Sunday Morning | May 7, 2023 | John C. Majors | Louisville, KY
The passage John 9:1-34 is about Jesus giving sight to a blind man and contrasts the different reactions to this miracle. The disciples ask why the man was born blind, and Jesus explains that the works of God might be displayed in him. Jesus heals the man by making mud with saliva and sending him to wash in the pool of Siloam. The man's neighbors and the Pharisees are skeptical about the miracle and question him and his parents. The man testifies to the truth of what Jesus did in his life and gradually comes to see Jesus as a prophet. The Pharisees are divided, and the man's understanding of Jesus continues to increase, while the Pharisees hearts only become more and more hardened.
At Valley View Church we are currently studying through the entire gospel of John, verse by verse. You can join us on Sunday mornings at 11 AM for worship. We are located at 8911 3rd Street Road, Louisville KY 40272.
Well, good morning. If you're here because you really wanted to be today, right? I'm really grateful. This rain came this week, not last week, with our church picnic, which, by the way, I just got to give praise. And thanks to Cliff and the whole team of people who were involved in putting that on. Yeah, a lot goes into that. Really grateful that we can gather that way. That's just an important part of how we connect, build trust, build relationships, build community. The more connected we are, the more that increases our ability to minister to others to pour out the gospel into the community. I have a quick praise dimension. I mentioned on Easter Sunday that the story of Chastity Martin and her journey of health and how we thought she was going to die and then she recovered. It was yesterday, the day before she made it back home. She's back in her house. Yeah, it's it's really unbelievable. Unbelievable. So this morning's rain made me think about and in contrast to last week's sunshine or at least lack of rain, that we often do have a different approach to the sun. The sun's incredibly powerful. All of life is due to the sun. Physical life, at least. And yet there's times we welcome at times we don't. There's times we want the sun. There's times we would rather not. For instance, I mentioned before that we served as missionaries in the South Pacific, and when we first showed up to our house, the place we're going to live for six months, our neighbor had all the furniture out on the driveway, sitting on tarps, mattresses, couches, chairs. I'm like, What are they doing? Are there? We finish in their floors? What? I don't know. Well, we found out 30 days later, the next time the sun came out after it had rained 30 days in a row. Whenever it stops raining, you drag everything out into the sun so that it'll kill all the mold that's been accumulating and this incredible humidity. And we were doing the same thing. The sun's out. Get it outside. Anything with fabric on it. Let's drag it out into the sun. Get the sun out. Because the sun is going to kill the mold. It's going to bring health. It's going to bring life to that item desperately needed in that climate. However, there's other times where I don't want the sun around early in the morning. I don't want any sunlight, I don't want any noise. I want it to be as dark and as quiet for as long as possible. Early in the morning, Julie, however, she wakes up and loves to throw open the curtains, let the sun wash over our house. She's like, gets recharged from it, like some kind of superhero. And I'm like a vampire scrambling to close the curtains, you know, shriveling in the sun. No, I don't want the day to start. Yeah, let's keep it quiet. We we have different reactions to the sun in different times and different seasons of life. And I think in this passage today, we're going to see different reactions to light. Of course, the light of Christ. Ultimately we see a blind man and how he reacts to it. We see the Pharisees and how they react to it, and they're very different reactions. We're going to be in John Chapter nine today. We're finally turning the page from John Chapter eight over to John. Chapter nine. I know you wondered if there were any chapters beyond John. Chapter eight. As long as we spin in that chapter, there are, we'll get to them, don't worry. Chapter eight was so huge. There's so much there to unpack, but we'll start to move along a little more. We get into more stories that cover more distance. John Chapter nine That's on page 842 in the Church Bible. And if you don't have a Bible, we'd love to put one in your hands. This church cares deeply about the word of God. We want you reading God's word, studying God's word. In fact, if you have a copy of the Bible with you, hold it up. Hold it up. We want you in God's Word, studying it, having his word in your hand and I know can be on the phone as well. Papers better. I'm a little biased. I prefer however you get the word some in. That's good. But however you are getting into God's Word, whether it's audio, digital paper being His word is going to transform your life and we want to make that easy for you. If you don't have a copy of the Bible, we have them out in the connection corner. We love to give you a copy that's yours. Slip out anytime to grab one that's free for you. But in John chapter nine today, we're going to see this contrast. And just to set up the chapter, because we've been deep in the weeds in Chapter eight, we've got to remember Chapter eight, Chapter nine are part of a lot bigger section. Really. Chapters five through ten are one whole big section in John that is Jesus telling us more about who He is. He's just revealing a little bit at a time, a little