From The Pastor At St. Paul's UCC, Freeburg, IL

March 2, 2008 – John 9:1-41

John 9:1-41: Jesus heals a man born blind. One of the things that struck me as central in this story is the fact that this man was born blind. His blind birth is referred to 6 times in these 41 verses (1, 2, 3, 19, 20, 32). Verse 32 specifically highlights this fact. So why is that important? What’s the big deal about his being born blind? I think it’s a sign of rebirth. As the man was born blind, it was his nature to be blind (like we say “God made me this way”). It’s not that he lost his sight and Jesus restored it. Blindness was part of who the man was. So when Jesus gave him sight, he was changing the man’s nature; he was changing who the man was. This, I think, was the engine of the debate that followed. A magician or healer could restore sight. Only God can give it. When Jesus gave him sight, the man was re-born.

Hence the idea in my sermon that there are two kinds of blindness: physical and spiritual. We can overcome the first; only God can overcome the second.

Isn’t this a picture of our condition? Being born spiritually blind, then given sight to see the Light by the power of the Light? Just as we are naturally born spiritually dead, and given life by the power of the Life.

So why do you think the religious authorities of the day were so adamant that either:

  • this couldn’t really happen (the man wasn’t really born blind)
  • the one who did it was of the Devil?

One response

  1. The Pharisees wanted to keep their power over the people and were fearful to admit that Jesus was the Messiah for selfish-control reasons. If they admitted he was the Christ, the people would no longer come to them for needed “cleansing” of Law breaking through blood sacrifices which earned the Pharisees money and esteem,…They would also lose their authority and necessity as teachers of the Law.

    It is also possible that since they were hard hearted and blind themselves, they really didn’t believe the man was born blind even though the parents even said he was. If the Pharisees would have admitted that the man was blind since birht they would have been forced to admit that only God can heal since birth blind people, so Jesus would have to be the Son of God sent to us with the authority of God.

    It was easier and safer for them to say Jesus was working through evil powers, not God given powers, like the magicians and healers who could restore sight that was once had but lost.. (Paul wrote in Acts that magicians worked through evil and even left a town because of them, rather than talk to them.)

    Yes, Jesus restored the sight of a man blind since birth, and he does the same for us. Through the power of the Holy Spirit we are given the gift of being born again and through the work of the Spirit we are enabled to understand the Word of God thtourgh hearing and seeing it. We can do this even though we were born deaf and blind to the Word since birth.

    March 6, 2008 at 8:31 pm

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