Light of the World

Light of the World

Life & Light Community Church

Message from 4/22/2023

Life & Light Community Church began in the early months of 2020. What began as an opportunity for me, my wife and step-kids to continue to worship together, has now evolved into a ministry that has expanded to include close friends, family, and those who are simply hungry for the word of God. You can find us on Facebook, so please, feel free to reach out and join us.

“As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.” When He had said this, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and applied the clay to his eyes, and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So, he went away and washed, and came back seeing. Therefore, the neighbors, and those who previously saw him as a beggar, were saying, “Is not this the one who used to sit and beg?” Others were saying, “This is he,” still others were saying, “No, but he is like him.” He kept saying, “I am the one.” So, they were saying to him, “How then were your eyes opened?” He answered, “The man who is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes, and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash’; so, I went away and washed, and I received sight.” They said to him, “Where is He?” He said, “I do not know.” 

                                                                                     John 9:1–12 (NASB95)

In John chapter 7, Jesus arrives in Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles, a seven-day Feast to commemorate the desert wanderings of the Hebrew people. Prior to leaving for the Feast, Jesus has a discussion with His brothers who seek to have Him show Himself to the world as Messiah. Jesus tells them to go to the Feast for it is not yet His time. It is only then that Jesus and the disciples arrive, as if in secret. It is during this Feast that Jesus first makes the claim to be living water and offering this water to all who believe in Him. Near the end of the Feast of Tabernacles, a large candelabra is lit producing enough light that it can be seen throughout the city.

It is against this backdrop that Jesus claims to be the Light of the World. As we begin chapter 9, Jesus and His disciples encounter a man born blind, and while the disciples focus on the cause of this man’s blindness, Jesus will seek to redirect their focus to the purpose of the blindness. One of the marks of the coming Messianic age was the restoration of sight to the blind. Jesus has made an explicit claim by stating, “I am the Light of the world.” This man who has been born blind is about to leave the darkness of the world behind and enter into the true Light that has come into the world to enlighten all people.

The disciples assume sin is the cause of a man born blind, but Jesus says this is for the works of God to be displayed. As Light of the World, Jesus covered His eyes in clay and sent him to wash in the Pool of Siloam. When he returned seeing the people now appear blind, some not able to recognize him as the beggar they knew. The man confesses Jesus that has opened his eyes.

As Light of the World, Yeshua has been sent to step into the darkness of the world, offering to open the spiritual eyes of those who are willing to be obedient. Though we are sent to proclaim His healing power, those we know may not accept or believe our witness, but we must continue to share with others the power of Yeshua to open our eyes.

In this message we seek to answer the question, How should the Christ follower respond to Yeshua as Light of the World?”

As Christ followers, we must respond to Yeshua as Light of the World, by working the works of the Father, while it is still day.

1). Our first response as Christ followers who recognize Yeshua as Light of the World, is to be willing to be obedient to His commands.

Yeshua has been sent to bring healing to the world, we must be obedient when sent to share His message.

Jewish belief held that God foresaw a person’s sin, thus a person was born in sin and punished. It was also common for disciples to ask a trusted teacher questions that would attempt to make sense of biblical teachings known by the disciples and the reality of what surrounded them. The man that Jesus meets has been blind since birth, this prompts the disciples to ask a question concerning the origin of this man’s suffering. They assume there is a connection between sin and suffering and thus, they want to know who is responsible, the man or his parents.

The disciples are busy thinking about the cause of this man’s suffering, what has caused the blindness, but Yeshua will shift their focus from the cause to the purpose – Yeshua has been sent into the world to do the works of God, that includes God’s power to heal this man. Now, this does not mean that God heartlessly inflicted blindness on this man. No, it simply means that God allowed nature to run its course so that the man would ultimately bring glory to God through the reception of both physical and spiritual sight.

The reason for this man’s blindness is not rooted in sin at all, through the suffering of the blind man, the glory of God would, in the end, be manifested. In fact, this man’s blindness from birth symbolized the desperate and deeply flawed condition of the people of Israel. Therefore, giving light to the man born blind was a prophetic sign of giving light to all of Israel. What happens next might be a bit much for us to wrap our heads around. Yeshua spits on the ground to make clay. It may be difficult for some in the western church to think about Yeshua spitting on the ground, in fact, it just might stun us as we hear the words spoken. But there should be nothing stunning about this.

