Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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I was blind, but now I see 4/03/2011
Text: John 9:1-41
This is the third sermon in a row from John's Gospel, all of which involve encounters of people with Jesus, meetings which have differences and similarities. Nicodemus came to Jesus, the woman came to Jesus, and today Jesus comes to the blind man. He comes to the blind man to reveal Himself to him. Today's text from the ninth chapter of John's Gospel is about a man who was born blind, received his physical sight from Jesus, and then received his spiritual sight from Jesus. That is why Jesus came to this world, in order to give sight to the blind and therefore since He has come, I greet you with the grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

I do not know how it is with you, but when I think topic of blindness, I think of people who have had their sight and then lost it. We think of some of the blind people who have been blessed greatly in their blindness and through receiving it and acknowledging it as a gift from God, blessing has been brought to themselves and many others through their ministry.. The names of Louis Braille,(1809-1852) and Helen Keller (1880-1968) come to mind. Louis Braille became blind at 3 years old and Helen Keller became both blind and deaf before she reached the age of 2. They had to learn to see without their eyes and in Helen's case she had to learn to listen with out her hearing. Louis was instrumental in creating the Braille system and Helen utilized that which Louis had begun for her benefit and blessing not only for herself, but for many many others throughout the world.

Our text today actually begins in chapter 8, when Jesus said these words. John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

The rest of chapter eight involves a discussion between the Pharisees, the interpreters of that time of who God is according to their understandings of the Scriptures; the Jews, often times and in these chapters adversaries of Jesus, and Jesus, the Light of the world. The Pharisees and the Jews have their way of "seeing" and are not able to accept the revelation of God through Jesus Christ. They think that they see, but it is according to their own traditions and understandings, and not according that which Jesus is revealing to them through his actions and words. They think they see, but they are not seeing.

Chapter nine, which is our text, is an illustration of that which Jesus explained to them in chapter 8:12-59. I would like to go through our text in a different manner today,, for instead of going through the text as it is written, I would ask all of us to imagine that we are the blind man in the story. To help us do that, I would ask as we go through the first part of the story, that we close our eyes as we begin. We will listen to the testimony of the blind man, who received his sight.

"This Sabbath Day started out like any other Sabbath Day for me, as I left my parents home to go sit by the entry to the synagogue to receive the gifts that people dropped in my beggars cup. Because I cannot work, I have had to beg for my living. I have heard the Jews, the Pharisees and other people often discussing the different ideas as to why I was born blind. Most often, I hear them say that it was because of sin. Well, I guess they are right in one way, that all blindness is as a result of the fall of the human race into sin. But for me a heaviness weighs over me because of what people think of me or my parents, for the most part the opinion is held that it was my sin or the sin of my parents that has caused my blindness.

For many years I have struggled with this, wondering why I was born blind. But on a recent Sabbath Day I heard a large crowd of people come near me and as they did, I had the sense that one of them was looking me over.

As he stood over me, I heard one of his followers say, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? I heard the voice of the man who was standing over me say: Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be displayed in him.

Wow! He was talking about me, my heart leaped in my throat as for the first time in my life I heard someone speak to my condition in a positive manner, and not just talking about me as if I was just a useless thing sitting on the ground. Maybe my life was not just an pointless existence, for the voice was talking in an authoritive but yet gentle manner and it was speaking about me to me. It was saying that through my blindness God was going to show Himself. While I am trying to take this all in, I heard the voice say more.

4 "I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world."

As I was sitting there on the ground on the Sabbath Day with my beggars cup, wondering what these words meant for me, I heard someone spit on the ground and mix it together with some mud. The next thing I knew I was feeling mud being placed over my sightless eyes, eyes that had never seen light.. The gentle voice spoke to me again: "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam" . So I did as I was told, going away from Him. I went and washed, and then wow!!!I (Open their eyes) I began to see for the first time in my life!! It was so bright at first, I saw for the first time only things that I had imagined before. I saw people instead of only hearing voices, and what they looked like, I saw bright colors of the green leaves on the trees, I saw the blue sky, "I could see" I shouted, I can see, I can see, I can see."

I heard the neighbors and those who had seen me before as a beggar say, "Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?" Then I heard some say, "It is he." I heard others say,, "No, but he is like him." But I told them "I am the man."

Then they asked me: "Then how were your eyes opened?" I answered to them "A man called Jesus made mud and anointed my eyes and said to me, 'Go to the pool of Siloam and wash.' So I went and washed and received my sight."

They said to me, "Where is he?" I said, "I do not know."

Then I was brought to the Pharisees,(the interpreters of Scripture) who asked me again how I had received my sight. It had been on the Sabbath Day that I had received my sight when Jesus made the mud and opened my eyes. To their question I replied, "He put mud on my eyes, I washed, and I see.

They seemed to forget for the moment about the miracle that I was able to see, they were not sharing in my joy, and they started to have differences over as to who this this man who I knew as Jesus was. Some of the Pharisees said, This man is not of God, because he does not keep the Sabbath day. I heard others say, "How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles?

Then they turned to me again saying, "What do you say about him, since he opened your eyes?" I told them, "He is a prophet."

The Jews did not believe me when I told them that I had been blind and had received my sight, so they called for my parents and they asked them some questions, three actually.

1." Is this your son? "

2. Do you say he was born blind?"

3. "How then does he see?"

