Thursday, June 09, 2011

Jesus and the Blind Man (Jn. 9:35-41)

This is a personal summary of the preaching of Rev Dr Stephen Tong on 29 May 2011 in True Way Presbyterian Church. It was preached in Chinese with English translation.

Passage: John 9:35-41

It is not necessarily a blessing when we do not encounter much sufferings. Without sufferings we cannot empathise with other people. Why are some people born so poor and some so rich? Is there injustice or do people deserve what they get? Or could it be that our spirituality is too low such that God gives us an easier life with less sufferings? Some people are spiritually strong so they could live well in great sufferings. Because we cannot be tested much, God spares us. Thus we should not despise others if we have more material or physical blessings. We do not know why but eternity will reveal.

In John 9, we see the arrogant Pharisees, a man born blind and the Lord of justice doing difficult tasks on earth. The man born blind had a difficult life since birth, and after he was healed, he witnessed to the truth and was cast out by the society. The Jews said he was steeped in sin and was not qualified to lecture them. They were the experts of the law so nobody could teach them.

The Bible said the first person who sought him after he was cast out was the Lord Himself. When people despise you, the Lord does not despise you. When you are abandoned by others, the Lord will not abandon you. He sought you out. This is the true spirit of Christianity.

The Lord is the Good Shepherd. He never abandons those who are fading in their sufferings. When Jesus found him, Jesus wanted to build his life based on faith. The reformed evangelical movement will first attempt to establish true faith, then true works that come from true faith, the power needed to preach the gospel and the related culture to re-establish morality and influence the entire nation. In so doing we will take care of the poor.

Many people think they can solve people’s problem when they become a politician so they use deception to win votes, and they end up exploiting their country’s resources. The economy becomes worse. The fall of ethics starts from faith. To reorder the whole country, we must start from faith.

The principles of many churches are not based on the Bible but on the world. So the order of morality in the world is completely lost for they are not built upon the principles of truth.

When Jesus met this man, it is not that He did not care about his physical needs, but He wanted to build his faith first. The first question Jesus asked, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” (Jn. 9:35) What is the relationship between the Son of God and the Son of Man? If you believe in the Son of God, you also believe in God-Incarnate, the Son of Man, the Son of God in the faith. The focus is Christology. This Son of Man is singular, the true representation of Man.

Jesus found the person who sought after the truth. Jesus focused on the issue of faith to attract him. The man did not say the Son of Man had nothing to do with him and his sufferings, since everyone is the son of man. Instead he answered in an unusual way, “Who is he, sir? Tell me so that I may believe in him.” (v. 36) It is as though he is asking, “Lord, Who is the Lord? Tell me, Lord, that I might believe in the Lord.” We often behave this way too. This happened to Paul on his way to Damascus as well. When the light fell on him and Jesus spoke to him, he asked, “Who are you, Lord?” Paul already called Him “Lord” yet asked who He was. Jesus answered him, “I am Jesus, whom you persecuted.”

It is a great mystery that God should come in the flesh. True faith is Christological. But Judaism cannot accept it. Islam cannot accept it. Polytheism cannot accept it.

Jesus told Paul, “I am Jesus, whom you persecuted.” To this blind man He healed, Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, He is the one speaking with you.” (v. 37). He responded, “Lord I believe” and worshiped Him. Many of us could not believe that way. We use too much of our reasoning in the wrong way. This great faith expressed with immediate reaction, is most precious. Some people listen hundreds and thousands of times and still question. But one who listens once to true sermon and believe immediately will not waste a lot of time.

This is one of the best example in the Bible on the worshiping of Christ. When Jesus calmed the storm, the disciples worshiped. When people worship angels, angels stopped them. But Jesus accepted worship.

Not only the man and Jesus were there, the Pharisees witnessed it. There are 8 times Jesus declared his purpose of coming to earth: to seek the lost; to lead sinners to repentance; He came not to be served but to serve; He came to give life and give it abundantly; He came to do God’s will (Heb. 10:7); He came to fulfill the law (Matt.5:17) and He came to bear witness to the truth. In all those 7 instances, Christ’s purpose of coming to earth are active.

In this passage, the purpose is expressed in a passive tone. “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” (v.39) What kind of judgement? It is so that (1) the blind will see and (2) so that those who see will become blind.

Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?” (v.40) In His wisdom, He said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.” (v.41)

Jesus did not say they were blind in this passage. The chapter ends here but in other parts of the Scripture Jesus said “your eyes are the lamp of the body, if your eyes are good, your body will be full of light but if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If the light within you is darkness, how great is the darkness.” (Matt. 6:22-23) You can see physically but you are blind spiritually. This experience truly happen. The blind man sees but the Pharisees who see become blind. Paul could physically see but was blinded by the light of God. Afterwards he truly saw spiritually.

The Bible said that those who think they know somethin still do not know as much as they ought to know. Many are still blind when they think they see. Let us be like this blind man with the honesty and humility to come to God to open our eyes.

Lord, open our eyes so that we can see the wonders of Your works, the glory of the cross, the power of Your resurrection, from foolishness see Your greatest wisdom, from weakness see Your power.


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