Sermon – November 10, 2019
John 9:35-41 – A Full Disciple (mp3)
The man born blind has stood his ground in John 9:13-34; confronted with harsh and unmoving Jewish leadership, he refuses to throw Jesus under the bus, and instead rightly confesses the truth, as far as he understands it, before the hostile leaders. And yet, when we look closer at his confession, it is filled with necessary truths, but it is still insufficient as a true and real confession. So, what must happen for this man, so aided and healed by Jesus, to become a full disciple? What must happen for him – and, more importantly, what must happen for us to become full disciples of the risen Christ?
1. Reject the world
The very last bit of v. 34 explains that the leaders cast the man out from the synagogue; yet, I think that we’d be remiss to see the man’s clear rejection of them as well. He refuses to keep his mouth shut, and seeks to defend Jesus, likely knowing full well what it would mean for him. Friends, let us seek to reject the world. It is not that we can’t use or enjoy the stuff of the world, but we must not hold it so tightly that it would keep us from obedience to Jesus. The rich young ruler (Mark 10:17-22) left sad, because his love for worldly wealth made it difficult to follow Jesus. Friend, reject the pull of the world, and follow Jesus.
2. Found by Jesus
Jesus, not surprisingly, went and found this man. He did not go looking for Jesus, but Jesus sought him out. We often talk about people like they are searching for God, but simply cannot find him. Yet, the Bible is clear that no-one seeks after God, but God seeks after them. Jesus comes to seek and save sinners; he is like a shepherd that leaves the 99 to find the one lost sheep; like the woman who loses a coin, and searches diligently to find it. He sought you before the foundation of the world. If you have sought him, and if you find him, it is only because he sought you first! Let us not boast before God – and recognize the love of Jesus in seeking us sinners.
3. Believe in Jesus
Yes, of course we are to believe in Jesus. But, the question that comes always before us, is do we believe in the revelation given to us or in our imagination of what Jesus is? Jesus asks this man if he trusts in the Son of Man – clearly a reference to what Daniel holds up as the coming king. Does he trust in the one the OT says is coming? Do we listen to what the Bible describes Jesus as? Do we let Scripture chip away at our picture of Jesus, conforming him to the reality of Scripture, or are we content with our own pre-conceived notions of our Savior?
4. Experience Jesus
The fact that Jesus draws this man’s attention to the fact that he has seen (past tense!) the Son of Man should strike us as odd. For, of course, the man hasn’t seen Jesus yet, at least not according to our text. But, indeed, he has seen, as in experienced his marvelous and wondrous miracle. Friends, we are not just here to speak well of Jesus, to give facts and figures of his place in history. We are here to experience him – and that is primarily expressed and demonstrated in our love of God and one another. Doctrine ought to provoke love, and love ought to be worked out of doctrine. Both are due to an experience of the love of Jesus.
5. Worship Jesus
This of course leads us to worship Jesus. While this formally-blind man is probably not meaning his veneration as worship, no doubt John means that he would, once the full divinity of the resurrected Christ is seen, even as shown in Thomas’ great exclamation “My Lord and my God!” We are not here for ourselves, but for him. Let us praise and worship him!
Jesus leaves us with a warning, though. Do not think that you do not need the aid and help of Jesus. If you think you see, you’ll never ask for sight, but you will in reality be blind. And here, the story comes full circle. The disciples were right, in a sense: blindness is due to sin. Friends, do not be blind to your sin, and the need you have of Christ to take it away. See, and believe in this Son of Man, and he will make you see!