Faithlife Sermons

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* Isaiah 9:2 /"The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned."/
* Isaiah 29:18 /"In that day the deaf will hear the words of the scroll, and out of gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see.and
* Isaiah 60:1-3 /“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. 2 See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you. 3 Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.'?
* John 1:1-5 /"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning.
3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.'/
Jesus is the Light of the World.
/“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.”/
(John 8:12, NIV84).
Jesus makes this proclamation during the Feast of Tabernacles.
During the Feast of Tabernacles there was a daily ritual.
The High Priest of Israel, in a great processional made up of priests and tens of thousands of worshipers, descended from the Temple Mount to the Pool of Siloam where he dipped a golden pitcher and filled it with water.
As he did so, he would repeat Isaiah 12:3: /"With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation."/
(Isaiah 12:3, NIV84).
The priest and the throng would then return to the Temple.
On his way back into the Temple, the High Priest was met by another priest bearing wine for a drink offering, crushed from the grapes gathered in just before the Feast.
Amid the sounding of trumpets and the shouts of the rejoicing multitudes the two priests simultaneously poured their libations into a silver vessel at the base of the altar which then flowed down the Temple steps into the outer courts.
This ceremony reminded the people of Israel that God had given them life-giving water in the desert when they needed it most.
The daily water-pouring ceremony had its nightly counterpart in a lamp-lighting ceremony.
In the Court of the Women stood four huge Menorah—a seven-branched candelabra.
Each night they were lit, pushing light up into the night sky like a searchlight.
So brilliant was their light that one ancient Jewish source declared, “There was not a courtyard in Jerusalem that did not reflect [their] light” They served as a reminder of the pillar of fire by which God had guided Israel in the wilderness.
The people—even the most dignified leaders—danced exuberantly around the candelabra through the night, holding blazing torches in their hands and singing songs of praise.
It was against the backdrop of that ceremony that Jesus stands and makes the stunning announcement that He is the true Light of the world just as they are about to light the first Menorah
One of the things that Messiah would do—one of the things that the Old Testament prophets predicted that the coming Messiah would fulfill—would be to give sight to the blind.
Jesus did that, didn’t He?
Did Jesus really give sight to the blind?
I have no doubt that He did.
I believe the gospels and I believe the miracles.
But we need to understand that Jesus almost always did His miracles to reinforce something He had just recently taught.
When Jesus heals this man who was born blind, He is reminding His disciples and us, that we all need the /light of life/ in our lives.
We are all born blind—spiritually blind—that is.
Our depravity, blinds us to the things of God.
/*We cannot see or understand spiritual truth without the illumination of Christ in our lives.*/
The world is a spiritually dark.
But Christ has come into the world.
He is the light shining in the darkness.
This healing was a sign of that.
When He shines, the darkness must flee.
If you turn on a light in a dark room, the dark disappears.
Darkness cannot overcome light.
In fact, light overcomes darkness.
And so Christ overcomes all darkness.
#. it is likely that Jesus and His disciples pass this man on their way from the Temple area
#. as they were walking along, they came by a man who had been blind from his birth
#. he had never seen his mother's face
#. he had never seen the blue sky, the green grass, the trees blowing in the breeze
#. ever since the day of his birth everything was in darkness
#. he had never seen the light of day
#. he was a beggar
#. there were no opportunities for a blind man to work in that culture
#. he sat there, all day long, holding out his hands, hoping that the people walking by would be kind enough to give him a few coins so that he could buy some food
Jesus—just a little while before—had declared to the people gathered at the Temple for the final celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles, /"I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."/
(John 8:12)
#. now, suddenly pressed by the question of his disciples, Jesus is afforded the opportunity to bring light to the eyes of a blind man and illustrate spiritual truth with a miracle
#. the disciples accepted the established theology of the day
#. the Jewish rabbis had written quite a bit about sin suffering
#. the rabbis were convinced that sin and suffering were intimately connected
#. one of them had put it this way in the Talmud (a collection of authoritative rabbinical teachings): /"There is no suffering without sin."/
#. this was official dogma of the day
#. it was considered an established fact—if a person suffers it is because of a specific sin
#. the disciples didn’t question this dogma
#. it was merely a question or ‘who’s sin’ had caused the blindness, so they ask Jesus the question: /"Whose sin had caused the blindness?”/
#. was it the parent’s fault that their son had been born blind?
Some of the rabbis taught that if mom or dad sinned while mom was pregnant, they would implicate the child in that sin, and that God often would punish that sin by making the baby suffer in some way.
One rabbi of the day wrote that if a pregnant woman would worship in a heathen temple, her unborn child would be considered to have participated in that pagan worship.
The woman would have involved (implicated) her child in that sin.
The child would be guilty of that sin.
And God would punish him for it.
#. but then again, if it’s not the parents fault, maybe it’s the blind man’s fault he was born blind!
#. perhaps he had somehow sinned in his mothers womb!
#. believe it or not, this was a commonly accepted belief in 1st century Israel
Some rabbis put this forward as a possibility.
They pointed to the activity of the twin boys, Jacob and Esau, while they were in their mother's womb.
Gen. 25:22 tells us that Jacob and Esau struggled while they were in Rebekah's womb.
So hard were they fighting that Rebekah wondered how she could continue living.
The rabbis really went to town with this.
They invented stories about how Esau was chasing Jacob around in his mother's womb trying to kill him.
And that God punished Esau later in life for the sin of trying to kill Jacob.
Esau's misfortunes—that the Lord gave the birthright of the eldest son to Jacob—went back to his trying to kill Jacob before they were born.
#. now, it is true that a specific illness or experience of suffering can be the direct consequence of a specific sin
Ya smoke a couple of packs of cigarettes a day for thirty years, ya really can’t pin the rap on God when you come down with lung cancer.
#. and sometimes God does punish specific sins in this life with particular forms of suffering
#. the Bible also teaches us that there is a general connection between sin and suffering
#. if man had not brought sin into the world, there would be no suffering
#. but sometimes, there is absolutely no apparent reason for the hardship and suffering that a person may experience
Just ask Job!
#. but the disciples, convinced by the reasoning of the rabbis, were sure that no one would suffer such a terrible thing such as blindness unless God were punishing him for some sin
#. our Lord cuts right through that rabbinical reasoning
His words cut like a knife through the speculations and theorizing of the Jewish teachers and even His own disciples
His answer was: /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.
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