bit more, a little bit more, and it's progressing and we're getting more and two distinct features of John. And in particular this section are the seven signs of who he is and the seven names. John loves to have structure. He's always hinting back at something in the Old Testament. He always has a purpose in everything he says Here in this passage, we actually get one of the signs and one of the times converging together. So the theme that has oversaw the last couple of sermons and goes in today is back in 812. He says, I am the light of the world. That's his I am statement. Well, today we're going to see that compliment saying sign I am the light of the world and I'm going to show you that I'm the light of the world. I'm going to bring light to the world specifically to one God and so let's set some of the context for what we're seeing, the day, the way these themes are converging about who Jesus is, what is he saying about himself. And so let's dive into these first few verses here, Chapter nine, verses one through five as he passed by, This is Jesus. He saw a man blind from birth, and his disciples asked him, Rabbi, who send this man or his parents that he was born blind. Jesus answered, It was not that this man sinned or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in Him. We must work the works of Him who sent me 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 so he ends this section verse five, restating 812 I'm the light of the world. I've come to bring light to the world and I'm about to show you that I can bring light to the world. But his disciples start the section with a bit of a theological question. Jesus, who? Why was this man born blind? Was it because of something he did or his parents? There was the view at the time that a child could actually even just sin in the womb. I could do something in the womb, and some of this goes back. It's kind of based in you remember the statement about Jacob and he saw that they were wrestling one another in the womb. This idea that maybe they were sinning against one another even in the womb. I don't think that's fully accurate. In fact, I think what Jesus says here helps give a counterbalance to that. Now, of course, though, we can say that. So was it something he did in his won't know? Was it something his parents did that caused the blindness? Can a parent to make a choice when a child is in the womb that can affect that child? Well, yeah, of course. I mean, you take a substance, a very dangerous substance. It can affect the development of a child for sure. That's not what's going on here either. This is just a general vague notion of this was out of his control. It must have been. There's no other explanation. Somebody must have sinned. Of course somebody did. His name was Adam. Adam brought sin into the world, and as a result, all of mankind suffers. The challenge here, though, is there's not necessarily a direct line between a malformation and someone's personal sin. This is important to remember. In all walks of life, I always is cringe when I hear some televangelist loudly proclaim with definite illness that whatever natural disaster was God's specific judgment on that area for some specific sin. And I just go, How do you know? How can you be that? Sure. Really? I mean, I drove through the neighborhood we lived in in Little Rock when I was there two weeks ago. I drove down our street and it was so difficult. It was so devastated. House after house just crumbled, gone. I mean, family's whole lives and are changed radically. Was that God's judgment there, that someone in that neighborhood sin? Is he mad at them because we moved away? Now his judgment comes on now. No, no. In fact, Jesus says here, you're not even seeing this rightly. How does he respond to their question? It was not verse three. It was not that this man sinned or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. Jesus gives the right perspective. There's more to the story than you realize, guys. There's more going on in the background than you even have an inkling of. He is sovereign. He is in control. Even when that doesn't fit what we grew up hearing. In fact, I think in so many realms of life, there's just more to the story going on than you can see on the surface. There's a whole lot more going on. And what is it here? It's God's glory. Now, how does he follow up on this? What's the action he's going to take to show them what he means? Let's look at the next couple of verses here. Verse six Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man's eyes with the mud and said to him, Go wash in the pool of Siloam, which means scent. So he went and washed and came back. Seeing I got questions about this. I don't know about you. Right. What's going on here? There's a lot of different things here. I got three specific questions coming out of this. First, why would the man go along with this? And who goes, Yeah, please smear some spit riddled mud on my eyes. I'd love that. Well, why is he likely to go along with this? Well, part of the reason is at the time there was the view that saliva had healing properties. In fact, what's interesting is I learned that saliva can your own saliva can remove your own blood stains from fabric. I had blood on a white T-shirt. I won't say how it got there, but I learned that my own saliva could take it off. It's pretty interesting. That's again, not what's going on here. Most specifically at this time. There was the view and some of it came through Jewish tradition that the son, firstborn son of a father, his saliva would specifically heal diseases of the eye. That was a specific view at this time. So you can imagine how many times if this is a cultural