call, they call the parents and the parents out of fear of the Jewish people, because they didn’t want to be cast out of the synagogue. They were afraid of the isolation they would receive if they had turned their life towards Christ. And so in order to maintain their friendships because they don’t want to risk that they say, “I don’t know just ask him. Just ask the blind man.” And the parents deny their son.

And then in verse 24, “So for a second time they summoned the man who had been blind.” So you think that they’ve gone through all of this. They talked to the crowd, they’ve talked to his parents. They’ve even already interviewed the blind man. And so for a second time. they bring the guy back again and they say, “‘Give glory to God. We know that this man Jesus is a sinner.’ He then answered, ‘Whether He is a sinner, I do not know. But one thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.’ So they said to him, ‘what did He do to you? And how did he open your eyes?’ And he answered them, ‘I told you already, and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? You don’t want to become his disciple too, do you?'” I love that.

Blind man gets a little sassy here. Frustrating, but you can imagine how frustrating it would be when you say something that you know is honest and you know, it’s true and then people question whether or not you’re being honest and truthful. And then you gotta get in front of them again to say the same thing you just said five minutes ago because they don’t, they don’t believe in you because they’re questioning your credibility. Nobody likes that. And so this blind man comes back before them and he testifies.

And here here’s the irony of this situation. This man, he never saw him. So all he says is just what he knows. And guys, following Jesus is like that. Isn’t it? You don’t all of a sudden decide to follow Jesus. And then you’re just this Superman of Christianity. You grow as you go. And here’s what he says. I don’t know. This guy is great. And I’m a follower of him, disciple of him. You don’t want to be a disciple of Him too. All I know is this about Him. I was blind now, now I see. No one else has done that for me. I was blind, now I see. So whoever this is, he’s got my vote.

And what we have in this story is a man of little education but incredible faith among people with the greatest of education, such little faith. But that’s the beauty of following Jesus. Isn’t it? Doesn’t matter where you’ve been. Coming to Jesus transforms your life and there’s nothing there to prove. This guy is a begger. What does he have to offer? And yet Jesus radically transforms his life.

In verse 28, because he didn’t fit their mold. Verse 28: “They spoke abusively to him and said, ‘You are His disciple, but we are disciples of Moses.'” Fine then, and they abuse him. You don’t fit our group. And so they’re mean to him. Religion has a tendency to do that. They tell you the way you need to walk and how you need to dress and the what you need to look like and how you need to belong. And if you don’t fit the club, you get ostracized. You get treated poorly, even as it says in this passage “abused.”

But cause when I read a verse like this, I want us to know it’s important to guard your hearts. And what I mean is if you’re not careful, reading this verse and becoming frustrated by a verse like this, you’ll end up becoming the very person that you hate. Does that make sense? What I’m saying is these religious people behaved in a way that is off-putting. It’s not God honoring. It’s not good, right? But out of frustration for that, you could cast stones right back. You could turn around and become, swing the pendulum so hard the other way you could become the polar opposite of this and in so doing that, identify with the very same behavior.

You can justify your cause because of what they did, but you end up becoming just like them. With a disciple in Christ, we’ve got to be careful. Our culture is constantly a culture of swinging the pendulum. There’s one side wham, slam the pendulum the other direction and there’s the other side. So it’s very, very divisive but God’s people were not called to be divisive. We’re called to walk in truth and love. And I say this to us often, but it’s worth thinking about.

Truth without love is legalism. Love without truth antinomianism or really liberalism. Truth identifies who we are but love identifies the way that we live. And it’s not easy to walk in a sinful world down that line. But that’s what a disciple is called to. To hold truth and hold love in Jesus. Jesus did this all the time masterfully.

Jesus had no problem in meeting with the sinners of sinners, right? I mean, when you see Jesus’ life that was the criticism he got. He was friends with the drinkers and the sinners But in so doing, while Jesus expressed unconditional love for them just like this bagger ostracized in society, while Jesus expressed unconditional love for those that he encountered, he was always honest about the condition of their heart.

