Jesus Brings Blessings Out of Burdens
Jesus Brings Blessings Out of Burdens
The Gospel of John
John 9:1-7; 32-38
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - February 8, 2017
(Revised September 24, 2019)
*Here in John 9, the Feast of the Tabernacles had just ended in Jerusalem. A large crowd was still in the city, and Jesus had been preaching in a very public part of the Temple (John 8:20). He confirmed His identity as the promised Messiah who had existed for all eternity. He warned the unbelievers that they were in danger of dying in their sins (John 8:21-24).
*Jesus spoke about His death on the cross, which was about 6 months away (John 8:28). He also spoke about the everlasting freedom He will give to everyone who believes in Him (John 8:31-36). And in John 8:59, when the unbelieving Jews took up stones to kill Jesus, He miraculously "hid Himself and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by."
*After the Lord got away from those would be murderers, He made Himself visible again, and John 9:1 tells us that "as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth." Jesus was about to work another amazing miracle, the miracle that inspired John Newton to write, "Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see."
*This miracle is only recorded here in John's Gospel, and it helps us see how the Lord wants us to live. Let's begin by reading John 9:1-7.
*I can't imagine what it would be like to be blind, even for a day. But one of the most comforting Bible verses for Christians is Romans 8:28. There Paul said: "We know that ALL THINGS work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose."
*Our God can bring good things out of the bad things that happen to us. He brings blessings out of burdens. This wonderful truth made it possible for blind and deaf Helen Keller to say an astounding thing: "I thank God for my handicaps, for through them I have found myself, my work, and my God." (1)
*Helen Keller found out that Jesus can bring blessings out of our burdens. So did the blind man here in John 9. And the blessings God gives us can go far beyond our own lives. They can touch our family, our friends, neighbors and people we will never meet in this world. In fact, the blessings this blind man received can also bless us, because they show us how God wants us to live.
1. FIRST: JESUS WANTS US TO BE CAREFUL ABOUT CRITICIZING OTHER PEOPLE.
*We should be very careful about criticizing other people. This is one of the Lord's lessons for us from vs. 1-3:
1. And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.
2. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
3. Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.
*When the disciples saw this man who had been born blind, they just naturally started looking around for someone to blame. It's the natural thing for us to do too. But God's Word warns us against that kind of critical spirit, and one reason why is because our vision is limited.
*Of course, the Lord's vision was crystal clear in this Scripture. For that matter, the Lord's vision is always clear! Many Scriptures confirm this truth to us. In Genesis 16:13, Hagar "called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, 'You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees . . .'"
*Then when the Lord wanted a new king for Israel, He chose David to be the king. But at first, the prophet Samuel only knew was it was going to be one of the sons of Jesse. 1 Samuel 16:5-7 tells us that Samuel:
5. . . sanctified Jesse and his sons, and invited them to the sacrifice.
6. So it was, when they came, that he looked at Eliab and said, "Surely the Lord's anointed is before Him.''
7. But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.''
*God sees it all! Psalm 33:13-15 says:
13. The Lord looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men.
14. From the place of His habitation He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth;
15. He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works.
*In Psalm 139, David cried out to the LORD and said:
1. O LORD, You have searched me and known me.
2. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off.
3. You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways.
4. For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.
*There David also said:
11. If I say, "Surely the darkness shall fall on me,'' Even the night shall be light about me;
12. Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, But the night shines as the day; The darkness and the light are both alike to You.
13. For You have formed my inward parts; You have covered me in my mother's womb.
14. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.
15. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.
*The Lord's vision is always crystal clear. But at best, our vision is always partly cloudy. There is so much in this world that we can't understand, and we never really see the whole picture.
*So, we must not jump to conclusions like the disciples did here in vs. 2: "Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?" They thought, "Well, it must have been the parents' fault, or maybe it was the baby's fault." But how can a baby sin before it's even born? We don't want to jump to conclusions.
*Paul Decker told about a lady who jumped to conclusions. She went to the repair shop with a friend to complain about the terrible odor coming from her car. One of the mechanics had worked on it two weeks before, so he came over to check it out. And when he opened that door, the smell nearly knocked him down!
