Picture. Lake Okoboji at sunset. Taken by Brian Wolf
The big idea: Jesus as Gods messiah brings wholeness and light to a sin darkened world.
Point one. Be bearers of grace and compassion in a carma culture.
The disciples say that there must be some reason of sin why this man is blind. Not just the desciples but the Pharisees also in vs 34 believe in carma. Ancient Hindu and Indian culture believes the same. The Greeks believed the same. If you took care of the god’s wants, then the gods would take care of you.
They have misunderstood the blessing passages in the old testament. As sinful human beings, we like the notion that somehow our gods can be manipulated. That is a sense of controll for us, thinking that somehow now the gods owe me. The book of Job is a good cure for this.
Jesus said to this man that he is blind so that the work of God would be shown in him. He is going to reveal himself as Gods son, the healer and ruling king. He is going to reveal the heart of grace and compassion in and through this man.
Point two. We need to receive the wholeness or shalom from God’s Messiah.
The blind man is seen as less than whole and now has to make his living as a beggar. He is seen as street filth. He is barred from the temple because he is not clean. Jesus not only gives him sight but is reversing these implications and restores him to community. Christ reverses both his physical unwholeness as well as his spiritual unwholeness. Isaiah 42, our old testament passage, promises through Christ in vs6-7 to be a light to the nations and give sight to the physically AND spiritually blind.
Do you know that sort of wholeness? This is not ‘fire Insurance’ because you fear the fire of hell. This is God’s shalom in Christ.
Point three. Belief in God’s Messiah MAY come in stages.
This blind man’s neighbors wonder how this came about. He tells them that ‘the man called Jesus’ did this. Then vs 17 he calls Jesus a prophet. In v35 after he is thrown out of the temple, the temple to which Jesus just restored him ironically, he believes Jesus to be God’s son. He believes him to be Daniel’s son of man prophecy. His belief leads him to worship!
One of our prayers at Grace church is that covenant kids would take a similar journey, not knowing a time when they did not know God. God works in both ways: those who know, like pastor Kyle, when their eyes were opened in 1988 at El Bees restaurant in Waterloo, AND the covenant kids who grow in belief over time.
Point four. Unbelief is both irrational and unremarkable.
V18. The Pharisees want to say he was not born blind so let’s ask his parents. Mom and dad don’t want to be thrown out of the temple with the wrong answer as to how their son was healed. This is why they let him answer. Ironically they will cast this man out of the temple for being blind, which they doubted, and saying it is carma.
Saving Private Ryan, surprisingly, underscores the carma theme. Tom hanks said as he is dying saving Ryan, ‘earn this.’ Years later Ryan as an old man visits the graves where Tom Hanks character is buried. He says to his wife and family, ‘Have I earned this? Have i been a good husband and dad that Hanks saved my life to be?” Can you imagine Jesus coming back to this blind man saying ‘earn this’? Or Jesus on the cross calling us to now earn this? In contrast to carma, Jesus’ love and grace are a gift, not earned nor deserved. Te freedom that the spirit brings is that we will never ‘earn it’, but in being married to Jesus he earns it for us. We measure up. We, in Christ, are good enough!