John 9.1-41 (vs.14-30) “An Astonishing Thing” JUMC 04032011

9:1 As he walked 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?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him. 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.” When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man’s eyes, saying to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). Then he went and washed and came back able to see. The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar began to ask, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” Some were saying, “It is he.” Others were saying, “No, but it is someone like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.” But they kept asking him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud, spread it on my eyes, and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ Then I went and washed and received my sight.” They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.” They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. Now it was a sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. Then the Pharisees also began to ask him how he had received his sight. He said to them, “He put mud on my eyes. Then I washed, and now I see.” Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not observe the sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?” And they were divided. So they said again to the blind man, “What do you say about him? It was your eyes he opened.” He said, “He is a prophet.” The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight and asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” His parents answered, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; but we do not know how it is that now he sees, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.” His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that anyone who confessed Jesus to be the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.” So for the second time they called the man who had been blind, and they said to him, “Give glory to God! We know that this man is a sinner.” He answered, “I do not know whether he is a sinner. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” They said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” He answered them, “I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?” Then they reviled him, saying, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.” The man answered, “Here is an astonishing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but he does listen to one who worships him and obeys his will. Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” They answered him, “You were born entirely in sins, and are you trying to teach us?” And they drove him out. Jesus heard that they had driven him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered, “And who is he, sir? Tell me, so that I may believe in him.” Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and the one speaking with you is he.” He said, “Lord, I believe.” And he worshiped him. Jesus said, “I came into this world for judgment so that those who do not see may see, and those who do see may become blind.” Some of the Pharisees near him heard this and said to him, “Surely we are not blind, are we?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would not have sin. But now that you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.  -NRSV

Wow, its a long passage so let’s look at the heart of the message for us today:  Jesus said, “I came into this world for judgment so that those who do not see may see, and those who do see may become blind.”

Jesus reveals his work and mission through this great healing story. I see said the blind man. I don’t understand said his parents, the teachers, and leaders.. Jesus ask us are we blind?

Jesus contrasts the astonishing thing of a man born without sight receiving sight with people doubting and becoming divided over this extravagant act of wholeness.

Have you ever known someone to miss the forest for the trees? Don’t throw your pearls before swine. Waste not, want not. Practical and logical responses get thrown out the window, with the baby and bath water. When looking at the obvious thing, and the case of this text, it is literal ‘seeing’ that is to be understood and seen clearly.

We belittle the miraculous acts of God when explain them away by some other force or explanation. When some one heals someone who is ill we point to medicine and even chance. Who created the elements that made the medicin and who formed the mind and body of the ones who discovered, formulated, prescribed, and administered the medicine in the first place?

Rather than getting hung up in a debate about what is and is not a miracle, the question is: Can you see, hear, experience, find God at work in the world?

In a world filled with war, famine, disease, tsunami, earthquake, poverty, hunger, fallen economies and political unrest around the globe… can you see God’s hand at work in any way?

And when we do find the examples, even if it is in the life of one person… will we be suspicious, blame-seekers, and grump gossip groupies looking for the flaws? Or will we prize that one flower in the mud as the gift and treasure that it is?

Look at this story:  the parents of the blind man, when asked how did their son gain sight, said, we don’t know, ask him.

On one hand, it could be the truth. they didn’t know. But the knife in the heart, is that they don’t believe their child. The are not willing to stand behind his story and witness.  The man, now with sight, has joy to share and can’t share it with his family. (What’s up with that?)

He wants to share it with his faith community and the they are more concerned with blame than with praise.

The man, now with sight, has joy to share and can’t share it with his faith family nor his community. (What’s up with that?)

He is able to share this joy with Jesus.  Do you see? he says, YES, and worships Jesus.

That is what everyone should have been doing in response. but some were blinded by the light…

SO WHAT?

How do we make certain we are in the camp with the seeing believers?

1) keep looking and listening and sharing where the Good News of God at work is found and shared.

2) Keep getting your spiritual eyes checked. read the chart, the Word, ask for study and examination: accountability

3) Speak up with others share doubt and seek blame over worship and faith.

4) Ask Jesus, “Am I looking? Am I seeing? What am I doing about what I have seen?

Do the astonishing thing.. believe, give witness and welcome the Light of the world, Jesus Christ.

The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight and asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” His parents answered, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; but we do not know how it is that now he sees, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.” His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that anyone who confessed Jesus to be the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.” So for the second time they called the man who had been blind, and they said to him, “Give glory to God! We know that this man is a sinner.” He answered, “I do not know whether he is a sinner. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” They said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” He answered them, “I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?” Then they reviled him, saying, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.” The man answered, “Here is an astonishing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but he does listen to one who worships him and obeys his will. Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” They answered him, “You were born entirely in sins, and are you trying to teach us?” And they drove him out. Jesus heard that they had driven him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered, “And who is he, sir? Tell me, so that I may believe in him.” Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and the one speaking with you is he.” He said, “Lord, I believe.”

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