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John 9. 1 thru 11 The Eyes of Christ

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The Eyes of Christ

 Jn. 9:1-11 As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" "Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world." Having said this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man's eyes. "Go," he told him, "wash in the Pool of Siloam" (this word means Sent). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing. His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, "Isn't this the same man who used to sit and beg?" Some claimed that he was. Others said, "No, he only looks like him." But he himself insisted, "I am the man." "How then were your eyes opened?" they demanded. He replied, "The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see."

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

The eyes of Christ…He had eyes that were just like ours. They had an optical nerve that sent messages to His brain just like our eyes function. But there is seeing and there is seeing. I would submit to you that Jesus had very special eyes that “saw” much more than we can see. We use our eyes every day to see the world around us. Our eyes enable us to see, and that sight is a gift from God. I think most people would agree that this “sense” is one of the most important of our five senses if not the most important. Without the use of our eyes we would miss out on so much. We use our eyes to see the delicate beauty of a flower bathed in morning dew. Our eyes behold the smiles of our loved ones. We can see the stillness of mist rising up out of a brook in the forest or the fury of a storm sending bolts of lightning through the sky. We use our eyes when we look at the beauty of a sunrise or the sun setting on the ocean. We can actually see the results of the rotation of the earth through our eyes! But do we really see the all of the implications of that rotation and how it affects all of the people of this earth. This is the complete picture that Jesus saw with His eyes.

When Jesus saw things he saw much more than we see. It is clear that He had an ability to see through people right to the core of their being. He understood what was going on in their lives and He had compassion on them because of that. When Jesus was “passing by” in our gospel text…the “man born blind” caught His eye. His eye not only saw the physical condition of the blind man but in Him He saw the global implications of this man’s blindness. Jesus explained to the disciples that it was not the blind man’s sin or his parent’s sin that made him blind. Jesus told them that he was blind so “that the works of God might be displayed in him.” His eyes saw beyond the physical situation of this man, he even sees beyond the spiritual situation of this blind man, he sees the spiritual implications this blind man has on the entire world!

We too are called to look beyond our own physical situations in life with our eyes. We are often caught up in the woes of life and even let our eyes stray towards sin. We need to look at the world through Jesus’ eyes. This is, of course, impossible. We cannot look physically through Jesus’ eyes. But this is really what we are called to do. We can’t do it without the help of Jesus, and as followers of Jesus this is what we are to strive to do. We should use our eyes in a way that keeps them trained on what Jesus did for us throughout our lives. My wife was trying to convey this same message to her Sunday school class one day and she constructed a pair of glasses to illustrate this point. Well, I asked her to make up a pair of these special glasses for my sermon (pull glasses out) and here they are. These glasses help us visualize how we should look at the world as Jesus looked at the world. Jesus saw everything He did here on earth through the knowledge of the cross that He had come to take on. His ministry was all about establishing who He was and what He came to do for us…then doing it. So, this cross (point to the cross in the glasses) shows us that He looked at everything through the cross and it’s far reaching implications for the entire world. We also need to remember that Jesus looked at the world through His cleansing blood. Therefore, the glasses are shaded red illustrating that He saw things through His blood. His eyes could see how all were to be cleansed by the blood that He was going to shed on the cross. This is how we need to look at our world.

The cross reminds us that Jesus died for all. We cannot put the “sin label” on some and choose not to listen to their cries for help because they are far too sinful. I know there are people that don’t seem to deserve help; their lives are so obviously riddled with sin that they are destined for destruction. They are deceitful and dishonest and their sin has blinded them to any chance of seeing the truth. But we can’t look at people that way! This is what the Pharisees tried to do in our gospel message. In the end after going back and forth with the man and his parents they tried to say that it was because of the blind man’s sin that he was blind and they “cast him out.” His blindness may ultimately be a tragic result of a sinful and fallen world. But Jesus had just countered this understanding the Pharisees put forward. He told the disciples that the blind man’s situation was not a direct result of the sins that he has committed. Actually, His eyes saw the opportunity that this blind man availed. This was an opportunity to display the works of God for all to see. We have that same challenge. To look for how God can work in any situation. He goes further by tagging an element of urgency to this by saying, “We must work the works of Him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work.”… Then He goes on to say that He is “the light of the world.” This is the light that we must point to while we are here on this earth and there is still time. This is the light that must shine through our eyes and illuminate the world around us. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus tells us that, “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light.” Our eyes must shine with the light of Jesus. We must see things through the love that He showed us on the cross!

The eyes of Christ did see people taking advantage of other people. His eyes discerned the dishonesty, deception and deceitfulness of people. He even saw the hate and rejection of brothers and sisters for one another. He certainly recognized the cruelty that pent up hate can unleash on an individual. His eyes beheld the squalor and filthiness of the poor whom He loved. The eyes of Christ observed the selfishness and pride of the rich, and He loved them too…The eyes of Christ were able to see much more than our eyes are able to grasp. He was able to see beyond this temporary world…to the Kingdom of God. We too must look toward His kingdom. We must see the kingdom of God that is more permanent than the circumstances surrounding us now. That is only possible by us looking at the world through the eyes of Jesus. This Lenten season we are called to reflect on this incredible gift that our Lord and Savior has given us. We are called to focus on the cross and all of its implications for us and the world around us. That same cross is what enables us to do just that. Because of what He did for us we can do what He calls us to do. We have the power of the cross and the love of the cross that gives us the power to see things through His eyes and love as He loved.

Even as Christ was crucified and was able to see the soldiers dividing His garments…and His mother’s grief…He saw each person there as valuable. He saw them as children of God all the way to the end, for He said, “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” When we are faced with a serious situation and struggling with a difficult decision perhaps we can look through our Jesus glasses and remember how the eyes of Christ saw even His tormentors. We do need to see more clearly, not with our self-oriented eyes, but with the new eyes of Christ. We need to look to the cross and see Jesus dying for us. When we see Him on the cross…we see the Father. When we see the eyes of Christ closing in agony during this Lenten season…we see the love of God. When we see Him bleeding and dying…we see the power of righteousness over sin. When we see the eyes of Christ closed in the darkness of death and the tomb…we see the power of love over hate. When we see the eyes of Christ opened in the resurrection…we see the power of life over death. For Jesus has promised that the eyes of Christ will look upon us again. He said, “You have sorrow now, but I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.”

Now, may the peace that surpasses all understanding guard your hearts and minds unto life everlasting, Amen.

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