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013 - Here's Mud in Your Eye

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin
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October 24, 2020 3:58 pm

013 - Here's Mud in Your Eye

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin

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October 24, 2020 3:58 pm

Episode 13: Here's Mud in Your Eye

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You pick up your Bible and wonder, is there more here than meets the eye?

Is there something here for me? I mean, it's just words printed on paper, right? Well, it may look like just print on a page, but it's more than ink! Join us for the next half hour as we explore God's Word together, as we learn how to explore it on our own, as we ask God to meet us there in its pages.

Welcome to More Than Ink. Wow, today in John 9, Jesus does something that no one has ever, ever done in the entire history of the world. They must have been completely blown away by it. Well, they weren't, not everybody, but it wasn't because they couldn't.

It was because they wouldn't. Right, today on More Than Ink. Well, good morning, this wonderful Saturday fall morning. I'm Jim.

And I'm Dorothy. And we're just glad you're back with us today. We're coming into one of our favorite chapters in John. I think we say that about every chapter. Yeah, I know, but I especially love this one. Every chapter in John is the best.

Everyone is the favorite. Well, in fact, and it's really true from this point on in John 9, we get close, well, gosh, 10's great, 11's great, 12, you have the triumphal entry. I mean, it just, it's, yeah, it doesn't, nothing gets worse from this point on. Not that John ever does. Wait, wait, it all gets worse.

Well, it gets worse, but better. Anyway, so we're glad you're with us today. We're just going to jump into this passage today in John 9, and we hope you ride ahead with us because it's a great example of just a vibrant narrative where Jesus is intending to make a very strong point about who He is. And it's not lost on anybody in the crowd. Well, and there's no sermon in this chapter. It's simply His actions. Jesus just does.

Kind of responding to what He had said in the previous conversation. I'm doing the works of my Father. Right, right. And this is undeniably the works of the Father. So we're just going to read it with you. If you've got your Bible, we're going to be reading out of the ESV version.

It might be a little confusing if you don't have that version you try and track on your own. Doesn't matter, but we're going to read it and make some comments on it. And we're going to unfold this incredible story of this man who was born blind. So why don't I just start?

Just go in. So it says as he passed by, Jesus passed by, he saw a man blind from birth and his disciples asked him, Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents that he was born blind? And Jesus answered, it was not that this man sinned or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.

Don't forget that. That's an important comment. Verse four, so we must work the works of him who sent me until, while it is day, night is coming when no one can work.

As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. And having said these things, he spit on the ground. He made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man's eyes with mud and said to him, go wash in the pool of Salome, which means sent. So he went and washed and came back seeing. Now that should be the end of most stories, because then you could go on to another miracle.

That's only the beginning of this story. Jesus did a lot of miracles. You know, going to something after that where he healed someone or something else.

You could just stop right there because that's actually a big deal. He came back seeing. But the whole rest of the chapter is what happened because he did such a major thing.

So what popped out in you in that first part? Well, first of all, where this happens is really important in John's narrative, because he had just finished that very pointed conversation with the Pharisees. And then John says, and as he passed by, so this is very near wherever that took place, and it is connected. And this guy, what immediately leaps out to me is that blind people hear things, right? And this is very nearby where that other conversation took place. Maybe there were even some people who heard that conversation following along. What did this guy hear? He heard the assumption that somebody had sinned, and that was the result of his blindness. That was a question he probably had been struggling with all his life. Like, why am I like this? Right.

Why did this happen to me? But then what did he hear Jesus say? He heard Jesus say, this happened so that the works of God could be displayed in him. Whoa.

That sets some hope. He heard Jesus say, we've got to work the works of him who sent me while it's still today, right? While there's light, I am the light of the world. And while he's saying those things, Jesus is rustling around, bending down, gathering up dirt and spitting on it to put it on this guy's eyes. I mean, blind people have this acute sense of hearing because they don't have sight. So this man is fully aware of something happening. That's probably the first thing that strikes me.

Excuse me. And then Jesus sends him to the pool, which is called the scent. Like, he's just playing out. He's giving us this little like a scenario, a play, as it were, of the truth of who he is and what he will do. Right. Blair, you asked me that was a long answer.

