John 9 Part 3

Resumed from part 2

I love his response. “Whether He is a sinner, I do not know; one thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” That’s great because what can they say? He knows this for sure. They can’t write it off because he is standing there telling them. But, they were not satisfied with that answer. “So, they said to him, ‘What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes’?”
Hadn’t they already asked him this before? Now he says, “I told you already and you did not listen; why do you want to hear it again?” He doesn’t exactly endear himself to them with that. But, he goes on, “You don’t want to become His disciples too, do you?” That is a great line. How come you keep asking me this question? “They reviled him and said, ‘You are His disciple but we are disciples of Moses’.”
As if that would mean, therefore, that if you were a disciple of Jesus, you couldn’t be a disciple of Moses. That is a big mistake. The reality is that Jesus came to fulfill the Law of Moses. And so, He did. I promise you that Moses, as Abraham did, saw that day and Moses would have responded to Jesus. You see the idea?
Frankly, it is not an either/or. That is why it is rather sad, in Israel for example, that you will be denied citizenship or not be allowed to be regarded as Jewish if you confess Jesus. If you claim to be a Messianic Jew, they will not allow you to be considered Jewish. You can be an atheist. I find that strange. A person can be an atheist and still considered to be a Jew. But, if you confess Jesus, you are no longer a Jew. That ought to tell us something, shouldn’t it? That is always the cutting edge, what we do with Jesus.
At the point in which we say He is just a good man, a prophet, that sort of thing, that is one thing. But, as soon as we acknowledge something more about Him, that He is the Messiah and the Son of the Living God, we have another story entirely and that will be something that will divide people. He knew that He would come, and that people would be divided over Him.
So, we go on in the story. “We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where He is from.” Now, I truly like his response. He is getting the upper hand on them. “The man answered and said to them, ‘Well, here is an amazing thing, that you do not know where He is from, and yet He opened my eyes.
We know that God does not hear sinners, but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears him. Since the beginning of time, it has never been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. If this man were not from God, He could do nothing’.”
Now he is teaching them. Now, he was a man called Jesus, then He was a prophet, and now what is He? He has come from God. You see the development in his illumination and his own reflection and insight. Now he knows He has come from God. If He did not come from God He could do nothing. What was their response? “’You were born entirely in sins, and are you teaching us’? So, they put him out.” Now we don’t know how permanent that ‘putting out’ was, it may have been for a short period or it may have actually been permanent.
Now that term, ‘putting him out’, by the way, in verse 35 is the same term put forth in chapter ten, verse four, where he puts forth his sheep. He had to pay a price but he made the right choice. Now, here is what happens. He learns something more about Jesus after they put him out of the synagogue. “Jesus heard that they had put him out, and finding him, He said, ‘Do you believe in the Son of Man’?”
Now we are at the next level, aren’t we? He was a man called Jesus, He was a prophet, He has come forth from God, and now He is the Son of Man. At this moment, the man has never seen Jesus. He hears that voice, though. The voice sounds familiar, but he has never seen the face of Jesus until now. Notice that Jesus sought him out, just as in chapter five He sought out the paralytic. He sought him out and wanted to bring closure because the physical healing is not the point. That is trivial compared to the spiritual healing and that is John’s theme.
It is one thing to heal a man physically, it is another matter entirely for there to be a healing of the heart. That is the much higher miracle. Continuing, then, “He answered, ‘Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him’? Jesus said to him, ‘You have both seen Him and He is the One talking with you’.” Using that phrase, ‘seen Him’, to a man who was born blind is very meaningful. He has both seen Him and now He is the one who talking with him. In other words, you have already seen Him in a spiritual sense, but now you are looking at Him. His response and He doesn’t waste a second, was, “’Lord, I believe’, and he worshiped Him.”
