Skip Heitzig - John 9
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We're in John, Chapter 9 tonight and we'll see how far we get before we take the Lord's supper. But some of you may remember years ago on television, Art Linkletter, anybody remember that name, OK, you do. So he hosted a program called Kids Say the Darndest Things. And they had little excerpts of kids in different issues of different experiences on the show. And kids are cute. What they come up with, how they see life, it's pretty adorable.
And I've discovered that kids just don't say the craziest things. They pray some pretty amazing things. And so I have a little book, a couple little books, in my library I've used sort of as sources of illustrations called, Kids Prayers to God or something along that line.
For instance, a little girl named Joyce was talking to God and she said, dear God, thanks for my little brother. But what I prayed for was a puppy. How is that for an honest prayer. Another little boy said, hey God, could just stick another holiday between Christmas and Easter because nothing is good there right now. Kids kind of live for the holidays, don't they?
When it comes to questions that people have of God, kids grow up and become adults. And their issues, their observations, their prayers become much more profound than, could you just give me a better holiday to celebrate. In fact, by the time we come of age as an adult, we have already wrestled with some of the deepest issues that bring the greatest tension to our lives. And one of the things I have discovered is that almost every person I've ever met, the question they would want to ask God, if they could ask him any question, is, why do you allow evil to exist.
What are you going to do about the enormity of evil that has dominated human history. Why do you allow it. Why don't you stop it. And that is an issue that has been wrestled with since people were on the Earth and have lived life. Because Jesus even gave us an observation that the sun shines on the just and the unjust and the rain falls on the just and the unjust. That is, good and bad, good things and bad things, good and evil happen to the righteous and the unrighteous alike.
Now that issue is given its own category in the study of theology called theodicy. Theodicy. Theodicy struggles with how a good and all powerful God could allow evil to exist. When you see evil, you go, hey, what about that. I have a real problem with that. And perhaps there's no greater roadblock that people have when it comes to believing in God than dealing with the problem of evil.
It seems to be a huge issue. Barna did a poll years ago asking people that question, if you could ask God any question, what would it be. And almost universally is why does God allow evil to exist. And the Greek philosopher struggled with it. One of the Greek stoic philosophers named Epicurus said, if God is willing to prevent evil but unable to do so, then he is not all powerful. If God is able to prevent evil but not willing to do so, then he is not all loving.
So how can an all loving, all powerful God allow evil to exist. Now I say that as a set up for Jesus healing a blind man here in John, Chapter 9. A man blind from birth. A man that Jesus notices as he is leaving the temple. Why is he in the temple. Because it's been the Feast of Tabernacles. He was there on the great day of the feast. He came late to the feast but they're on the last day of the feast, that eighth day, that final Sabbath, when the water was poured on the altar that we told you about in depth last time. And the people sang out and cried out, Jesus stood up and said, If any man thirsts, let him come to me and drink.
He came to the temple the very next day. And the very next day they brought a woman caught in the act of adultery. After dismissing the accusers because he said, Jesus said, he that is without sin, let him cast the first stone, they all left, there were still others in the temple who had a discussion with Jesus. And toward the end of Chapter 8, Jesus said before Abraham was, I am. I existed before Abraham. Abraham was, but I am.
And it says they took up stones, not to stone the woman caught in adultery. They picked up stones to kill him because he was claiming to be God. Unmistakably, that's why they picked up stones. But we're told Jesus passed through the midst of them. So he's leaving the temple precincts where he had been teaching. And Verse 1, now as Jesus passed by, he saw a man who was blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents that he was born blind?
Jesus noticed a blind man. The blind man didn't notice Jesus because he was blind. And I say that, I make a point of that because what happens here physically is what happened to us spiritually. You didn't seek Jesus. You might have thought you did. I'm really seeking after God. The Bible says no one does. No one seeks after God. You are blind and incapable of doing so.
But Jesus took notice of you. And he has been seeking after you. And I assume most of you, he has found. If not all of you. He's found you. You belong to him. Jesus noticed this. And so the disciples decide that this man is a point of discussion about the problem of evil. The disciples make the man who is suffering with blindness a point of discussion rather than an object of compassion.
Now please mark that. We are so used to doing that. I want to get into a theological discussion about the problem of evil. There is a place for that. But there comes a point when you must ask yourself, what are you doing to help alleviate suffering. Is it just a topic of discussion. Is it a point of discussion. Or is it an object of compassion.
