Washing in the Pool of the Sent One
John 9:1-41 Washing in the Pool of the Sent One Introduction: We come to the point in the narrative of John where we have a beautiful story of the mercy and compassion of Jesus. Jesus heals a man born blind. The intriguing thing here is that although John is telling this story of what really happened to a blind man that Jesus healed, he is using it to tell another story at the same time. John is telling the story of what it looks like to abide in the word of Christ; what it looks like to have Jesus as our light, our bread, our living water. What it looks like to have his eternal life at work in us. This healed blind man will become a personification of the Missionary Christian throughout the remainder of this chapter…. “Those whose lives are healed by and, so, connected with Jesus, this chapter will teach us, live “deep, lasting lives,” and they reach out in their communities by being, when questioned, truth tellers and honest people.” -Bruner You’ve probably noticed in our studies that this book keeps talking about deep, long lasting life, eternal life, in Jesus. I imagine that most of us think well “I “believe” in Jesus but I don’t feel as though I have this deep long lasting life.” Maybe there are moments when you feel as though you are on the cusp of it, right after a good sermon, community group meeting, prayer time, etc, you feel as though you might have experienced that eternal life. Is this the way it’s supposed to be? Honestly our lives can be quite mundane and unspectacular; but if in them we can express our loyalty to God’s Son by faithfulness in speech and life with our customers, clients, colleagues, or whomever or whatever else we are given in our day, Jesus promises repeatedly that we will be alive and on mission with him. The key to eternal life goes back to that abiding in, living in, making our home in the word of Christ. I believe that this might be the missing element in your life because scripture is clear that participation in Christ is to participate in his mission… 1. The Story. -If you haven't already noticed this is a gospel story. A story as Jesus says, “To Put God’s Work on Display.” 1. “As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” 1. Biblical Christian teaching makes no place for the eastern doctrine of Karma. The Biblical teaching is of a God who orders and orchestrates all things according to the counsel of his will. 2. As we see here, some bad things apparently happen not from bad causes in the past but for good purposes in the future. 3. This man’s awful birth happened, Jesus says, so that healing today and then especially in his following conduct, God’s grace can be put on display in a dramatic way becoming community knowledge. 4. “The way God works” has been made very clear, even biographically visible - in this unique man’s story. 1. How does God work? by Grace. First, Jesus notices him. God cares for, loves, has compassion on, those who are hurting. 2. God helps those who are helpless. The man is blind, it speaks of moral/spiritually blindness, it is these type of people that God’s grace comes to. 2. “We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. 5 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 7 and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent One or Missionary). So he went and washed and came back seeing.” 1. The blind man washed in the pool of the missionary, Jesus Messiah. - The pool’s name and the man’s action are an almost perfect definition of baptism/conversion, which in the early church was often called phōtismos, meaning “Enlightenment.” 2. Every new convert and candidate for baptism, is asked first to go wash in the pool of Christ the missionary, and then come back healed, cleansed, and empowered to do, as the man will do in the rest of this chapter - the work of Christ the Missionary. 3. Baptism which is the Christ given church initiation ceremony gives the receptive and obedient the gift of the Spirit of Christ the Missionary, with the ability to see the world as a mission field and to live one’s new calling as a missionary of the Missionary within one’s secular callings. 1. Every conversion (and it’s public expression in baptism) is a baptism in Jesus the Missionary. 2. How does our man then do the Mission of Christ? -He testifies to what the Lord has done for him. He continually tells the truth. 1. Read Verses 8-34 1. The reason I read this lengthy section is because I want you to hear the simplicity with which he testifies to what Jesus has done. 1. I was blind - original state- in sin, suffering and desperation. 2. The man called Jesus put mud on my eyes and told me to go wash - Jesus intervened with salvation, grace, forgiveness, love, healing. 3. Now I see - my life has radically changed. 1. The way Jesus instructs this man is so very simple - Go wash, please, in the pool of the Sent One. and then the man’s testimony to others. “He put mud on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.” 2. I think John is showing us that our missional interactions with people are to be simple and as uncomplicated as possible… the things christians say to non-believers.(no wonder people don’t see Christianity as being relevant to their lives) 3. John, is telling us, simply, to be human beings with other people. We are to show people how Jesus is the true answer to all their hopes and desires. Applying Christian catchphrases like all you need is Jesus to people’s specific need. 3. Our Story - “We Have Got to be Doing the Work of the One Who Sent Me” 1. “We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6 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 7 and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.” 1. We disciples are drawn into this story from it’s very beginning and are placed under an exciting mandate: "We have got to be doing the works of the one who sent me.” At the end of John’s gospel Jesus will say the same thing in another way, “As the Father sent me, so now I am sending you.” 2. “The Sent One” is one of John’s favorite names for Jesus (3:17; 4:34; 5:36; etc) Missionary is the best contemporary translation to this word. Jesus is the Father’s sent One, the Father’s Missionary to the World. 