Sermon Lent 3 2017
Text John 9:1-7 (Plus) As he went 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?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.
As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming when no man can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Having said this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go”, he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means Sent). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing. [End of text]
“I can choose to do what I want with my life”. “I have the right to choose whether to keep the baby.” Neither of these statements is correct. There are a lot of things we do not get to choose whether we like it or not. You did not choose, when nor where you would be born; nor whether you would be male or female; nor into what race or family; nor what you would look like, small boned, larger boned; the color of your hair; big or small ears or nose, the color of your eyes.” God decided all that and much more. And your parents decided other matters in your life that God left for them to do; an example is where you first went to school.
In our text a man is born blind. He nor his parents decided that, God did. And we are told by Jesus “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.” The world will say, “how unfair this is. How can a loving god do this?” The fact is none of us deserve to have sight, hearing, or five fingers on a hand. I could go on and on about what we don’t deserve. We are rebellious creatures who still do not obey God as we should. ---But notice this man is actually honored, and in more ways than one. The best blessing for him and us mentioned in our text is this, We Must Do the Work of Him Who Sent Jesus. Think of that, you and I, the man born blind, the disciples are honored to do the work of God. But please understand something about this work. It is not always easy; it can call for sacrifices. You often do not get to choose how you will serve the Lord. Look at our text and you will see this truth.
Jesus again is teaching his disciples an important lesson. Such instruction reveals how Jesus is the “light of the world”. He shows who God is and what he does. The disciples in this whole story are just listeners and learners. They don’t do a thing. But they do learn about the sacrifice they will later make to do God’s work. They also see they won’t choose the time or work they are going to be doing.---When the day of our text began the blind man had no idea of what was going to happen that day. He was going to experience great joy and also great frustration. He was the one who would with Jesus do God’s work. After the disciples question and Jesus’ answer, Jesus gave the blind man his sight. He did this in an unusual way. He did so, because it was the Sabbath. He wanted to draw the Jewish leaders’ attention. Now notice in all this so far, the man had no choice. Born blind, living many years, he was now an adult; Jesus purposefully came to him and healed him. This man was going to be another believer in him. As such a believer he would start serving his loving Lord.
As believers the same is true for you. There will be some things over which you will have no choice. All of us are born with some imperfection; or we suffer ailment or deficiency or accident with which we have to deal for years. You also will at times have no choice over how God decides to use you. Other times he may give you choices of how to serve him. He will want to and will bless all you do for him. If your life and service to him are difficult or not, he will help you. Just ask him in prayer.
But we need to understand our Lord also did not always have a choice. Allow me to give you three examples of this. The first occurred during Holy Week when Jesus was teaching in the temple and a great crowed was gathered. Jesus was extremely sad when he said these words: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Look your house is left desolate”. (Matt.23:37-38) Jesus wanted save these people from their sins, from death and hell, and they resisted. Here Jerusalem chose, and they chose very badly.
The second example occurred when Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus prayed to his Father; “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will but yours be done.” (Lk.22:42). In heaven, before being born in Bethlehem, the Father, Son, Jesus and the H.S. were in total agreement concerning the plan of salvation. But Jesus, now in human flesh, facing his hellish death, asks the Father if there might not be another way. There wasn’t. He had no choice but to die for us!
The third example when Jesus had no choice was when He was on the cross. He cried out: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46) The Father and the Son were and are one. So Jesus to be abandoned by his Father, punished by his Father was worse than hell in a sense. He certainly wished that it would have been different. It wasn’t. He had no choice. ---So let us note please what Jesus endured for us. If you think at times that not having a choice is unfair, remember how unfair it was for him to die for you and me! If you at times think God asks too much of you, remember what Jesus was asked to do for you. And he did it!
Likewise, remember in all this Jesus’ love for you. If he loved you so much to suffer so much and die so cruelly, then remember that love when he asks you to do something for him. Secondly, realize that what he asks you to do is beneficial to you and others. Consider the blind man. After he was given sight, he had to deal with family and friends who were suffering from shock. But he especially had to deal with the Jewish leaders. He was Jesus’ voice to speak the truth of God. Listen to a couple of those interchanges. First with the unbelieving neighbors “His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, “Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?” Some claimed that he was. Others said, “No, he only looks like him.” But he himself insisted, “I am the man.” “How then were your eyes opened?” they demanded. He replied, “The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.” (8-11) Isn’t it interesting how this man was led, not by his own choice, to testify about Jesus? Please remember, you can and will be asked to do the same.
But this man was asked to do something even more difficult, tell the truth to Jesus enemies. “the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. “He put mud on my eyes,” the man replied, “and I washed, and now I see.” Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others asked, “How can a sinner do such miraculous signs?” So they were divided. Finally they turned again to the blind man, “What have you to say about him? It was your eyes he opened.” The man replied, “He is a prophet.” Later they talked to him again, “Give glory to God,’” they said. “We know this man is a sinner.” He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” Then they asked him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” He answered, “I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples, too?” Then they hurled insults at him and said, “You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses! We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.” The man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly man who does his will. To this they replied, “You were steeped in sin as birth; how dare you lecture us!” See how God used this man! See how he had to talk about Jesus, See how he just spoke the truth!
What a fine example this is for us! God will also use you as needed. Speak the truth. Likewise consider this. You were cured of a far greater ailment than the blind man. You have all of your sins taken away. You will live after death. You will have all the joys of heaven. So may we willingly do whatever God asks us even when it is difficult. Jesus did something far more difficult for us than we will ever have to do. May God always help us, his children, to serve and honor HIM in all we think, do and speak. Amen.