belief a father and mother would have brought their firstborn son by someone like this to say, look, let's try. Let's see, will you be healed? Who knows how many times this has happened? In fact, I could see him thinking, Here we go again. Another mom and dad who thinks their kid's special want to smear his spit on me. You know, but the specific situation here, though, even if saliva they thought had healing properties, why does Jesus then use mud? I mean, why not just his own saliva? I don't know exactly, but I think there's a hint here. Maybe. Maybe just an inference that as man was shaped from dirt, humankind came from dirt. He is now reshaping that dirt to heel. The one who creates can heal and recreate. It's just a subtle inference here. But then he sends him, you know, Jesus could have just said, you're healed. But what he does is he takes the saliva, makes the mud. I'm the one who created you. I can heal you. But then he sends him away. Go on over to this other place and wash it off and you'll be healed. And he mentioned specifically here. It's really interesting that John translate the pool salon, which means sent. That is what that Hebrew word, Siloam. That's a transliteration of the word for scent. Why would he send him over to this pool of salon, which, by the way, this pool is still there today. The word scent sums up how the pool got there. The water came from a spring, the giant springs, and it's sent to this pool through a tunnel that has a kind of built his across tunnel. In fact, I'll throw up a picture of it now. You can still go there and see it today. Who's, in fact, if any of you been there, seen that tunnel in particular. Here's a few hands. Yeah, it's still there. You can still see it. Apparently, you can still pollute it with your flesh as you walk through it barefoot. I don't know why this guy's in the picture, but the point being, it's still there. The water was sent to this pool. That's why it's called the scent. But again, there's a reason why. And what's the subtlety here? What's the inference? Jesus, the one who was sent to mankind, is now sending this man to the place of sending to be healed so that he can be sent to those who need to hear about Christ. Is this guy getting all that? No, of course not. But just some of the the hint, the inference, the subtleties that is layered in here for us as we read it and apply it to our lives. And of course, the inference is, as Christ works in your life, the call is to be sent to tell others, Here's what I've done in my life and we're going to see that guy do that here. In fact, let's look at the next set of verses for how he responds, because what's really important and probably the most fascinating part of this whole thing is the fact that he went, Imagine yourself in his shoes. You've had kid after kid after kid, spit spill, smear his saliva on you, and now you're telling me I actually got to go somewhere else, even to see this thing through again? And it goes, in fact, as we look, the thing I want us to track as we look through this passage, we're going to see this progression and contrast between the blind man and the Pharisees. We're going to get to them. We're not there yet, but we're going to see a drastic contrast in their view of light, the light of Christ. And the first thing we see here with this man is he went and he sees this is the first step in the progression. He went and now he sees his first response to the light. His first response to Christ is took him by faith. He went, Now he was healed. And so now he comes back, says he came back. Obviously he's coming back to find the guy who healed him. He's not there. Let's keep reading verse eight. The neighbors in those who had seen him before as a beggar were saying, Is this not the man who used to sit and beg some said it is he. Others said no, but he is like him. He kept saying, I'm the man I know. Some of you love this verse right here, right? This. You keep saying it. I'm the man. Anyway, so they said to him, Then how were your eyes opened? He answered. The man called Jesus made mud and known in my eyes and said to me, Go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, received my sight. They said to him, Where is he? He said, I do not know that the inference here at the end is, okay, you say this guy healed you. Where is he? Where's this so supposed Jesus? Who healed you? I don't know. You know the challenging part of this section? It's really interesting. This guy gets healed and he comes back. This town should be throwing a party for this guy. Is it really him? Are you sure you're that guy who said at the gate, You know, the hard part of this is a bit tied up a bit in human nature. I remember when we lived in Phenix, there were so many homeless people, so many beggars you just got to wear. Well, in fact, I've heard it said that the opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference. You just got to where you just didn't even notice them. The same guys sitting by the same trash can at the same gas station every day. He just becomes another trash can, just becomes another piece of furniture. You just don't even notice. No, I don't hate I don't dislike I just don't even acknowledge that they exist as a human. And we don't know how old this guy is. He's at least 13. Given that he can claim legal status to testify about himself. We'll see in a little bit. He's been sitting there a while. We never really paid attention to him. Was it that guy or not? I don't know, because they're not sure. They know. We need to get help. We need to find someone else who can maybe give us more account of who he is. But the powerful part of what he does here in this journey of comparison between