Learning To See, you see?

John 9:1-41    Learning to See                        March 2, 2014

So this guy who was once blind can now see.  You’d think the healing part of the story would be the pinnacle of the story.  That we’d be told that “Jesus gave the blind man his sight and they lived happily ever after.” Or “Jesus healed the blind man and the whole town gathered to rejoice and celebrate, lifting him on their shoulders, throwing gator aid on Jesus, taking a victory lap with the blind man.”

Instead, Jesus heals the man and then exits stage right.  It’s then that the kerfuffle begins.

It is as if the townspeople’s sight was taken away the moment the blind man was given his. Right away no one seems to recognize this man who has always been the town beggar in the street.  He even pipes up, “Yah, it’s ME guys!” and they don’t take his word for it.  The only person who is the recipient of the miracle, the one it actually happened to, and they cannot see him.  They cannot hear him.

The townspeople drag in the Pharisees and the guy’s parents, everyone questioning how it happened and who did it and what the spit to dirt ratio is to really make a healing salve.

And do you notice what happens?  The man who was healed – he only continues to see more and more clearly while everyone else froths at the mouth for explanation and proof and the legality of doing something like this on a day of rest!

Initially, the now transformed man, he doesn’t know where Jesus is either, what with the being blind. And after he has been healed, describes Jesus, the one who has just changed his entire life, as simply the “man called Jesus.” As the questioning increases, the newly sighted man says he thinks Jesus is a prophet. Soon, he boldly argues with the Jewish leaders and professes that Jesus is indeed from God. Finally, he acknowledges Jesus as Lord and worships him.[1]  That is quite a progression, isn’t it? 

And it simply wasn’t to be done.  He had been a man defined by his lack of sight, known for begging in the streets.  And now he was arguing not only with the townspeople and his parents but with the Jewish elite! This beggar, this blind man who was lucky to still be alive, now is debating with the upper crust of society.

Clearly, things have changed for this man.  He was blind, now he can see.  He had been defined by his sin – because to be sick in any way, shape, or form in the 1st century was to have brought it on yourself (or through your parents) by some kind of sin. And then that’s how you were known – by what it was that ailed you. But now that blindness is gone. And nothing is the same.  It throws everything into a tail spin not only for him, the man formerly known as the blind man, as well as the Jewish leaders, his parents, and the towns people.  The order has been reversed.

One man transforms in front of our eyes. And, as the story demonstrates, it’s easy to get sucked into the legal wrangling, the arguing about how and who and when.  It’s easy to get sucked into trying to explain such a thing, this miracle.  It’s so easy to get caught up in semantics that you can’t see anything anymore, much less God at work in someone’s life.

[Video – Learning to See]

The reason we exist is to go out to transform lives through Jesus Christ.  Now, we know we don’t do it on our own power or even in our own time.  Jesus Christ is constantly working on our hearts and our eyes, transforming the way we live, the way we love, the way we see so that we have a shot at teaching others to see, or, when grace is really at work, they teach us to see God at work in our lives through Jesus Christ.

It’s a lifetime of learning to see and to seek out and look at the miracle and not the obstacle. When are the moments at school and at work where you have been taught to see God changing a life?  A slow, steady friendship building where you thought none was possible.  Forgiveness in a situation that was as good as dead.  A new lease on life. Healing and health in the midst of sickness. Hope in the dark. Where have you seen it at hockey practice or in the band room; in the cubicle or out on the road?  On the field or in the waiting room. In the lab, in front of the computer, in a classroom of students?

Transformation is often a rear view mirror kind of thing.  Looking back to see what has happened, who you once were compared to who you are now. As people who go out to transform lives through Jesus Christ, what blindfolds do you have to take off of your own eyes, your own lives? What miracles are there, right in front of you?  Can you see them?

We are transformed people, constantly being changed and shaped in new ways. How will Jesus use you in miraculous ways this week? How will you be transformed?  Because it’s a promise.  We’ve all been lost and found.  We’ve all been blind, and now we see.

[1] Working Preacher Commentary for March 2, 2014