This is a very long reading, but stick with me on it. Turn your Bibles to John chapter 9.
In Chapter 8, Jesus was in the Temple area, trying to tell people who he is, and that he was sent by God. The people and the Religious leaders didn’t like what he was saying. It eventually got a little out of hand, and the people tried to stone Jesus, but he got away.
This is the word of the Lord, and we give thanks for the reading and the hearing of his word.
Have you ever heard the phrase; “looking at the world through Rose-Colored glasses”? Do you know what it means? What it means is, that if you look at the world through glasses that are rose-colored, everything looks rosy. (Put on rose-colored glasses). It’s an attitude of cheerful optimism, of seeing everything in an attractive, pleasant light. So a person who looks at the world through rose-colored glasses, sees the world as an unnaturally happy place. There are also other ways of looking at the world.
I submit to you that almost everybody in this story today, looked at the world through their own version of colored glasses.
First in this story, Jesus and his disciples are walking along, and they come upon a blind man. He was probably sitting on the street corner, begging for handouts, “Alms for the poor”.
The Disciples ask Jesus, “Who sinned?”
What kind of question is that? Why would they ask who sinned to cause this man to be blind?
Back then, many Jewish people believed that if someone was born with a handicap, then someone must have sinned. Either you sinned in the womb, or one of your parents sinned, and caused your condition. There is a Jewish book of traditions called the Mishnah, where the rabbis tried to elaborate on the Laws of Moses. One of those teachings was this one. And the regular Jewish people were taught these things.
So, for the disciples to ask that question was not out of the ordinary. However, in order to ask a question like that you have to think a few things about yourself.
– If sin caused things like that, then you must be alright with God because you don’t have a handicap.
– If someone had something wrong with them, then they must not be alright with God.
The Disciples, they looked at the blind man and asked, who sinned? They were looking at the situation through judgment-colored glasses. (Put on judgement glasses).
What happens to us when we look at people with these glasses? We see people and judge them. We begin to think that we are better than other people
Why do you look like that? That guy is stoopid, You’re just a low-life, your not popular.
The Disciples saw the blind man as a matter of judgment.
Do we look at people through our own judgment glasses?
(take off the glasses)
Next Jesus tells the Disciples,
Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.”
Jesus sees the scene, through the clarity of God’s eyes. In fact, Jesus says he is the light of the world. Everyone knows you need light to see.
Next, Jesus bends down, spits in the dirt, makes some mud. Then he spreads the mud on the blind man’s eyes.
Why does Jesus cure the blind man with mud?
Lets look at a few other times in the bible when Jesus cures blindness;
Matthew 9:27-30 Jesus heals two men’s blind eyes, doesn’t use mud or spit, just touches their eyes.
Matthew 12:22, Jesus heals a demon-possessed man. It doesn’t say exactly how he does it
Matt 15:30 – many are healed, no details.
Matthew 20:29-34 Jesus again heals two men’s blind eyes, again, he simply touched their eyes.
Mark 8:22 – 25
How many times does Jesus use a mud, or paste to cure blindness? (none) Why did he do it this time?
The use of saliva for medicinal purposes was common in the ancient world. The non-Jewish world thought that there was healing power in a person’s spit. But the Jews thought it was superstitious (isn’t that ironic?). It even says in the Mishnah that you’re not allowed to heal anyone with spit.
And it says in the Mishnah that you’re not allowed to make mud on the Sabbath because that would be a form of kneading, which would be a form of forbidden work.
But Jesus healed him in this way to let the world know that God could heal a person any way he wants. If he wants to use mud, he can do it. If he wants to use spit, he can do it. if he wants to do it in answer to prayer or fasting, he can do it. There is no limit to the power of God except in the figment of our own imagination.
Next Jesus tells the man to go to the pool of Siloam, to wash away the mud.
Some Interesting information I learned about the pool of Siloam.