the blind man and the Pharisees and their approach to light, here's what he does when they asked him What happened to you, Put that up on the screen. He testifies to the truth of what Jesus did in his life. He simply says, Here's what Jesus did in my life. Here's what happened. He doesn't shy away from it. He simply states, and this is the beginning really, of truly walking with him is just acknowledging, here's what Jesus has done in my life, acknowledging and then reminding me. I've got to be reminded as much as anyone else is of what he did in my life. It's too easy to think that he didn't because times are hard or that I actually was the one who accomplished it or some other circumstances simply testified to the truth of what Jesus has done in your life. They're not sure if he's the guy or if that really happened. And so they're going to bring in outside counsel. What they're going to do is they're going to go to the Pharisees. Let's look at the next set of verses verse 13 through 15. So they brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. Now it was the Sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. The Pharisees again asked him as the man how he had received his side, and he said to them, he put mud on my eyes and I washed. And I see. So he's brought to the Pharisees, and you could see why they might do this. If someone in your community was radically changed, you'd want other people to know about it. But also you might have questions about it. You want others to be able to give you their thoughts and opinions. And we learn more about the situation here. Specifically that not only was he healed, he was healed on the Sabbath. Now we have here some clear connections to a previous story. We looked at chapter five. There was a man, a lame man. And there's some interesting parallels here. Lay man. He was also healed on the Sabbath, also at a pool, a pool of water. Their responses to the situation were very different, though. This man, the way he responds, the other man at the previous lame man setting was very hesitant to make any claims about Jesus, seemed to be very worried about his social status. This guy doesn't care. I'm going to tell it. I'll tell what happened. I'm not worried. But they're partly going to be worried because this healing occurred on the Sabbath. Was this a legal healing? You know, there are a lot of rules about keeping the Sabbath at the time. Tons and tons and tons. One of them that Jesus possibly broke is making the mud. Okay. There was a clear rule against the kneading of bread and mud is not bread, but it's the same motion, same activity. Jesus, that's not allowed. What are you doing? But the other one would have been healing someone on the on the Sabbath. Now, they weren't completely heartless. They allowed for emergency situations. I mean, if someone was in a desperate situation, you you could tend to them. You could care for them. But they make it very specific in their laws. And this goes back to a world tradition. And Judaism in the Talmud, they make it very specific chronic illnesses can wait. Okay, This guy has been blind for who knows how long. Jesus, you couldn't wait One more day. Really? One more day. How many of you would give up a single day of sight? No, I couldn't wait one more day. And you misunderstand the law. You misunderstand the purpose of the Sabbath. And so Jesus is constantly just pressing their buttons. You don't understand. I'm going to show you. I'm going to show you who I am. I'm going to show you what the Sabbath is. Now these guys again, ask him, what's the deal? What happened? And I love that he simply tells them again, here's what happened to me. Here's what happened to me. And let's look at how they respond to this. Some of the Pharisees said this man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath. But others said, how can a man who is a sinner do such a son? There was a division among them. So they again said to the blind man, What do you say about him since he has opened your eyes? And he said he is a prophet. Okay, So the powerful part of what's happening here now that he's converged with the Pharisees, because his response to the light and their response to the light is in pretty direct contrast here. And if you look at the verse, in fact, the summary of this I think could go up on the screen. Pharisees are divided, but he is enlightened. So we went from his personal testimony, which is here's what Jesus did in my life, which by the way, the power of your personal testimony is so wonderful as an evangelistic tool. If you're looking to share your faith with others, especially in this day and age, that's one of the most powerful things you can do, is just tell your story of what Jesus did in your life, because people will say, Well, the Bible's not true, or they'll say, Christianity's all messed up. Think of all the wrong that's happened through it, or you can't Jesus, Really? God, Come on. You think all that's true? I mean, they'll argue on point, left and right. But when you say this happened to me, now listen to that. I'll usually listen to that. They usually won't argue with that, especially if they've seen the change in your life. But he goes from personal testimony now to theological statement. Not only did he work in my life, you want to know who I think he is? He's a prophet. His boldness keeps increasing. He's a prophet. Now we know that Jesus is more than a prophet, which is an important thing to remember, especially for new believers even now. But when you're a new believer, do you understand everything there is to know about Christianity and who Jesus is at that point? No, no. You're just beginning to know who he is. There's