*He took a deep breath, and started looking around inside. It didn't take long to find the problem. Under the seat was a nasty, rotting pan of festering lasagna, so he pulled it out. Then the woman's friend blurted out, "See? I told you the mechanic didn't steal your lasagna." (2)
*It's easy for us to jump to conclusions, but Jesus wants us to be careful about criticizing other people.
2. HE ALSO WANTS US TO SUBMIT TO THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD.
*This is another lesson for us from vs. 3: "Jesus answered, 'Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.'"
 ONE OF THE CRUCIAL THINGS TO NOTICE IN THIS VERSE IS THAT GOD IS GOD.
*One of the hardest things for us to accept is that God does allow bad things happen in this world. But He is sovereign, and our Heavenly Father knows best. God is God. He is always in charge, and rebellion against Him never succeeds. The only way to find real hope and help is to submit to His authority.
*Brett Blair was thinking about this truth when he said: "People often want a God different from the one we find in Jesus. They like to pick and choose:
Compassionate? -- Yes. But demanding? -- No.
Resurrected? -- Yes. But crucified? -- No.
Salvation? -- Yes. But repentance? -- No.
His love? -- I'll take it. But commitment? -- No thanks."
*And Brett Blair said: "Unfortunately, you can't have one without the other. The rose comes with the thorns, the pains come with the birth, night comes with the day, and the best of times can't be lived without going through the times that are bad." (3)
 WE SHOULD SUBMIT OURSELVES TO GOD BECAUSE HE IS GOD, AND BECAUSE HE'S GOOD.
*Someone bound-up by bitterness and blinded by unbelief, could look at this story and say, "How could you believe in a God so cruel as to let this baby be born blind?" But Christians, we would say, "Nobody loves us more than the Lord. And nobody has suffered more that the Lord. He loves us so much that He even died on the cross for our sins. He took our infinite punishment, so we could have His eternal pardon.
*God always does the right thing! And even when He allows bad things to happen, it is so that greater good may come. And greater good did come to this blind man. Yes, he was healed by the Lord Jesus Christ, but that's not all!
*This man was also saved by the Lord Jesus Christ! It happened after the healed man was hauled before the Pharisees to give an account of the miracle. They were outraged that someone had healed this man on the Sabbath Day. But the healed man gave a wonderful defense for the Lord.
*Please listen to the end of his defense and what happened next in John 9:32-38:
32. "Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind.
33. If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing.''
34. They answered and said to him, "You were completely born in sins, and are you teaching us?'' And they cast him out.
35. Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said to him, "Do you believe in the Son of God?''
36. He answered and said, "Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?''
37. And Jesus said to him, "You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you.''
38. Then he said, "Lord, I believe!'' And he worshiped Him.
*That man was saved by the Lord Jesus Christ! When he died and went to Heaven, do you think he was mad at God for letting him be born blind? -- Of course not! I'm sure he praised the Lord with all his heart!
*That blind man in John 9 knew that God is good, and we do too! The Lord wants us to trust Him enough to submit to His sovereignty.
3. HE ALSO WANTS US TO BE WISE IN THE WAY WE SPEND OUR TIME.
*This is one of the Lord's lessons for us from vs. 4. There Jesus said, "I must work the works of Him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work."
 HERE THE LORD REMINDS US OF HIS HUMANITY.
*He has already stressed His divinity in several places. For example, after Jesus miraculously healed another man, John 5:15-18 says:
15. The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.
16. For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath.
17. But Jesus answered them, "My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.''
18. Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.
*In John 8:23-24, Jesus said:
23. . . "You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.
24. Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.''
*Again, Jesus said, "You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world." Who could honestly say that? -- No one but God!
*But here in vs. 4 Jesus was saying, "Like you, I am also a man. I am going to die. I must work while I can."
 JESUS POINTS US TO HIS HUMANITY. BUT HE ALSO POINTS OUT OUR OPPORTUNITY.
*God has given all of us a window of opportunity to serve Him, to bear fruit for Him, to work His works, to do all we can, while we can, because the night is coming when no man can work.
*Sadly, we can miss our opportunities to serve the Lord, and we often do. It can happen through our sinfulness, selfishness, laziness, fearfulness, or just by our lack of concern.
*But God has given us the privilege to touch our world for Jesus Christ, and we must not miss our opportunities. That's why God says things like we hear in Ephesians 5:14-17:
14. . . "Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.''
