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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Michael Youssef » Michael Youssef - He Can Open Your Eyes

Michael Youssef - He Can Open Your Eyes

Michael Youssef - He Can Open Your Eyes
TOPICS: Encountering Christ, Spiritual Blindness

Not long ago, I read a story about George Shearing. Now, for those of you who do not know the name, George Shearing was a very prominent British-American jazz pianist. He was born blind, and often, whenever he crosses a busy intersection in New York City with big, dark glasses and white cane, he could always count on somebody who'd come along and take him by the hand and help him cross the road. But one time while he was waiting to cross a very busy intersection at the rush hour in New York City, somebody tapped him on the shoulder. He said, "Excuse me, sir, I'm blind. Can you help me across the street"? And George reached out and felt for his arm, and grabbed him by the arm. He said, "Absolutely, yes". And he, kind of, perked his ear and tried to decipher when the traffic had subsided, and then he said, "Okay, let's go," and they both crossed that busy intersection.

Now, George, of course, can hear horn honking and yelling and screaming, but he didn't know if it was for him or not. He kept crossing anyway. Once he crossed on the other side, the man thanked him for his help. Did not know who he was, did not know that he was blind, and went on his way. Few days later, George Shearing was sharing this with his band, with his close friends on the band, and he told them what happened, and they were flabbergasted. They said, "George, why did you do such a dangerous thing? Why did you do that? You endangered both of your lives". George said, "You know, I just could not resist the irony of it all, you know, the blind leading the blind thing. I just couldn't resist it". And then he continued. He said, "You know, that was the biggest thrill of my life".

It might have been the biggest thrill for George Shearing, but it sure endangered their lives. But sadly, today, in every aspect of life, we're seeing this happening over and over again. So many blind are leading the blind in every aspect of life, and yet the word of God tells us very clearly, without equivocation, that every human being that is born, everyone, every one of us, we're born spiritually blind, every one of us. You know, when a baby is born, parents always, you know, count the toes and the fingers and make sure the baby is okay. But the one thing they can be sure about is that baby is born with, C.S. Lewis calls them, an internal set of eyes. You know, there is an axiom that is often used, sometimes glibly, sometimes accurately, and it goes like this, "Seeing is believing," right? And yet, Jesus disproves this axiom. He turns this axiom on its head, and he is saying, "Believing is seeing".

When you come and you put your faith in Jesus Christ as your only Savior and Lord, he opened those internal set of eyes. He opened those blind spiritual eyes, and so you're able to see things with clarity. In the Gospel of John chapter 9, Jesus was trying to answer one of the oldest and the most pressing question that has ever been asked by all of humanity. All of us at some point or another in our lives have asked that question. Some of you sitting here today or watching live around the world are probably asking that question today. What is that question? The question is simply this: why would an all-loving and all-powerful God allow people to suffer? There's no easy answer to this question. But while there's no easy answers yet, if Jesus is saying anything to us about this incredible act of opening the eyes of the man who was born blind, he is saying to us the following.

Listen carefully. He is saying that God has an eternal purpose, even in your unexplainable suffering. That God has a longer view of life, even in the painful events of your life. That God has a wide-angle lens when it comes to the difficult circumstances in your life. That God has a higher aim, especially in those inexplicable situations. And that is why, when the disciples asked Jesus, "Did this man sin or did his parents sin, as a result of which he now is born blind"? Now, Jesus did not avoid the question. There's one thing about the Lord. He never avoided, never skirted the tough questions. You see, in the Jewish culture of that day, they believed that all of suffering, all of it, all of suffering, is a result of personal sin. Watch carefully what Jesus did not say.

You say, "How can you listen to something he did not say"? I'm gonna tell you what he did not say. Watch what he did not say. Jesus did not say, "Boys, you are wrong about this. Oh, boys, you are all wet on this one". No, but rather he answered the specific question for that specific situation, and he says in this particular case, "Neither he nor his parents have sinned so that he was born blind". What did Jesus say? Listen carefully. Jesus is saying that there is not always a connection between sin and suffering. It is not that simple. Why? Because, as a result of Adam's sin in the garden, we now inherited that sin, and therefore we live in a fallen world. We live in an imperfect world. We live in a fragmented world. And many times, sin and sinners appear to be going unpunished while some others who suffer unjustly, and you wanna talk about suffering unjustly.

Right at this very moment, as we sit in this beautiful sanctuary, there are a hundred million Christian believers around the world who are being persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ in the 21st century. See, today, the world is shaking on its axis. The world which was created flawlessly, justly, perfectly, is now dysfunctional. This planet is filled with misery and natural disasters and diseases and sin and death, but God did not create it that way. Sin corrupted it. Sin deformed it. Sin sullied it, and the Bible makes it very clear that all of humanity has been affected by that sin. Every one of us have been born with that sin. Someone said when you look at the most beautiful person and the strongest athlete of all, you are looking at the ruins of Adam.

