Sunday, March 10, 2024

“Now I See” [Matt's Messages]

“Now I See”
Life in Jesus’ Name - The Gospel of John
Lanse Evangelical Free Church
March 10, 2024 :: John 9:1-41  

This is a delightful story. It’s just so beautiful and powerful. It's an incredibly familiar story and beloved, for good reason.

There’s an amazing miracle, a sign. And there’s humorous interaction, lots of it. It makes you laugh. And there is deep truth about Who Jesus truly is. It’s a delightful story, vividly told. And it’s true!

Let’s get into it together. John chapter 9, verse 1. Jesus has escaped the clutches of the Pharisees. After calling them children of the devil and claiming Himself to be pre-existent and self-existent, Jesus has slipped away from the temple grounds. Verse 1.

“As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’” 

If you don’t already know the story, you can already guess where it’s headed. Jesus encounters a man with congenital blindness. This guy could not see anything and never could see anything.

We don’t know his name. We are never told his name! But we are told that he has never seen anything. Life has always been dark for him. He’s never seen his mom or his dad. He’s never seen a tree or a building or the sea or the sun. He was born that way. He has eyes, but they don't work. They have never worked. He has never seen anything. Which is not the way it’s supposed to be. It’s not the way things were when God made the world. 

So this man’s condition raises a theological question for Jesus’ disciples.  They ask Jesus in v.2, “Rabbi [our teacher], who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 

How would you answer that one? How would you answer their theological question? Is it a good one?

I think it’s right to make some kind of connection between disease and sin, between disability and sin. There has to be some connection. Because blindness was not intended from the beginning.

But is the connection one-to-one? Does it have to be this man’s sin or his parent’s sin that caused this congenital blindness? No. The disciples are thinking like the friends of Job. I just read Job this week, and Job’s friends are convinced that Job is suffering because of specific sins in his life, and it’s just not true. Yes, suffering and disease and disability have entered the world because of our sin, but not every instance of suffering or disease or disability is the direct result of our particular sin or anyone’s particular sin!

Jesus’ answer to their theological question is (v.3), “Neither!” 

“‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned,’ said Jesus, ‘but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.”

There’s more to it but not less! His parents didn’t sin so that he was blind. And he certainly didn’t sin in the womb so that God punished him with blindness–that’s not how it works.

If you are suffering from some disease or disability, don't let anyone put a guilt trip on you by telling you that your illness or handicap is because of some unconfessed sin in your life. That is not always true. This man had a whole other reason for being blind. Specifically, that God's glory, God's activity would be displayed in his life. God has a higher purpose for this suffering, for this disability. God’s going to do something with it. 

Instead of laying on shame, Jesus builds anticipation of glory. Jesus is going to do something big in this man’s life. Verse 4.

“As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.’”

Does that sound familiar? That’s our memory verse isn’t it?

Let’s say it together again: “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” (Jn. 8:12 NIVO)

Jesus says in verse 4, “As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me.” I think He means that as long as He is present on Earth, He and His disciples have a divine mission to accomplish. That word “sent” is very important to Jesus in the Gospel of John. How many times has He said it already? The Father sent the Son! “Night is coming, when no one can work.” I think that probably means the crucifixion and the time of burial, when His terrible work had been accomplished. 

“While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

Jesus is convinced that He is the light of the world. Jesus claims that He is the light of the world. And now Jesus intends to prove it. Look at verse 6.

“Having said this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man's eyes. ‘Go,’ he told him, ‘wash in the Pool of Siloam’ (this word means Sent).”

There’s that word “sent” again! This time Jesus is doing the sending of a man to the pool named Sent.

First, he spit on the ground and made some mud with His saliva. That’s the Creator of the World in the flesh making a mud-cake out of the Earth He created and smearing it on the never-seeing eyes of this man. Why? I’m not sure. Maybe there’s some kind of point about creation there. I don’t know. But it has the effect of separating the man from Jesus. Jesus actually drops out of the story here until the very end of the chapter.