That was a long answer. Well, I'm struck by the fact that he explains why this guy is blind, and it's not a matter of sin. You know, the common idea at the time was if something bad happens to you, it's because someone did something wrong.

Right. And in this particular case, Jesus is saying, no, neither one is the case. The deal is God needs to be glorified.

We need to do the works of God that he might be displayed. And that's the rest of his comments, too, about, you know, we have to do these things while we've got some daylight left. Okay, that's astonishing because this man had been allowed to endure an entire lifetime of blindness for this one moment. And he clearly was a legal adult because that's what his parents say later. He's of age.

Ask him. Yeah, so you probably wonder your entire life, why did God make me like this? And the idea is to glorify God, the works of God. And he hasn't seen it happen yet, but now it does happen. He goes down to Siloam, comes back seeing. So Jesus actually tells us the purpose of this whole, of this whole miracle. It's to do the works of God, to glorify that he might be displayed in him. So this is all about, again, we come back to like we talked about in the last two chapters about who is Jesus?

You know, who is this guy? This work is specifically designed to make known who Jesus is. And it's undeniable, too, because when you go back in the Old Testament, there's many places where God talks about the fact that he's the one that opens blind eyes. Isaiah, in particular. Isaiah has a lot of them, yeah.

And in fact, this is a good study technique we might just take a pause to talk about. If you've got a concordance, I kind of recommend an electronic one, and we might talk about that some later, but you can type in the word blind, and it'll show you everywhere it shows up in the Bible. And go to the ones, chase the ones down in the Old Testament, and see the relationship between blindness and God, and what he does, how he brings, how he cures blindness, and how he brings blindness to some who think they're not blind.

And it'll give you some context, but very clearly, and you'll see this happen as the narrative opens up in the rest of this chapter, very clearly, the only person, the only one who can heal blindness is God. And so Jesus is making that statement right here. Undeniable.

Undeniable. But you can see how the scriptures underscore that if you do that concordance search. And even in just reading through the search references, you will find connections. All of a sudden, Jesus will jump off the page to you.

So that's your study skill for this week. And that makes an undeniable purpose behind why Jesus is choosing to heal a blind man. Let me just read for you in Psalm 146, verse five, it says, I mean verse six, God's the one who made heaven and earth and the sea and all that's in him. And then you jump down to verse eight in Psalm 146, eight, but the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. He lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous. So the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. And the second here, that's going to be a big deal as they debate about who Jesus is, because they're going to say, well, the Lord's the one who opens eyes. So it's unmistakable who Jesus is claiming to be here. Well, and before we leave this paragraph, I want to just mention in the ESV, we run across the word mud, but in the New American Standard, it's the word clay, which I think is very important.

That shows up five times in this passage, a couple times here in the first paragraph, but later on, it's going to come back again, always with the repetition. He made the clay and put it on my eyes and I washed and now I can see. So, you know, that sets me thinking about Isaiah had spoken repeatedly about, you know, you're the father, you're the potter, we're the clay. The clay has no right to say, why did you make me?

And you can track those down again, using your concordance. If you look up the word clay, you'll turn up those passages. And clay, how did God make man in the beginning in Genesis 2? He made him out of the dry dust particles of the ground. So here's Jesus who has just said, before Abraham was, I am, and then he takes the dry dust of the ground, spits in it, lubricates it into clay and anoints this guy's eyes. Very creator-like. Yes, in a very both subtle and shocking way, he is literally remaking this blind man's eyes out of the dust of the ground. Yeah, all the allusions here are very clear to the Pharisees who were trained Old Testament dudes, so they get it. They get what's going on here, nothing's a mess now. Okay, so let's go on and talk and see what happens as a result of that. I love this passage.

We just finished the entire event, now we're talking about the follow-through. So pick it up on verse 8. The neighbors and those who'd seen him before as a beggar were saying, isn't this the man who used to sit and beg? And some said, it is he.

And others said, no, but he's like him. And he kept saying, hey, I am the man. So they said to him, then how were your eyes opened? And he answered, the man called Jesus made mud and anointed my eyes and said to me, go to Salome and wash.

So I went and washed and received my sight. And they said to him, where is he? He said, oh, I don't know.

Why? Because he couldn't see him, right? He didn't know what Jesus looked like. He probably looked around the crowd out there and said, well, I can't identify him.