Now it's an interesting question. Who sinned, this man or his parents that he was born blind. They believe the Jewish theology of theodicy, the problem of evil, is that there was a direct cause and effect relationship between what you do and consequences in this life. So if you are suffering greatly, there must be sin in your life. Does that sound familiar. Does that sound like Job's buddies, who accused him of great sin because there was great suffering going on in his life?
Now we know that that's not true. There are plenty of examples of godly people who have suffered horrible things, lots of tragic circumstances, but they press on. They live godly lives. But there are also other examples of unbelievers. Some of them really scoundrels, really gnarly lives, who seem to be prospering. Happy. Healthy. And it bothers us. It bothered David.
In Psalm 73, David begins saying, now I know that God is good to Israel and especially to those who call on him with a pure heart. But as for me, my feet almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped because I was envious of the wicked. I saw the prosperity of the wicked. I saw how ungodly people seemed to be prospering and healthy and happy. And I just had a problem with that.
Now, something else you need to know. Some of the Jewish people 2000 years ago, the Pharisees believed in something known as prenatal sin, hence the question, did this man sin that he was born blind. How can you sin to be born blind. They taught that you could actually sin in the womb. Now it goes back, and I'm not going to belabor you with all the philosophy behind that, but some of the Greek philosophers taught in the preexistence of the soul and the ability to do those evil deeds or good deeds. But, there was an idea that in Jewish theology, a pre-born infant could actually sin in the womb.
Where did they get that from. Well, in the Old Testament in the book of Genesis, where it says, sin is crouching at the door and its desire is for you, some interpreted that to be at the door of the womb, the birth canal. Before that baby is born, there is the possibility that that soul, pre-born infant could actually sin. So whatever defect it might have was due to sin before he or she was born. It's insane. It's not true. But it was a belief. So what is the direct correlation here, Jesus. His parents or did he do this.
Jesus answered, neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. In other words, it's not that he has sinned less. It's that his sin or his parents and didn't cause this. But rather, he is a miracle waiting to happen. Now he is going to be cured. He has been, all of his life, blind. But for the glory of God, he is going to be healed. Jesus said, neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. I 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.
I mention this man has been suffering for a number of years. Some think up to 30 years old he was. We don't know for sure. His parents are going to come later on. This man is a beggar at the gates. He's been blind, as I said, as a congenital anomaly. Jesus is going to heal him for the glory of God. But it brings up an issue. Do you think that suffering can be used by God to bring out a greater good in your life. See, we always say that the worst thing that could happen is some disease that would happen to me. Nobody likes to suffer. I'll grant you that. I'm with you. Nobody likes pain, nobody likes a malady, nobody likes suffering, nobody likes tragedy. But do you think that God can use it to bring something really good out of it.
Well, I can think of a few things that suffering can be used by God to do as a benefit. First of all, it can equip us. You say, equip us for what. Ministering to those who are suffering. You know how you get credentials. You know how you get the degree to minister to people who are suffering. You know how you do that? Suffering. You have to join that club to be able to speak to people who are suffering. If you have never suffered in your life and never had a problem, what are you going to say to the person who is struggling, has struggled deeply with pain or issues of loneliness or depression. There's nothing there.
That's why Paul said, God is the God of all comfort, Second Corinthians, Chapter 1, who comforts us and all of our trouble so that we can be a comfort to those who are in any trouble, with the same comfort that we have been comforted from God. So God works in us, comforts us, we learn things, and having learned them, I'm now equipped to speak to other people to minister to other people because I've joined that club along with them. That's number one.
Number two, suffering, pain, tragedy strengthens us. Strengthens us. James said, countered consider it all joy, brethren. Now most of us don't really do that, I've noticed. That's not your first right out of the chute as soon as suffering happens, oh, praise God. He's going to do something wonderful in my life. That's not our first response. But James said, we ought to, at some point, count it all joy, when we go through various trials because the trying of our faith produces patience, perseverance. So it strengthens us. Paul had what he called a thorn in the flesh. Do you remember that term?
In Second Corinthians, 12 he said, because of the abundance of the revelations that I received, there was a thorn in the flesh given to me. A messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing, I pleaded with God three times that it would depart from me. No answer. God didn't do anything. But after three times, he said, the Lord spoke to me. And he didn't say, Paul, your prayer has been answered. I'm taking the thorn away from you, buddy. You're going to walk in prosperity and perfect health.
