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Open Our Eyes


Everyone in chapter 9 is blind. In one way or another, with the exception of Jesus, everyone in John 9 is blind. The disciples are blind. The blind man is blind. His parents are blind. The Pharisees are blind. The crowd is spiritually blind. Ironically, the only person who can see spiritually is the man who's been blind since birth. He can see spiritually. It's funny how nobody in this chapter can see except for the guy born blind.

If you want to grow in your relationship with Jesus Christ, then this is the chapter for you. I'm sure, at one point or another in our lives, we've all struggled spiritually. What is God doing in my life? Where is my life heading? I've got to make this difficult decision. How should I respond to a particular person or situation? We want to know God is close by when we're struggling; when we're hurting.

Today, and next Sunday as well, we're going to look at lessons from John 9 that will help us to see spiritually.

The place to start is with verse 1. Jesus and his disciples are walking along and they see a man who has been blind from the day he was born. The disciples have a question. "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" They think the man's disability was the direct result of someone's sin. Someone has to be blamed. Either the man sinned in the womb or his parents are being punished for their sin. That's what they believe. So in their spiritual blindness, the disciples can only see one of two reasons for his disability.

We think, what a backwards way of thinking. But how many times do our thoughts trail off in that direction? Something bad happens and the thought pops into our minds, "I'm being punished for something I've done." We fall into the karma trap. The car accident is punishment for something I've done wrong. In the early 1980s, AIDS was seen by some Christian leaders as God's punishment for sin. A deformity or a disability or a cancer or some hugely horrible event is seen as a sign of God's disfavor.

As a side note, this mindset led to human sacrifice in pagan religions. There's a drought, so the gods are angry, so we have to make a sacrifice to appease them. Records indicate that human sacrifice in some ancient cultures increased during a solar eclipse. They supposed a cause and effect around human behavior.

That's the assumption the disciples make. The man is blind because either he sinned or his parents sin. Talk about spiritual blindness.

The disciples have no compassion for the man. All they can see is an example of how God responds to moral failure. It's always interesting how the able-bodied have a theory about disability or disaster that makes them look spiritually pure. The disciples see the man as a case study. No compassion. But Jesus doesn't see him that way. That's the great thing about Jesus. Every time we see him, he's meeting people. He's respecting them and talking to them and loving them and connecting with them in a way to bring out the best in them. Unlike the disciples, Jesus has compassion for the man.

While the disciples get hung up on an either/or scenario, Jesus shows them something wonderful. Instead of getting stuck in either/or thinking {and we do that a lot}, Jesus shows them a third way. God's option shows why Jesus does miracles. Jesus doesn't do miracles to show off his power. He doesn't have to do that. Jesus doesn't do miracles to show his enemies what a great guy he is.

Here's something you might want to write down:

Jesus does miracles to show us his love and his power.

Every time Jesus performs a miracle, he's showing people how he loves and has compassion. He's showing who he is. Why is the man blind? So that the works of God might be displayed in him.

Here's what that means. Jesus says, in verses 4-5, "We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world." In other words, God is going to allow Jesus to work a miracle in this man's life so that now, over 2,000 years later, you and I can read the story and remember the character of Jesus. Jesus is the only one who can bring true

light in our lives.

Let's move on to verses 6-7:

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.

This is such a simple scene. The flow of the sentence expresses its simplicity. The blind man went and he washed and he came home seeing. Can you imagine? Blind form birth, he sees for the first time. Jesus loves the man. He has compassion for him. Jesus loves us. He has compassion for us. And so, in this moment, he reveals spiritual truth in simple things. Spit. Mud. Go. Wash. See. Such a simple process.

Here's what we need to remember.

Obey Jesus in the ordinary things of life.

Of course, it's not unheard of to experience spiritual growth through an instantaneous event. There are momentous, lightning bolt from heaven life altering events that jump start spiritual growth and maturity. It happens. But not always. And not for most people. Obedience to Jesus in the ordinary things of life…in the simple things…brings significant spiritual growth and maturity.

