Let us pray: Dear Savior, today we thank You for our eyes—both our physical ones and also the eyes of faith. Move us to use both sets—to see and appreciate the glory and goodness of Your creation and to see our sins and the redemption from them that You provide. Yes, today teach us to appreciate Your tremendous love and kind heart. Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST, THE MIRACLE WORKER!
TEXT: John 9: 1-7, 13-17, 34-39
Fellow Redeemed Sinners:
My name is Avi ben Schlomo. For your Americans who don’t know Hebrew that means: Avi son of Schlomo. I know you’ve never heard my given name, instead you know me as the man born blind whom Jesus healed. My story is amazing—especially for me! And I want to tell it to you. And as I do so, you’ll see that:
JESUS GIVES SIGHT AND INSIGHT
Unlike all of you who were born with sight, I was not. And without amazing parents who were so patient and kind to me, without friends who had compassion upon me, my life would have been unbearable. I never knew colors because I could not see them. Shapes were murky figments of my imagination. I could touch people and objects, but had no frame of reference to really understand them. I remember as a little child hearing voices but not knowing where they came from or what they meant. Over time my parents would repeat the words: “father” and “mother” while grasping my hand and making be touch their bodies. That’s how I began to associate language with people. That’s how I began to recognize voices. Because of my disability I never went to school. I could not work, either, when I got older. Eventually, my friends hit on an idea so that I could live and survive. They took me every morning to the main gate of the temple and there I begged for food and money. Some people were generous, while others ignored me. And still others mocked and laughed at me. It hurt. My life was a living darkness. Some might call it a living hell.
One day a man named Jesus was walking by with some of His disciples. I overheard the conversation that ensued, in fact I’ll never forget it! (Although I could not see, my hearing is very acute.) Anyway, they said: “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” They were blaming either me or my loving parents for my blindness! That comment cut me to the quick. But then Jesus replied in His kind, clear voice: “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but his happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.” And then He also added: “I am the light of the world.” Light. What was that? I had felt the sunlight. But, I had never seen it. It was all so mysterious. And then came my life-changing experience. Jesus apparently took some dirt, spit on it, and rubbed it on my sightless eyes. Then He told me to “Go” and wash in the famous pool of Siloam. My buddies took me and I did exactly what He said. And suddenly, I could see! Colors, forms, shapes, people, buildings, the sunlight! It was beyond telling. Words cannot describe how I felt in that instant. I immediately went home to tell and show my parents. Everyone was overjoyed!
But, some of my neighbors couldn’t grasp this miracle. They questioned whether I was really Avi ben Schlomo. Some even said: “He only looks like the man.” But, I told the truth. I insisted, “I am the man!” Then they asked how this all happened. I told them the truth. Jesus healed me. They asked where Jesus was. I didn’t know. So, they brought me before the Pharisees to find out more. When the Pharisees, those ultra-religious hypocrites found out that I had been healed on the Sabbath and that their human laws about the Sabbath meant that Jesus had done work to heal me and thereby sinned, they were upset. They said of Jesus and indirectly of me: “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” Others in their midst said: “How can a sinner do such miraculous signs?” And so they were divided. Finally they asked me. They asked me about Jesus. I told them the truth: “He is a prophet.” Still they refused to accept the proof of their eyes.—It was at that point that I began to understand what true blindness really was! They called my parents in and questioned them. Schlomo and Esther, my mother, were afraid. They said: “He is of age, (meaning I was over 30) ask him.” Again they mocked Jesus and called Him a sinner. And so I told them: “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was born blind but now I see!” Again they badgered me about how it all happened. They insulted me and called me one of Jesus’ disciples. Finally, I had had enough. And so I told them: “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. Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” At that they threw me out and berated me. I can tell you, I was starting to understand real blindness even more!
As I wandered back to my house, Jesus found me. Don’t ask me how, but He did. And then He asked me something rather cryptic: “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” My response to this question about the Messiah was: “Who is he, sir? Tell me so that I may believe in him.” And then Jesus spoke the sweetest words I have ever heard, even sweeter than when He told me to Go and wash. “You have seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking to you.” Just think! God’s Son came to seek me out and heal me! He chose to find Avi ben Schlomo and give me not just sight, but insight! Insight into the way of eternal life. He chose to honor me with His presence and with His kind love! I responded the only way I could.—“Lord, I believe!” How happy I was. How happy I am today!
Finally, Jesus said a couple more things before He left me. “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” I knew what He meant. I knew that spiritual insight into His glorious mission of saving souls was the best gift of sight there was. Why? Because it meant eternal life in heaven with Him. It meant freedom from eternal worry and all fears, even the fear of death. The Pharisees, it seems some were always around to mock Jesus, knew that He had spoken against their pride. And so Jesus also said to them: “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.” Jesus’ words of eternal truth were played out after this. Various Jews were divided. Some even said that Jesus was demon possessed! Can you imagine that? Talk about spiritual blindness!
Well, there you have my story. I, Avi ben Schlomo, testify that it is the truth. But more importantly St. John, who was there testifies to its veracity. And most importantly of all, God the Holy Spirit testifies to its truthfulness by causing it to be written in the Bible. So, don’t take your physical sight for granted. I know I never will. But more importantly, don’t take spiritual insight for granted either. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved! And your knowledge and appreciation of both this life and the one to come will grow exponentially! Amen.