We follow the blind man walking through Jerusalem with mud on his face heading towards this Pool of Siloam. That the same pool that they would fill the Golden Flagon with water at the Feast of Tabernacles that we talked about in chapter 7. This man stumbles over there and washes his face. Verse 7.

“So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.”

Can you imagine?!

Remember, he has never seen anything before in his life! And now he can.

Suddenly, he knows what people really look like. What water looks like.  Can you imagine? As he's brushing the water from the pool of Siloam from his eyes, he catches his own reflection in the pool. He feels his face and watches his fingers touch what he sees. He can see for the first time! He lifts his head and can see Jerusalem–people bustling by on their business. He can see! Everything has changed for his man. Everything.

Do you think that Jesus is the Light of the World?

So, what was this guy’s job, up till now? Up till now, he was a beggar. In that culture and that state of technology in that day, that’s about all he could do. But now he doesn’t have to beg. And his old friends and neighbors don’t hardly recognize him. Look at verse 8.

“His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, ‘Isn't this the same man who used to sit and beg?’ Some claimed that he was. Others said, ‘No, he only looks like him.’ But he himself insisted, ‘I am the man.’”

He looks like the guy. But that guy was blind.

And the guy is like, “No, I’m that guy.” And they’re like, “What?” Verse 10.

“‘How then were your eyes opened?’ they demanded. He replied, ‘The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.’”

This guy is going to have to tell this story over and over again for the rest of his life. But he’ll gladly do it. Because now he can see!

Verse 12. “‘Where is this man?’ they asked him. ‘I don't know,’ he said. They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind.”

Wait. What? All of a sudden it seems like something bad has happened. This man is taken to the Pharisees for what feels like an interrogation. The greatest thing has happened to him, and now it feels like he’s in trouble. What’s going on? Verse 14.

“Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man's eyes was a Sabbath.”

Oh. Aha. We've seen this movie before, haven't we [chapter 5]? These guys are going to get upset that Jesus “worked” on a Sabbath by making up a mud-cake. And they're missing that Jesus gave this man sight!

And this guy is saying to himself, “Oh, so that's what a Pharisee looks like.”  He’s just so happy to see anything. But they are not happy. Verse 15.

“Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. ‘He put mud on my eyes,’ the man replied, ‘and I washed, and now I see.’”

That’s our sermon title, by the way: “Now I See.”

And I’ve got two big points of application to go with that title. Here’s number one:


Tell your story. Give your testimony. If Jesus has done something big in your life, tell others about it.

For this guy, he had been given new sight. Brand new sight! He had never had sight before, and Jesus gave it to him. And then people asked what happened, he just told them.

Now, when you do that, it doesn’t mean that people will believe it. They may not even like it. These guys didn’t believe it or like it. Look at verse 16.

“Some of the Pharisees said, ‘This man [meaning Jesus] is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.’ But others asked, ‘How can a sinner do such miraculous signs?’ So they were divided. [Not everybody responds the same way to the same story.] Finally they turned again to the blind man, ‘What have you to say about him? It was your eyes he opened.’ The man replied, ‘He is a prophet.’”

And he was right.

We know that he was more than a prophet, but He was a prophet, and in fact, He was The Prophet Moses promised in Deuteronomy 18. Remember that from December? Jesus is a Man from God.

All this guy is doing is sharing what Jesus did for him and what he then thinks of Jesus because of it.

That’s simple, isn’t it? Can you do that? Can you tell somebody what Jesus has done for you? I know that you weren’t born blind and then Jesus smeared mud on your eyes and sent you across town to wash and now you can see. But has Jesus done something in your life? Can you tell somebody?

The Pharisees are not happy that this man can now see. In fact, they don’t believe that he was ever actually blind in the first place. They don’t want to believe. So they interrogate his parents. 

The ones that the disciples thought must have sinned so that he was blind in the first place. Their son can see, but now it feels like they’re in trouble. They are subpoenaed into presence of the Pharisees. Verse 18.