He said the Lord told me what I didn't want to hear. He said, my grace is enough. My strength is made perfect in weakness. You are weak. But I am strong. And my strength is really good at taking somebody who is not strong, who is totally weak, and enabling them as an act of my grace. My strength instead of yours. You're weak, so it'll equip you. It will strengthen you.
I can think of something else suffering does. It corrects us. It corrects us. When my son Nate was a young boy, I spanked him. Of course, I don't do that anymore. I would be afraid of the consequences. He's grown up. But the pain inflicted at that stage of his life worked. He's the man he is today, in part, because of discipline. We all had that from our parents. David said, before, listen to this, I was afflicted, I went astray but now I keep your word. Psalm 119. Before I was afflicted, I went astray but now I keep your word.
CS Lewis, who put things so well, had such insight. I love what he said. He said, pain plants the flag of truth in the fortress of a rebel soul. Isn't that good? Pain plants the flag of truth in the fortress of a rebel soul. So it corrects us. God uses it to get our attention and to correct our steps. And to put us on the right path. So think of it this way. Nothing happens to you. It happens for you.
How is that for a truth. Nothing happens to you, it happens for you for we know that all things work together for the good of those who love God and are the called according to his purpose. So don't say, this happened to me. No it didn't, it happened for you. Behind the pain is a God who is in control of every prescription of every pill you take that you go, oh, yuck, I hate taking that medicine. It's OK, swallow.
There's a perfect physician behind it. He knows exactly what you need. Nothing happens to you. It happens for you. So he says that the works of God should be revealed in him. Now notice his reaction. They're making this an academic discussion. Jesus is making this a practical demonstration. He says I must work the works of Him who sent me while it is day, the night is coming when no one can work.
I don't want to discuss stuff theologically, I want to do stuff , practically lovingly. It's a nice discussion to have, disciples, and it is. There is a place for that. There's room for that. But once you discuss it, now you've got a day to work. And the metaphor of the day, the while, is your lifetime. You don't know how long that's going to be. I don't know how long mine is going to be. At some point, the sun will set. We will die. Life will be over. Which means all of the opportunities we have to do good will be over. You won't be doing good works to help people, to heal people, to comfort people, to counsel people, to evangelize people in heaven, will you?
Because only the people in heaven are the people who have responded to Christ, are in a perfect environment, completely renewed, restored, resurrected, life is good. You're not going to pass out a tract in heaven. You're not going to pray for the sick in heaven. There won't be any. So all of the opportunities we have to work for God happen right here, during the day. The night is coming when no one can work. So Jesus is urgent about this.
The second thing is that he is personal about this. Verse 6, when he had said these things, he spat on the ground and he made clay with his saliva and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. You go, ew, wouldn't the guy just be repulsed. Of course not, he couldn't see what's going on. Makes it kind of fun. Now, without getting too detailed about this, it would take a lot of saliva to be able to make mud to smear it on two eyeballs, right? So I'm sure the disciples are going, what are you thinking.
Now why did he do this. Why did he do that. Why did he spit on the ground and do it. I don't know. I could guess, there have been several guesses, and I won't bore you with all the guesses because they're all lame guesses. They're all guesses. We don't know. We're not told. But for me, it hearkens back to Genesis when God formed man out of the dust of the ground. I think there is something there because it says, John said, concerning Jesus, without him, nothing was made that has been made. He made eyeballs anyway, he made all people anyway, he made the world anyway. This Jesus is the creator and now the creator is recreating eyeballs for this man.
So he spat and then he, it's funny how some people say, well we need to do what Jesus did and get back to the New Testament. I have never seen those who do healing ministries ever try this. I don't think their ministry would last very long if they went around traveling to different convention centers and just started spitting and putting it in people's eyes. They would lose their audience.
I had to just get that in. So he spat, made clay. And then he said to then go wash in the Pool of Siloam, it's that pool where those priests went down at the Feast of Tabernacles we told you about last time. That lower city pool of the Gihon spring, which is the water source of Jerusalem. The water was brought into Jerusalem in the Old Testament by King Hezekiah. He made a tunnel to it and then a pool was built so people could gather water.
And so he went down into the city to get the water. That's where the Pool of Siloam was. Jesus said, go wash. It is translated sent, so he went and washed and he came back seeing.
So I say that Jesus, he was personal about this. He wasn't just urgent. He was personal. Listen, he touched the man with his hands. Do you ever think about this. He didn't have to, right? How could Jesus have healed. He could have done this.