a term called progressive revelation. He progressively reveals himself to you over time, both in Scripture. Genesis one one doesn't have everything about who God is in it. It gets revealed over time and Scripture unfolds. That's true in your own life as well. The way you view him now is massively different than when you first came to know him. And a good reminder that you're going to know even more about him if you think you have him all completely figured out. Right now, there's more to be unfolded in who he is in this earth and in the life to come. But his response is to say he's a prophet. And their response is to say, I don't know. I'm not so sure they're divided. So we continue to see divergent paths on how they respond to the life. What happens next is pretty shocking. The way they respond to his statement that he's a prophet. Look at verse 18 The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they called the parents of the man who had received his side. And they asked him, Is this your son who you say was born blind? How then does he now see? His parents answered, We know this is our son, that he was born blind. How he now sees we do not know, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him. He is of age. He will speak for himself. We get a little bit of commentary on here on what was really going on in their hearts. We don't always get that. His parents said these things because they feared the Jews for the Jews. And again, that phrase Jews is often used to refer specifically not to the whole Jewish population, but to the religious leaders specifically, often the Pharisees. They were afraid of 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, which would radically change your whole life. A lot was at stake. It's not just going on down the road to another church. This is getting kicked out of the community. Therefore, his parents said he was of age. Ask him now were they right and wrong in doing this? I don't know where they're being too soft. Were they passing the buck? I don't I don't know. But the response of the Pharisees in this moment, in fact, it says here the thing that colors this whole section in verse 18, they did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight. They didn't believe until now. They do believe that this is the guy who he says who he is and he received sight. But we don't believe how it happened. We don't believe in the one who claims to have done this. This doesn't make them believe in Jesus more. In fact, it pushes him them further away from him. And, you know, the really sad part of this is this is the moment when they should be throwing a party. They should be throwing a party for those parents. These are the religious leaders in the community. They should be throwing a party for this guy whose life is now radically changed. And instead they're just questioning every little element that this really happened. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? They're just totally ruining the whole moment. I think back to here just not too long ago when we had the Asbury Revival over at Asbury College. Wilmore, Kentucky, Some of you I know went there to experience it. In fact, one of our own, Caroline Cobb, Troy Melendez daughter, Caroline, she's not here today because she's finishing up school. She's up at Grace College in Indiana. It's about 4 hours north of here. And she told me some of her experience when that revival broke out. She was in a low point in life. She was injured. She's a runner. She runs for the school, couldn't go to the meet that weekend. So she's stuck at home facing some other challenges in her personal life in school and just feeling low. She saw a message that a group from the from church were going to the revival. And she says, I'm going I'm going to go by faith. I'm going to be a part of that. HOPSON The car comes down here, joins in with them. They get to Asbury, they're walking toward the chapel and the whole group, all of them said, We experience something like we never have before. The sense, the awareness that we were moving into a holy space was like never before. And I can't put words to it and I still can't. Now, one of the challenges with that revival, I heard from a number of different I never actually personally read any of the stories because I didn't want to, but I saw the headlines on Here's all the Problems with the Asbury Revival. Here's all the things they're doing wrong. Here's why it's not a genuine revival. Here's how their beliefs can't lead to revival. And I'm not saying Asbury is perfect. I'm not saying the revival was perfect. I'm not saying the people there were perfect. I'm not saying that everyone's motives were right. Do you give me a 20 year old coin, the seat, the presence of the Lord in a low moment in life? I'll take that all day long. And so she walks in, and as she's walking in, though, she gets a text message from someone. And it was a difficult situation. She was already dealing with it and it just derailed her. It made the whole thing worse. And I don't think it was any coincidence that that happens. Right as she's going in to seek the Lord, hungry to hear from him, knowing that his presence is there, wanting to hear from him. Is that a coincidence? No. But she goes on in, finds her spot and just begins to worship, begins to pray, weeping, still troubled by this text message, and all of a sudden some random person from across the balcony comes walking all the way over to her. No older lady, you know, probably my age. So old comes walking over to her and she says, God is telling me to come pray for you. And begins to tell her very specific things about what she's facing and prays for her and others