Just a few thoughts about this. The Good Shepherd cares for His sheep and Jesus sought him out after they put him out of the synagogue. He knew His voice but had not seen His face. Now he can see Him. But it is not enough that he believes He is a man called Jesus, or a prophet, or even that He is a man of God, he professes the truth that Jesus is the Christ, Son of the Living God. For it is this purpose, as it says in John 20, that this Gospel was written.
Do you know, in a very real sense, you and I are in that very same place? We have not yet seen Him, but we will. “Though you do not see Him, you believe in Him and greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible in ‘glory’, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your soul. You will see Him face to face.” And so, I think about that image in 1 Corinthians 13:12, “For now we see in a mirror dimly,” and what does he say? “Face to face.” In 1 Peter chapter one, verses 8 and 9, “We don’t see Him now, but we still rejoice and will see Him.” Revelation 20:2-4, “They will see His face.” So, we will see Him and that is a glorious hope and a very comforting thought. By the way, I will add this: when you see that face, you will realize that is the wellspring of pleasure you were looking for all your life. You will realize it is that face you were looking for all your life. You didn’t fully know it, but when you see Him, He will be the summation of all pleasures and all beauty and all truth and all goodness all wrapped up into one because He is the author of the true, the beautiful, and the good. Somehow, we will see Him in His resurrected body and see that fullness. It is a great and glorious thought and we might want to reflect upon that.
So, the beggar admitted his need, and his eyes and heart were both opened. In another point, “he worshiped Him,” which, of course, is evidence of His Deity. Turn with me to Acts 10:25-26. This is very, very evident here. “When Peter entered, Cornelius met him,” who, by the way, was the Roman Centurion, and “fell at his feet and worshiped him. But Peter raised him up, saying, ‘Stand up; I too am just a man’.” In other words, don’t worship me, I am just a man.
And look also with me to Acts chapter 14 and in verses 11 through 15, Paul is in a situation where he has been demonstrating the authority of God, and, “When the crowds saw what Paul had done,” after he has raised up this man who had never walked before, and he stood and walked, “they raised their voice, saying in the Lycaonian Language, ‘The gods have become like men and have come down to us’. They began calling Barnabas, Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker.
The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds.” They thought these were two of the great gods come down in human form. “But when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of it, they tore their robes and rushed out into the crowd, crying out and saying, ‘Men, why are you doing these things? We are also men of the same nature as you, and preach the Gospel to you, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them’.” And so, again they cannot accept worship.
Then we turn to Revelation 19 and see a similar picture, this time with an angel. In verse nine, “Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he said, ‘These are the true words of God’. Then I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, ‘Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy’.” Worship only God; no angel will accept worship, unless it is the angel of the Living God. I am reminded, of course, when Thomas said the same thing. Who did he say to worship? He said to worship “My Lord and my God.” Jesus didn’t say don’t do that. In fact, He said, “The Son of Man has come.”
Go back to chapter five for a moment and look at verse 23. Jesus says, “So that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the father who sent Him.” That word, ‘honor’, speaks, really, of the kind of honor that one would give to the Living God, and He is saying the same honor is to be given to Me as well. These are powerful claims, and so Jesus did receive that worship. He said, in these words, “For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, those who see may become blind.” There is a remarkable irony there.
That is to say, those that admit their need are those who will see, those who refuse to see will then remain blind. It is this idea, then, of seeing, and a person can see and still not ‘see’ and fail to recognize their need. The Passion of the Christ came out on February 25, 2004, on Ash Wednesday and the speculation is going around that it will be the Jews who will be made responsible and that will be the theme of the film.
But, my belief is that you will leave the film realizing that all of us did it. In fact, the point is that unless you admit you are the one who did it, having the hammer in your own hand, you will never be in the position to receive Him. The whole point of the narratives is to represent that it was the Jews, and the Romans, and Herod, and Pontius Pilate; all of them were implicated, because all of us were there. That is why in Rembrandt’s wonderful painting of Christ on the Cross, what do you see Rembrandt doing? He is up there, and he is one of those who are crucifying Jesus. He sees himself as one of the guilty. It is a self-portrait of himself as one who would have done the same thing. It is this idea that ‘we’ were there.