Let's say you're there and I went, be healed. That would have worked. He could have done that. He could have waved his hand. Be healed. And it would have worked. He could have healed crowds in mass, if he wanted to. In fact, he could have said, you know what, paralytics over here, of course, they'd have to be carried over there. All the blind people, you sit over here. All the congenital anomalies over on this side. Ready? One, two, three, fwoom. Could've done that.
But I don't want you to miss the fact that Jesus touched him. Touched him. And I say that as a set up for what an author wrote, and I wanted to read this to you, see what you think.
Jesus' mission was not primarily a crusade against disease, but a ministry to individual people, some of whom happened to have a disease. He wanted those people, one by one, to feel his love. Jesus knew he could not readily demonstrate love to a crowd, for love usually involves touching.
It's a beautiful thought. Love involves touching. When you put your arm on a shoulder and you pray for someone, we put out a hand and we shake it, that embrace, that human touch means so much. Studies have been done of children who didn't have touch at a young age and what that does to them. Ill-equips them for life. The ministry of touch. So Jesus did that.
So a couple of quick questions to ask yourself. Are you willing to embrace suffering if it drives you to God. Think of suffering. Are you willing to embrace suffering if it drives you to God. I just want you to have to think about that for a minute.
Some of you are maybe entering into a season and the suffering has been prolonged. You, like Paul, have prayed more than three times that God would take away that thorn in the flesh and it's still there. And you're wondering, well, where's God. Well, maybe this isn't real. Why would God allow that. Are you willing to embrace suffering if it drives you to God to depend on him.
Second question. Are you willing to alleviate somebody else's suffering if it will drive them to God.
Now that's very practical, isn't it? Are you willing to alleviate somebody else's suffering if it will drive them to God. This man will be driven to the Savior.
Therefore, the neighbors, Verse 8, and those who previously had seen that he was blind said, is not this he, who sat and begged. Some said, this is he. Others said, well, he's like him. I just think he looks like him but I don't think that's really the guy.
He said, I'm the guy. I am him. I am he. Therefore, they said to him, how are your eyes open.
Now notice the question how. It will be repeated four times in the text. How. How. How. How. Wrong question. Right question, who? Not how, who. Who did it. They're trying to figure out, how is that possible. Well, if you understand who, you'll get to how. You just keep trying to figure out the how, you'll never get it. But you understand who, then you'll get the how. You need the who for the how.
He answered and said, a man called Jesus made clay, anointed my eyes, and said to me, go to the pool of Siloam and wash. So I went and washed and I received sight.
Then they said to him, where is he. He said, I don't know.
And so you see the mixture of wonder and confusion trying to figure this out. They're so confused by it that they're willing to believe it's a case of mistaken identity rather than that this man, who is blind, can now see.
And why is that. Well, it's simple. This is simple. Nobody expected a blind beggar who's been at that gate for years begging as a blind man, which is what they were reduced to in those days, to be anything but a blind beggar.
Now listen, suffering lowers the expectation that life is going to get any better than it is now. It always lessens the expectation that life could be any different than what this is. I'm a blind beggar. I'm just a blind beggar. I'm always going to be a blind beggar. Suffering does that.
However, though God may call somebody to prolong suffering, we must not, we cannot ever limit the power of God. We can't limit it. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. What he did then he can do now. That man and those neighbors never expected this blind beggar to be able to see again. Their expectations were lowered.
In Psalm 78, there is a passage of scripture about the children of Israel that says, listen to this, and they limited the Holy One of Israel by their unbelief.
They limited the Holy One. How do you limit a limitless God. By unbelief. Jesus went to Nazareth, the Gospel of Mark, and it says, Jesus could do no great miracle among them except a few things because of the unbelief that persisted. He marveled, it says, at their unbelief.
We must never limit God. Even though that expectation is lowered, maybe God's going to do something. And he does.
They brought him, Verse, 13 who was formerly blind to the Pharisees. It was the Sabbath when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. You know, Jesus does this a lot on the Sabbath. It's kind of like he looks at his watch, of course, he didn't have one, his hour glass and he says, you know, it's the Sabbath. I think I'm going to do something.
I say that because seven times there are seven miracles that Jesus did on the Sabbath and he always stirred up the leaders. Ruffled their feathers. Seven separate miracles in the New Testament all done on the Sabbath day.