I can't pick him out of a lineup. But if he says something, I'll know him. That's right. Which is going to be important in the next chapter. And also Jesus sent him down the hill.

In fact, it's quite down the hill, quite a ways down the hill to the pool. Then he came back. And so when he comes back, Jesus is probably not there.

I mean, he's kind of made his exit because things are getting tough with the Pharisees right there. So, yeah, everyone's just astonished. Everyone is just astonished because everyone knows no one heals a blind man. Right. And everybody recognizes this guy because he's been sitting there for ages.

Right. And he didn't speculate about what happened. He just told straight up what happened.

This guy named Jesus, he made mud, stuck it on my eyes, go to slow and watch, and look I can see. There you go. Pretty simple. So that's the exact repetition of the story. We've said before, repetition is important.

So when you see something repeated, you need to pay attention to that. Right. Right. Well, let's move on to the next paragraph.

Okay. 13. So they brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. I've always wondered why they did this. But they brought him to the Pharisees in 14. And now it was a Sabbath day.

Oh no. That's important. It was a Sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. Again, with the work. That's right. So the Pharisees again asked him how he received his sight and he said to them. Here it comes again. He put mud on my eyes and I watched and I see. He shortened a little bit but that's the sequence. But we still have the clay on the eyes and the washing and the seeing. Got the essential elements.

16. So some of the Pharisees said, Well, this man is not from God for he does not keep the Sabbath. This is a forehead smacking moment. He does not keep the Sabbath. But others said, Well, how can a man who is a sinner do such signs?

And there was a division among them. So they said again to the blind man, So what do you say about him since he opened your eyes? And he said, He's a prophet. He's a prophet. Well, that's the best he can do at the moment. That's the best he can do.

He doesn't know either. So again, you know, we came up with this Sabbath issue before. To the Pharisees, if you violate the Sabbath, you're a sinner. But we also made the point before that when we rest on the Sabbath, God is still working. So the one who works on the Sabbath, you know, is ergo, is God himself. That's what Jesus is doing. He does this deliberately.

He could have done it a day before. And isn't it interesting that in the previous conversation it had been all about how the Pharisees, the religious leaders, were deaf. They couldn't hear him. And now we're circling around the fact that they're blind. They can't see him. They can't see what's as plain as the nose on their face. Their senses are dead.

Yeah, exactly. So they can't provide their brains with information. Which again, hearkens back to Isaiah. He had said repeatedly, Their ears are deaf. Their eyes are blind.

Messiah will open them. Right. So you know, at this point in the conversation then, the problem with the Pharisees is, this really is a conundrum. I mean, he did it on the Sabbath, makes him a sinner. But he did open blind eyes, which according to the Old Testament is only something God can do. So clearly the way out of the problem is, well maybe this guy wasn't blind.

Right. Wasn't he really blind? So that's where it says the Jews didn't believe that he had been blind and received his sight until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight.

Yes. Emphasis on receiving his sight again and again. And they asked them, Is this your son whom you say was born blind? How does he now see? His parents answered, Well, we know this is our son and that he was born blind. But how he now sees, we don't know. No, we don't know.

Nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him. He's of age. He'll speak for himself. Now his parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone should confess Jesus to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue.

Therefore his parents said, He's of age. Ask him. Yeah. Okay. So the cost to them is high.

Very high. Of identifying Jesus as Messiah because they're going to be socially and religiously cut off. Yeah. Be pushed out of the entire community. Right. Yeah.

Be pushed out of the entire community. So they didn't want that. So they testified that this is indeed is our son. But when, you know, and they can say that truthfully because they know that.

Nobody disputes the fact that he's now seeing and he had been blind. Exactly. But in terms of explaining how he came to be that way, they kind of, you know, sidestepped and said, Well, ask him.

Which is not a bad deal because they may not have been around for that. Possibly not. But he already, the blind man had already testified. He told them already.

So the parents are saying, Ask him. And the Pharisees are saying to themselves, We did. And the only way out of the logical conundrum is to maybe find out if this wasn't, you think this guy wasn't really blind.

But now you're saying he was blind. So now we're stuck again. So now instead of, you know, they got the parents testimony, so they got to go back to the guy. So verse 24. So for the second time they called the man who had been blind and said to him, Okay, give glory to God. Which is a way of saying look, you know, put your hands in the Bible and say, you're going to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Okay. Give glory to God. We know that this man is a sinner talking about Jesus.

