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February 15, 2021 3:00 am
Blindness well illustrates man's spiritual darkness and lostness is like the sooner God has to take the initiative with the blind man through Christ God is to take the initiative through Christ for the sinner. That's our grace, operate were lost blind and God sees comes in compassionate grace and dispose purchase have an excellent memory. Remember family vacations or the Christmas when you got your first bike or your wedding day and yet when you look at the photographs of those events.
No doubt you find details you've never noticed or you simply forgotten. So it's good to refresh your memory now and then, especially when the subject you're reviewing is the most important subject of all the Lord Jesus Christ. With that in mind today. John MacArthur begins a close up look at the Bible's most important character in a study John calls rediscovering the Christ of Scripture John, when you say rediscovering the Christ of Scripture. It implies you're saying we lost sight of some biblical truth about Jesus or his character. Why is that kind of rediscovery so necessary these days. Not just you asking me that question takes me back a couple years to a discussion I had with RC Sproul before he went to heaven and he always used to say when he was asked what is the greatest need of man, what is the greatest need of the church. He would always say to understand the nature of God understand the holiness of God understand the glory of God, but he he said something else few years ago. He said it's to understand the person of Christ and millionaire ministries actually created a document on Christ and they geared conferences toward Christ and then we we we joined in the hands without end and we had conferences featuring the person of Jesus Christ and it is obvious to all of us that there are all kinds of ideas about Jesus Christ. From the most rank heretical ideas to the truest and purest ideas and everything in between. And I'm not just talking about the world and talk about in the church surveys recently and you've seen them as well as I have indicate that probably half of evangelical people do not have a clear view of who Christ is right 60% said he was God's greatest creation right was not a creation at all, so that the chaos and confusion around the person of Christ is devastating because unless you get Christ right you can't be saved. You must understand Christ for who he is and what he is done. I can't think of anything more important in this hour, then rediscovering the Christ of Scripture.
And if you're sitting in some church and maybe you been going to church and you were listening. Week after week and joining in the experience, but you are not clear on who Christ is, that is a fatal flaw in that church that ought to be crystal clear to everyone that is the priority of every ministry preach Christ preach Christ so willing to do that in this series titled rediscovering the Christ of Scripture. You don't want to miss a day and it's going to go for three weeks right and it's going to be a great three weeks so follow along. Now in the ninth chapter of the Gospel of John.
And here again is John MacArthur to launch his series titled rediscovering the Christ of Scripture. Open your Bible to John nine.
The ninth chapter of John we read the opening 12 verses of this chapter. The first one as he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth and his disciples asked him, Rabbi, who sin this man or his parents that he would be born blind. Jesus answered, it was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me.
As long as it is day night is coming when no one can work while I'm in the world I am the light of the world when he had said this, he spat on the ground and made clay of the spittle and applied the clay to his eyes and said him go wash in the pool of Siloam which is translated, sent so he went away and washed and came back seeing.
Therefore the neighbors and those who previously saw him as a beggar were saying is not this the one who used to sit and beg others were saying this is he still others were saying nobody is like him.
He kept saying I am the one so they were saying to him how then were your eyes open. He answered the man who is called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me go to Siloam and wash. So I went away and washed, and I received site. They said to him, where is he. He said I do not know, sickness, disease, deformity that have dominated life in the world since the fall of Adam, which means essentially all of human history touches us all. Were all in the process of dying.
We all are infected and affected by the corruption that came by way of sin familiar with sickness familiar with disease familiar with deformity. All of that is part of life and it has literally dominated life since the beginning, since the very fall recorded in Genesis chapter 3 and if you go to the Old Testament. These corrupt influences falling on physical life are so dominating and so normal and so unabated and uninterrupted, that throughout the entire Old Testament miraculous healing is so rare, it is virtually nonexistent. There was the healing of name and the leper who was border terrorist attacking the Jews that's in first Kings and then there was King Hezekiah who had a terminal illness and God spared him and cured him of that terminal illness that second king and then in Numbers 21 God sent snakes to admit the children of Israel with a deadly poison they would've died except the Lord was merciful to them and healed their snakebites so you have the healing of Naaman, an individual healing of Hezekiah, an individual the healing of a group of Israelites Jews who were bitten by snakes and as far as an outright individual healing very very rare and unusual. When you come into the New Testament as the New Testament begins there a couple of other physical miracles of healing.
What happens to Elizabeth so that she who is been barren all her life is unable to have a baby John the Baptist, that is a healing miracle. And then there of course is Mary Mary's is not a healing but Mary is given the right and the privilege and the power to bear a child without a father human father, the virgin birth, but when you look at the Old Testament. You've got six occasions where an actual physical miracle brought about a change in someone's physiology in the Old Testament. You have three resurrections that's all three. The widow's son in first Kings 17 the shooter might widow's son in second Kings four and the man in Elisha's grave in second Kings 13 three resurrections that's it very very rare through the entire history from the fall to the arrival of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the way the you say will that's is the Old Testament yes but if you just took the Old Testament that would be at religion Central.
Wouldn't it be that would be where God is most active. That would be where God is working. God is acting through the fathers through the prophets of the history of Israel, the nation of Israel, and in all of that period of history where God is acting miracles don't happen except on extremely rare occasions, miracles of healing until Jesus shows and when Jesus showed up. Miracles explode in every direction.
Throughout his three year ministry. This is an explosion intended to demonstrate that the Messiah, the son of God God in human flesh has arrived in the world. Matthew 1215 says he was healing all so he was healing all the people in all the places so I've said many times that he banished illness essentially from land of Israel. This is God attesting to Jesus as the Messiah by miracle. These are supernatural healings. These are creative miracles, people with deformed limbs who were given new limbs, people with deformed and diseased organs given new organs. People with blind eyes.
Given new eyes, people who couldn't hear. Given new ears. Each is a creative work. This consistent John introduces the gospel by saying the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.
Nothing that was made was made without him all things were made by him. He is the creator and we see him create all of these healing miracles are supernatural acts of creation taking something corrupted, something to form something diseased, something infected and replacing it with something brand-new works of God through Christ and all exploded in a three year period. The prophet Isaiah chapter 42 verse seven said the Messiah would come and heal.
He would come and heal. And this is the fulfillment of that messianic prophecy in that servant song of Isaiah chapter 42 now here in this obviously didn't want to say this person obviously there are so many miracles that they're not all in the New Testament, but John tells us that because at the end of his gospel he said of everything that Jesus did was recorded. The books of the world couldn't contain. We have the privilege here in chapter 9 of looking at one of the tens of thousands of miracles, creative miracles that Jesus did were going to examine this miracle alongside some unbelievers and were going to find out how unbelief investigates a miracle this miracle alone should have substantially changed their view of Jesus. If they hadn't already understood that he was divine. This should have been enough to affirm his claim to deity, but instead instead of coming to faith instead of acknowledging that there was no human explanation for what they had seen and experienced all it does is elevate their animosity. It elevates their anger. The more evidence that Jesus gives the more angry they become.
Their hatred escalates the conflict is ramped up so the inevitable happens. Jesus begins to abandon them.
And that's why we see the introduction of conversations, not so much with the Pharisees is with the disciples they have fixed their deceived ignorance in stone. In most cases there merely laboring to gather more outrageous accusations against Jesus so they can press the issue of his execution.
It's a sad, tragic fulfillment of the first chapter of John.
He came into his own and his own received him not. Now chapter 9 is devoted to the miracle and the investigation.
The whole chapter also will have to break it up a little bit less just take verses 1 to 12. That's that's a big chunk for me.
As you know, but it's a narrative and and will will get through that. I want to break these 12 verses down into simple points of contact, darkness, light site and back to darkness. Darkness, light site and back to darkness so let's start with the darkness of verse one as he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth, blindness.
We see it all over the New Testament.
It's a very common experience in New Testament times.
It was very, very common reality in the ancient world, but even going back beyond that, if you go back into the Old Testament go back into the Pentateuch, go back to the time of Moses and the patriarchs.
You will find blind is mentioned many many times mentioned in Leviticus mentioned in Deuteronomy, then it's it's mentioned in the books of history it's mentioned in the prophets blindness was a dominating reality in the ancient world. That's one of the reasons why Isaiah 42, seven, said that when the Messiah comes, he will open blind eyes. Here is an illustration of this kind of blindness.