Prophets were known to speak not only with their words but also through symbolic actions, and this is exactly what Jesus has done here. By making clay, Yeshua wants those nearby to make a connection with the story of the creation of man. God created man out of the dust of the ground and Jesus make clay from the dust of the ground, by spitting and kneading the mud into clay, thus the healing is a redemptive act of restoration – this is not just a healing, this is the creation of a new man! Also note here that kneading the mud into clay would constitute working on the Sabbath and undoubtedly upset the Pharisees. Then Yeshua sent the man to wash in the Pool of Siloam. This is the second time in John’s account that Jesus has used a pool in healing someone.

Siloam is the Greek translation of the Hebrew name Shiloah, meaning “Sent.” The Pool of Siloam was built by King Hezekiah. His workers built an underground tunnel from the Spring of Gihon in the Kidron Valley. This tunnel channeled the water inside of the city walls and was the only source for spring water inside the city. This pool was the source of water in the Tabernacle ceremonies and had religious, ceremonial value. Remember Jesus promised living water to those who believed in Him and if Jesus is the source of the Feast of Tabernacles water, this man has just experienced such water in a profound way.  Also note here that Yeshua has been described as the One “sent” by God. This man has been “sent” to the Pool named “Sent” by the One “sent” by God. The man was obedient and washed in the pool and came back seeing.

There is a contrast between the pools Jesus used in His healings as well. In the first healing at Bethesda, Jesus did not tell the man to wash in the pool as He did here, why? The Pool of Bethesda was a pagan facility while the Pool of Siloam is a Jewish facility associated with the Jerusalem Temple. As the source of the water for the Feast of Tabernacles, Jesus is the source of the healing, not the pool. The man’s obedience has played a part in His healing as well. Had he not been obedient and gone to the pool, it is highly likely this healing might not have happened. Like this man, we too have had such an encounter with Yeshua. At some point in time Jesus saw you in your suffering and began drawing you to Him through the Holy Spirit. You had a choice to make, respond to the calling in obedience or reject the offer of healing coming from the Son of God. In your obedience you were brought out of the darkness and into the Light of Messiah, the Light of the World.

Questions for discussion/reflection:

How has your view of suffering and sin changed knowing that, at times, our suffering is for the glory of God?

How might the power of Yeshua in your life be a “symbolic action” to those who know you best?

How are you feeling “sent” by God during this season of life? If you are not, why might this be?

As Christ followers, we must respond to Yeshua as Light of the World, by working the works of the Father, while it is still day.

2). Our second response as Christ followers who recognize Yeshua as Light of the World, is to confess that Yeshua has opened our eyes.

Our lives must be a witness to those who know us, and to those we meet, of the power of Yeshua in our lives.

God sent Yeshua into the world with a purpose – to do the works of God. We can see four of those works in this passage: first, Yeshua came seeking people. God seeks people and it appears that Yeshua took the initiative with this man – Yeshua does the “seeing” of this man. Second, Yeshua came caring for people. God cares about people and their hurts, needs, pain, and suffering. Thirdly, Yeshua came loving and having compassion on people. God loves people, it is His desire that none should perish but all should come to eternal life in His Son. In fact, God loves people so much He sent His Son to die that we might find reconciliation with the Father. Finally, Yeshua came healing people. In this particular passage the healing is blindness and the giving of sight.

The man came home seeing and immediately there is controversy and questioning. The neighbors interrogate the man and in disbelief work to verify that he is, indeed, the man they knew as a beggar. There are three reactions to the miracle this formerly blind man must now face from his neighbors. The first reaction came from those who thought he might be the man they knew as a beggar. They said he certainly looks like the same man, but they could not be sure. There were others who had no doubt about the identity of this man and positively identified him as the man who was born blind and begged in the neighborhood. Finally, there are those who objected to the identity of this man saying he only looked like the same man who was born blind. Yet, through it all, the man continually states plainly, “it’s me!”

The crowds wanted to identify and track down the one who healed this man. But the blind man does not know where his healer went as he washed in the Pool of Siloam. They do not reject the miracle, but they look to the Pharisees, the established religious and theological leaders of the synagogue, for clarity and counsel. So, they have brought the man to the Pharisees to help aid in understanding this astonishing miracle. From this point forward, the man begins to see more clearly who Jesus is, while the Pharisees become more spiritually blind – while sin did not cause the man to be blind, it did cause the Pharisees blindness. The blind man received a blessing from Jesus even though he did not have a full understanding of who Jesus was. The important part to grasp and understand is that his heart was right with Jesus – it was soft and pliable, open, and willing to receive instruction, and then his heart was ready to be obedient to what he heard.