Look what the blind man does. He does the simple things that help him see spiritually. He follows the command of Jesus. The whole event is fresh, simple, and honest.

The first thing Jesus does, he takes some mud and he puts it in the man's eyes. It's an interesting move. Mud…clay…is mentioned throughout the Bible as a symbol of our humanity. It's what we were made from in the first place. The Bible says God is the potter and we are the clay. We're just simple clay pots into which God pours His grace and mercy. Some of us are even cracked pots. But we're all clay pots.

Jesus takes the mud…the man is weak but Jesus is strong…and with mud Jesus changes his life. So simple. And then Jesus tells the man to go down to a pool that's called "Sent" and wash his eyes. Again, so basic. So simple. Jesus tells him to make his way to place he's probably been to dozens of times before, and wash the mud from his eyes. So simple.

If you want to grow spiritually…if you want to grow in your relationship with Jesus Christ…then pay attention to the simple things. Worship regularly. Pray daily. Read the Bible. Connect with small group ministry. Do weekly devotions. Use your gifts to help other and serve others. These are the basic, simple things you can do to grow spiritually. These things are not too good to be true. They are simply true.

So Jesus tells the man to go and wash your eyes. This is going to take some time. But that's okay. Because anything of value usually takes time. Jesus is preparing the man for spiritual growth when he heals him physically. He tells him to walk through the city streets. Make his way to the pool of Siloam. There will be obstacles along the way. The guy is blind with mud in his eyes. It's not a quick fix. It's going to take some time. But when the blind man gets to the water, and washes, he will see. The journey will be worth it. That's the way it is for us, spiritually. The journey is long, with lots of obstacles. But following Jesus Christ is the greatest journey in this life.

What happens next? The man does it. He does exactly what Jesus tells him to do. No sidetracks. No hesitations. No complaints or excuses. The blind man makes his way to the pool, washes his eyes, and he sees.

Would you have done it? Think your answer through. Jesus passed by. He saw the man. As we'll see later, they guy really didn't know who Jesus was. Remember, you're in the sandals of the blind man now. Someone you don't know spits in some dirt, makes a mud dressing, packs it on your eyes, and tells you to make your way to the pool of Siloam. Would you have let him put the mud on your eyes? Would you have made the trip to the pool? Walking to the pool, there'd be plenty of opportunity to entertain doubts. "What am I doing? I don't even know the man who put mud in eyes. This is crazy." What would have gone through your mind? Would you have been tempted to wash them off on the way to the pool so nobody would see what a fool you were? But he waited until he got to the pool. He did the simple, basic things Jesus told him to do. Spiritual growth isn't more complicated than that.

Spiritual Growth: Obey Jesus Christ in the ordinary things of life

So, the first lesson about spiritual growth is obeying Jesus Christ in the ordinary things of life. And then trust him. Notice Jesus doesn't tell the blind man how this is going to help. He doesn't explain the mechanics of what's going to happen. Jesus said, "God and wash." And the man went and washed. The point is dependence. The point is trusting Jesus. The man is trusting Jesus and not himself.

So he went to the pool of Siloam. And he came back seeing. He came back to a crowd who had known him his whole life. They knew him as a blind beggar. Can you imagine it? For the first time he put faces to the voices he grew up hearing. He can see all the things he had only known from tasting and touching and hearing and smelling. A whole new world. How do you think the crowd and his family reacted?

John 9:8-12 describe what happened:

The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar were saying, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” Some said, “It is he.” Others said, “No, but he is like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.” So they said to him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed and received my sight.” They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.”

What do you hear? Does that sound like a celebration? Do people sound excited? It sounds more to me like an inquisition. Call in a Special Prosecutor. They couldn't believe it.

What keeps us from seeing? What kept them from seeing? Doubt. Next week we'll explore how we can get past doubt to grow in our walk with Jesus Christ.

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