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Sermon - Again and Again
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Sermon – Again and Again
William M. Howard
April 2, 2011

John 9:1-41
9:1 As he walked along, he saw a man blind from birth.
9:2 His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"
9:3 Jesus answered, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God's works might be revealed in him.
9:4 We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work.
9:5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world."
9:6 When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man's eyes,
9:7 saying to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam" (which means Sent). Then he went and washed and came back able to see.
9:8 The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar began to ask, "Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?"
9:9 Some were saying, "It is he." Others were saying, "No, but it is someone like him." He kept saying, "I am the man."
9:10 But they kept asking him, "Then how were your eyes opened?"
9:11 He answered, "The man called Jesus made mud, spread it on my eyes, and said to me, 'Go to Siloam and wash.' Then I went and washed and received my sight."
9:12 They said to him, "Where is he?" He said, "I do not know."
9:13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind.
9:14 Now it was a sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes.
9:15 Then the Pharisees also began to ask him how he had received his sight. He said to them, "He put mud on my eyes. Then I washed, and now I see."
9:16 Some of the Pharisees said, "This man is not from God, for he does not observe the sabbath." But others said, "How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?" And they were divided.
9:17 So they said again to the blind man, "What do you say about him? It was your eyes he opened." He said, "He is a prophet."
9:18 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
9:19 and asked them, "Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?"
9:20 His parents answered, "We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind;
9:21 but we do not know how it is that now he sees, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself."
9:22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that anyone who confessed Jesus to be the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue.
9:23 Therefore his parents said, "He is of age; ask him."
9:24 So for the second time they called the man who had been blind, and they said to him, "Give glory to God! We know that this man is a sinner."
9:25 He answered, "I do not know whether he is a sinner. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see."
9:26 They said to him, "What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?"
9:27 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?"
9:28 Then they reviled him, saying, "You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses.
9:29 We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from."
9:30 The man answered, "Here is an astonishing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes.
9:31 We know that God does not listen to sinners, but he does listen to one who worships him and obeys his will.
9:32 Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind.
9:33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing."
9:34 They answered him, "You were born entirely in sins, and are you trying to teach us?" And they drove him out.
9:35 Jesus heard that they had driven him out, and when he found him, he said, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?"
9:36 He answered, "And who is he, sir? Tell me, so that I may believe in him."
9:37 Jesus said to him, "You have seen him, and the one speaking with you is he."
9:38 He said, "Lord, I believe." And he worshiped him.
9:39 Jesus said, "I came into this world for judgment so that those who do not see may see, and those who do see may become blind."
9:40 Some of the Pharisees near him heard this and said to him, "Surely we are not blind, are we?"
9:41 Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would not have sin. But now that you say, 'We see,' your sin remains.

Lord, why must we be blind before we can see?  Can we come to you, may we come to you Jesus so that we will always have our eyes open and the shroud of evil will not cover our eyes?  Come lift this veil for evermore and let the light shine in and not just for us sitting here but for all we know.  Amen

Would a child be able to understand this passage?  It is confusing with the words Jesus spoke.  He is presented as always talking in metaphors. 

One thing a child might be empathetic with is the attempt to declare the truth but be questioned over and over again.  We may all have been trapped in the scenario having the truth to offer and then people just don’t want to believe it.

The unique challenge within this story is the fact that no one had ever had their blindness cured.  Jesus is the first one to lift the veil on this unnamed person.  The challenge was to have the truth accepted. 

 “The world is round.” said Columbus.  “The world is flat!” Said the experts.

“Man can fly with wings!” said the Wright brothers.  “Impossible!” says the world.

“I am the Son of God” says Jesus.  “You liar” say the unbelievers.

And it is true and a fact.  Just like the blind man who can now see, we attempt to talk with others and tell them the truth.  You can hear the frustration by reading this.  And can we become frustrated.

When a child becomes frustrated attempting to tell the truth and the parent won’t believe them, where and to whom may the little one go to?

To whom did the blind man go to?  His parents would not believe and admit the miracle publically and defend their son.  In this story, the blind man was not a child but was of age. 

Jesus performed the miracle on the blind man independently from anyone else.  The miracle occurred at the pool and Jesus was not there.

Let’s look at this story a little closer.  Jesus did not cure the blindness immediately.  It was a process of doing something unique if not sort of gross by making mud with his spit and smearing it on the man’s eyes.  The Jesus sent the man to wash.  He sent the man away from him, out of his presence.  So when the man got his sight.  I was going to say got his sight back, but he never had his sight to begin with.  Had the man’s sight been restored right in front of Jesus with all the witnesses, the difficulty of explaining the truth might have not been a problem.