1. “the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.” -1 John 4:14 2. God is a sending God, with a desire to see all of humanity and creation reconciled, redeemed, and healed. He sent Jesus for this purpose. 3. What this passage shows us is if you are a Christian, you are called, by God, to join Christ in his mission to the world. Right now, wherever you are, you are called to be a missionary. 1. “The missionary movement, of which we are a part has its source in the Triune God Himself. Out of the depths of His love for us, the Father has sent forth His own beloved Son to reconcile all things to Himself, that we and all men might, through the Spirit, be made one in Him with the Father in that perfect love which is the very nature of God. ... We who have been chosen in Christ... are by these very facts committed to full participation in His redeeming mission. There is no participation in Christ without participation in His mission to the world. That by which the Church receives its existence is that by which it is also given its world-mission.” -Richebächer 4. The Church needs to realize that mission is its fundamental identity. 1. Scripture identifies “the elect” (the Church) as being chosen for “declaring the praises of God” a missional task carried over from the unfulfilled and unappreciated task of missionary Israel. The Apostle Peter explains, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9) 2. The concept of the Missio Dei, (the mission of God), is recognition that God is a sending God and therefore the church is sent. It is the most important mission in the scriptures. Jesus Christ is the embodiment of that mission; the Holy Spirit is the power of that mission; the Church is the instrument of that mission; and the culture is the context in which that mission occurs. 2. The How of Mission -“Whenever, Wherever, I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 1. Jesus says, “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world” The best way for our english understanding is to read, “wherever Jesus is, there his light is also.” “ 2. Jesus is speaking of his real presence in the community of those who gather around Jesus’ Word and Meal, who think more of him than any other person or reality in the world, and so are thinking of the poor, lost, and deeply needy world all around them for whom Jesus has special compassion.” -Bruner. Jesus is talking about his Church. 1. It’s like this -Jesus’ community is basking in his light and then inevitably pouring out that light into the dark world! 1. Remember what he says in Matthew’s gospel, “You are the light of the world, a city that is built on a hill cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp, only then to hid it’s light, but the lighter puts it on a lamp stand so all can enjoy the benefit of it’s light - to light the whole house - So also in this way let your light shine before others so that when they see the way you live they may give glory to God.” - Matthew 5:14-16 2. This is the calling, the mission of the Church, to let Christ light shine into every sphere of life through our words and deeds. This goes back to that eternal life, and fulfilling purpose that I spoke about in the beginning. Do you realize that this verse gives “purpose,” gives “life,” to every sphere and stage in human existence? The seemingly mundane life of a mother, the passion lost life of the elderly… and every life stage and occupation in between. All can be done in a way that brings glory to God and clarity to people’s lives - each part can have deep meaning and purpose (eternal purpose)….as we are with Christ on his mission. 3. Whenever this community moves out in to the community by simply being christian, by simply telling the truth, the light extends to that part of the world. Conclusion: I’ve been praying and thinking a lot about Mission, particularly about Refuge and Mission. I think that this is a missing element in our church. I would say, and I’m certain the Elders would agree, that The Gospel, Community, and Mission are the three Pillars of the Church and the most simplified way to express what we want this church to be about. Gospel- I think we are continually growing to be a Gospel fluent church - meaning that we are growing in our understanding of who God is and what he has done for us in Jesus and how that is to effect every aspect of our lives. Community- I see us growing in community. We learning to love one another through thick and thin, we are learning to share burdens, and forgive one another. We are learning to encourage, exhort, and rebuke one another in the name of love and God’s truth. Mission - But most of us still have not caught this understanding of “being sent,” of being missionaries here in our home. God is calling us to the mission of Christ here in Santa Rosa. He is calling us to be intentional, to be truth tellers to express our loyalty to God’s Son by faithfulness in speech and life with our customers, clients, colleagues, or whomever or whatever else we are given in our day, Jesus promises repeatedly that we will be alive and in mission. This is not an option for Christians this is our identity. But we need to make sure that though it is a commandment that we have the right motivation for doing mission (evangelism in word and deed). The Motive is the Gospel -Jesus came on mission to save you and to save me, he didn’t have to…. If you are “following Jesus,” but you don’t feel that joy, that fulfillment, that peace or hope that he offers all throughout this gospel, ask yourself, “Am I really following Jesus, am I on Jesus’ mission? Jesus is the one who is calling us into this mission, said, “We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work”…and He also says, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” You want an exciting, joy filled, hope filled, peace filled life - Join with, fellowship with Christ in his mission.