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CONCERNING THOSE WHO HAVE EYES, BUT DO NOT SEE

A SERMON ORIGINALLY DELIVERED AT
THE FEDERATED CHURCH OF ATHENS

17 MARCH 1996

By Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES:

John 9:1-41

Have you ever looked right at something, and never saw it?

Have you misplaced something you just had in your hand, and it was in plain view, but it took you a while to find it?

We do such things because our minds are focused somewhere else.

So today, we are going to look at a form of spiritual blindness that operates in very much the same way.

The spiritual truths are right before the eyes, but they are not always perceived.

And unfortunately for many people, they are never perceived.

At the same time that we look at this spiritual blindness, we are going to look at a physically blind man who can see.

Let's begin our spiritual journey at John 9:1.

1. And as He [Jesus] passed by, He saw a man blind from birth.

2. And His disciples asked Him, saying, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind?"

Even the disciples had a spiritual blind spot, for they assumed that this person's problem was the result of sin, which was not necessarily so, as Jesus told them.

3. Jesus answered, "It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was in order that the works of God might be displayed in him.

Do you perceive the way Jesus tried to take their eyes off the physical and focus them on the spiritual?

Through the spiritual vision of this man, his physical problem was to glorify God in the spiritual realm.

This is a good lesson for all of us to remember.

So, once we are focused properly, what are we to do?

4. "We must work the works of Him who sent Me, as long as it is day; night is coming, when no man can work.

Do you hear what Jesus is saying?

If we remain in the light, we, not necessarily Jesus, are to work the works of God.

5. "While I am in the world, I am the light of the world."

6. When He had said this, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and applied the clay to his eyes,

7. and said to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam" (which is translated, Sent). And so he went away and washed, and came back seeing.

Neither the spit, nor the clay, nor the waters of the pool caused this man to see.

He was healed solely by the power of God.

Have you ever seen a magician at work?

They try to distract you from seeing what they are really doing, by moving something else or having an assistant doing something, so that you look at the distraction and not the trick.

Jesus was doing the same type of thing, for even though the others had eyes, they were seeing only the physical (spit, clay, and water) and not the spiritual source of the healing.

You become aware of this lack of spiritual insight, as you listen to the following recorded conversation:

8. The neighbors therefore, and those who previously saw him as a beggar, were saying, “Is not this the one who used to sit and beg?”

9. Others were saying, "This is he," still others were saying, "No, but he is like him." He kept saying, "I am the one."

You would think that the simple fact of a person’s regaining his or her sight would cause the witnesses to begin to glorify God, but they didn't.

They just wanted to be obstructionists.

They wanted to excuse the miracle away.

They saw the miracle as a threat to their status quo, and not as the blessing it really was.

People today are no different; they constantly try to find other causes for the works of God.

They say that, "It was only a coincidence."

And the more we do this, today, the more we become like the people of Jesus’ time.

10. Therefore they were saying to him, "How then were your eyes opened?"

11. 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 sight."

12. And they said to him, "Where is He?" He said, "I do not know."

Being unsuccessful in their efforts so far to discredit the miracle, they now resorted to trying to discredit this man and Jesus.

These same kinds of things are also going on in the world around us every day.

13. They brought to the Pharisees him who was formerly blind.

14. Now it was a Sabbath on the day when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes.

Not only were they discontented with discrediting the miracle, but they also sought to bring criminal charges.

And because of their hardness of heart, Jesus gave them the way of doing so.

In other words, He gave them enough rope to hang themselves.

15. Again, therefore, the Pharisees also were asking him how he received his sight. And he said to them, "He applied clay to my eyes, and I washed, and I see."

16. Therefore some of the Pharisees were saying, "This man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath." But others were saying, "How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?" And there was a division among them.

Do you see the spiritual blindness and the hardness of heart in these arrogant, religious scholars?

They were also trying to discredit Jesus.

17. They said therefore to the blind man again, "What do you say about Him, since He opened your eyes?" And he said, "He is a prophet."

Even the blind man knew Jesus was of God, if not God Himself.

18. The Jews therefore did not believe it of him, that he had been blind, and had received sight, until they called the parents of the very one who had received his sight,

19. and questioned them, saying, "Is this your son, who you say was born blind? Then how does he now see?"

Now they tried to use the parents to entrap the son, but all they succeeded in doing was digging their own way into hell.

20. His parents answered them and said, "We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind;

21. but how he now sees, we do not know; or who opened his eyes, we do not know. Ask him; he is of age, he shall speak for himself."

These religious leaders were working on the fears of the people.

And there are many people today who are doing the same thing.

They try to hold people in the church by fear, and not love, for there is no love in them to begin with.

Note what we are told about the parents:

22. His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed, that if anyone should confess Him to be Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.

23. For this reason his parents said, "He is of age; ask him."

Do you see how fear works?

The so-called "religious right" are trying to do the same thing today through the churches and through politics.

Don't be fooled by them or their flowery words.

Let your heart and the love of God be your guide, and do not fear them, as did this man's parents.

24. So a second time they called the man who had been blind, and said to him, "Give glory to God; we know that this man is a sinner."

25. He therefore answered, "Whether He is a sinner, I do not know; one thing I do know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see."

26. They said therefore to him, "What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?"

27. He answered them, "I told you already, and you did not listen; why do you want to hear it again? You do not want to become His disciples too, do you?"

This man began to circumvent the main issue by answering that he did not know if Jesus was a sinner, but as they pressed him, he asked if they also wanted to become His disciples.

He stood firmly in his faith.

28. And they reviled him, and said, "You are His disciple, but we are disciples of Moses.

This man was a disciple of God, just as the religious leaders were to be, but they resorted to being disciples of a man.

They did this knowing that Moses Himself considered himself a disciple of God.

People do this when they are spiritually blind and hard of heart.

29. "We know that God has spoken to Moses; but as for this man, we do not know where He is from."

30. 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.

Each of us should have this same strong faith.

But being spiritually blind, they didn't want to hear the truth.

31. "We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing, and does His will, He hears him.

This crazy kind of blind thinking leaves no room for a repentant sinner, of which we have all qualified.

So the man continued with his faithful words:

32. "Since the beginning of time it has never been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind.

33. "If this man were not from God, He could do nothing."

This is having eyes that see!

But the leaders, having eyes, still did not see.

34. They answered and said to him, "You were born entirely in sins, and are you teaching us?" And they put him out.

This is so typical.

If you won't receive the truth from a teacher, blame the problem on the teacher.

35. Jesus heard that they had put him out; and finding him, He said, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?"

36. He answered and said, "And who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?"

37. Jesus said to him, "You have both seen Him, and He is the one who is talking with you."

38. And he said, "Lord, I believe." And he worshiped Him.

39. And Jesus said, "For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see; and that those who see may become blind."

40. Those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things, and said to Him, "We are not blind too, are we?"

41. Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, 'We see,' your sin remains.

It all begins with our relationship with God.

If we believe in Him, and commit our lives to Him without reservation, then we are filled with the Holy Spirit and our lives are changed.

And part of this change is manifested in spiritual insight, and unlimited and unconditional love.

She and he, who have eyes to see, let them see.

Amen.

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