Biblical Pool of Siloam Is Uncovered in Jerusalem
Tue Aug 09 2005 00:09:33 ET
In August of 2005 the Los Angeles Times reported: Workers repairing a sewage pipe in the old city of Jerusalem have discovered the biblical Pool of Siloam, a freshwater reservoir that was a major gathering place for ancient Jews making religious pilgrimages to the city and the reputed site where Jesus cured a man blind from birth,
New Testament scholar James H. Charlesworth of the Princeton Theological Seminary says,
“Scholars have said that there wasn’t a Pool of Siloam and that John was using a religious conceit’ to illustrate a point, “Now we have found the Pool of Siloam … exactly where John said it was.’
A gospel that was thought to be “pure theology is now shown to be grounded in history,’ he said.
Once the blind man washes his eyes in the pool, he can see! Can you image him, running back home yelling, “I can see, I can see!”
This obviously caused a stir in the neighborhood. Everybody in earshot would have come out to see what the commotion was all about. But recall how these people responded;
– Some didn’t believe it was him
– Others demanded him to tell how this happened
The Neighbors were blinded by skepticism!
(Skepticism –colored glasses)
· How many stories are there in the Bible about people not believing miracles?
· Are we skeptical of what the God promises us in the bible?
· Are you skeptical of some people’s claims about their miracles?
The man’s neighbors missed seeing their ‘new’ friend because they could only see through the Skepticism –colored glasses.
(take off glasses)
So, the neighbors brought the man to the Pharisees, they were all amazed that he was able to see again.
What happened when the Pharisees were confronted with the man who was born blind but now sees?
– They debated the fact that the man was blind at all. (Skepticism –colored glasses)
The Pharisees then thought about the fact that it was a Sabbath day, and that the “work” had been done on the Sabbath.
Back to those religious laws, no work was allowed on the Sabbath. Including kneading.
The Pharisees were blinded by their rules! (rules–colored glasses)
Next, the Pharisees called in the guys parents and started asking questions. But the Pharisees we’re trying to get the parents to say that Jesus was the messiah.
Remember, it said in verse 22: for already the Jews had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Christ would be put out of the synagogue
The parents were afraid of the Jewish leaders. (Fear-colored glasses)
It is no wonder the parents were afraid. Imagine for a moment what it must have felt like for them. On one hand your son who was blind from birth can now see, on the other hand, if you acknowledge that this was Jesus, you would be kicked out of the church.
Today, that’s not as big of an issue. If, for some reason, you were asked to leave a church today, you could very easily walk across town, and join another church. But 2000 years ago, the temple was the only synagogue in town. And being excommunicated from the synagogue not only meant that you couldn’t attend worship services. It also meant that you were completely cut off from the social life of the community. You were basically treated like an outcast. The other members of the synagogue had to stay at least 6 feet away from you. Your own family couldn’t come near you. And no one would be allowed to speak to you as long as the ban was in effect, which could be anywhere from 7 days to 30 days to a lifetime. You’d have to move away from home and live by yourself.
Fear is a crippling agent. Fear keeps up from experiencing the work of God completely.
Now the Pharisees turn back to the guy and ask him who he thinks Jesus is.
By now, the man is starting to see that they are just trying to trip him up. So he says,
You know, I’ve already told you what happened, why should I tell you again? Do you want to be his disciples too?
The Pharisees react by saying he is a disciple of Jesus, and they are disciples of Moses
They say he is steeped in Sin
And they send the guy away.
(take off the glasses)
When Jesus heard the man had been thrown out by the Jews he went and found the guy and asked him;
“Do you trust in the Son of Man?”
The guy then asks, “Who is He, sir? Tell me, in order that I may believe?”
Jesus responded by identifying himself as the Son of Man.
This is one of the few places in the gospels where Jesus directly reveals his own identity to the person who asked. It is very similar to his response to the woman of Samaria from last week’s lesson
( John 4:25-26),
25The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
” 26Then Jesus declared, “I who speak to you am he.”
In verse 37 in our reading today, it says,
“You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.”
The guy believes and worships Jesus.
Did you notice how the blind man’s perspective of Jesus changed as the story went along?