And so, understanding that, then, there are two options you have; one is that you do not ‘see’, of course, because you are simply blind, but there is another form of blindness and it is those who refuse to look. That is where we go into people where there would be a kind of true apostasy. A true apostasy is where a person has heard the Gospel and finally says ‘no’ and says ‘no’ too many times, or will say “that’s subjective.” There are examples of those in our own time. That is why I like C. S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce, because, as you know, he describes a busload of people who come up from hell to Heaven to check it out and see if they want in.
They all opt to go back except for one. But the point is that the roster of tourists has as many intellectuals as it does debased heathens. The fact is, hell will have more than its share of thoughtful theologians and so-called Facebook pastors, apostiles and so forth. And so, the idea is that a lot of people reflected hard but rejected Jesus. It is one thing to reject Him outright, but it is another thing to just refuse to acknowledge Him and bow the knee before Him.
So, the man was put out of the synagogue and then Jesus has his discourse with him. He found him, and he worships Him, “And Jesus said, ‘For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind’. Those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things and said to Him, ‘We are not blind too, are we’?” Then follows one of Jesus’ great statements. “If you were blind you would have no sin; but since you say, ‘We see’, your sin remains.” That is a pretty strong and powerful refutation. I don’t know how they responded to that, but I am sure they were not happy. The fact is that if you acknowledge your spiritual blindness, then your sin problem will be done away with. But, because the said, ‘we see’, and refused to see the light they had been given, their sin now remains.
There is a price to be paid. So, this is written by a disciple of Jesus, who now comes to a full understanding of Him and now he responds as he should in the illustration of a man whose physical blindness is now overcome and now he is also capable of seeing in his heart. Those who should have seen the truth blinded themselves to it. All this occurred on the last day of Tabernacles, the festival of light, again ironic isn’t it?
So, there is a double meaning in that. But you, the reader, are forced to now react, ‘what do I do with this Jesus’? Do I align myself with Him? Am I willing, for example, to confess Him before people who are skeptics and who would deny Him? That is the issue we have to raise. Any closing questions, comments? List them below. I just love this chapter because of the wonderful narrative drama.
Here is what we have on that. If we go back to chapter three for a moment, in verse 19, “this is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.” In fact, you can regard our chapter as a commentary on that verse.
Earlier He said, “He who believes in Him is not judged and he who does not believe has been judged already.” In other words, they are putting themselves in the position of judgment because He goes on to say, in verse 20, “Everyone who does evil hated the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” The point is this: He has come to provide an option. He did not come to condemn the world, but to give them an opportunity for life. But if they reject that option, they have judged themselves. Then they will have One who will judge them. Again, in Revelation, we now see Jesus as coming in authority, majesty, and judgment. He comes now as the Judge of the earth.
Yes, if you connect these verses in chapter nine with the verses in chapter three, you see that John chapter nine is a commentary on John chapter three, verses 17 through 21. That, in turn, follows, if you go back to John chapter one, verse eight, speaking of John, “He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light.” And in verse nine, “There was the true light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.”
Of course, in verses four and five we see, “In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” The idea here is that you have a darkness that cannot understand the things of God and rejects those things because the deeds are evil. Those who, by the grace of God, respond to His offer, then acknowledge, and here is the point, acknowledge their darkness and blindness before they see the Light. If you say you ‘see’, your sin remains. So, the commentary on the Pharisees is a commentary as well on the reader. Soon we will do the great chapter about the ‘Great Shepherd’ and it has some very interesting implications. I am sorry to say that one of the passages is used all the time by the ‘New Age movement’, and it is the one about the idea of being ‘all gods’. We will see why that is a misuse of that text. At the end of the day, it always comes down to the person of Jesus.


Continued in part 4


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