I listened as my parents gave answer to first two questions:

1." We know that this is our son"

2."He was born blind."

3. To the third question, I heard them say, "But how he now sees, we do not know, nor do we know who opened his eyes. You should ask him, for he is of age and he will speak for himself."

As I listened to my parents answer the third question, it seemed like they were kind of guarded in their answer, maybe it was because the Jews had made it known that anyone who confessed Jesus to be Christ would be put out of the synogogue. Were they afraid?

Again the Jews turned to me and told me, "Give God the glory" "Tell the truth" "We know that this man is a sinner."

I answered them back: "Whether he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see."

They asked me again: "What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?"

I said "I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?"

When I said this, they got mad at me, they cursed me, hurled insults at me and spoke evil of me, saying, "You are his follower, his disciple, but we are Moses' followers/disciples." We know that God spoke to Moses: as for this fellow, we don't know where he comes from."

I responded to this statement: "Why, this is an amazing thing, you leaders do not know where he comes from, and yet he has opened my eyes." Now we know that God does not hear sinners, but if anyone is a worshipper of God and does his will, God listens to him. Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not of God, he could do nothing."

They answered: "You were altogether born in sins and you are teaching us?" The next thing I knew was that I was being cast out of the synagogue.

It was there that the man I who was called Jesus came to find me, for he had heard that I was cast out of the synogogue. It was the first time that I had seen him with my physical eyes, He did not look any different than other Jewish Rabbis, He asked me a question:

"Do you believe in the Son of man?" It was that same gentle voice that I had heard when I was yet blind.

I answered: " Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?"

He said unto me: "You have seen him and it is he who is speaking to you."

I said, "I believe, and I fell at his feet in worship."

Then I heard Jesus say, "For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see and those who see may become blind."

As I was listening to this some of the Pharisees who were near Jesus said to him. "Are we also blind?"
And it seemed like they were saying it in this way, "We are not blind, are we?"

To which Jesus replied, "If ye were blind, you would have no sin, but now ye say, We see, therefore your sin remains."

I was blind, but now I see. (End of blind man's testimony)

He not only received his physical sight, but he received spiritual sight. He now could see Jesus as the revelation of God and His will. He now was united to Jesus by faith, because He took God at His Word.

In application, let us consider a few references as we think on how this sermon relates to our lives.

Jesus spoke of his mission in Luke's Gospel
KJV Luke 4:18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,

We recall that Jesus spoke of "seeing" in the 3rd chapter of John to Nicodemus.
KJV John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Later in this Gospel we encounter some Greeks who had a desire to see Jesus.
KJV John 12:21 The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus.
KJV John 12:23 And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.
KJV John 12:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.
KJV John 12:25 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.

This same mission is given to us who have become blind in order that we might see, as the Apostle outlined his mission in the book of Acts when he gave testimony.
KJV Acts 26:18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

Finallly, this reference shows us that when we are spiritually blind, we are not seeing that which God has done for us through Jesus Christ. Here we see the link of spiritual blindness and unbelief.
KJV 2 Corinthians 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
KJV 2 Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

We must become blind to our way of looking at things so that we may see God's grace and truth as revealed through His Son in the Word by the enlightening and illuminating power of the Holy Spirit.

I was blind, but now I see. Consider the young boy with fetal alcohol syndrome who "sees", and even though he struggles with life in many areas, he truly sees as God sees. His father told me that when they went to the zoo, in order to keep from losing his children in the crowds, he put bright orange vests on them. As they were going through the zoo, his young son spotted a group of colored people with the same bright orange vests on. His boy told his father, "That is real cool, dad, now how are you going to tell us apart from the others?" He could see, he could see as God sees.

As I thought on this sermon, one of the blind persons with whom I have had the privilege to know in my life came to mind. She is Connie Bramble, the former Connie Johnson, daughter a Kingston native, Pastor Rodney Johnson. Connie lost her sight, I believe when she was around 20 years old. I spoke with her a few days ago and she gave me the okay to share that which relates to our sermon today.

"I never think about myself in terms of blindness, I am incredibly blessed, I am not handicapped, but handicapable. Being blind has blessed me in so many ways. I look on the heart when I relate to people for I have no ability to judge according to outward appearance.. I met a man at the Braille school, got to know him and after a month can you imagine my surprise when I found out that he was colored? Through the losing of my sight, I have been granted the ability to better see as God sees.. Life is good, God is great and He enables."

Connie through her physical blindness received much greater sight than any doctor can give. She received a greater vision from the Great Physician and therefore God continues to be glorified through her life and others are blessed as a resulf of her being blessed.

KJV John 9:25 He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.

Thank you, Lord, that you gave us true sight through your death and resurrection. Thank you for revealing Yourself to us so that we would come to the place where we could not see anyway out of our mess but through You. Thank you for bringing light into our hearts so that conviction of sin occurred and thank you for giving us the grace to come into the light. May your light of grace continue to shine into our world so that many will be made blind so that they may truly see.

Thank you for those who work a labor of love with the Gideons, so that your Word, which is a light unto our pathway, may reach those who are yet in darkness, but believe that they see.

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of the Father and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be upon us all. Amen.

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 03 Apr 2011 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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The Temptation of Jesus
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The Lawry Kilpela family as they grieve but yet rejoice in Lawry's being called home.