Sunday, March 22, 2020

John 9; The Fourth Sunday in Lent; March 22, 2020;

John 9; The Fourth Sunday in Lent; March 22, 2020;
Life in Christ Lutheran Church, Grand Marais, MN;
Grace and peace to you from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Since our text is a whole chapter, I'd like to read it through making a few comments as we go.
1 As he passed by, [Jesus] saw a man blind from birth.
Jesus "saw" a blind man. He sees people in need and he does something about it. After all he comes in human flesh to suffer and die on the cross for your need. He sees the forgiveness you need and does something about it.
2 And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.
The disciples ask the natural question. "God must be punishing someone!" Think Job's friends. Jesus corrects them. He talks about purpose. He talks about God's purpose. After all it's not your purpose that should consume you. It is God's purpose. This man is blind so that God has the opportunity to show this sign of healing from Jesus. To show everyone exactly who Jesus is.
4 We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
Jesus doesn't only give the man physical sight. He gives spiritual enlightenment to those who "see" him for who he actually is. If you look back to the beginning of John's Gospel we see John talking about this light in the world.
In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.” (John 1:4–9, ESV)
There is a conflict here between light and darkness. And it will come out even more so in the rest of the reading.
6 Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud 7 and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.
Now Jesus uses very earthly, physical, common elements to heal the man's blindness. God doesn't deal with people internally. Rather, he uses external means. In, with, and under the spit and mud, Jesus word from outside the man heals him of his blindness. God often uses ordinary, everyday, physical things to work in the lives his people. After all he used ordinary, everyday, physical human body hung on a cross to bring forgiveness into the world. And he chooses to bring that forgiveness directly to you through water, bread, and wine.
8 The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar were saying, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” 9 Some said, “It is he.” Others said, “No, but he is like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.” 10 So they said to him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” 11 He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed and received my sight.” 12 They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.”
13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. 14 Now it was a Sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. 15 So the Pharisees again asked him how he had received his sight. And he said to them, “He put mud on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.” 16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” And there was a division among them. 17 So they said again to the blind man, “What do you say about him, since he has opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.”
It is fair to say a dispute arose. The man's neighbors wonder if he's really the same man. Blind men didn't every day receive their sight back again. Even the Pharisees are divided. "He can't be from God, because he doesn't obey the laws that we've made about the Sabbath. They argue about whether Jesus is "from God". Truth is when Jesus comes on the scene there is always division. With Jesus the primary question is always who he is. Since they can't believe, they turn on the man's parents.
18 The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight, until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight 19 and asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” 20 His parents answered, “We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. 21 But how he now sees we do not know, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.” 22 (His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone should confess Jesus to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue.) 23 Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”
They say clearly this is the same man, therefore confirming the Jesus indeed was the one who heal him. Also saying that Jesus is the Messiah. But the Pharisees our firm against Jesus. And the parents know it. They won't speak any more than is necessary because they know they will be excommunicated. And so they return to the formerly blind.
 24 So for the 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.” 25 He answered, “Whether he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” 26 They said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” 27 He answered them, “I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?” 28 And they reviled him, saying, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. 29 We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.” 30 The man answered, “Why, this is an amazing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him. 32 Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” 34 They answered him, “You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us?” And they cast him out.
The Pharisees are openly hostile. They hate Jesus. They do not want to be Jesus' disciples. They can't abide that Jesus is actually "from God". The question is right there, "is Jesus, from God, the Messiah of God, or just a common everyday sinner?" The Pharisees actually take the position of the disciples. They accuse the formerly blind beggar of being a great sinner. When God speaks the truth, people will work very hard to justify themselves. They cast the man out of the synagogue. They remove him from the church. They don't do it out of love, but out of hate. They do it so they don't have to listen to him anymore.
35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 36 He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” 37 Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.” 38 He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.
Jesus finds the man speaks to him again. "Do you believe in the Son of Man?" "It is me, the one you saw and heard."
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17, ESV)
St. Paul says. The man rejoices in what God has done for him. He sees who Jesus is. He calls him "Lord". He was blind, now he sees. Jesus says this is the very reason he's come into the world. To bring spiritual light, faith in him for the forgiveness of sins.
39 Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” 40 Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?” 41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.
This text shows us that when Jesus comes, no matter how it is, there is always division. God's word divides. Sinful people, you and I included, do not like God's judgment against our sin. We would rather hold onto it, excuse it, brush it under the carpet. Jesus is from God, he is not from the world. It is a struggle against God that is only resolved by God judging the world. "For judgment I came into the world." Jesus has come to cast out the ruler of the world. That is, Satan's time, sin's time in the world has come to an end. But it is also true that Jesus comes not “to judge the world but to save the world” (12:47)
Jesus does both at the cross. He takes on the world's darkness and judgment. He becomes the sin of the world. He submits to the darkness, "he suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and was buried." He sacrifices his perfect life for the sake of the whole world. Sin is judged in Jesus' death on the cross and his burial. This is Good Friday…
But there is also Easter. God raises Jesus from the dead. He walks and talks and eats with his disciples. He shows that sin is done in. He shows that he is indeed the one who is from God who brings God's light into the world. Amen.
The peace of God that passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

No comments: