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Are You Blind?

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Christ enables the blind to see, as they trust in His Word. Those who reject His Word remain in darkness.

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Illustration interruptus

Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations 4372 He Was Thankful for Blindness

A well-known English minister preached one Sunday for Dr. Phillips Brooks in Boston. After the service he started to walk to his hotel. He needed direction so he asked a man behind him the way. “Why you’re the minister I just heard. I know your voice. I am blind, but I can show you the way. I can take you to the door.”

We will finish this story later, but for now, allow it to take us to a portion of our OT reading.
Isaiah 42:19–21 ESV
Who is blind but my servant, or deaf as my messenger whom I send? Who is blind as my dedicated one, or blind as the servant of the Lord? He sees many things, but does not observe them; his ears are open, but he does not hear. The Lord was pleased, for his righteousness’ sake, to magnify his law and make it glorious.
In a recent Pastors’ Lectionary Study, I put forward an idea that stunned the other pastors. I made the argument that this passage was talking ultimately about Jesus, not Israel. It is Jesus who knew that He, who knew no sin, would become sin for us. He, who had done nothing deserving of death, would nevertheless taste death for every man. It is in the light of Christ that we can look at God’s Instruction, the Torah, and see in it, not condemnation, but revelation - as it shows to us our need for Christ, and that He in fact meets our need.
Isaiah 42:16 ESV
And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them.
The way in which the Lord is taking us, Saints, is a way that doesn’t look to the traditional wheels of power in this city. You can quit name-dropping, you can stop influence peddling, you can set aside wheeling and dealing. God is doing a NEW THING!
>>Slap your neighbors with a high 5 and tell them “God’s gonna do it!”<<
God is raising up a generation of servants-leaders; a generation of people who understand their calling; a people who know that God is not only looking to bless, He’s looking to transform!
We’ve had people out here doing “Me, Myself and I,” over and over again. Beyonce slows it down, G-Easy speeds it up, and De La Soul drops a loop, and and the politicos keep it in their pocket, leaving us still waiting for change.
>>> Say “Pastor” “Forget the change!” “It’s time to transform!”<<<
people seem to think that God can’t do the impossible, because they think God’s got man limitations. Let’s look at our Gospel text...
John 9:1 ESV
As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth.
If you read and 8, you will see that Jesus gets into some serious conflict with the religious leaders. Remember, they weren’t just religious leaders though - they had social capital as well. They were the movers and shakers. People wanted to know what they thought. If they backed you, it was smooth sailing, and if they blocked you, you went nowhere. Sound like anyplace you heard of lately?
Anyway, they were just about trying to kill Him, but Jesus walks away from that one
>>>Tell your neighbor, “sometimes it’s best to bounce.”
When the Bible tells me to “pursue peace with all, and holiness without which no one shall see the Lord,” then it’s time to leave drama behind, leave strife behind, leave fake behind… I don’t have time to skin and grin when folk is looking for one last grain of hope. Don’t get me wrong, I love everybody, for Christ’s sake. But we serve a God who sees what’s going on. Let’s look at the text some more...
John 9:2 ESV
And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
Folks have been looking at our town, and some are whispering it behind our backs and others are saying it out loud: Gary must be under a curse! Have you heard that? I have. We’ve been hated on, I know that, and we’ve been misused and abused, I know that too. But when I look at all that God has given to this area, from the natural beauty, to the many talented people who came from here and even now are going forth from here, and when I see how God has preserved His precious Gospel in Gary, I KNOW that God’s got love for GI!
John 9:3–4 ESV
Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work.
The things that have befallen us aren’t because we are a worse group of citizens than anyone else. The devil IS a lie! Our kids aren’t worse than anyone else’s. They want a chance to dream like anyone else, a chance to succeed like anyone else, a chance to raise a family in peace like anyone else.
Everything that we want for our city, for our families, for ourselves, we can find it right here in God’s Kingdom. In the reign of God, there is peace, there is joy, there is fulfillment, there is justice, there is hope, Like the song says, “Whatever you want, God’s got it!” (Awww I need some bass and a B-3 up in here!)
The Lord is at work right now, proclaiming deliverance to the captive, telling the hustler that the same skills that you put to the hustle, you can put to real business. The devil always tries to make a short cut look like a sure thing. Don’t buy it, brother, don’t buy it sister.
John 9:5–7 ESV
As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.
That blind man didn’t have to flag Jesus down. He didn’t have to beg Jesus for mercy. Jesus saw him, he didn’t see Jesus until he came back from the Pool of Siloam - the Sent One. The man didn’t know who he was dealing with, but he went where He told him to go. Gary, you don’t know who you dealing with!
When Jesus tells you to go to the Pool of the Sent One, you aren’t going to just any old pool, Amen? You’re going to a pool with POWER. Jesus didn’t just give him what he’d had before, He gave him something he had never seen!
When we went to the pool, we didn’t know what was going to happen. You didn’t know, when the pastor spoke those words over you, that you were about to enter a whole new world. You didn’t know, when he said “In the Name the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” that you would come back seeing things that you never saw before. You can see things that were beyond your scope before, because God just brought you out of darkness into His marvelous light.
John 9:39 ESV
Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.”
Some folk don’t get it. I wish we had more time to just enjoy all hat John gives us in this text, but the clock is calling. I would love to take you through the dialogue between the Pharisees and the blind man, or the parents, or the people, but we have got to keep it moving. You know what happened, and it happens today. We’re not looking for your success rate, Jesus lost one out of 12; you don’t think you going to do better than Jesus do you?
I almost forgot about it, but here’s the rest of that story: “The minister protested, but the blind man insisted, saying, “You will not refuse me the pleasure of helping you? I so seldom have the opportunity to render service. Everyone is so kind to me.” The two men walked arm-in-arm for ten minutes. “Here’s your hotel,” said the blind man.
Before parting, the blind man said, “I live alone. I can go about the streets without a guide. I am thankful for my blindness, because I have so much time for quiet meditation. There will be time enough in heaven for me to see everything!”
Jesus is calling people today through the Gospel. So many hear, but so few follow. so many could be saved today - the blood is able, but so few will listen. That isn’t your fault, all you can do is cast the seed. what happens next is out of your hands. All we can do at St. John’s is pray, bear witness, do mercy, and show life together. All we can do as Lutherans on this mission is pray, bear witness, do mercy, and live out life together. That’s enough though, because God’s got the rest under control, just like He’s got us.
Tan, P. L. (1996). Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times (p. 1006). Garland, TX: Bible Communications, Inc.
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