3-9-14 “A Way of Seeing” John 9
?A Way of Seeing? John 9:25, 35-41
There are different kinds of blindness.? There is blindness caused by the brain– for example if you had a stroke or an accident that affected your visual cortex.? There is blindness caused by retina problems- I had a detached retina in 1993 and was in danger of losing my eyesight.? There is blindness caused by problems with cataracts, or the lens.? But there are also a totally different kind of blindness.? There inattentive blindness– where we are so focused on something ? that we are blind to something else that is really there.? That is why I cannot seem to find the milk in the fridge because I am looking at the yummy snack right in front of me- and almost forget I was looking for milk.? There is also a new phenomenon that they just identified about 9 years ago called choice blindness.? It is that when we make a choice, we don?t always see what we really chose.? This is why the sleight of hand trick works so well.?? We keep seeing, but we don?t see.? So one experiment showed 120 people two women on flash cards and were asked which one was most attractive.? After they picked one, the psychologist would substitute a totally different woman for the one they picked.? When asked why they picked here 87% did not notice it was a different woman.? Some would even say they liked her because she was blond when their original pick was a brunette.? There also is repetition blindness when people do not see when things happen twice.
So there is Physical blindness, Neurological blindness and Psychological blindness.? Jesus was saying very early on that there is spiritual blindness.? We block out God in our lives.
God is the only One who sees things as they really are- sees all the angles.? We do not have to make up excuses to God ? as if He missed something.? In fact, when we stand before God, our excuses will melt away and we too will see things for how they really are.?? But in this life, we are limited, we are distracted, we deceive or blind ourselves, and we claim to see things clearly that we do not see at all.
I. THOSE WHO CLAIM TO SEE ARE BLIND- Jesus says three times in this passage that those who claim to see are blind.? It is important for us to realize that no one really likes to be told they are blind when they think they see.? There are two ways of claiming to see that leads to blindness.? There is being certain of something that is not there, and there is certainty of uncertainty.
A. CERTAINTY OF WHAT IS NOT THERE- The Pharisees were so certain of their ways that they could not listen.? They were proud that they had figured God out- so much so that they would not listen to God even if He came to them.?? God cannot be put in a box.? He is mysterious and touches us.? There are people who are so legalistic that they cannot allow for grace or exception, or the opening of a blind man?s eyes.?? There are people who have condemned others to hell so that when God saves them they do not accept him.? So the Pharisees rebuked this blind man when he stood up for Jesus saying that he was steeped in sin.
B. CERTAINTY OF UNCERTAINTY- ?There are some who take this to the extreme as if everyone is blind- and there is no hope of ever seeing.? In other words there are some who are adamant that we cannot ever see the truth, and that to say we ever see is itself blindness.? That is definitely not what Jesus is saying.? It is not as if God leaves us blind.? If anything, the healing of this blind man stirred up things.? Jesus came to show us the way.? He came to give us sight.? But some believe very strongly it is impossible to find the way that they make themselves blind to Jesus.? Woody Allen once said of this- ?I took a course in existentialism.? I left all the answers blank and got 100.?? If blindness and uncertainty is all there is, then we can sit in the dark doing nothing and that is just as good as trying to do anything.
JESUS DOES NOT LEAVE US IN OUR STATUS QUO-? Many times we use religion and faith to help us cope, so that we forget the transforming power of faith.? Faith does not just help us put up with the status quo.? In Christ, eyes are opened, and the status quo is transformed.? ?Jesus wants to open the eyes of the blind, but if we do not admit we are blind then we cannot come to the Great Physician for healing.? A few years ago National Geographic had a special about a Nepalese opthomologist, who went to that isolated country and did 1,000 cataract surgeries- so many could see for the first time ever- or in years.? Without fail they did not thank the doctor or God- they thanked the Great General leader of the people Kim Jong Il.? They were still blind to what made them well.
II. SPIRITUAL BLINDNESS- We mentioned different kinds of blindness.? I want to mention some things that I think are especially appropriate to our generation.? The number one blindness is to Jesus- who He is and what He is able to do for us.?? This is really the whole point in this passage.