Jesus sees a man who is congenitally blind. He's been blindness whole life. He was born blind. Let me give you the picture. Jesus has just declared in verse 58 of chapter 8 that he is the IM that he is God himself, and they were so infuriated at what they saw as blasphemy that they picked up stones to throw at him. But Jesus hid himself from them, and went out of the temple, he exited the temple now as he goes out of the temple as he passes by.
He sees a man blind from birth. This man is sitting at one of the temple dates begging as Jesus passed by, how do we know that because that's a very apparent reality because beggars inevitably ended up at the temple dates.
That's where this man is. I just need to make the note that never too concerned with his own life, he stops even though he's at high risk and in danger because he's escaping from being stoned. These stops the demonstrate grace and power and mercy and compassion and even salvation on a blind beggar. This is very much like Jesus, at the very time of his death collecting the thief on the way to his own death.
Beggars go where crowds are right. Beggars always go where crowds are even today you go where crowds are you find people begging they don't operate in isolation. Beggars knew where to be.
They went to the temple.
Why would they go to the temple because for one thing, the most devout people went to the temple, good people, ostensibly went to the temple. People with compassion. People who were kind, caring, and then you just have the sheer volume of people there so you have more to select from. If you will, and because crowds were pouring in and out of the temple all day long. Also, beggars knew that where there crowds of religious people who have doing good in mind, there is safety from Roberts who would otherwise take everything a bigger head so the temple was where they were.
They located there because it was the best climate for them to survive.
The beggar can see Christ he's never seen anything but it says he saw the beggar as he passed by sovereign grace dominates this miracle sovereign will dominates this miracle the blind man can't see anything.
He doesn't know anything about Jesus coming by. The Jesus sees him blind man is a picture of the sin blinded man who has no capacity to see Jesus, who is profoundly deeply engulfed in his desperate blindness and has no capability to see the Savior.
The analogy is irresistible. In fact, the Gospels use this analogy, Paul talks about spiritual blindness number of times in the Gospels record more cases of blind people being healed than any other specific malady. There is one healing of a deaf-mute.
There is one healing of someone with palsy. There is one healing of someone with a fever. There are two healings of lepers, groups of lepers. There are three dead people raise, but there are five separate accounts of blind people blindness well illustrates man spiritual darkness and lostness helpless from the start. This blind man is at the mercy of somebody who comes up chooses to help him. He is like the sooner God has to take the initiative with the blind man through Christ God is to take the initiative through Christ for the sooner that's our grace operates were lost were dead were blind. We know no truth we see no Christ, we have no God, and God sees us comes in compassion, grace, and bestows spiritual site beautiful picture illustrated by this healing.
So we see darkness. Then in verse one and verse two we see light verse two through five and his disciples asked him, Rabbi, teacher who send this man or his parents that he would be born blind. I will tell you where their theology was essentially that if sums wrong with you. It's the sin issue not an indirect one, but a direct one. We would all agree that everybody's illness is related to the fall of Adam right but but you can't make a direct link between I'm sick because three months ago I committed a certain sin. But in their theology that's outworked. If you're deformed if you're diseased. If you have some kind of illness. It's because of sin directly, not, not because of the fallenness of the world, but because there's guilt that you are bearing so whose sin wasn't, which means that, and they split that out. Was it this man or his parents that was there. That was what had developed in their system that people who were ill or infirm or whatever were that way because either they send or their parents and how this question could have a physical, physiological component, a medical component if you will, because the greatest ancient contributor to blindness was gonorrhea. And since it was no treatment for that.
What when mother had gonorrhea baby passing through the birth canal. Good, blind, essentially, this was epidemic even in the modern world where in Third World countries. There is no remedy for that silver nitrate or whatever's uses no remedy for that blindness is multiplied. The rabbis were convinced that the sins of the parents were visited upon the children.
Where did they get that they got that because they misinterpreted Exodus 20 and I'll come to that in in a few minutes, but they believed that current sins could show up in children's guilt and punishment, but just before we get to that point.
Backing up a little. They made a direct connection between suffering and sin in the life of the person that you remember the classic illustration of this is Job's friends, Job hasn't done anything he suffering like mad. His friends come up chapter after chapter after chapter after chapter. They try to indict him try to make him guilty. Try to make them confess something he didn't do so they can find sin indirect cause for his suffering and he keeps throwing that off and throwing that off.
But that was a reflection of their theology that where there is sin there is suffering and where there is suffering, there is corresponding specific sin on the part of the individual who suffers you see that in Luke 13. Remember, the tower fell over and killed all those people and you remember the pilots men went in and sliced up the Galileans were worshiping one of the people asked the sitter they were sinners and everybody else if calamity comes the tower falls on you and kills you or somebody stabs you desire that's assigned to your worse than everybody else. Write the worst people have the calamities and that the better people escape.
That's the same kind of theology so their question comes out of the main loop of the thinking of the rabbis, the rabbis even had to explain congenital issues, congenital deformities, congenital blindness, born blind, how could that be the sin of the person born blind when they say was that this man who send will. How could he sin he was in the womb.
They even develop the rabbis did the idea prenatal iniquity sitting in the womb, and there are some really bizarre discussions between rabbis on this subject in which one Rabbi eventually responds with Genesis 447 sin lies at the door and he makes the door.
Refer to the door. The womb, so he interprets that as some kind of insight into prenatal iniquity, and the other guy argues the other Rabbi argues that if the baby was actually sending in the womb he be kicking harder crazy. Some believed like Plato did in the preexistence of the soul influenced by Hellenists so that somehow your soul was around sending before you were conceived so they did believe that somehow some of them believe that that something a person did in the womb or as a soul before the womb contributed to this condition.
On the other hand they did believe as well that the children suffered from the parents sin and that was Exodus 20 verse five I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation. You've heard people use that that their cursed children cursed the generations. This notion that you're paying for the sins of your parents somehow has managed to survive to our time. Even today, but among the Jews. There was the idea that the people could be punished for several generations for sins committed by their parents disable what is that mean versus collective statement the sins of the fathers, the leaders that the generation, the heads of a generation the sins that they commit the define that generation are so influential that they can't be reversed and routed out for three or four generations.
That's the principle that that is damaged is not saying individual sins for three or four generations of kids, grandkids and great grandkids are going to be cursed.
That is completely alien to what Scripture says no show you that in a minute but all it is saying is you better take care of your generation because if you are characterized by iniquity and sin.
It's going to take three or four generations turnaround. Think about that when you look at the generation were living in right now. This does not turn around fast.
It penetrates deeply. This is not personal. Turn to Ezekiel was a need to show you this.
Ezekiel chapter 18 one of the most important chapters in the prophets, Ezekiel 18 because it it's directed at this question the word of the Lord.
Chapter 18 verse one, Ezekiel 18 when the word of the Lord came to me says Ezekiel saying what do you mean by using this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying the fathers eat the sour grapes, but the children's teeth are set on edge. That's the proverb, the proverb is that the children suffer the consequence of the behavior of their parent what so God says to Ezekiel what you mean using that verse three as I live, declares the Lord God, you are surely not going to use this proverb in Israel anymore stop using that and explained in verse 20. The person who sins will die. The sun will not bear him punishment for the fathers iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the sons iniquity the righteousness of the righteous will be on him and the wickedness of the wicked will be on him individual responsibility. That's John MacArthur showing you how Christ gives spiritual sight to sinners like you and me. Today's lesson on grace to you is the first installment of John study rediscovering the Christ of Scripture. Now keep in mind you can own this series on eight CDs or eight MP3 downloads review these lessons at your own pace or use them for a small group discussion or give the CDs to an unbelieving friend or relative. Get your copy of rediscovering the Christ of Scripture. When you contact us today. Call our toll-free number anytime 855 grace or go to our website Jide TY.org to order the eight CD album you can also download the MP3s for the transcripts of each lesson free of charge.
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I'm Phil Johnson. Thanks for making this broadcast part of your day and join us tomorrow as we continue rediscovering the Christ of Scripture. That's John's current study. Don't miss another half hour of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time on grace