Are We Blind Also?
John 9:35-41 Are We Blind Also? Introduction: This morning I want to give a little bit of time to consider this final section of John 9, and then in light of last week’s message about being missionaries in our own city I want to take some time to break into groups and pray specifically for that. Last week we considered this man who was born blind and how he is a beautiful picture of the missionary christian and an example of what it means to follow Jesus. He was in a state of blindness, helplessness and despair and Jesus touched him and he was healed…then he immediately and continually tells others his simple story everywhere he goes…I was blind now I see. Two Miracles This is obviously a story about a miraculous healing of a man born blind that took place but there is an even greater miracle happening in this passage and it’s not a miracle that you would wish on anyone. The Pharisees say to the man born blind, “We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.” 30 The man answered, “Why, this is an amazing thing (or this is the true miracle today)! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes.” The greater miracle that we see in this passage is that the Jewish leaders are so incredibly blind to the glory of God being shown through Jesus. It’s a miracle of the hardness and the blindness not of the eyes but of the heart. And that’s what this closing section is all about - not physical blindness but spiritual blindness. It’s relevant to our lives as well. What would we say of ourselves; Are we spiritually blind, or do we see? Let’s find out. 1. Blind Too? 1. “Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 36 He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” 37 Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.” 38 He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him. 39 Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” 40 Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?” 41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.” 2. Jesus did or didn’t come to judge? 1. Although Jesus came into the world for salvation and not condemnation the natural result of him coming into the world is judgment. Just as light exposes all things, the work of Jesus shows where each of us stand in our response to him. He naturally divides all people into two categories… those who are for him and those who are against.. 2. As Jesus talks about those who are blind and those who see the pharisees respond, "Are you implying that we are blind?? Jesus says, If you were blind, you would have no guilt (or sin), but now that you say “we see”, your guilt (or sin) remains.” 3. We are reminded immediately of Jesus’ saying that he did not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance - by which he meant that he did not come to call those who think they are quite all right already but that he came to call those who admit that they need a great deal of help… 4. The issue with these religious leaders is they think that they see, they don’t realize that they are blind, they think they are ok, they think they have no sin, and therefore Jesus cannot work - Therefore their unconfessed sin remains…. 1. To accept Jesus means that they’ll have to confess that they don’t see, they don’t know….that’s seems to be a work of humility that they aren’t willing or wanting to do. 5. This story exposes a fundamental feature of human behavior : the person who is locked within himself and wants only his own advantage is closed to God’s claim because it challenges him…. 6. This is Pride at work - pride says, we are light not darkness, we are healthy not sick, we are clean not dirty, we are good not evil, we are full we have no need, we are holy we have no sin…They know too much, they see too well. A little ignorance, a little confession of need, could almost save their lives. 7. Pride has blinded and hardened their hearts….Pride is one of the most offensive of sins to God because it replaces God with self as god and savior…. 3. Two Ways People Claim to “See”: 1. Religion: religious acts or deeds to justify ourselves before God - a performance based relationship with God - I perform therefore God accepts me…God’s laws and commands are their in order for me to make my way, and I keep them and God accepts and blesses me. 2. Irreligion: Ignoring God altogether… justifying ourselves without God or apart from God’s laws - good without God. We can see apart from God. 1. “Some people might say, “ But I’m neither kind of person- I’m a morally good person who is not religious. There may be a God, I don’t know for sure. But either way I’m a good person and that’s all that should matter.” Is that really all that should matter? Imagine a widow has a son she raises and puts through good schools and a good university at great sacrifice to herself, for she is a woman of very slender means. And as she's raising him she says, “Son, I want you to live a good life. I want you to always tell the truth, always work hard, and care for the poor.” And after the young man graduates from college he goes off into his career and life and never speaks to his mother or spends time with her. Oh, he may send her a card on her birthday, but he never phones or visits. What if you asked him about his relationship with his mother, and he responded: “No, I don’t have anything to do with her personally. But I always tell the truth, work hard, and care for the poor. I’ve lived a good life- that’s all that matters isn’t it?” I doubt you would be very satisfied with that answer. It is not enough for the man to merely live a moral life as his mother desired without having any kind of relationship with her. His behavior is condemnable because in fact she gave him all he has. More than just a moral life, he owes her his love and loyalty….And if there is a God, you owe him literally everything. If there is a God, you owe him far more than a morally decent life. He deserves to be the center of your life. Even if you are a good person you are not letting God be God to you… You are being your own savior and lord.”- Tim Keller 1. Religion and irreligion are at their root the same.. they are both pride and self rule; an attempt to be your own lord and savior, usurping God’s kingship….. 2. It’s as if Jesus is saying, -If you admitted that you do not have it all together, that you sometimes need correction, that you are willing to be corrected if wrong, in short, that you need help in big issues, you would have no sin - because this would be a recognition of your need for me. But because you keep saying I see, you are stuck in your sin….. 2. Gospel -True Blindness = True Sight 1. The Gospel way is to admit that we are fully and completely blind apart from God’s grace in Jesus and Jesus alone. 1. Luther wrote in his commentary on Romans, “Therefore, my dear brother, learn Christ and him crucified, learn to pray to him, despairing of yourself, saying: Thou, Lord Jesus, art my righteousness, but I am thy sin; thou hast taken on thyself what thou wast not, and hast given to me what I was not.’ Beware of ever aspiring to such purity that you do not want to seem to yourself, or to be, a sinner. For Christ only dwells in sinners.” 1. (When Luther says “sinners” he means in the sense of confessing and repentant sinners who long for and are given righteousness, not “sinners” in the sense of wanting to live a continuously unrepentant or sinful life…) 2. You see, “Sanctification is simply taking justification seriously.” 3. I am not saved or assured by what I don’t do; I am saved and assured by the fact that I continuously know and feel my need for Christ and therefore I continually go to him….I Abide in him/ with him!! 4. Come Ye Sinners, one of the hymns we sing here, has this line in it: “Let not conscience make you linger; not of fitness fondly dream. All the fitness he requires is to fell your need of him.” Conclusion: So, are we blind this morning or do we see? This is the correct answer: Yes!!!!! So very blind and damned apart from the abundant grace of God in Christ Jesus. If you see that you are a sinner and are continually in need for God’s one remedy for sin - which is Jesus Christ, then Jesus would say, You were blind but now you see - Your guilt has been removed. If you think that you see understand perceive apart from God’s one remedy for sin - Jesus Christ - then scripture says, you are blind and your sin and guilt remains.. Let’s pray that we would always feel our need for Christ. That he would go more and more precious to us as we grow more and more aware of our sin and short comings. How to pray -We all have blindness: Christians we are often blind to those hurting and to those in need all around us. We are blind to the opportunities to love and evangelize - God needs to open our eyes and soften our hearts - we need to pray that he will… People all around us are blind. Their hearts are hard to Christ, they are blinded by the devil himself -“In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” -2 Cor 4:4 This blindness manifest itself in all different ways.. but the result is that people don’t see or understand the glory of Christ, they don’t feel their need of him - we need to pray that the Lord would soften people’s hearts and open their eyes….