around her, begin to pray over her. She said, John, I'll never forget that moment as long as I live. I know that God speaks. I know he will speak to me. I don't know what you were doing at 20 years old. We speak in the Lord's face like that. I mean, we should be celebrating that and throwing a party. We obviously we need to use wisdom. We need to be careful theologically. We need to be wise. And I look back on moments where God spoke to me. I mean, those are anchor points in my life. In fact, as she told me that story, I thought, why am I not that way every single day? Why does it have to be some special event? Maybe that's the criticism of me. Why does it have to be some special event? Why not? Every single day I wake up expecting to hear from him, and that way I don't think the problem is with God. They should be throwing a party. And yet they're criticizing. How does it continue from here? Here's what they say to them in verse 24. So for the second time, they called the man back who had been blind and said to him, Give glory to God. We know this man is a sinner. He answered, Whether he is a sinner or not, I do not know. One thing I do know, though I was blind, I now see one of the things we see here is the reality on this progression of how the light is exposing their hearts. The next step along the way is his life changes. It's going to be up on the screen. His life changes, their hearts harden. The sun is the light is softening. His heart and they're hardening against it. And we see that here. Really? Did this happen? Tell us again. And he says, I now see my life has been changed. Now, when they use this phrase give glory to God, they don't mean let's praise him together for what God is doing. Now, this is a warning. This goes back to Joshua seven, when Akin, who was supposed to not take stuff from the city they had just taken. He took stuff, hid it in his tent. God's wrath is being poured out on the whole community. They narrow it down to him and they say they start with give glory to God, Tell us the truth. That's what the statement is. Be very careful about what you say next, because your whole existence depends on what you say next. That's this is a phrase of intimidation. Give glory to God, Tell the truth, meaning agree with us. This man is a sinner. They're not out for the truth. And he starts to hone in on this. He starts to realize this is just intimidation. And I love how he responds to this. In fact, on the screen, they intimidate, he proclaims. In the midst of the intimidation he continues to proclaim he doesn't let off the gas. I don't know what you're talking about. I can see y'all keep believing what you want. I can see he doesn't shy away from that. Here's what he's done in my life. It's so refreshing to see. Of course they love that and they keep responding. In verse 26, they said to him, What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes? He answered them. I told you already you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples? I love that he knows. Look, at this point, they're just trying to trip me up. They're trying to entrap me. They're trying to undermine my story. They're trying to get rid of me. Do you also want to be tongue in cheek, become his disciples? He knows they don't, but he knows they're not sincere. And what I love about this is the model this gives for us. First, Peter to 23 says that when Jesus was reviled, he did not revile in return. Okay, this is tongue in cheek. This is light hearted. In fact, how they respond to him next shows the pinnacle of their heart compared to his look at verse 28. And they reviled him, reviled, abused him as another way to translate. They reviled him. They said to him, You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. We know that God has spoken to Moses. But as for this man, meaning Jesus, we don't know where He's from. I love how he responds to this reviling. He gives them a sermon, right? A spontaneous sermon. The man answered Why? This is an amazing thing. You do not know where he comes from. And yet he opened my eyes. Yet 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 opened the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing. They answered him. You were born in utter sin. You would teach us. And they cast him out. And here's what happens in this moment. They revile, they abuse, and he becomes fearless. And that's one of the words we've been talking about this year. Free and fearless, freedom from sin, fearless moving towards freedom from the fear of others, free to boldly proclaim the gospel. That's Philippians 114. That's one of our theme verses for the year. Fearless to boldly proclaim the Gospel without fear and his boldness has increased dramatically. He's gone from Somebody healed me. He was Jesus. He's a prophet. And I'm going to say it again and again. I'm on a preach to the religious leaders who don't believe I've been sent to them to declare the truth of the Gospel to them. I think there's five important principles for us that come out of this. I want to run through these quickly. First, God can use anyone. Okay. Whatever your physical deformities are, if you were born blind. Oh, by the way, we're all born blind. Every one of us spiritually was born blind. Even if you were born with physical sight, that you still owe your sight completely to God. It's not like I did a better job in the womb of forming my eyesight than that other person. I worked so hard in that moment. No God can use anyone, no matter what you've been through. In fact, I would say because of what he you've been through, he's going to use that. He's going to use your story in someone's life. You're not unusable. Second, it's not about