Jesus did, it not just to tick off the leaders, but to ruffle the feathers of those who wrongly interpreted what the Sabbath was all about.
You see, in the Jewish writings called the Mishnah, the Mishnah, commentary on the law, there was a tractate, an entire book in other words, on what you could and could not do on the Sabbath day. Did you know it was forbidden in the Mishnah to heal on the Sabbath.
It was forbidden to set a broken bone on the Sabbath unless it was life threatening. Otherwise, you had to wait till the next day before you set that broken limb.
Now interestingly, in the Mishnah, it was lawful, they talked about these things and wrote it down, to spit on the Sabbath. But if your spittle rolled in the ground, now you broke the law. Because now you have created a furrow in the ground. And that's the agricultural process of digging a furrow in order to plant. Seriously. This is how crazy it was. So there always, oh, it's the Sabbath!
Now what kind of people don't rejoice when a blind man is healed. Answer, people who prefer policies to people. The policy is more important than the people. To Jesus, the people are more important than the policies because the policies didn't match up with the word of God. God created this person, I'm going to heal him. So.
They brought him who was formerly blind of Jesus. It was the Sabbath, Verse 15. The Pharisees also asked him again how he had received his sight. He said to them, he put clay and my eyes and I washed and I saw.
Therefore, some of the Pharisees said, this man is not from God because he does not keep the Sabbath. Another said, how can a man who is a sinner do such signs. And there was a division among them. They said to the blind man, what do you say about him because he opened your eyes. He said, he's a prophet.
But the Jews did not believe, concerning him, that he had been blind and received his sight until they called the parents of him who had received his sight. And they asked them saying, is this your son, who you say was born blind.
How then does he now see. His parents answered them, we know that he's our son and that he was born blind. But by what means he now sees we do not know or who opened his eyes we do not know. He is of age, ask him, he will speak for himself.
His parents said these things because they feared the Jews for the Jews had agreed already that if anyone confessed that he was the Christ, he would be put out of the synagogue. They're not satisfied with his testimony, they want to bring in his parents.
Now it's interesting. His parents, can I just say, aren't that great of parents, it would seem. Because why isn't he at their house and they're taking care of him. He's a blind beggar. And they want to, in answering this, throw their son under the bus for the Pharisees. Don't ask us, ask him, he's of age. In other words, he'll be responsible for himself.
And what they were afraid of is being un-synagogued. That's really the term. Aposynagogus. Kicked out of the synagogue. Cast out, which means you were socially ostracized from society at that point. You could lose your job, you could lose your family, you'd be put out of the culture. They didn't want that. So they said, well you know, let him get de-synagogued, not us. Therefore, his parents said, he's of age, ask him.
So they, again, called the man who was blind and said to him, give God the glory. We know this man is a sinner.
Just pause over that. Here a sinful, religious, arrogant, pompous, unrighteous man calling the sinless perfect son of God a sinner. We know this man is a sinner.
He answered and said whether he is a sinner or not, I don't know. One thing I know that though I was blind, now I see.
John Newton got the words of his song, his hymn, Amazing Grace, from this text. The slave trader who was converted, Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now I'm found, Was blind, but now I see.
And here's what I love. Because I don't know all that stuff you're asking me, but there's one thing I know, I was blind, but not anymore. I can see, that I know for sure. And you cannot take away a person's personal testimony. That's why your testimony is so powerful.
Tell people, tell unbelievers how you came to Christ. This is what happened to me. This is who I was before I came to Jesus. This is what happened to me. This is who I am. Now they can't say, uh uh. They can't say that because it happened to you.
So I love it. He just sort of is like, I don't know that but I know this. And there's a principle there. There's a lot of things we don't know. But never give up what you do know for what you don't know. You know, I don't know this, so therefore I'm just going to leave church and never be a Christian. And I'm not going to read the Bible because I just can't figure that out.
What. Just hold on to what you know. And let what you don't know come in due time.
Put a file in your head. Create a file and title it, write in that file, this is called, the file is called, Waiting for Further Information. It's a good file to have. I got a lot of stuff in that file. I'm waiting for further information on a lot of things that have happened in my life that kind of bug me and I don't think I want to ask God about that. But it's like, you know what, I don't see it all. I'll wait for further information. He'll clarify it.
And I'm sure that once I'm in heaven and see His face, I won't even have a question.
Hey listen, do you think this guy, blind all of his life, is in heaven right now going, man, I'm so bummed out that God let me be blind all those years. Do you think he's thinking that. Are you kidding? His story is still being told in hundreds of thousands and millions of people have been blessed and enlightened by the story that is told about him to this day. That's how God can use your story. Your suffering.
And there's something simple about his testimony. I love simple testimonies I get weary of people saying, you know, let me paint the picture of how really creepy and bad I used to be. We tell those morbid stories so people go, wow. You were like Breaking Bad. And now you're breaking glad. But you know, you spent 20 minutes telling me about how bad you were and only like one minute telling me that you got saved.
You know, that's why I love the Testament. He goes, OK, here's my testament, I was blind, now I see. Now I see. Simple. Straightforward.
They said to him again, what did he do to you. How. There's that question. How did he open your eyes. He answered, I told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again. He's just sort of tired of this, exasperated, losing his patience. Do you also want to become his disciples.
Then they reviled him and said, you are his disciple but we are Moses' disciple. We know that God spoke to Moses. As for this fellow, we don't even know where he's from. The man answered and said unto him, why, this is a marvelous thing that you don't know where he is from, yet he's opened my eyes.
Now, listen to this, we know that God does not hear sinners but if anyone is a worshipper of God and does his will, he hears him. Since the world began, it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.
Now that is one of the clearest, most logical, lucid, compelling arguments I have ever heard. He's beginning with the major premise and he works to a minor premise. It's a lesson in logic. Major premise, God doesn't hear sinners. People who aren't in a relationship with him. God isn't obliged to answer their prayers until they pray the sinner's prayer, to open their heart to Him. God doesn't here sinners.
So major promise, God doesn't hear sinners. Minor presmise, but he obviously heard Jesus of Nazareth. Therefore, there is something to this. He must be from God.
Also, he's very astute in his theology. He says there is no record of anybody, historically, who's ever been healed of blindness. Congenital blindness. No one. And it's true. In the Old Testament, there is not a single record of all the miraculous, even healings, leprosy, et cetera. Resurrection from the dead. There is not a single recorded instance of a blind person who could see again. He was spot on.
But now I can see. What are you going to do with that. Very, very, very logical.
Verse 34, they answered and said to him, you were completely born in sins, you are teaching us?
What a bunch of creeps.
When you lose an argument, a person will often resort to what is called an ad hominem argument, which is really not an argument. Ad hominem means a personal attack. And that's when you start name calling and saying, you know, your mother wears army boots and you're thinking of all the bad things you can say because you just don't have any logical response. So you just attack the person rather than the issue.
So they're saying, you know what, you were born in sin. That's why you were blind all your life. You were steeped in it.
Boy, you know there's an unbelief of a searching heart, but this is the unbelief of a hardened heart.
Now look what it says at the end of Verse 34. What do they do. They cast him out. They aposynagogussed him. They un-synagogued him. He is now cast out. He is kicked out of the fellowship of Judaism.
His parents were afraid of this, that's what they said, ask him, let him deal with it, throw him under the bus. He says what he says, very logically, very clearly. They cast him out. They gave him a formal declaration of disfellowship.
They cast him out and now look at Verse 35, you have to see this before communion, Jesus heard that they cast him out and when he had found him, don't you love that, they unfound him. He found him.
They rejected him, he found him and accepted him.
He said to him, do you believe in the Son of God. He answered and said, who is he, Lord, that I may believe in him. Jesus said, you have both seen him and it is he who is talking with you. Boy, I get goosebumps just reading that.
It's like Jesus to the woman at the well in Sumarra. I know that when the Messiah comes, he's going to figure all this out. The one that's speaking to you is the Messiah.
Who is he that I may believe. Now his faith is ready. He's ready to place faith. Who is he, Lord, that I may believe. Or sir, that I may believe. Courier or the word, corias, courier, Lord, could be translated sir. So when he says, who is he Lord or sir, that I may believe in him. And Jesus said to him, you have both seen him, you've apprehended him with the new eyes that you now have and with the ear gate that you're hearing, he's talking to you.
And he said, Lord, I believe. Now the second use of the word Lord is different. The second use of the word Lord is that I acknowledge you as the Messiah, as the Son of God. I acknowledge you as the Lord of all. How do I know that. Because what did he do as soon as he said that. He worshiped him. He worshiped him. Proskuneo, he bowed before him. He prostrated himself and acknowledged that he is the only Lord of all. He worshiped him.
