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The Third Sunday In Lent

Option #1: “Was Blind But Now I See”
John 9:1-42 (Selected Verses)
Rev. Wayne Dobratz

Many of us have wondered what it was like to live in the time of Jesus–to be able to see Him face to face. Today’s text tells the story of a man born blind who was given his sight by Jesus. No Old Testament prophet ever performed such a miracle. It was a powerful testimony to Jesus being God’s Son. Since there are no parables in John’s Gospel, John often uses miracles the way parables are used in other gospels. He calls them "signs." To put it another way, John wants us to see that this man receives more than physical sight. When we are given an insight, we sometimes say: "I saw the light!" So we say with the formerly blind man: I WAS BLIND, BUT NOW I SEE!

I. That Jesus is my compassionate Savior

       A. Jesus was there when this man needed Him–vv1-4

       B. Jesus gives spiritual sight as well–John 8:12 & 9:4 (Mt 23:16ff, 23:24), Mk 10:46-52, Lk 4:18-19, Col 1:13-14

       C. One who rejects Jesus is in the dark–John 9:39–see also John 3:19ff, 12:40, Acts 26:18, 2 Cor 4:4-6

II. That He is worthy of my worship–John 12:20-32

       A. Jesus gave him pastoral care–John 9:35-38

       B. God cares for the individual–Ps 27:10, Ps 147:3, Isa 61:1-2

III. That He is worthy of my praise

       A. That I am to praise Him publicly–Lk 18:35, John 1:34

       B. That I am to praise Him boldly–text: 24-34, 1 Pet 2:9

       C. That I am to trust Him "when the heat is on"–text, 24ff, Matt 10:18-21

Richard Lenski writes re: 9:28: "You are this fellow’s disciple!": By calling the beggar Jesus’ disciple, these Pharisees imagine that they are heaping shame upon him; in reality they could offer no higher testimonial of honor and praise to him. "We are the disciples of Moses"–here they pronounce sentence upon themselves, and out of their own mouth the Lord will judge them at the last day. Moses himself, upon whom they set their hope, will accuse them (5:46). ...These Pharisees were the disciples of a fictitious Moses, whom they had invented for themselves, and who did not exist." "Their attitude is similar to that of today’s skeptic, agnostic, and a certain type of scientist, i.e., ‘Knowledge is our personal prerogative; whoever does not bow to us and our knowledge knows nothing, and whoever presumes to know what we do not know is a fool. ...This attitude pretends to intellectuality, but at bottom the intellect is empty of real substance.’" "There the former beggar stands before them with his bright shining eyes, looking right at the Pharisees. Can they not see these eyes of his? Here, right before them, just as Jesus said (v8), "the works of God are made manifest." But these men will not see what so magnificently challenges their sight." (Richard Lenski, Interpretation of St. John’s Gospel, pp693ff, passim)

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Option #2: "Blindsight is Plenty/Plenty!" 
(Note: a play on "Hindsight is 20/20")
John 9:39
Rev. Kelly Bedard

A. Eyes in the Mud

       1. Deliberate misinterpretation of, or refusal to see, Jesus and His kingdom

       2. Not even God can help those who think they can help themselves

B. Mud in the Eyes

       1. Inability to interpret Jesus and His signs but subsequent inspiration to do so

       2. God helps to anointed status and service only those who cannot help themselves

Notes

1. God doesn't call the qualified but, instead, qualifies the called.

2. Religion is assaulted most by the pretence of religion: but the more it is pressed down, the more it rises up. (Geneva Notes)

3. The one who claims to see will never come to Christ; the one given partial sight will be judged on a higher standard. This demonstrates the essential place of poverty of spirit in the Christian life: admitting your blindness. (David Guzik)