The finest in physical and mental and emotional specimen in the whole world is second-best to humanity as God created it. Our bodies were designed to function perfectly. They don't. Our emotions were created to give us joy, and now they become source of pain. But Jesus makes it very clear, verse 3 of chapter 9, the Gospel of John, suffering is not always directly traceable to a personal sin. But Jesus uses the opportunity of opening the eyes of this man born blind to teach us the most important lesson of life. What is it? Here it is. We're all born with spiritual blindness. And you may be the most beautiful woman in the world, you may be the strongest athlete in the world, you may be the most intellectual genius in the whole world, and yet the Bible said your internal spiritual eyes are blind.

We're born with those blindness. You're spiritually blind until Jesus comes in and opened those spiritual eyes, and you begin to see everything and see reality. This is the very reason why Jesus left heaven and came to Earth, died on a cross, and rose again. Will you come to him and be assured of eternity? He promised that when you do come to him, he will never reject you. He'll never reject you. Blindness is not always a physical blindness. In fact, real blindness is the spiritual blindness, not the physical one. I will never forget when I was about 8 years old, and I was sitting next to my mother in church, and the preacher that day was a blind man, and he was quoting the Scripture so freely. No, his fingers were not on the braille. He really was. He was just quoting long passages of Scripture, and I've always been curious, even as a little boy.

And I kept nudging my mother, "How can he do this? How can he do this? How can he do this"? Finally, she turned around, and she said, "Son, real blindness is a blindness of the heart". I have never forgotten that. It's real blindness of the heart. Now, there are even some people who are physically blind, who have an enormous sense of humor. A friend of mine who lived in Florida was a motivational speaker. He said, "I was speaking in Florida. I was bragging about what a good golfer I am".

At the end of his talk, a blind man walks up to him, and he said to him, "I challenge you for a game of golf". Now, my friend says, "You know I'm a fast talker," and he really is. And he said, "I'm never really short in words". He said, "That's one time when I did not know what to say". He said, "I was dumbfounded". He said, "I tried to joke with him to change the subject. He wouldn't let me get away with it". He tried to say, "Well, you know, this is very interesting". And he said, "All of my clever techniques just wouldn't work". He pinned him to the wall. He said, "Name your price. Name your price". And finally my friend said, "Well, look, we can play for charity. We'll just, you know, raise money for charity". He said, "Fine". And finally, so he looked at this blind man, and he said, "Well, what time do you wanna tee off"? He said, "One o'clock in the morning".

True story. But often physical limitation can also be used of God in a powerful way. It really, Fanny Crosby was blind from her babyhood as a result of an accident, and yet she wrote tens and tens of tens of wonderful hymns of the faith which we sing in this very place. Just think about this, "Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine. Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine". Isn't that incredible? When she was 8 years old, she wrote a rhyme that went something like this. Let me read it so I don't mess it up, "Oh, what a happy child I am, although I cannot see. I am resolved that in this world contented I will be. How many blessings I enjoy that other people don't. To weep and sigh because I'm blind, I cannot and I won't". Listen, I could have 20/20 vision and live 100 years, and I couldn't write that stuff.

You see, Fanny Crosby lived to be 94, and she lived the most joyful life. It's just like my mother said, "Real blindness is a blindness of the heart," and she blessed millions of people with her songs. Despite of her difficulties, she impacted millions of people. Why? Because her spiritual eyes were opened, and that's really what matters. We saw first the Samaritan woman. We saw her desperate need was for the living water to satisfy and deliver her from the chain of her sexual addiction, and then Jesus gave her that living water himself. And then we saw Nicodemus, who was hung up on some religious questions and religious answers and rituals, and Jesus told him, "You need to be born again, not that religious mumbo jumbo". And indeed, he was born again, because after the crucifixion Nicodemus went and got permission to bring the body of Jesus Christ and place it in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea.

And here today we see this man who was born blind, whose eyes were opened by Jesus in order to teach every one of us a greater spiritual lesson, a lesson that is of vital importance in life. What is that lesson? That Jesus alone can open the spiritual eyes. He and he alone can deliver you from spiritual blindness. That Jesus alone can open your internal set of eyes. Jesus alone can reveal to you the danger of remaining in your deadly condition. I know in my own life, when Jesus opened my spiritual eyes, I was able to see myself for who I am: a sinner who's heading straight for hell, a sinner who's at enmity with God. And he revealed myself to me the way I am, not the way I wanted to project myself to the public, not what I like to think people think I am: a sinner who desperately need of the forgiveness of a holy and righteous God who died on the cross for me to show his love for me.

