John 9:1-41. “What?
Are we blind too?” 26/3/17
30 The man answered, “Now that is remarkable!
You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God
does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will.
32 Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes
of a man born blind. 33 If this man
were not from God, he could do nothing.”
34 To this they replied, “You were steeped in
sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out.
35 Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and
when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
36 “Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so
that I may believe in him.”
37 Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the
one speaking with you.”
38 Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he
39 Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so
that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”
40 Some Pharisees who were with him heard him
say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?”
41 Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not
be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.
Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the
blind will see and those who see will become blind.” So here Jesus has a very serious word for all of us
to ponder over. Through this reading Jesus is challenging us as Christians.
Also as a society that thinks it is doing a pretty good job life on their own.
We have here God using a blind man whom Jesus heals, to address the whole
matter of spiritual blindness.
The danger is that we can so
easily become like the Pharisees here in this reading. They think that they can
see very clearly what life is all about. Yet they have got it all horribly
wrong, with disastrous results. It takes a blind man to challenge their faith.
But their arrogance and pride will stop them from seeing the truth.
As we look around us today things
are little different. Too often, we think we know it all; and we are not
willing to be told the truth. Too often we can twist the truth of God’s Word so
that we can ignore and keep Jesus and what he says at ‘arms length’. Too often
we also are not willing to accept the clear facts that are before us, because
we want to continue to live as we see fit. Too often we can be like the blind
man’s parents and not tell the truth because we are afraid of being ridiculed.
Too often we can listen to
something like this and think that this does not apply to us personally. ‘I
have got my faith so I am okay’: Despite the fact that our faith is ever so
shallow. We too, all too readily, look at the ten commandments and think that
we are no doing too bad of a job in keeping them. We are basically good people,
who are generally trying be good moral people.
So we are looking to ourselves
and how we want to see things, even though the truth is something else. We look
to what we must be doing in order to be good and acceptable people. And we are
quick to judge those who do not measure up to what looks good in our own eyes.
Even when it comes to Jesus; if he doesn’t fit what we would like him to be
saying and doing, we will reject him also.
We are seeing this kind of
thinking all around us, and in our very own lives. Even within the church we
have these attitude controlling what we say and do as a church. We are not even
prepared to consider that we might be blind to what is right and good. And it
is deadly. Jesus said: “If you were
blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your
These are some of the key issues that are here put in front of us again
through this reading, and we cannot and must not go past them in any way, shape
As we look a little more closely at this reading, we find in the very
first instance that Jesus comes to the blind man and gives him sight. The blind
man was in many ways helpless with regard to his sight: he could do nothing to
improve his situation. There was nothing he or any other human being could do
that would give him his sight: not even by him or his parents living such a good
life. In fact, we are even told that his blindness simply happened so that God
could display his work in order that Jesus might be seen to be the One who was
sent from God to save the world.
From the human point of view he was blind and doomed: there was no way
around it. We try and twist and turn things this, that and any other way in
order to keep some semblance of pride in ourselves and our abilities; but that was
the reality of his situation. The young man himself, knew that he was in
trouble and he knew that it was only God who could help him. So when Jesus heals
him, he is quite ready to trust and glorify him as his Lord and Saviour.
The same of course applies to our spiritual blindness: by our own effort
and understanding we are in trouble - big trouble – and humanly speaking there
is no way out. We are unable to be good enough to be acceptable, or to be able overcome
our sin. We are even unable to see, understand and believe in the love, forgiveness
and salvation that comes to us through Jesus, without God’s help. From the
human perspective we are doomed to an eternity in Hell.
In this event of the blind man, it was Jesus who steps into his life and
into humanity and does something about correcting and righting his and our disastrous
situation. He alone does what no one else can do; he gives light and life to
not only the blind man, but to all who are doomed.
In a very simple and unspectacular manner he changes the future of humanity.
Whether it be as here, using a little mud and sending the blind man off to wash
in the bath; or more importantly by his very suffering and death on the cross.
For it is there that we have the most miraculous change of all take place: ensuring
forgiveness of sins, life and salvation for all.
But Jesus doesn't leave it there: he doesn't give sight to the blind man
and then forget him. The poor guy faced enormous hassles after that miracle,
and has to come to terms with what happened, as well as to deal with the people
around him who were seeking to deny the reality of what had happened. Most
importantly he has to come to grips with who this Jesus really is.
It is there that Jesus again seeks
him out and helps him in light of the hard time he is having in this regard. Jesus
doesn't abandon him in his crisis; but comes to him and points him to the one
who is all important. He assures him that now he has that which every person
needs. He leads him beyond his immediate hassles and beyond thinking of himself,
to Jesus Christ himself.
It is there that we come to the most vital point of all. It is belief - trust
in the Lord Jesus Christ that is paramount to everything. In the final analysis
it is Jesus Christ that is all that matters. Where I'm at, what I do or don't
do has no bearing: even how strong or weak this faith is and how much I know does
not matter. It is the Lord Jesus and what he has done that gives us any
standing - any new life at all.
It is he who saved us and who has done everything necessary. All we
called to do is to believe it – to trust him and what he has done for us – to cling
to him as the only real hope that we have: Trusting that he alone has won
eternal life for us through his death on the cross and his resurrection.
Then to help us to continue to remain strong in this faith, our Lord
gave us baptism where he joins us to himself and his death and resurrection, so
that we can be sure that he forgives us and accepts us into his family for all eternity.
Sunday after Sunday, day after day as we read God’s Word and listen to what he
says to us in the Bible we are pointed to our sinfulness and God’s answer to it
through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Also every time we come
forward to the communion rail and receive Jesus very body and blood which he
shed on the cross for us we are assured again and again that we have
forgiveness of sins, life and salvation.
It is there in those issues that we have the dividing line between
spiritual blindness and true insight - between life and death – spiritually and
eternally: and it those truths that we need to hold near and dear to us and not
let go of under any circumstance. Our Lutheran confessions espouse this very
thing and that is why we hold so strongly to them.
These truths are that which the true Church throughout the centuries,
ever since the time of the writing of this very gospel, has held as of utmost
importance. We are to hold to these basics, rather than a lot these other
thoughts that are peddled about and which our human self longs for. He and his
Word in its entirety is what enables us to see and do what is good.
If we think we can see what is right and good by twisting, changing and
ignoring what he tells us in his Word, be very careful. Jesus said; “If you were blind,
you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt
No matter how well we might know or do anything is not the issue if we
are blind to the reality of the Lord Jesus Christ and the importance of who he
is and what he tells us in his word. If we think that we can ignore him and cast
off the importance of his death on the cross as not being all that relevant, then
look out. If we think the Bible is not his Word in its entirety, we are in
serious danger of being called blind by God himself.
The Old Testament lesson today makes that quite clear: close our eyes to
the reality of God himself and where he fit into our everyday picture, then
don't be surprised when the Lord loses patience and brings great trouble and hardship
our way. If we think we can see and have it all under control rather than
looking to him and what he has done, then look out.
The Lord Jesus Christ alone is where reality is. Let us not be blind
this very important matter. Cling to him above all else and trust that he alone
has taken care of that which is most important of all. To him be all glory and
honour, now and always AMEN.
Pastor Roger Atze
Glandore/Underdale Lutheran Parish