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I once was blind but now I see!

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I Once Was Blind but now I see!

Can we all turn to John chapter 9 [P] (page ?). I’ve worn these things since I was 14. Anybody else need glasses? I knew something was wrong when I couldn’t read the blackboard at school – yes, it was a real blackboard in those days! I couldn’t see anything in the distance. My eyesight is worse now, I can’t see close-up either! But I well remember the time I got my first pair of glasses. I came out of the optician and there were wires between the power-poles – they hadn’t been there when I’d gone in a few minutes before! No longer was everything fuzzy around the edges, it was crisp and clear. There were trees on the hills! And they stood out like a pop-up book! Because one of my eyes is way weaker than the other, I had got accustomed to using just my one good eye; and if you see with only one eye, everything is in two dimensions – now everything was 3D – sticking out like a 3D movie! It was fantastic! It is a wonderful thing to be able to see clearly! But at least I had been able to see, even if it wasn’t clear. Imagine not being able to see at all! To be blind! [P] Everybody shut your eyes tight. Imagine being like that all the time! Furthermore, imagine what it would be to have always been like that, to have no concept of what vision is even like! To be born blind! That is the man we meet in: [John 9:1-7 As He (that is Jesus) went along, He saw a man blind from birth. (what a tragedy) His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” (they thought that there must have been something bad done to have caused this tragedy, that he was under a curse, and that was due to someone offending God. In a general sense they were right: all death, disease, is caused by sin marring an originally perfect creation. Sin is the issue! But no particular sin was the specific cause of this case.) “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of Him who sent Me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” After saying this, He spat on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, (he simply did what Jesus said) and came home seeing.] It pays to obey! There is the incident. A man was blind and Jesus gave him sight! A wonderful miracle! But it triggered a whole series of reactions in consequence – it is a fascinating chapter, I encourage you to have a look at it in detail when you get back to your room. It actually happened; a man who had never seen, was given sight! But it had significance beyond giving physical sight to the man. At the end of the chapter Jesus said: [John 9:3-41 Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?” Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.] The Pharisees could see with their eyes, both they and Jesus knew that He was talking about a different kind of sight. We do the same thing, if there is a hard maths problem that you can’t do, and someone explains how to go about it, you say, “I see it now!” We mean that we understand. Jesus was talking about spiritual understanding. When Jesus was here on earth there were several blind men around, I can think of at least 6 that He healed. That was what the Messiah was expected to do. Jesus quoted some verses from the Jewish Scriptures that He said He fulfilled: [Luke 4:17-18 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. Unrolling it, He found the place where it is written: “The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners (that sounds good!) and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free.] But most people could see with their physical eyes. Did Jesus come just to give sight to 6 men? No, the fact is that everyone is blind! Here is God come to earth and all people saw was Joseph’s son, the carpenter. People today see a good man, a teacher. People can’t see who He is! In fact the Bible tells us that no one can: [Luke 10:22 No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him.”] The Bible tells us we were [Ephesians 2:1 dead in your transgressions and sins, Ephesians 2:12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.] We couldn’t see God and didn’t want to. We were blind! Until God chose to reveal Jesus to us, open our eyes to see Him! [P] God took the initiative and revealed Jesus to me. He was real, alive personal. He spoke to me! Called me by name! [Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me! I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see]. We all need the same miracle! We were born blind, without any spiritual perception. We need Jesus to open our eyes to the spiritual things. We think that all we see and touch; the material physical things around us, is what is real – but that will all pass away. It is the spiritual things that are eternal. There is a whole world out there and we are totally blind to it! Jesus can open your eyes. I am going to pray that He will do that – it is not my prayer, it was prayed 2,000 years ago by the apostle Paul: [Ephesians 1:17-18 God of our Lord Jesus Christ, glorious Father, may You give Your Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that these men may know You better. I pray that the eyes of their heart may be enlightened in order that they may see, may know the hope to which You have called them, the riches of Your glorious inheritance in Your holy people. Amen.] You would think that people would be overjoyed at the wonderful thing that had happened to this man who had suffered for so long. But no; first they didn’t believe it could be him – it must be someone who looked like him. They got his parents to verify that he actually was their blind son. But the guy insisted that it was really him: [John 9:9-11 He kept saying, “I am the one.” So they were saying to him, “How then were your eyes opened?” 