And how do they know that? Sabbath. We know that this man is a sinner.

And he answered, Well, whether he's a sinner, I do not know. But one thing I do know, here it comes again, that though I was blind, now I see. Right. So his story's getting shorter. But that's the essence of it. This is what I know. I was blind and now I see.

26. So they said to them, Well, what did he do to you? How did he open your eyes? Bill, look at what they're after. They're after the work. Describe the work. Right.

What exactly happened? So he answered them. And someone in their face answered them, I've told you already and you would not listen. You would not listen. So sometimes deafness is not a cannot, it's a would not. You would not listen.

Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples? Because that's what the disciple does is they list in the master. And they reviled him saying, You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. We know that God has spoken to Moses. But as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.

So the man answered, Why, this is an amazing thing. You do not know where he comes from. And yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners. But if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him.

Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone, anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing. And they answered him, you were born in utter sin. And would you teach us? And they cast him out.

Didn't go well. Well, it's amazing that because they cannot answer his argument, then they resort to what we call an ad hominem argument. And they say, Well, you're just a sinner. You're the sinner. Right.

You're the sinner. We can't believe anything you say. This is very relevant to conversations we have today with people. They cannot answer this substantive argument. And so they just resort to, Well, you're just a nobody. Take down the person. Right. Right. You're a liar.

You're a sinner. They just can't figure it out. And yet, regardless of what anybody says, they still have the actual work in front of them. This guy was blind. His parents testified he was blind since birth. And now he sees what are you going to do with that?

The work itself speaks louder than words. The evidence is clearly in their face. And it's on his face. It's on his face. And they just can't escape it. I mean, they just can't escape it. So let's close out the story in 35. Now, I love this part.

35. Jesus heard that they had cast him out. Okay, so cast him out. That may mean, actually, that they had produced an excommunication for him. They had not just thrown him out of the room.

They had said, You are no longer part of the Jewish community, and you're not welcome in the synagogue. Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him, he said, Do you believe in the Son of Man? And he answered, Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him? And Jesus said to him, You have seen him, and it's he who's speaking to you.

Okay. You have seen him. You already saw him before your eyes were opened, your physical eyes. You already saw him because you believed what you were hearing.

Right. And now here he is. I'm looking in your face. Okay, verse 38. And the man said, Lord, I believe.

And he worshiped him. Jesus said, For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind. Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things and said to him, Are we also blind? Jesus said to them, If you were blind, you would have no guilt.

But now that you say we see, your guilt remains. Yeah, so Jesus makes makes the point about who he is, at least with this man, this man who's been cast out of society. And this guy believes and he worships.

That's actually the right response. He worships him. And by the way, according to the Old Testament, we're not to worship anyone except God, you know, the Father. So when he worships Jesus, he's making an acclamation of the fact that that Jesus and the Father are one. So it's a big deal.

Yeah. And actually, there's an interesting connection that came up in my mind at this point from Isaiah 42. When Isaiah 42 five says, Thus says God, the Lord who created the heavens and earth and stretched them out and spread them out who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it.

I'm the Lord, I've called you in righteousness. And then just down in verse seven to open blind eyes and to bring up prisoners from the dungeon blind eyes, verse eight, I am the Lord, that's my name, I will not give my glory to another. So when he's making this connection between the glory of God and opening the eyes of the blind, yep, yep. So this man's worship is an exactly right response.

Right. And if you're wondering what glory means, it really just means to, I call it broadcasting, to recognize big and loud and large and recognize who this guy is. I also like the fact that the blind man in a very honest way, I think, when he responds to Jesus saying, Do you believe in the Son of Man?

He says just really straight up. Well, okay, so who is he? And Jesus says, Well, it's me.

Well, I think that that mirrors as well people today. You know, when people honestly, honestly come and look at Jesus and say, Who is this guy? Is he the Son of God? Then God comes to them and gives them that affirmation. If you're just honestly seeking, you just honestly want to know. But if you just want to argue about who Jesus is, you're not going to get anywhere like the Pharisees were. But this guy says, Yeah, well, tell me who it is. It's very straight up.