And I think it’s so vital for us to walk that line as people. We as believers, we don’t agree with a lot of the things the world does, but what we want to identify ourself is, and is not the things that we disagree with, but we rather prefer to identify ourselves in the things that we’re about, which is Jesus. And when people around us, while we may disagree with what they do or even why they do it, one thing they should always know when they walk away is that we deeply love them. People have a hard time to distinguish how you can still love without agreeing.

Oftentimes you find what this verse is saying. What you’re seeing here is religious people started cancel culture. I mean, that’s what’s happening here. Because you don’t fit in, you don’t belong. And in order to get people to do what we want, we’ll just beat them over the head. ’till they conform or become our enemies. But the Bible tells us, “we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers against the spiritual forces of darkness.” People aren’t our enemy. People are our mission. God’s heart was for them to the point that he gave his life for them. And so while we may not agree, they should never walk away thinking we do not love.

That’s a tension in the life of disciple. Love and truth. Church, stand for what you believe in. Definitely, stand for what you believe in, but do it with compassion and grace. You can take the approach of these disciples or these Pharisees in this story and you think about what a life like that is like. Beat people over the head until they conform. You might modify their behavior but you never reached their hearts. But if you give them a place to just be invited to understand why you believe what you believe as you love them through their sin, or maybe in their sin.

If they see the light of what you’re communicating when they turn their life towards that, you have a much deeper conviction in them than just conforming to behavior. Their life has given over. Sorry, I went on a rant there. I didn’t plan to say all that, but the part for us to consider as we look at this story is, are you focusing in your life? When you think about this, the way the story is unfolded what do you tend to focus on? Do you focus on pressure and problems or God’s presence and his promises? They bring this man before Jesus.

Once again and they ask him this question. They speak abusively to him. And then in verse 30, look at this the man answered and said to them, “Well guys,” guys I threw in there, but “Well guys, here’s the amazing thing that you do not know where he is from yet He opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners.” I mean, they said as much, right? “But if someone is God-fearing and does His will,” the father listens to him, “God listens to him.” “Since the beginning of time, it has never been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a blind person. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”

Here’s what he’s saying. Here’s what he’s saying to the religious leaders because you’re making it complicated in your religion. It doesn’t have to be that hard. Following Jesus is not hard. It’s listening to what he says and believing it with your life. That’s it just fine. And here’s what I know I was blind, now I see. I can’t even tell you what the guy looks like but what I know about him, I was blind now I see. And wherever this guy’s going, I’m going too. It’s that easy.

And here’s how he says, here’s how he says it’s so easy. Because we were told in the old Testament, Isaiah 35: “When the Messiah comes blind, people will have sight.” I’m that blind guy. And he gave me sight. That’s never happened before. You know, it’s never happened before, but now it’s happened. And you’ve been told that when it happens this is the one you’re to follow. Why can’t you follow them? Why would you fight them? Why not belong?

And they answered him in verse 34: “‘You were born entirely in sin, and yet you were teaching us?’ So they put them out.” And that’s sad. This is exactly what his parents wanted to avoid. This is why his parents denied him. They didn’t want to be cast out of the synagogue. The synagogue is where they find their identity. But this man, he counts the cost. It’s not worth following Jesus for this type of cost, unless it’s true.

But if it’s true this guy has lost nothing in comparison to gaining Jesus. In fact, now in this story he’s going to learn parents found identity in synagogue. But me, I find my identity in my creator, my savior, Jesus. And this is the resolve. Verse 35. “Jesus heard that they had put him out and upon finding him said, ‘Do you believe in the Son of Man?’ and he answered by saying, ‘And who is he, sir that I may believe in him? And Jesus said to him, ‘You have both seen Him. And He is the one talking to you.’ And he said, ‘I believe Lord.’ And he worshiped Him.”

Beautiful story. A man no one else loved. Jesus shows up. Doesn’t even feel the need to let this guy know who he is really before he sends him off. But Jesus met him in his need. And then Jesus hears this man’s been cast out. And one more time, Jesus shows up and I love in the beginning of this story, how this guy tries to honor Jesus by calling him a prophet and verse 17. But now he really gets to learn who he is because Jesus says, “Do you know the son of man?” And he, and he says to him, “Who is he? That I may know him.” Right?

