The Blind Man’s Story: John 9.1-38
Look at you. Just look at you.
To me, just seeing you there is a pleasure. Seeing anybody is a pleasure to me, because not too long ago, I could see nobody -- nothing. I was blind. In fact, I was born blind. What a pitiful sight I was.
Day after day, early in the morning, my poor old father would lead me to the temple, and he would leave me there alone, to beg for pennies while he worked to support us all day long. At night, he would come back exhausted, and he would lead me home. All those years; I had never even seen my own father.
I used to sit outside the temple, in one of the gates, and beg pennies from those who came to worship. Many people would feel guilty and hope to buy off God’s anger toward them by dropping money into my cup.
Then one Sabbath day, I heard a group of people coming out of the temple together. I heard them stop near me, and I began to feel strange. You know the feeling -- when you feel someone looking at you. I could feel their eyes – the whole group had stopped and were just looking at me, without saying a word.
After a while, one of them cleared his throat, and started talking. But he wasn’t talking to me -- he was talking about me. As if I were just some object on the road. As if I were deaf as well as blind. He said, “Rabbi, who sinned? This man or his parents that he should be born blind?”
Now with this, I started to listen closely. I knew I had done nothing wrong before I was born! But I have always wondered what my parents had done that was so bad that I would be born into the miserable condition as a result.
Then -- then came the Voice. At first the voice was irritated. “Neither this man nor his parents!”
But then, the voice became gentle. My heart began to beat fast as he said, “he was born blind so that the works of God could be displayed in him. “
I don’t know how to describe it. It was a strong voice, a certain voice, but such a loving voice. I don’t know why he should care about me. I had never spoken to him. I didn’t know who he was. In fact, I didn’t really care. But somehow, he seemed to be interested in me, even though I could not have cared less about him. Yet something was about to happen. I could feel it coming. I could almost taste it… a scent in the air. Something… something… and all of a sudden there were hands on me, and somebody was rubbing mud into my eyes. He said he was the light of the world -- and he rubbed mud in my eyes! Then he told me to go wash in the pool of Siloam.
Now this is crazy! Here I am a blind man, and some stranger comes up and rubs mud in my eyes, and tells me to go all the way down to the south end of the city to wash! I could barely find my way home without my father’s help. If I went off alone by myself I was liable to get lost or robbed or trampled by the crowds or animals. Why couldn’t I just wash in one of the temple fountains? More importantly, why did he have to rub mud in my eyes in the first place?
But here’s the thing. The way he stopped to look at me on his way out of the temple. The way he spoke when he said that the works of God would be displayed in me. I don’t know, it was crazy! Yet I felt he could be trusted. I felt that I could trust him. So, I did.
So I got up, and felt my way of all the way to the Pool of Siloam. Don’t ask me why. I don’t know. All the way to the pool, I kept asking myself, “why did he stop? Why was he interested in me?” and yet, I felt that I had to obey him. That to trust him was the most important thing in the world.
I found out later that he’d been in the temple having a big fight with the Pharisees. He had said to them that he was the light of the world, and that anyone who followed him would experience the light of eternal life. The Pharisees wouldn’t believe him, and even tried to kill him for blasphemy. You see, he was telling them that intimacy with God was offered by God to all people – and yet many people, the Gentiles, the sinners, the lame and the blind were being turned away from the temple gates. Jesus welcomed all people into intimacy with himself, and said that through intimacy with him, they would find intimacy with God. That’s what he meant when he said that he was the light of the world. The temple no longer was. He said that by following him, the light of knowing God personally could into the hearts of people – all people – any person – even me.
But the Pharisees wouldn’t believe him, so when he came out of the temple, he proved that he was the light of the world. You see he came to me, a man not allowed into the temple because he was blind. He said he was the light of the world, and he came to a man in darkness. He said that God’s work would be done in me. And he rubbed mud in my eyes and he sent me to the pool.
And I washed.
And, I see. I see!
They say that seeing is believing. But I tell you, I believed first. And then I saw.
The people who knew me could hardly believe it. Would you? Some even said I wasn’t I, that it was someone else who just looked like me!
Finally, they brought me to the Pharisees. The Pharisees kept asking me what happened, and I kept telling them that some man had brought light to my eyes. This only seemed to make them angry. You would have thought that they would have been glad that God was doing great works among us. But they weren’t glad. They were only angry.
Some of them said that it couldn’t have been the work of God, because God could not work miracles on the Sabbath. I guess that was because they knew their own Sabbath sermons even put God to sleep. In the end, they finally just said that I was a liar, and that I had never been blind at all. They had walked past me day after day as they passed through the temple gates – walked right past me, yet they had never noticed me. It was as if they were blind rather than I. They refused to believe that God had done a miracle. Why couldn’t they see?
One of them decided to try to prove I was lying, so they went and got my parents. My parents were scared to death. They had heard and seen how much the Pharisees hated Jesus, and they were afraid. They were so scared that they did nothing more than admit that I was their son and I had been born blind. Nobody wants to get involved anymore -- not even my own parents.
Well this only made matters worse. The Pharisees were really mad at me now. They called me in for a second hearing. But this time, instead of asking for information, they kept trying to get me to change my story. They tried to make me say that God had not worked in me
As they continued to give me the third degree, I thought about it. No matter what they said, I had been born blind, and now, because Jesus stopped and interfered in my life, I could see. Jesus had opened my eyes. Think about that! No man had ever done that before! Not even one of the prophets ever made a man see who had been born blind. So the prophets were from God, how much more of God’s power must Jesus have?
I the man born blind could see that Jesus was from God, why couldn’t the others?
Since the beginning of time it is never been heard that anyone had opened the eyes of a man born blind. Believe me I have checked into that. Obviously, this man was from God, or to he could not have had that kind of power. So I said this. And that was when the Pharisees really lost all patience. They threw me out of the court, and they excommunicated me. They just wouldn’t see.
Well, there I was. Out in the street.
Oh, what a beautiful street! The sky, the animals, the people… the people. Who was that person looking at me?
He came over to me. He touched me. He spoke. That voice! I remember that voice! That was the voice that had spoken to me before! And now he was speaking again, but this time I could see him! He said to me, “do you believe in the son of man?” The son of man? Daniels messiah?
My heart raced inside of me. “Who is he, sir, that I may put my trust in him?”
Jesus smiled and looked into my clear, open eyes. “You have both seen him and he is the one talking with you.”
And for the second time that day, my blindness left me. I could see. Jesus is the light of the world. First, he had brought physical light into my eyes, but now, as I placed my trust in him completely, the blindness of my heart totally disappeared. I could see the light of eternal life. I have come to know the God who loved even me.
“Lord, I believe!” And I worshipped Jesus.