It's very straightforward. And Jesus does not demean him. Because many times I thought, you know, if I was doing this story, in a bad way, you know, if Jesus says, Do you believe in the Son of Man? And then he says, Yeah, well, who is he? Right.

Jesus could get kind of ornery and say, Well, who just healed you, man? It depends on the attitude of the one saying who is he? Right.

Is this an honest heart cry? Who is he? Because I'm ready to believe. Yeah. Or, yeah, who is he?

Yeah, who is he? Right. So there's, there's a really willingness. And that mimics, you know, the 2000 years since then, every time we come to him honestly, and say, you know, help my unbelief, I want to know, tell me. And, and I've seen people who, in their honesty, have come to God and say, God, if you're really there, you know, let me know somehow. And God does show them.

So that happens. And John tells us there was there was an audience that were bystanders, because the Pharisees heard this conversation, and they immediately appropriated it. Oh, are we blind? Are we blind? And but Jesus had said, for judgment, I came into this world, right?

This judgment is is the result of a separation. Like I, you know, I am the sword over which the world divides, right? I either am who I claim to be, or I am not. So that's why I'm here to make it clear who believes me and who doesn't.

Right. And those who will not hear and will not see will not hear and will not see. That's why Jesus prefaced a lot of things he says by saying those who have ears to hear, let them hear. So if you got ears, listen, right?

Listen, that's an attitude. You know, I reflected to when when the Pharisee says, so are we also blind? And I remembered back in Matthew 15, where Jesus says, Matthew 15, 14, you know, let them alone because they're blind guides, and then a very famous phrase that everyone quotes today, you know, and if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into it. Right. Well, and this is blindness that's not physiological, it's willful. They just will not see. A refusal to see the truth. Yeah. So as we wrap up here, I also want to point out the fact that it's an amazing thing that Jesus wants to glorify who God is through the conditions we find ourselves and the healing he brings us through when we come to a relationship with him.

And that's not accidental. So when God changes your life and brings healing or correct something like that, it's not just to make you comfortable, it's really to glorify the loving kindness of God. So that's something we can all apply to ourselves as we're kind of exiting this thing. Well, and the courage that this man manifested in the face of the opposition saying, hey, listen, all I know is I was blind, and now I see, and you make the decision for yourself because I can't figure out your position. I just know this is the one I did what he told me.

I believed him. And now I see. And that's our message today. After we come to Jesus and people say, tell me what it is you're into, you can say, well, look, here's the deal. This is how life was before. This is how life is now after. And the in between, Jesus. I was sitting in the dark.

I knew nothing, saw nothing. And we all have those kinds of messages. And you know, when people are curious about why we believe what we believe, we need to have that conversation. It has to be very straightforward, very simple, like the blind man and say, this was life before, this was life after, and this is what Jesus did in between. And it's not just to make your life comfortable, although that's a nice side benefit, but it's to glorify God who pulls us out of those kinds of situations. So you can do that.

We can do that. Any of us can do that and talk about what happened when Jesus was included in our lives, when we let him into our life. And, and in fact, in fact, the status of your life before coming to Jesus, as miserable as it might be, might be expressly for the purpose of glorifying God. And in two chapters, we'll see someone who lost everything, including his life, for the purposes of glorifying who God is. So this is how God glorifies himself through the actions and the works that he does in our lives. And we may not always understand it.

We may have an opportunity to experience for a very long period of time, darkness, struggle, pain, loss. And God may not explain himself. And God doesn't explain himself.

God, why am I like this? But, but it is he says, for those who love me, it is all working for the good and for my glory. That's Romans 8, 28. Yeah, freely paraphrased. Yeah.

Exactly. Well, you know, next week, we're going to go into John 10. So read John 10. And interestingly enough, the discussion about blindness is not ended here. No, it's going to leak into the next chapter as well.

So this whole event is undeniable event of healing this blind man will come back again in next chapter. So join us next time for More Than Ink. We're glad you're with us. Glad you're with us. Thanks for being here today. Okay, see you next time. Bye. More Than Ink is a production of Main Street Church of Brigham City and is solely responsible for its content. To contact us with your questions or comments, just go to our website, morethanink.org.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-02 00:29:30 / 2024-02-02 00:41:31 / 12

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