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

The Man Born Blind

I’ve finished the sermon for tomorrow, and by the time you read this I’ll have already preached it. But I wanted to share some questions observations I had during the preparation of this sermon that turned out to be very fruitful.

  • John 9 makes a point of saying this man had been born blind. That tells me he’d never seen. When Jesus opens the mans eyes, he’s not going to recover sight; he’s not going to see again. He’s going to be given something he’s never had before: sight. He’s heard about this world but never seen it. I take this to be a parable of regeneration, of being brought from death/blindness to life/sight.
  • When the man received his sight, he doesn’t go sing Amazing Grace because he gets into a lot of trouble and conflict. Why? Partly because he doesn’t fit the world’s definitions of him anymore. He’d been a charity case, a theological problem. Now that he sees, no one knows quite what to make of him. Co-dependent no more?
  • Why does Jesus use mud on the man’s eyes? And why does he send the man to Siloam to wash? In every other healing of blindness (I think), people just received their sight right away. Why this ordeal of conflict for the man? I’m taking this to mean that getting one’s spiritual sight may well require a process that includes conflict, opposition, and clinging to the truth we know regardless of the pressures this world puts on us to conform to itself.

If all this is true, the man’s healing involves a conflicted process of learning to see – what has he learned to see?

  • the world for what it is – unbelieving, unreceiving, divided and dark
  • himself for who he is – blind but given sight by grace – he didn’t jump thru any hoops for this
  • Jesus for who he is – the light of the world, the giver of sight, our only treasure and refuge.

I loved the process of developing this sermon. I just hope the hearers enjoy it half as much as I enjoy writing it!

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