A. WE BLIND OURSELVES TO HOW IMPORTANT JESUS IS-? He is our way of seeing God.? When we look at Jesus, we see who God is, how God acts, God?s care for our needs, and His great love.? There is a new mission banner up this year.? It is for starting a new church.? Starting a new church is proven statistically to be the best way to reach people who do not go to church at all- they are more open to new churches.? Starting a daughter church is the best way at starting a new church.? It really multiplies all of our mission causes- one more church to support Thornwell, one more church to support the hungry and needy.? Jesus makes a difference.
B. WE BLIND OURSELVES TO THOSE IN NEED- ?Jesus made a difference in this man?s life.? The missions causes we support make a difference in the lives of the women at Christgate who have nowhere else to go; or the children at Thornwell who would be stuck in their abusive or neglected situations; or the hungry in our community at We Care; or the ones whose roof is patched by the folks at GOoDWorks; ?Believing in Christ really opens our eyes to the least of these.? Before we may just say- ?let the government do it.?? We may walk past the hungry, the hurting, but Jesus causes us to stop and think and to care.? Jesus widens our hearts.? Statistically, those who believe give much more to the needy than those who do not.
Our task is to be like this blind man who was enabled to see by Jesus.? He did not argue with those who were debating about Jesus.? He simply said, ?All I know is I once was blind but now I see.??? If you know Jesus has made a difference in your life, do not be embarrassed of proclaiming that difference in a world that will tell you to hush so that we may remain happy in our blindness.? The neurologist, Oliver Sacks, tells the story of Virgil who was blind until he had cataract surgery at age 50.? He could see, but he had trouble deciphering what he saw- depth perception, expressions- and he lived the rest of his short life as if he were still blind.? Sidney Bradford had corneal transplants but could not see depth in two dimensional art.? It is clear that our brains must work with our eyes to interpret reality.? Our souls must work with our brains and eyes to interpret the spiritual reality.
III. WE SEE STAGES IN THE MAN?S BELIEF- There was another instance when Jesus healed a man who was blind and he was healed in stages.? When Jesus first healed him he said he saw people like trees walking.? Then they went from blurry to clear.? So hear the man who could see physically gradually had his eyes open to the spiritual truth behind his seeing.? There is an important lesson for us here.
A. JESUS IS MAN- (11) A great man- the man who opened my eyes.?? Many see Jesus as a man among men- a great leader.? But really, Jesus only taught three short years, never had a mansion.? When he died he probably only had about 500 who followed him.? He is a great man in that he was a man of integrity, truth.? But the blind man grew in his sight about Jesus.
B. JESUS IS A PROPHET- (17) -? When asked who Jesus was by the Pharisees, the? healed man said he was an extraordinary man- a prophet.
C. JESUS IS THE SON OF GOD- (35-38)- Someone asked me not too long ago if Jesus ever actually claimed to be the Son of God.? There are eleven passages that speak of Jesus as the Son of God three of them in the Gospels.? Here is an example of that claim.? Jesus asked the formerly blind man if he believed in the Son of God.
Some are on a path away from seeing to blindness- going the opposite of this man?s progression- going from believing he is the Son of? God- to believing Jesus is just something special to believing he was just a wise or good man.? But the path to seeing is the path of this man in John 9.
The gift of sight is something that has always befuddled philosophers, theologians, optomologists, and opticians as well as each of us.? Each optic nerve- what makes up your eye consists of between 770,000 and 1.7 million nerve fibers.? We see light energy that goes between 400-700 nanometers in wavelength.? Light that is slower or faster than that we do not see.? The iris is like a camera aperture (lens) that lets the light in or out- and expands or contracts the pupil as to how much light is out there.? The cornea is like the focus button.? The lens of our eye goes flat when looking at far away objects and curved when we are looking at close objects.? The retina is considered essential- it is where 120 million rods and 6 million cones, visual sensory receptors, are found.? It is truly amazing how complicated seeing is.? It is truly amazing that we are able to see reality.? But even our sight is limited.? When Jesus comes to us, He allows us to see things differently.?? It is like the boy who gets his first set of glasses and marvels that he can see the leaves on the trees instead of a green blur, or the writing on the blackboard.? Jesus gives us glasses now- to see the blind, to help those who are in need physically, mentally, spiritually.? He gives us direction so we are not stuck thinking what we do doesn?t matter in life.? Jesus gives us a new way of seeing the world giving us hope and direction.