Eyes That Are Blind

Eyes That Are Blind

Life & Light Community Church

Message from 4/2/2023

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.

“They brought to the Pharisees the man who was formerly blind. Now it was a Sabbath on the day when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. Then the Pharisees also were asking him again how he received his sight. And he said to them, “He applied clay to my eyes, and I washed, and I see.” Therefore, some of the Pharisees were saying, “This man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath.” But others were saying, “How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?” And there was a division among them. So, they said to the blind man again, “What do you say about Him, since He opened your eyes?” And he said, “He is a prophet.” The Jews then did not believe it of him, that he had been blind and had received sight, until they called the parents of the very one who had received his sight, and questioned them, saying, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? Then how does he now see?”

“His parents answered them and said, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; but how he now sees, we do not know; or who opened his eyes, we do not know. 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 if anyone confessed Him to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue. For this reason. his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.” So, a second time they called the man who had been blind, and said to him, “Give glory to God; we know that this man is a sinner.” He then answered, “Whether He is a sinner, I do not know; one thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” So, they said to him, “What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?” He answered them, “I told you already and you did not listen; why do you want to hear it again? You do not want to become His disciples too, do you?”

                                                                              John 9:13–27 (NASB95)

The Pharisees are divided over Jesus because He has healed a man on the Sabbath. They refuse to believe the formerly blind man because he confessed Jesus as a prophet. The parents fear the Pharisees because they threaten to put people out of the synagogue who confess Jesus to be Christ. Because they have Eyes That Are Blind they question the man again, until he asks if they want to be disciples of Jesus.

We are born with Eyes That Are Blind until we confess Yeshua is more than a great man, a great teacher, or a great prophet. Because Yeshua is the Son of God, it will cause division among all people groups and nations, even within individual families. While we speak the truth, people will glorify their own gods, until they are able to hear the truth and become disciples of Yeshua.

In this message we seek to answer the question, “What are the implications of being born with Eyes That Are Blind”?

We must recognize that we are born with Eyes That Are Blind and in need of Yeshua, the only One who can give us sight.

1). The first implication of being born with Eyes That Are Blind is that we do not know the true identity of Yeshua.

We must come to know that Yeshua is more than a great man, a great teachers, or a great prophet – He is the Christ, the Messiah.

The local synagogue was equivalent to what we would call a small claims court. If a formal charge had been made it would have gone to the Sanhedrin, the high court. Several things are possible here; first, it is possible the people went to the Pharisees because they realized that Jesus had performed another miracle on the Sabbath and the Pharisees would want to know. Second, the people may have gone to the Pharisees because there is a religious issue here and the Pharisees are respected as authorities on the law and interpretation. Finally, the people could have gone to the Pharisees because the Pharisaic movement was a grassroots movement and less connected with the Temple establishment, even though by the time Yeshua walked the earth the priesthood had been taken over in many ways by the Pharisees.

There were few areas of life which had no religious bearing, so it was natural to consult legal experts rather than medical men in this strange healing. This particular healing was news because it was unusual – the healing of a man born blind. Because of the unusual nature of this healing, two sides of opposing views are beginning to form. However, not all of the Pharisees are against Jesus, so we cannot assume that the investigation would only turn up negative impressions. It appears that there are two parties within the Pharisees debating one another and they come up with very different views regarding the power of Yeshua.  The first view took the stance that a man who breaks the Sabbath is not from God. So, Jesus has broken the Sabbath law, thus, the conclusion is Yeshua is not from God. During this time, many held Yeshua as a prophet, however, because of this conclusion, Yeshua was a Sabbath-breaker, this could not be true.

The second view held that anyone who cures a man of blindness – especially a man born blind – is a man from God. They argued that Yeshua had not performed a sign randomly – it was a work of mercy, a work of healing, and such work is completely within the character of God. So, Jesus healed a blind man – a man born blind – thus Jesus is a man from God. Those who rejected the divine calling of Yeshua, also reject His miracles because, they argued, that Israel’s God would not empower one He did not approve with miracle-working power. The healing is not the true issue here, in fact, it is not even that Jesus opened the man’s eyes. The real issue is something more powerful: Jesus has opened the eyes of a man BORN BLIND. The conclusion here would be simple but one they were unwilling to consider: Jesus is God for only God could heal one born blind.

The formerly blind man gave his opinion about the man who healed him – but for the Pharisees, it was too simple. The side that disapproved of Jesus was more powerful, so the dominant reaction was, of course, negative. The questioning of the formerly blind man was overwhelming – we cannot forget that these Pharisees are part of the Judean Jews who strongly oppose Jesus. When the Pharisees questioning was inconclusive they called in more witnesses. The Pharisees call for witnesses that will verify their suspicions of a hoax or partial healing – something that was very common in ancient Israel. They called for the man’s parents.

While each of us are unique in our coming to Yeshua, we have, nonetheless, had some shared experiences in coming to Christ. We have all felt the call of God on our lives and each has responded. We have all had a “face-to-face moment” with Yeshua. We have all progressed and continue to progress in our faith and understanding of Yeshua. Finally, we have all come to know Yeshua as something different over the course of our growing faith. We have moved from simply seeing Yeshua as a man, to seeing Him as a great prophet to knowing Him as the Son of God and finally to Lord and Savior. This may not be your direct path but each of us has come to the understanding we currently have over the course of our time walking with God.

The biggest challenge we, as Christ followers, face today, is getting people to recognize exactly who Yeshua is; we must find a way to get around the lies and deceptions about the true identity of Yeshua. We must overcome the lie that Yeshua is just a great man; that Yeshua was a great teacher; that Yeshua was a great prophet and get to the heart of the matter – Yeshua is the Son of God, the Messiah. This is not something that will happen “overnight.” People need time to process the information we will pass on, either in relating the Bible to people or our own personal experiences – it will all take time to sink in and be processed.  