“The Jews still did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they sent for the man's parents. ‘Is this your son?’ they asked. ‘Is this the one you say was born blind? How is it that now he can see?’

‘We know he is our son,’ the parents answered, ‘and we know he was born blind. But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don't know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself.’” 

They don’t sound happy, do they? No, they sound scared. Here’s why. Verse 22.

“His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews, for already the Jews had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Christ would be put out of the synagogue. That was why his parents said, ‘He is of age; ask him.’”

They are scared. They don’t want to be cut off from their religious community. They don’t want to get into trouble because of Jesus. So they don’t tell people what Jesus has done for them. Jesus has healed their son’s eyes, and they won’t say it.

They probably aren’t lying, per se, because they weren’t there so they don’t  “know” firsthand, but they’ve probably already heard the story from their boy. And they aren’t willing to repeat it.

Beloved, let’s not be like them. Let’s not be afraid to tell people what Jesus has done for us. 

So often I have chickened out. Of all the characters in this story, these two parents are the people I identify with the most, at least at first. I’m often afraid to get into trouble for Jesus. 

Now, I don’t mean get into trouble and blame Jesus for things He never asked us to do. And I also don’t mean that we should go around look to make trouble for Jesus. We’re actually supposed to live quiet lives. But I do mean we should be ready to get into trouble just because we’re talking about what Jesus did for us. And if we never do get into trouble, then we should ask ourselves if we are, in fact, being faithful to Jesus. 

So, that’s the last we hear from his parents. They are done with them. But they aren’t done with the man who can now see. Look at verse 24.

“A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. ‘Give glory to God,’ they said. ‘We know this man is a sinner.’ He replied, ‘Whether he is a sinner or not, I don't know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!’”

One of the most famous lines in all of church history. And it even made it into the hymn “Amazing Grace.”

"Was blind but now I see."

Why? Because Jesus is the Light of the World!

This guy doesn’t even know what Jesus looks like! He doesn’t know if Jesus is a sinner.  He just knows one thing. And he tells them what he knows, “I was blind but now I see.” It’s the facts.

This is the best kind of evangelism. Just giving your personal testimony. It’s so powerful because it’s personal. And it’s just saying what Jesus has done for you. It’s hard to argue with.

Though, some will try. Verse 26

“Then they asked him, ‘What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?’ [This is getting a little ridiculous.] He answered, ‘I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples, too?’”

I love that! I think he’s getting the picture that they really hate that he can now see and that Jesus is responsible. There’s no way to wiggle out of the obvious conclusion, Jesus is the Christ. This guy is ready to join up and follow Jesus. And find life in Jesus’ name (20:31).

And it’s the last thing that they want to do. But all they can think of to do is throw personal abuse. Verse 28.

“Then they hurled insults at him and said, ‘You are this fellow's disciple! We are disciples of Moses! We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don't even know where he comes from.’ The man answered, ‘Now that is remarkable! You don't know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly man who does his will. Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. [Like me!] If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.’”

“So I think, I think, He must be from God. Because now I see.”

He is downright snarky, isn’t he? We don’t have to get snarky. But we do need to become bold. Who could you tell this week what Jesus has done for you? Who needs to hear it? 

There are people in your life that need to hear your story. Don’t keep it from them out of fear of what they will do with it. Just be faithful to share it. Maybe it’s somebody that you’ve invited to the Wild Game Dinner?

Jesus is the Light of the World, who brought the “light of life” into your life.

Tell somebody. Tell manybodies. Tell everybody. 

“I was blind but now I see.”

And don’t worry about how they will react. They might get saved! Or they might toss you out on your ear. Verse 34.

“To this they replied, ‘You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!’ And they threw him out.”

But Jesus never will (John 6:37).  In fact, when rejected by the world, Jesus will always find us. 