And what Jesus is saying by this phrase son of man, Jesus is actually identifying himself as God. This is a name for God in the old Testament in Daniel chapter seven Jesus is saying, do you know this God? Like you’ve already, you’ve already declared by your mouth that you know whoever heals you has to be the Messiah. Do you know the son of man, this God who’s come? And this man has no idea what Jesus looks like. And he says, tell me, tell me who he is.

And then once Jesus says, it’s me the Bible tells us that now under this identity not just a prophet, not just a man, but God, this blind man bows down and worships. Parents find identity in this synagogue. This man finds identity in Jesus. Pharisees find their identity in their religion. This man finds his identity in Jesus. So what does this mean for us? How does this story apply?

I’m just give you just two thoughts to take away from this guys. One, I hope we can look at this story and clearly see the heart of God. I hope Jesus has communicated enough about this blind man for us and seeing his heart for this blind man, that we can see how this story also relates God’s heart for us as people. Here, you have a man that was pushed out to be lonely, but Jesus refuses to let him go alone. Jesus shows up in the beginning. Jesus shows up when he’s kicked out. Jesus is by his side while others considered him insignificant. Jesus considers him significant to the point that Jesus makes all things new.

Creator God from the beginning, formed us from clay. One more time, steps down to that clay. And he makes all things new. This story is here so that you and I can see that God wants to do the same thing in us to make all things new. God wants to work this same miracle in our lives. And following Jesus, you see in the story it may not be popular, but it’s worth it because he’s healing and He invites our soul into worship.

This God, when we fail or we feel unimportant, we feel ostracized, when we can’t provide for ourselves, He cares. Number two is this, I hope we see how we relate to everyone in this story. And what I mean is sometimes we read a story like this and we just want to identify with the blind man and push everyone else aside, those bad guys. But the truth is guys, the truth is if you read the last two verses of this section of scripture, what you find out, what they say in the end is everyone’s blind.

Everyone’s blind but only one sees. Be the one, be the one. Everyone in this world has blind spots. Everyone in this world needs Jesus. There was only one. That’s all. It’s interesting. Those that thought they could see were blind. But the one who was blind is the one that came to see. Be the one. I thought about that as I reflect on the story this week, like how, how do I be the one? How does my soul get to the place where I’m the one?

Everyone else belong to the Pharisees in the story, the crowd, even his parents they all became like the Pharisees. I think in this story they probably wouldn’t have viewed themselves like that but that’s who they became. How do I avoid that? And how can I just, how can I be the one? And this is the only thing that I could determine in my life as to how to follow this step. Every day, this blind man woke up and he realized how much his soul need rescue. Every day, this man was aware of his need.

Pharisees could mask their life and their performance. They thought they had it all figured out. They were proving to God. There were, but this man, this man had nothing to prove. Every day they, he knew how much he needed the Lord so that when the Lord finally came before his life, he embraced. I find that how powerful that just in chapter eight, the way we ended chapter eight was to talk about freedom. Freedom.

And the thing that pushes us from our freedom that we really need in God is honestly our independence. We buy into the lie that we’re okay for now. And that’s what the Pharisees were. I think sometimes as people, that’s how we view ourselves. Like, you know what? I don’t need God right now. I can do this one on my own. I don’t want to bother God with my problem. I’ll just let God do the all other problems. God’s busy enough with all the other things in this world. I don’t need to bug him with my thing. And I’m just going to handle this on my own. And I’ll come to God when there’s a need.

But here’s what happens, when you really recognize there is a need you’ve taught yourself so much in life that depend on you that you to see how blind you really were. What made this guy so healthy in his walk with God is that he had never forgotten how much he needed it. And guys, I think the same is true for us.

That’s what makes the song Amazing Grace so powerful is the echo of those words in our soul reminds us how desperate we are for the Lord but how thankful we can be to know that just as He is willing to care for the blind man He shows up in my life too. And because of that, I was blind, but now I see.