Fourth Sunday in Lent, March 22, 2020, “I Was Blind, Now I See,” John 9:1-41

“One thing I know, that though I was blind, now I see.” John 9:25

He was blind since birth.  He sat in the city of Jerusalem and begged for a coin or two to help him survive.  We don’t know his name.  But after an amazing encounter with Jesus, this blind man could see.  His world was no longer darkness, but now it was light and life.

This story has both a physical and a spiritual meaning.  On the physical side, Jesus touched his eyes with the mud he made from his saliva and told the blind man to go and wash in the Pool of Siloam which was just outside the city walls of Jerusalem.  With that simple washing, his sight was restored.  Jesus performed a miracle.  He gave physical sight to a man living in the dark with blindness.

But as we know St. John’s gospel has spiritual dimensions to the stories he recorded. We can see this spiritual dimension as we look at the discussions the blind man had with the townspeople, the Pharisees and with Jesus himself.

When the blind man’s neighbors questioned him about his eyesight being restored, he said that a man called Jesus healed him.  For the blind man, Jesus was a human being albeit with some kind of healing power.

When the Pharisees investigated him, they said that Jesus was not from God.  Then they asked him, “What do you say about him?” (vs.17).  The blind man responded, “He is a prophet.”  (vs. 17)  The man began to see Jesus not just as a human being, but someone called by God to deliver God’s message to people.

As the story ends, Jesus searched for the blind man with restored sight because he was driven out of the city.  When Jesus found him, he said to the man, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”  The man answered. “And who is he sir?”  Tell me, so that I may believe in him.”  Then Jesus continued, “You have seen him, and the one speaking with you is he.” He said, ‘Lord, I believe.'”  (vs. 35-38)  Now the man with restored sight could see Jesus in a spiritual way as the Son of Man who came to this earth to save people from their sins.

Is there spiritual blindness in the world today?  Where do we see it?

Jeffrey Epstein who was accused of sex trafficking and committed suicide in jail.  If this accusation was true, he then was blind to the suffering he imposed on woman and he treated them like objects.  He could not see how Christ could change his life, help him to stop his horrific deeds, and inspire him to treat all people especially women with respect.

Sometimes we are blind to Christ’s grace and comfort when we believe that we can live on our own without God’s help.  We become blind to Christ’s power and love when we neglect prayer, worship, Bible study and think we don’t need those spiritual disciplines because we can find meaning our own way with money, success, and fame.

But with the Lord that spiritual blindness can be removed and our spiritual sight can be restored.

Have you ever heard of the “My Pillow Guy?”  His name is Mike Lindell. In his 20s and 30s, he became addicted to cocaine and alcohol.  He failed at small businesses such as carpet cleaning, lunch wagons, bars and restaurants.  In 2008 his marriage was broken.  He lost his house. But in 2009 he said he had a prayer one night.  He prayed, “God, I want to wake up in the morning and never have the desire again (for crack cocaine and alcohol)…I woke up the next day – and you’ve got to realize this is years of crack addiction – I go, ‘Wow, something’s different.'”   Lindell said his desire to get high was gone.  (Washington Post)

Mike Lindell was once blind to the new life of freedom from addiction that Christ can give.  He did not see the awesome power Christ could give for healing.  But after that prayer he saw the light and life Christ gives.

As Jesus and his disciples saw the blind man sitting and begging, Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.”  Jesus breaks the bonds of darkness and sin in our lives and brings us light and life.  Jesus is the “true light that gives light to everyone coming into the world.”  (1:9)  With his grace and truth in our lives, sin and despair does not have the last word in our lives.  With the power of the Holy Spirit resting upon us, our blindness to God’s love is removed so that we see a gracious and merciful Lord giving us all that we need to live.

It is no wonder that we love and sing:

“Amazing grace (how sweet the sound) that saved a wretch like me!

I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see.”  (public domain)

Thanks be to God.

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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