how great we are. Yes, this man needs to go watch. But it wasn't because of how amazing he was at washing. It wasn't because of the water of the pool and how purifying it was. There was one actor in this and it was Jesus. Jesus is the one who healed. We got to keep that in mind in the midst of whatever we're facing, good or bad. He is the one who moves. He's the one we depend on. And then number three, the powerful part of this is that what happens here is just simply be available again. This guy didn't do anything amazing. He wasn't even crying out for Jesus to come over to him, but just be available, be available. And when he says, move, go, respond, be ready to do what he says. I'm reminded of Naiman in the Old Testament when the Prophet said to him, If you want to be healed, go wash in the river. And he's like, That river looks pretty nasty. How's that going to help me Forget it? But as a little servant girl said, at least try. At least try. What's it going to hurt? Go wash, go be available. Simply be available. Okay. Lord, I can't see it. I don't understand it. I don't know how it's going to work out. I'm. I'm going to trust you. And then number four, take time to see the unseen. I'm preaching this to myself as much as anyone. It is hard to admit that people became road furniture, trash cans unseen. I don't know who that is in your life. Take time to see the unseen and here's why. Number five. And I want everyone here to hear this as much as anything else. Jesus sees you. Why can we take the time to see others? He sees you. This is the first verse of this section. Look back at verse one. As he passed by, he saw a man, all the other people who are there, everyone else who wants Jesus's attention. Jesus saw him and Jesus sees you no matter what you're going through. He sees you. He knows where you are. As a preparing for this message, though, I got to say there was one person I had in mind more than any other. It was one person. I kept thinking the entire time. I got to know what he thinks about this passage as one of our own. Bill Brooks, better known as Eddie Lee's husband. Right. We know Eddie least. She's a children's minister, children's pastor here, Bill Bailey. Bill Lee. That's probably right, Bill. We'll just stick with Bill is blind. Bill can't see he wasn't blind from birth, though This happened later in life. I personally wish he would have been blind from birth. That sounds harsh, but I would have gotten in less trouble when he was my leader and a witness or royal ambassadors if we couldn't see back then, it was a degenerative disease. So he wasn't born that way. But I asked Bill, I called him and I said, Bill, I need to hear your perspective on this passage. I can't get up and preach this in front of you without hearing your perspective on passage. And of course, he did an amazing job of talking about the theological points of the passage. Much of what we've covered immediately were at the front of his mind because you want to talk about passages he's dwelt on in Scripture. This is near the top of the list. It's more relevant to him than anyone else in this room, he said. But John, let me tell you what this means to me. There's the theology. Let me tell you what this means to me personally. So many times I've asked God why God, why? Why did you allow this into my life? And he said, To be clear, I've asked God to heal me many times. In fact, I remember the sun. He came down front. We were praying for healing for many. He came down and asked for healing. I got to tell you, that was very moving to me. Where? Where is my faith? What kind of things have I just accepted? What kind of things am I not praying for God to move? Where have given up hope that he might change and heal now? Bill, Maybe he'll heal today. I've asked. But John, here's where I've landed. And this is where this passage has meant so much to him. Whether God chooses to heal or not, I'm going to trust that His glory is at work, whether I can see or not. He's in control, whether I ever receive back my physical sight. And this is a thing for all of us to hear. He still sees me. Let's pray. God, we thank you for your word. We thank you that your word gives us hope. We don't always feel seen. We don't always feel like you care. Thank you for a passage like this that proclaims loudly how much you care, how much you love. I thank you for the testimony of this man who says. I don't know what you think. I see, you know, before I continue praying and here's what I want to do and maybe just keep your eyes closed if you're someone who feels unseen by the Lord, I'd love to just pray for you. Now, just raise your hand. Hopefully others aren't looking around at you, staring at you. I just want to pray over you now. And in fact, you can lower your hands if you feel comfortable. If you want others to lay their hands on you, just raise your hand again where you are and maybe look around around you. If there's someone with their hand up, just put your hand on them while I pray. Again, no pressure. God, I pray today for those who feel unseen. There'd be an overwhelming sense of your presence in their life today. Much like when Caroline walked in to Asbury. A sense that you're going to move, that you're going to do something new today, starting today. At the same time, I prayed, just like with Bill, that there would be a complete and utter dependance on trust, on the reality that you're still there, that you're still present, that you are getting glory even in the midst of whatever trials or challenges we face. I pray as a church Lord, that we can pour out your love to others. We would be seen and we would see others. We love you, Jesus. We thank you for this day. Amen.