This story is profoundly more intense because of the way it plays out.

Our situation is the same.  Jesus is not in physical presence with us.  His Spirit is with us when our eyes open.  I am using the same metaphor.

Over and over again the blind man frustrated told the story.

He was blind from birth and this story infers that he was with his parents.  He was a burden to his parents as he could not do anything productive to help support himself or the household he lived in.  He could beg and possibly receive some income.  You would think that the parents would be very appreciative, happy that their son now has his sight and could be a productive person and not a burden on them.  He could move out and be on his own.

But no.  They essentially disowned their boy out of fear from the Pharisees.  Who abandons their child out of fear?  Normally parents would not but the fear is so profound here because the events are so unusual for its time and place.  The miracle would be amazing even now.

Let’s review.  The disciples query Jesus, they ask Him why this man was blinded by God from birth and assumed he or his parents had sinned.  Jesus becomes the man’s advocate and protects the integrity of the man and more.  He says that the man is blind for a reason and blind from birth for a reason.  He did not lose his sight.  He never had it.  God is going to use this man as a focus for Jesus’ divinity relationship as the Son of God and father in heaven.

And so here is the story.  It is the Sabbath.  Jesus says I got some work to do today.  Uh oh.  Jesus is going to do something on the Holy Day.  I am sure that when Jesus starts talking to the disciples about the day versus night and Jesus must work in the light and that he is the light.  We know it.  They must have been stymied. They could not have comprehended what Jesus was talking about.  We don’t hear another peep from them for the rest of the passage.  No doubt they were silenced and in awe of their Master.

I can hear their background conversation.  “Here he goes again doing such unusual things and on the Sabbath.  Yesterday we were with Him and he was going to get stoned for His words and what he did.  But he just walked away.  And now here we are today when we should be taking it easy and He does work.  This ought to be good.  Yeah, this ought to be good.” 
“You know, every time we say something or ask a question, He is very quick with a response.  He never says yes or no.  He always says things within in a story.  Or, He comes up with this, should I say grandiose implications, and most of the time, I don’t have a clue what He is talking about.  They are always big ideas with Godly reasons behind it.  Everyday is an adventure with Him.  And, I don’t mind saying it is just a bit scary.  Scary because I am confused.  And scary because people, especially the Pharisees, the temple priests, and everyone with them want to hurt us.”

It is a tough job being a disciple.  It is a tough job being Jesus.

This innocent blind man, innocent of sin, becomes a spokes person for Jesus and does not realize it.  He was only telling what he just experience and with a guy whose voice he had heard but he had not even seen.  That’s right.  He felt Jesus’ fingers but the mud on his eyes with the directive, told to go wash in the pool. 

So on the third time the sighted man tells the story, he exclaims the thought of discipleship.  And, I believe he realizes he is now a disciple of the miracle worker. 

He is a witness but not an eye witness.  How do you tell people about someone you never have seen but has worked a miracle in your life?  The temple priests want to know more.  I am sure they wanted to know what this man looked like.  The witness could not say.

Have you seen Jesus?  Neither have I.  We are blind from birth until we are born again when we accept Him for the miracles He does in our life.  And we become disciples.

So, tell me Bill, how have you managed to live through the life you’ve had with getting really angry?  The loss of your father at birth, the alcoholic husband and divorce, then another.  How did you get through the many jobs only to be downsized over and over?  How did you survive the periods of little or no income?  How did you manage to deal with the way your wife was?  The mother of your four children?  How do manage to deal with all this spit and dirt and mud on your life? 

I will tell you how.

I go to the pool of Siloam where we all need to be sent and wash with the blessings of Jesus.

Now folks, today you are being sent and the spit and dirt and mud are washed from you by the blessings of Jesus.  Go and tell everyone, even if you have to tell them again and again, tell them what you have experienced.  Even if they do not want to accept the truth, Jesus will be there with you.  Glorify Jesus.  Worship Jesus.  He will make you see. He will come before you in His light.


Let’s sing Amazing Grace, Page 299 and with just our voices.  I would like to sing all the verses and then repeat the first verse.





Ivory Digits
William M. Howard
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PO Box 316
Jefferson, ME 04348-0316
(207) 214-7912

Copyright 2016 William M. Howard