“Jesus said that if I am lost
He will come to me
And He showed me on the cross
He will come to me

For the Lord is good and faithful
He will keep us day and night
We can always run to Jesus
Jesus, strong and kind.” - CityAlight

Look at verse 35. “Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, ‘Do you believe in the Son of Man?’ ‘Who is he, sir?’ the man asked. ‘Tell me so that I may believe in him.’ 

Jesus said, ‘You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.’ Then the man said, ‘Lord, I believe,’ and he worshiped him.”

That’s point number two and last:


I love that Jesus found this man! He has gained everything and lost everything. He gained his sight and lost his synagogue.

Just by being bold. But He didn’t lose Jesus. Jesus came for him. And says, “Do you believe in the Son of Man.” That’s another way of saying, “The Messiah.” “The Christ.” “The King of the Kingdom of God.” 

Do you believe in Him? That’s a great question, that He is asking us, too. And the guy is trying to put this all together. “Who is he, sir? Tell me that I may believe in him.”  “I want to!” 

Jesus says, “You have now seen him.” Isn’t that something? He had never seen anything, and now He is looking at the Son of Man! He is looking at the Light of the World!

He’s heard this voice before. This is the guy with the mud. This is Jesus. “Lord, I believe” and he worshiped him. He worshiped this man.

By the way, you should not worship a man unless He is the God-Man. Unless He is “The I Am,” like we saw last week.

But it was good and right to worship Jesus, and that’s what we are doing this morning. 

And that’s what the Pharisees refused to do. They refused to believe, and they refused to worship Jesus, and it will mean their condemnation. Look at verse 39.

“Jesus said, ‘For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.’”

Wait. I thought He didn’t come for judgment. John 3:17, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Right! But what if they do not believe? What if they will not believe? Then they will perish. They will enter into the judgment. They will be condemned.

Jesus does divide people. He came into the world “so that the [physically and spiritually] blind will see and those who [physically see but refuse to spiritually] see will become blind.”

And, oh boy, the Pharisees didn’t like to hear that. V.40

“Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, ‘What? Are we blind too?’ [We’re the Pharisees, man!] Jesus said, ‘If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.’”

In other words, “Yes.” The Pharisees, devoted and religious as they came, were the ones, in this story, who were truly blind. Because they refused to admit it.

Here’s the principle: 

You have to truly see your blindness before you can truly see the Light.

You have to admit that you are a sinner to have a Savior. These Pharisees would not admit that they were lost. So they couldn’t be found. They would not admit that they were blind. So, they couldn’t say, “Now I See.” Friends, let’s not be like them.

Let’s repent of our stubborn spiritual blindness and believe and worship Jesus as the Light of the World.


Messages in this Series

01. "That You May Believe" - John 20:30-31
02. "In The Beginning Was the Word" - John 1:1-18
03. "John's Testimony" - John 1:19-34
04. "Come and See" - John 1:35-51
05. "The First of His Miraculous Signs" - John 2:1-11
06. "This Temple" - John 2:12-25
07. "You Must Be Born Again" - John 3:1-15
08. "God So Loved The World" - John 3:16-21
09. "Above All" - John 3:22-36
10. "Living Water" - John 4:1-26
11. "Ripe for the Harvest" - John 4:27-42
12. "Your Son Will Live" - John 4:43-54
13. "Pick Up Your Mat and Walk" - John 5:1-18
14. "To Your Amazement" - John 5:19-30
15. "Testimony About Me" - John 5:31-47
Christmas Eve Bonus: "The Astonishing Gift" - John 3:16 Again
Christmas Eve Bonus: "We Have Seen His Glory" - John 1:1-18 Again
16. "Enough Bread" - John 6:1-15
17. "You Are Looking for Me" - John 6:16-36
18. "I Am the Bread of Life" - John 6:35-71
Vision Meeting Bonus: "As I Have Loved You" - John 13:34-35
19. "At the Feast" - John 7:1-52
20. "I Am the Light of the World" - John 8:12-30
21. "Your Father" - John 8:31-59