Questions for discussion/reflection:

What area of your life is not being directly influenced by Jesus?

How are you struggling with the identity of Yeshua in your life during this season of life?

What area of your life do you still seem to be blind to the power of Yeshua?

We must recognize that we are born with Eyes That Are Blind and in need of Yeshua, the only One who can give us sight.

2). The second implication of being born with Eyes That Are Blind is that we cannot hear the truth.

Those who hear the truth will become disciples of Yeshua and be made free.

Because they could not reach a quick agreement on this case, the Pharisees have called in more witnesses. They have called in the parents of the formerly blind man to review the facts once again. The only witnesses who could testify acceptably whether this man was born blind or not, were his parents. The parents answered only about what they knew – they knew he was their son, and they knew he was born blind. What they did not know was how he had been given sight, nor did they know who had given their son sight. The answers are short and direct. He is our son; he was born blind; we do not know how he sees or who healed him. The parents did not deny their son’s story but neither did they support his claims. This greatly upsets the Pharisees – the parents confirm their son had been born blind and had received his sight – a miracle has been performed.

 Persecution of those who followed Jesus had already begun – the primary persecution came in the form of being “put out of the synagogue.” Being “put out of the synagogue” would be similar to being excommunicated. Jewish regulations stipulated two kinds of excommunication. The first being a thirty-day punishment until the offender could be reconciled. The second was a permanent “ban” accompanied by a curse. The synagogue was a mini-Jewish community center organized around travel hospitality and caring for the power – not like our churches are organized around Bible study and worship. So, to be “banned” would lead to severe isolation and separation from the community and the family. This was the fear of the parents.

While it is true that the Pharisees sought to protect their own power, position, and prestige, they also sought to prevent political unrest should the people try to force Jesus to be their king. This would force Rome to act and suppress any revolt that may begin to form. Thus, the harsh punishment of being “put out of the synagogue.” Not to defend the Pharisees, but there is always another side of the coin we need to be aware of, nonetheless, these Pharisees are frustrated that neither claim by this man can be refuted. When the Pharisees return to the formerly blind man they told him what the acceptable answer would be – they told him to “Give glory to God.” The statement “Give glory to God” means “admit the truth.” What they are saying to the formerly blind man is, “Own up!” meaning that “Whatever you say, we know this man Jesus is a sinner, and therefore, cannot perform such a miracle as healing as you pretend. Tell the truth, what have you to hide?” This is an attempt to “free” the man to “confess his wrong” in proclaiming Jesus as a prophet, and then to call Him a sinner.

However, the formerly blind man fires back at the persistent Pharisees; he is not trained as they are, therefore, he should not be asked such questions; he only knew that he was blind and now he sees. Now the formerly blind man can see Jesus as more than “a man named Jesus,” but could not say exactly who He was. This man does not know the theological terms or how to explain the nature of Yeshua, but he knew one thing – he was blind and now he sees. Jesus had saved him and delivered him from the darkness, from blindness! The man could not answer the theological questions thrust at him, but he could answer to one thing – he could speak to what Jesus has done for him. Now this formerly blind man can see – he can see the hand pf God in his life; he can see the hand of God in the touch of Jesus, and he could feel the hand of God at work in his heart.

The testimony of this man has been repeated many time throughout history by men and women – those who have come to Christ – telling their personal story and experience of coming out of darkness to walk in the Light of the world – the Light of Yeshua; “I was blind but now I see.” The real problem here is that the Pharisees could not, nor did they want to, hear the truth about Jesus. This is clearly evident in the line of questioning and the grasping at straws to discredit Yeshua. These Pharisees were not willing to hear the truth because their eyes are blind to the true identity of Yeshua.

Let me share a personal experience that perhaps you can identify with. I wear glasses, I have since the fifth grade. As I have grown older, naturally my eyesight has gotten a little worse over the years. When I am in bed at night and hear a sound that is foreign to my ears, my eyes pop open and immediately I reach for my glasses. Why? Because when my eyesight is sharp and focused, I am able to focus on the area I heard the noise coming from. When my eyesight is sharp, I can listen more intently because my vision is clear. These Pharisees could hear better if their vision was clear!

Questions for discussion/reflection:

What truth about Yeshua are you having trouble “hearing?”

In what area of your life do you need clear, and focused vision on Yeshua?

What is your “I was…but now I…,” story in Christ? How can you share this with others? Questions for discussion/reflection:

We must recognize that we are born with Eyes That Are Blind and in need of Yeshua, the only One who can give us sight.

The Pharisees had no intention of believing the formerly blind man. They wanted to disqualify Yeshua, so they avoided the truth looking for a loophole. We will meet many people who will look for the loophole to discredit Jesus. They will mask their rejection in endless questions and doubts about Jesus, the Bible, or faith. People will not want to give up what they already have – people believe they have worked hard, and many have, to get to a place of comfort and be unwilling to consider change. This is one thing that is clear about meeting Jesus, you will be changed.

Believers do not have to have all the answers before sharing Christ. All you must truly know is that Yeshua has changed your life and how those changes have affected you in this world. We should be telling people about what Jesus has done for us – from there we trust God to use our words to draw others to Him. Our personal description of Yeshua to others will make an impact. We too were born with Eyes That Are Blind – we were blind to our separation from God; we were blind to our own need; we were blind to the work of God in our lives, and we were blinded by the world around us. Yeshua has changed all of that and delivered us from darkness to walk in His Light.

When we come to Yeshua, the more we know about Him the clearer our vision will become.

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

Amen and amen.

Next Week: John 9:28-41

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