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.”] This man was one of the most amazing witnesses to Jesus. He had never even seen Him but he simply told what Jesus did for Him. He didn’t discuss theology, he simply said what had happened. That is your testimony! And it is extremely powerful – no one can argue against it. People can argue doctrine and theology, but they cannot deny what happened to you. You KNOW it! [P] The Jews couldn’t believe what took place and had all sorts of theological objections because Jesus healed him on a Sabbath. But you cannot get around the facts! [John 9:25 He then answered, “Whether He is a sinner, I do not know; (he wasn’t going to get into a theological discussion) one thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.”] You can’t get around it! The Jews desperately wanted to avoid the facts, this man seeing was most inconvenient to their tidy religion – but you cannot escape reality, the truth. People will do anything rather than face the reality, the truth – it is a person: JESUS! In my youth I got caught up with some silly philosophy that questioned everything; it said that you couldn’t know anything for sure. It’s an idea that is becoming pervasive today – people say that something is true for you; truth is subjective – what is true for you may not be true for someone else, each person’s experience is different but valid. But what about what is TRUE! REAL! It is absolute! It doesn’t change! It is rock solid you can rely on it! It is a foundation! YOU KNOW! I know that I was lost and my life meaningless, just a futile existence with no direction or purpose; BUT Jesus rescued me and placed my feet on a solid rock. Truth that I KNOW: that “The Son of God loved me and gave Himself for me!” I don’t have to prove the existence of Jesus – I know Him! I’ve met Him. He saved me from the pit of despair! Bless His Name! This I KNOW! Not religion, but reality! And it is religion that is the enemy! [P] Look at those that opposed Jesus when He was here on earth; it was always the religious, not the rat-bags! It is still the same today! Religion keeps you from coming to Jesus! {say the right words}You may have been brought up in the church, attended faithfully, but that doesn’t make you a Christian. You need to meet up with Jesus personally! To see Him! It was the case here. The religious objected to this man being healed, they just plain wouldn’t accept the bare facts before their eyes. It was done on the Sabbath, so Jesus couldn’t be from God – their religious doctrine and dogma precluded it. They said that anyone who said that Jesus was the Messiah would be kicked out of the synagogue – that meant excluded from their community – that’s religious control and coercion. That is why this man’s parents wouldn’t even stick up for their own son. They were afraid. And religion binds people in fear; that is how it makes them conform to their rules and keep them in their power. These religious Jews were convinced that Jesus was a sinner. They couldn’t get around the plain fact that this man had been miraculously healed! It was obvious! The man told them 3 times what had happened, until he got fed-up repeating himself; but no, this couldn’t be God. They didn’t know where Jesus got this power. But simple uneducated man that he was, this beggar floored them with unarguable logic. His eyes had been opened!: The Jews said that they didn’t know where Jesus was from: [John 9:30-33 The man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where He comes from, yet He opened my eyes. (If you read this passage, you will see that the man keeps bringing them back to the facts of what actually happened and which they, like ostriches with their heads in the sand, did not want to face) We know that God does not listen to sinners. (there is the first point of his argument, which the Pharisees would have agreed with) He listens to the godly person who does His will. Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. (they couldn’t argue with that either, nor could they get around the fact that this is what had actually happened. It was unprecedented! It was a miracle, there was only one explanation:) If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”] You can’t get around it: IT HAD TO BE GOD! [P] First this man said that Jesus was a prophet, a man who knew God, then he realised that He was from God; finally Jesus came to Him and revealed that He was the Son of Man, the Messiah, that He actually was God! That is what opening your eyes enables you to see: that Jesus is in fact God! And if you are going to have your eyes opened spiritually, it has to be God! He is the only one who can give you spiritual sight! You may come down to these church services and it doesn’t seem to make much sense to you; you need your eyes opened to spiritual things, to see Jesus. Not some imaginary seeing, but having the eyes of your heart enlightened, spiritual understanding. Now you may want that – well, I’m sorry, I can’t do it! It has to be God! He is still in the business of making the blind see. He did it for me, He did it for John, and Robin; and He can do it for you. When He does you will know that He is real, because it is a miracle. God still does miracles today! All you have to do is ask in faith. Believe in Jesus, [P] and even that comes from God [Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.] Spiritual sight comes when you believe in Jesus. Jesus said in Acts about the Gospel Paul was to preach: that it was [Acts 26:18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’ ] You know that you see Him, that He is God, the Messiah who died to purchase you for Himself. You were once blind, but now you see! [sing Amazing Grace].

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