4. His [Christ's] business into the world was great; he came to keep the assizes and general goal-delivery. He came for judgment, that is, (1.) To preach a doctrine and a law which would try men, and effectually discover and distinguish them, and would be completely fitted, in all respects, to be the rule of government now and of judgment shortly. (2.) To put a difference between men, by revealing the thoughts of many hearts, and laying open men’s true characters, by this one test, whether they were well or ill affected to him. (3.) To change the face of government in his church, to abolish the Jewish economy, to take down that fabric, which, though erected for the time by the hand of God himself, yet by lapse of time was antiquated, and by the incurable corruptions of the managers of it was become rotten and dangerous, and to erect a new building by another model, to institute new ordinances and offices, to abrogate Judaism and enact Christianity; for this judgment he came into the world, and it was a great revolution. This great truth he explains by a metaphor borrowed from the miracle which he had lately wrought. That those who see not might see, and that those who see might be made blind. Such a difference of Christ’s coming is often spoken of; to some his gospel is a savour of life unto life, to others of death unto death. (1.) This is applicable to nations and people, that the Gentiles, who had long been destitute of the light of divine revelation, might see it; and the Jews, who had long enjoyed it, might have the things of their peace hid from their eyes, Hos. 1:10; 2:23. The Gentiles see a great light, while blindness is happened unto Israel, and their eyes are darkened. (2.) To particular sons. Christ came into the world, [1.] Intentionally and designedly to give sight to those that were spiritually blind; by his word to reveal the object, and by his Spirit to heal the organ, that many precious souls might be turned from darkness to light. He came for judgment, that is, to set those at liberty from their dark prison that were willing to be released, Isa. 61:1. [2.] Eventually, and in the issue, that those who see might be made blind; that those who have a high conceit of their own wisdom, and set up that in contradiction to divine revelation, might be sealed up in ignorance and infidelity. The preaching of the cross was foolishness, and an infatuating think, to those who by wisdom knew not God. Christ came into the world for this judgment, to administer the affairs of a spiritual kingdom, seated in men’s minds. Whereas, in the Jewish church, the blessings and judgments of God’s government were mostly temporal, now the method of administration should be changed; and as the good subjects of his kingdom should be blessed with spiritual blessings in heavenly things, such as arise from a due illumination of the mind, so the rebels should be punished with spiritual plagues, not war, famine, and pestilence, as formerly, but such as arise from a judicial infatuation, hardness of heart, terror of conscience, strong delusions, vile affections. In this way Christ will judge between cattle and cattle, Eze. 34:17, 22. (Matthew Henry)

5. A proverb: None so blind as those who will not see... Jesus' words are blunt: I come for judgment. Insisting that your inward blindness is sight isn't just pitiful, it's sinful and fatal. I can heal those who know, even dimly, that they're blind. I can do nothing for those who insist they're OK, except to make their condition permanent. That false "sight" you claim is a darkness in which no one, not even the Son of Man, can work. And if that Son who is the light of the world should not be at work, then there is no hope, no life, no light at all to see by even if we wanted to. Without that Light, we may not see. We're as good as dead! ...Jesus' judgment is no threat but instead merciful, swift sight. Sin and guilt, however long-entrenched, are abolished as quickly as cataracts! No darkness is too deep to be overcome! And at the heart of it all is seeing Jesus as he really is: not just a man, a prophet, a man sent from God, much less a sinful impostor, but the Son doing the Father's work and displaying the Father's merciful glory, answering even the pleas of sinners who have no right to expect a second glance from God. (Cathy Amlung)

6. Obsession with observance is a characteristic of religion which makes it very dangerous, as many forms of fundamentalism have shown, not least the recent most violent. Such rigidity at the expense of people is not, however, limited to certain widely acknowledged types, but can flourish on both the left wing and the right, among the biblicists and among those serving other ideologies. (William Loader)


7. I have learned some things from listening to Christians with disabilities, and I am persuaded that by thinking of God as disabled-metaphorically, of course-we can deepen our understanding of the nature of God's creative and redemptive love. (Burton Cooper)

8. The gospel writer clearly wishes to show how those who stick to the letter of the law fail to recognize the presence of the divine in unexpected events. (Andrew Greeley)

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