First he called him “the man called Jesus”
Next, he called Jesus a prophet
Then he believes he is the Son of Man and worships Jesus!
Now the guy who had been born blind, had perfect vision.
Next, Jesus and the Pharisees come face to face. This argument with the Pharisees about who Jesus is, has been carried out through this blind man.
Jesus tells them his purpose, He is the light of the world. His light is to accomplish two things: to make the blind see and to make the seeing blind.
He tells the Pharisees that they are blind.
For the longest time, when I would read stories in the bible where Jesus would point out the errors of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, I would feel like “ha! busted! You guys don’t know what you’re talking about! (These were my rebellious days). Anytime the establishment got shown that they didn’t always know what was right, I thought it was awesome.
Nowadays, I’m not so sure I’m not in the same boat with the Pharisees. Jesus was showing them their faults, because they were right there, right now. But, are we really so different today? I mean, we don’t have the same concept of the Religious Law any more, but, many times, we are wrong in our own ways. The more I read and study the bible, the more I see that I am wrong in a lot of my thoughts and actions.
A couple of years ago, I was in Chicago for a week-long Technical Conference. One day, I, a co-worker and a business partner were standing outside of the Chicago Hilton. As we stood there and chatted about basically nothing, a very dirty, grungy man lumbered up to us. The guy was obviously poor, and maybe homeless. He gave us some sob story, and asked if he could have ten dollars for something (I don’t remember exactly what he wanted the money for). I am very skeptical of beggars; I’ve seen news reports about how some of them are really con-artists, taking advantage of people. So, I didn’t really believe he needed the money for what he was asking for. In fact, I was afraid if I pulled out my wallet to give him the money, he might just grab my wallet and run off. And, I didn’t want the other people with me to think that I was some sort of sucker. So, I told the guy no, and to go away.
Think about my reaction to this scene.
1. I judged the guy to be a grungy street person (glasses of judgement)
2. I was skeptical/ I didn’t believe him (put on Glasses of disbelief)
3. I was afraid of him (glasses of fear)
4. I didn’t want my friends to think poorly of me (glasses of pride)
I have all of these glasses on. I am now totally blind.
This is what Jesus meant when he told the Pharisees, they were blind.
They have physical sight, but they lack Spiritual sight.
What if I had reacted to this scenario with the eyes of Jesus?
(Take all others off, one at a time)
4. what if instead of thinking I was a fool, I could have impressed my friends with my caring and compassion for the poor guy? (glasses of pride)
3. If he grabbed my wallet, there were three of us there. We could have probably caught the guy. (glasses of fear)
2. Did it really matter what the guy was going to do with the money? Maybe he really did need it.
(Glasses of disbelief)
- I had ten dollars in my pocket, it wasn’t the only money I had. I didn’t NEED the money.
(glasses of judgement)
If I would have looked at this guy like Jesus wanted me too, I would have acted differently. I should have reacted differently.
How should we look at people? Through the same eyes that Jesus does. We need our
When we put on our Jesus glasses, we see everybody clearly. We see people like Jesus sees people. With eyes of love and compassion.
This is what we are called to do as disciples of Jesus, as children of God.
This is what Jesus meant when he gave us the great commandment, in Matthew 22:37-39
The Pharisees ask Jesus “Which is the greatest commandment?
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’
This is the first and greatest commandment.
And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
If Brandon asked me for ten dollars, I would give it to him in an instant. I wouldn’t worry about what he was going to do with it, or about getting it back.
That would be easy for any of us to do.
What’s harder, and what’s really required of us, is to react the exact same way to anybody and everybody.
It doesn’t have to be just about money either, We all have amazing gifts that we can share with our neighbors. Whether it is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness or self-control, time, knowledge, whatever our gifts are, we can share them with others.
I’m not going to tell you that I am good at this, I’m not going to tell you it’s easy. But, it is what we should all be working towards. This is the walk with Jesus. The Christian walk.
We are all spiritually blind in some ways.
Jesus is the light of the world. We need his light to see.
We need to see the world through the eyes of Jesus.