And Jesus said, for judgment, I have come into the world of those who do not see may see. And that those who see may be made blind. Some of the Pharisees who were with him heard these words and said to him, are we blind, also?
Before we read, that answer that. Are they? Oh Yeah. Oh yeah. What did Jesus call them in Matthew 23. Blind guides who strain at a gnat and swallow a camel. Blind leaders of the blind. He spoke about them being in darkness, darkness not knowing God, opposed to the truth of God. That's what spiritual darkness is.
Here's a man who is blind. You're blind blind. He was physically blind. He can see. Physically now, he can see spiritually. You are blind spiritually. You will be sentenced by God, because of that, to utter, total, eternal darkness and blindness.
Are we blind, also? Jesus said, if you were blind, you would have no sin. But now you say we see, therefore your sin remains. In other words, if you were to admit that you were blind, you'd be seeing like this guy.
But if you arrogantly persist that you claim that you can see all, you are so blind.
And you are worse off than this man who was born blind and sat as a beggar at the gate. It's an incredible analogy, these blind guides.
Jesus says something, and I want to close in this thought. He said, for judgment, Verse 39, I have come into this world. You say, wait a minute, how does that square with what is said in John, Chapter 3, Verse 17, where he says that he didn't come to judge or bring condemnation to the world.
Here's how it is. When Jesus came to this earth, he came to bring salvation, not condemnation. Not judgment. He will be the judge. But he came to bring salvation. But his coming results in condemnation to those who have persistently hard hearts. The New Testament in John 5 says you are already condemned. You're living in the state of condemnation. His coming, his living, his substitutionary death, the result of that brings condemnation to those with hardened hearts.
See, it's like the sun. The same sun that melts the ice hardens the clay. The same presence of Jesus Christ that opens up salvation to this blind man who believes that Jesus is the Messiah, hardens, further hardens, and puts in darkness and consigns to judgment these people who arrogantly persist that they can see.
But think of this and then will pray will take communion. This man is cast out of the temple. The Lord of the temple finds him. They push him away. Jesus finds him and brings him close. Rejected by the society of men, accepted by the Son of God. Beautiful contrast.
One of my favorite author, commentator, preachers of yesteryear, yester-century, you're thinking, he's going to say Charles Spurgeon, he always quotes Charles version. No, I'm not going to say him. OK, he's going to J Campbell Morgan. No I'm not.
Alexander McLaren. Scottish. Scottish preacher, wrote a great commentary set on the Bible. Put sermons together. He was trying out for a position as a pastor in the church. He went before the eldership, the pulpit committee, whatever, they heard him, they talked to him, and they rejected him. They didn't give him the position.
And he said it was the worst day of his life. He was broken hearted. And so he wired, in those days, they had a wire, like telegraph, his father one word. Rejected.
So brokenhearted. One word only, rejected. His father immediately wired back, rejected on earth, accepted in heaven.
As you face the temple or the table of the Lord tonight, these elements, rejected on earth, perhaps. Some area where your expectations are really, really low because of suffering or circumstance, perhaps. Cast out by men, perhaps. By a spouse, perhaps. By a boss, perhaps. By the legal system, perhaps.
But accepted by God because of the work Jesus. If you have asked Jesus to forgive you of your sins, you take these elements freely tonight. Oh, but I have sinned this week, even. Then ask him to forgive you now.
Listen, if it was true that there is this direct correlation between sin and suffering or sin and death, I wouldn't be here right now. I would have been dead a long time ago. The judgment of God would have fallen on me a long time ago. But I'm here because of God's grace and mercy.
Rejected on earth, accepted by God in heaven. And you take these elements as arms of God reaching out saying, I accept you, just as you are. You ask him, no matter what you've done, to forgive you the iniquities that have caused you to fall.
If you have never accepted Jesus, received him as your Lord and Savior, you do so right now. I'm going to leave you in that prayer. And as we pray, the communion board will come and will pass out the elements. Let's pray:
Our Father, we thank you for Jesus, who found a man who is cast out. Some of us feel cast out, cast down, rejected, despised, sad and hurting, sorrowful, alone. Oh, how you love us. Oh how you find us and soothe us and receive us as we come to you. If you have never received the Lord personally, you say to him, Lord, I am a sinner, forgive me. I believe Jesus came to earth to die for my sin. That he shed his blood for me. That he died and rose again. I turn from my sin, I turn to Jesus as my Savior. I want to live for him as my Lord. Help me to do that in Jesus' name. Amen.