This is the first step of gaining spiritual sight – seeing Yeshua as a man. This is the only thing the formerly blind man knew – a man named Jesus commanded him to do certain things, he did as commanded and received his sight. This man’s encounter with Yeshua is a fairly common experience when coming to Christ. The formerly blind man was confronted by Jesus – each of us has had some kind of confrontation with Yeshua. The formerly blind man was commanded to do certain things – each of us, at some point, were commanded to do certain things. The formerly blind man was obedient to the commands of Jesus – each of us has been obedient to the commands of Yeshua. Finally, the formerly blind man was delivered from darkness and received sight – each of us has been brought out of spiritual darkness and given spiritual sight to walk in the Light of Yeshua.

We must first learn about Yeshua before we can know Him personally, but a person cannot stay at this stage, they must grow and mature in Christ, and thus, come to know Christ personally. There are many in the world like this formerly blind man – they know about Yeshua, but they do not know Him personally. They have little understanding of His teachings and claims; His presence and strength’ His love and care; or His power and promises. This is where we as Christ followers come in – we must be willing to share our story in Christ. We must confess – witness – that Yeshua is the One who opened our eyes to see clearly exactly who He is, the Son of God, sent to bring healing and salvation to the world.

I am sure that most of us have had the experience of having people question our story or the changes they have seen in us and our lifestyle. It will always be those who know you the best who will doubt you the most, but when they begin to clearly see the power and presence of Christ in your life, that doubt will begin to change to cautious curiosity. For those who are hurting, have unmet needs, are in pain, or suffering, they may have been searching for a period of time, but had no idea of who or what to search for; your life lived in obedience to Christ may have the answer they have been seeking. Understand, it is NOT that you are perfect, no one is, but the fact that you exhibit something different than what they find in the world is enough to make them ask questions, even if they sound as if they do not believe your story. Don’t stop. People need to hear the truth about who Yeshua is and only those who have experienced Yeshua in a profound way can explain Him to those who continue to seek Him.

Questions for discussion/reflection:

God has sent Yeshua into the world with a purpose, likewise, Yeshua has sent you into the world with a purpose. For what purpose has Yeshua sent you into the world?

Now that you have spiritual sight, how might you help those who remain in spiritual darkness?

How does your life “exhibit” something different from what is offered by the world?

As Christ followers, we must respond to Yeshua as Light of the World, by working the works of the Father, while it is still day.

We can only make sense of a dark world by believing in the One who came to be the Light of the world. If people want to be delivered from darkness, they must come to Yeshua, for He alone is the One who gives spiritual sight to all who come to Him. Jesus spoke of Himself and His disciples – that includes you and I – as coworkers; He wanted them, and us, to learn from Him because they would continue His work as “sent ones.” The disciples would continue to do the works of God after His death and resurrection. That work now falls on us, we are the “sent ones” who must continue the works of God.

The disciples believed that a disability such as blindness was a punishment for sin. Many people around the world still believe that suffering results from sin. People tend to believe that displeasing God leads to punishment, therefore, they assume that whenever a person appears to be undergoing punishment, there is reason to suspect wrongdoing. The Bible allows a general relationship between suffering and sin, due to the fall of man, but it refuses to permit the principle to be individualized in every case. Sin produced a suffering world, but an individual personal suffering is not always attributed to personal sin.

The existence of human suffering and blindness is a call to work, not simply to reflect. Yeshua, therefore, links His disciples with Himself, in referring to His work. For disciples of every age, there is an urgency to be reckoned with – time is short – and there is much work to be done. This is the reason Yeshua spoke of working while it is “day.” The “day” was the time allotted for Yeshua to perform His work on earth. The night came when Yeshua died on the cross and was no longer in the world in the physical sense. Now it is our time, the disciples of Christ in this age, to respond to the shortness of time, and continue to do the works of God. Instead of worrying about the cause of our problems, we should instead find out how God can use our problems to demonstrate His power, then we can share this with a world that continues to live in darkness.

We do all things for the glory of God, through Christ our Lord,

Amen and amen.

Next Week: John 9:13-27

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