15. See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise,
16. redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
17. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
*Then in Galatians 6:7-10, Paul says this to Christians:
7. Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.
8. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.
9. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
10. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.
*Jesus wants us to be wise in the way we spend our time!
4. HE ALSO WANTS US TO SHINE FOR OUR SAVIOR.
*The Lord points us to this truth in vs. 5. There Jesus said: "As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world." Now the Lord is back in Heaven, so where is the light of the world today?
 CHURCH: WE KNOW IT'S SHINING IN THE SCRIPTURE!
*We know this because in Psalm 119:105 the writer spoke to the Lord and said: "Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path." Then in Psalm 119:130 the writer told God, "The entrance of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple."
*One preacher gave this comparison: "It was a sunny summer day. Our family had decided to visit the Lava River Caves in central Oregon. We paid the cost of admission, and the ranger gave us instructions. He told us how the cave remained cool, a constant 55 degrees.
*Then came the instruction about the lanterns. 'You'll need this lantern when you go down there," he said. "It's very dark. Without it you won't get far.'
*We lit the lantern, then began the path into the cave... While we were in the bright sun, the lantern seemed unnecessary. But soon enough, his words proved true. It got cooler... and very quickly much darker!
*The lantern, which had seemed so dim up above, shone bright and strong down in the darkness. With its help we could see the low-hanging rock ledges, the puddles, and the turns in our path. We held it high before us...
*With that lantern, our experience was fun, not frightening. How different everything would have been if we'd been in a cave like that with no light!"
*Then the preacher said, "All of us are on an even less familiar path that can stretch years ahead into unexpected places and perils. This is called the path of life. And wherever our pathway leads, this much is guaranteed for all of us: There will be some darkness.
*Troubles will come to all on the path of life. We're bound to face trouble. Not all is predictable. Not all is pleasant. Some of it is very dark indeed. You are going to need a lantern! -- A lamp for your feet, a light for your path when darkness descends." (4)
*Church: We will never find a better light than the Word of God! We need to let it shine in the good times and the bad. God's Word will shine on our brightest days, and it will shine in the darkest night.
 THE SCRIPTURE IS SHINING GOD'S LIGHT TODAY. SO IS THE SPIRIT OF GOD.
*The early church reminds us or this truth in Acts 2:1-4:
1. Now when the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
2. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.
3. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.
4. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
*Those flames of fire were a visible symbol of the Holy Spirit coming down to live in and fill the first Christians. Fire is a great symbol for the Holy Spirit, because fire refines, purifies, and warms. It shines the light of God in our hearts.
 THE SPIRIT OF GOD IS SHINING GOD'S LIGHT TODAY. AND SAVED PEOPLE SHOULD BE SHINING TOO.
*As Jesus told His followers in Matthew 5:14-16:
14. "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.
15. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.
16. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."
*Christians: We are the Light of the world, so we have got to shine! W. H. Griffith-Thomas once said: "There are people in the world around us who never open, who never read this Book. But they are reading us.
*Are they able to see God in our lives? Are they able to say of us to others, -- 'That man -- or that woman -- reminds me of Christ?' Do we let our light so shine that men may see, not us, but our Father in heaven?" (5)
*The Lord loves to bring blessings out of burdens. And Jesus has blessings for us from this miraculous story, important things He wants all of us to do: Be careful about criticizing other people, submit to the sovereignty of God, be wise in the way we spend our time, and shine brighter for Jesus every day!
*Let's ask the Lord to help us as we go back to God in prayer.
(1) Source: online sermon "Man Born Blind" by David Holwick - John 9:30-41 - www.holwick.com
(2) SermonCentral sermon "Devil of a Problem" by Paul Decker - John 8:37-47
(3) Adapted from Brett Blair quote - Source: Semonillustrations.com 08242003
(4) Adapted from online sermon - "Light for the Path" (I believe it was by Pastor Michael Kasting.) - Trinity Lutheran Church - Oregon City, OR - 09132009 - Psalm 119:105 - http://www.trinityoc.org
(5) W. H. Griffith-Thomas in a sermon: "Knowing and Showing," from Keswick's Authentic Voice - Source: Christianity Today, Vol. 36, no. 5 - Source: "Bible Illustrator for Windows" - Topic: Christlikeness - Index: 382 - Date: 6/1998.1452 - Title: Our Lives as Books)