And when your spiritual eyes are opened and you turn to him for forgiveness and for healing, you will never ever look back for all the money in the world. Only then will you discover that you have received the greatest miracle of all. Only then will you discover that you have received the living water that truly satisfy your inner being, that you have become born again of the Spirit of God and fulfilled in him alone. That your spiritual eyes have become wide open and see what you could not see before. That you know God not only as your Savior, as your Lord, but as your friend and your companion, not only in this life, but for all of eternity. And when you know God, even the human limitations, even the sufferings, even the difficult situations, even the painful things that you can't even explain, even your inexplicable circumstances can be used of God for your good and for his glory. In opening the eyes of the blind, the man born blind, Jesus was giving us a practical parable.

Now, he told a lot of parables, lots of stories, but this is a practical one. One you can see with your eyes, not just hear with your ears, in order to show us a deeper meaning than just the physical seeing. Let me explain what I mean. What symbol did the Lord use to open the eyes of this man? Mud, right? Mud. Clay. You see, in the book of Genesis, when God created the first man, he created him from the clay of the earth. And when he recreates us, spiritually speaking, he used mud. In fact, clay is a symbol that is used in the Scripture over and over and over again. Jeremiah tells us that God is the potter and we are the clay. He indeed is molding us and he's shaping us in what he wants us to be.

The Apostle Paul speaks of the believer's body as a pot of clay. You see, a pot of clay is weak. A pot of clay is fragile, but he said inside of the believer there is a priceless treasure. There is something that you cannot put a price on. That's the Holy Spirit of God, who comes and dwells in us. And when Jesus smeared the eyes of this man born blind, he was saying to every one of us, "Something has blinded this man". Something has blinded you. Something has blinded me at birth. Something that closed our eyes. What is that something? The Bible calls that something, with which we're all born, sin, because by nature all of humanity born blind. We are spiritually blind in this fallen nature.

This man faced opposition. The religious people opposed him. The clergy of the church want to throw him out. His family were embarrassed by the whole thing. The neighbors did not know what to believe. When the Pharisees kept on interrogating him, first he said, "This man put mud on my eyes, and I washed, and now I can see. I don't know much about him". But then they kept on haranguing him. They kept on pressing him. And so, the second time they come in, and he said, "Well, he must be a prophet, because no one can just do this". And then they harangued him again a third time. He said, "Don't confuse me with your religious mumbo jumbo. All I know is that I was blind but now I see". And that's a rough translation, but you get the meaning.

See, these Pharisees cared more about the little personal rules and rituals than a man who was born blind, now he sees. But they admitted that only God can open the blind eyes, and, in fact, the Bible said in the book of Isaiah chapter 29:18, 35:5, and 42:7, that when the Messiah comes, he is the one who will open the eyes of the blind, but they were too prideful to admit it. Some of you might be full of pride. You don't want to admit. You don't wanna come to Jesus. You say, "I can help myself. How can a man dying 2,000 years ago save me"? That's the only way. In fact, this simple truth gave this humble man, this uneducated man, the upper hand over these educated clergy. It did. He said, "You are admitting your ignorance of who Jesus is, and yet he did what only God could do"? I hope you're seeing the irony here. This is far greater irony than George Shearing crossing the street with a blind man.

First, he knew that this man who opened his eyes is called Jesus. Secondly, he grew in faith, and he called him a prophet. Then he grew in faith a little bit more, "He must be from God". And then, finally, when he really knew who Jesus was, he bowed down and worshipped him, and he said, "Lord, Lord". The question is, wherever you are on the scale, wherever you are on that spectrum, whether you are, just know Jesus as Jesus. You may be admiring him. You say, "I want to emulate him," or you may know him as a prophet. You may know him even as son of God, or you might know of him as God in human flesh, even. But if you really want to know him as the Savior of your soul, the Lord of your life, the Messiah, the redeemer, the deliverer, Jesus here said, "I am the light of the world".

And beloved, any person that you know who's a Christian was spiritually blind at some point, and all of us who know Jesus came from darkness to him, the light of the world. And whether we came to him out of the darkness of addiction and pain and wanted to be delivered, whether we came to him from the darkness of difficulty and hardship of life and confessing that we cannot face life alone, whether some of us have come to him through the darkness of longing for contentment and real peace in life that only Jesus could give us. Some of us have come to him from the darkness of a total failure of not being able to help ourselves. Each of us came to him from a certain darkness to the light of the world, Jesus. And today, whatever darkness you're in, the light of the world wants you to come. Some of you are dragging your feet. Some of you are fighting. Some of you are resisting. Jesus is ready to break through the darkness in your life, break through all the questioning and all the barriers that you're placing on yourself and to answer you. Will you come to him?
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