clientimages/52448/i saw the light

John 8:12, 9:1-11
Ephesians 5:8-14
March 1, 2015
Pastor Lori Broschat
During World War II an aircraft carrier was out in the North Atlantic. Six pilots took off from
the carrier to spot enemy submarines. While the pilots were gone, the captain of the ship
was forced to issue an alarm. A button was pushed and instantaneously every light on the
ship was extinguished. While their mother ship remained in blackout, the pilots started to
return. The experienced airmen knew their ship was down there. Yes, she was down there
somewhere; they just didn’t know her exact location.
They radioed the ship: “Give us light, we're coming home.” The radio operator on the ship
radioed back: “The order is for a blackout. We can't give you more light.” Another pilot
picked up his microphone and said, 'Just give us some light and we can make it." To his
request the radio operator said, “No light - blackout.” A third pilot went on his radio and
begged, “Look buddy, all we need is one light. Give us just one light, and we can try to land.”
The operator could do no more. With great reluctance he reached over, turned the switch
and broke radio contact.
Six aviators, the pride of their families, hometowns, and country went down in the cold
North Atlantic Ocean and into eternity. There is a point to this terribly tragic story. It should
be noted that those aviators were highly trained flyers. Even more they were good men
trying to do the right thing. This they did by following orders and fighting for a noble
purpose. But, no matter how good they were, how trained they were, how noble they were,
without that light they were lost.1
Jesus is the Light of the World and whoever follows Him will not walk in darkness, but have
the light of life. That is the simple, boiled down truth. That is the reality of the world as it
was when Jesus came to earth and as it is now. There will always be those who get Jesus
and those who don’t. John called Him the true light who came into the world. The light of
Christ shines in the darkness or the evil of this world, but the darkness does not comprehend
that light.
Having claimed to quench the thirst of humanity, He now proclaims Himself to be the only
One able to illuminate the sin-darkened minds of men. The common word Jesus used for
“light” was well-known to all who heard Him. It was Phos, meaning “to shine, in order to
make manifest.” God said, “Let there be light,” and light became. The Light is for those
who are willing to walk in it, and if we walk in the light then we walk no longer in the
darkness of sin, but become reflectors of the Light.2
There were multiple instances of blindness in this healing story. As the man’s spiritual sight
became stronger, the sight of those around him grew weaker- even his own parents. No
one seemed to be able to agree on anything or believe what they saw. After he was healed
all his neighbors no longer thought they knew him. I like the Amplified Bible because it says,
“Those who used to know him by sight as a beggar asked, ‘Is this not the man who used to sit
Lockyer, Dr. Herbert, All the Parables of the Bible, pg. 322
John 8:12, 9:1-11
Ephesians 5:8-14
March 1, 2015
Pastor Lori Broschat
and beg?’” Some said it was him, others said it only looked like him. They were unable to see
in him the man they knew because the man they knew was blind, and they could not see him
any other way!
The Pharisees were blind to the fact that he had been healed, had been given his life back.
They only saw a violation of the Sabbath, which made Jesus a bad person. They doubted the
man’s blindness in the first place because they could not accept the miracle, then they said
he had been cursed and that’s why he was born blind. Faith may produce miracles, but
miracles do not necessarily produce faith. No amount of evidence is enough to change the
minds of some people.
The one constant in this event was the blind man’s testimony. It wasn’t going to change. A
man with an experience is never at the mercy of a man with only an argument. And argue
they did. They questioned him once and weren’t satisfied. They went to his parents, who
were so afraid of being excommunicated they wouldn’t offer any answer except “Ask him
yourself.” There is a great deal of insight as to the visual acuity of the Pharisees in the
parents’ hesitation to answer. The Pharisees had already decided, already agreed, already
made up their minds that anyone who acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah would be
expelled from the synagogue.
Here we see where policy made not on faith but on personal preference crept into the
synagogue as it creeps into the church today. When they made their minds up they believed
this Jesus would just go away if everyone just pretended He didn’t exist. There are none so
blind as those who will not see. Not only could the Pharisees not believe their eyes, they
couldn’t believe his eyes, the eyes of a man blind from birth which now functioned with
complete vision. Apparently his eyes weren’t the only things working that day. His heart
was working too.
There were many chances to see in this healing story from John’s gospel. The man who was
born blind had the most obvious opportunity because he could see what he had never seen
before. For those who had always been able to see, it was an opportunity to see even more.
The disciples could see God glorified through the work Jesus was doing. The citizens could
see a miracle in their midst. The man’s parents could see their son’s life changed, maybe
even their prayers answered. The Pharisees could see the truth about Jesus as the Son of
God who came to fulfill Scripture. Everyone could see the way God works even through our
human suffering.
The issue at stake was not who caused this man’s blindness, but who would cure it. That’s
the way to truly see past our suffering, not by trying to place blame, but by giving glory to
God. There are many things that happen in our lives to which we would like to have the
answers, things we wish God would explain. If we get to ask questions in heaven, maybe
we’ll find the answers. Maybe by then we won’t care. Sometimes the answers are there
and we need someone else to help us see them.
John 8:12, 9:1-11
Ephesians 5:8-14
March 1, 2015
Pastor Lori Broschat
There were four reactions to the miracle in this story. Rather than being overjoyed at the
blind man’s recovery of sight, the neighbors who knew him were surprised and skeptical.
They even doubted his identity. The man’s parents may have celebrated for him, but they
were too afraid of rebuke to share their joy. The Pharisees and leaders of the temple
reacted with outright disbelief and prejudice. They insulted the man, they insulted Jesus,
and they refused to accept any testimony of truth.
St. Augustine said, “Understanding is the reward of faith. Therefore, seek not to understand
that thou may believe, but believe that thou may understand.” Jonathan Swift said it in
simpler terms, “Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.” But there are none so
blind as those who will not see, and none so deaf as those who will not hear.
God wants to show us great things, but we tend to reduce them to small obstacles. Faith is
about seeing not with your eyes, but with your soul. Sometimes we need to close our eyes
in order to open our hearts. This blind man didn’t know how his life would change on that
day. He didn’t expect to be part of a miracle and a controversy. He didn’t realize that the
opening of his eyes would result in vision beyond that of normal sight. He would also see
what could not be seen, and that was the identity of Jesus in the world.
It was a big day in the life of this man. He was healing instantly, but his faith came gradually.
His acceptance of healing was immediate, but his acceptance of Jesus was progressive. He
first saw Jesus as a man, then as a prophet, then as someone from God, and finally as the
Son of Man worthy of worship. His physical sight became spiritual sight, and it was aided by
the refusal of the Pharisees to see what he was saying. It was strengthened by their denial
of his own testimony.
The question I pose to you today is the same the Pharisees put to this man. How did He
open your eyes? What was it that made Jesus become clear to you? Was it the testimony of
other, or maybe the arguments of others? When did your faith start to make sense? The
vision the world insists on is proof – irrefutable and physical proof that can be touched,
seen, heard, and guaranteed. God’s vision requires that we see what cannot be seen and
believe what cannot be touched. If the blind man had never regained his sight he may have
still come to faith. Eyes are not always helpful to those who would believe.
They couldn’t see the miracle, but he could. Jesus came to bring just such a reversal into the
world. Those who were blind would see, but those with so-called sight would lose it. One
commentary calls Jesus the pivot on which human destiny turns. Those who rejected Christ
in spite of the proof of His identity, in favor of the law and its demands, would become blind
to the grace of God. Jesus often spoke of those who were on the outside, who didn’t
understand His teaching because of their hardened hearts. He also often said “Let those
who have ears to hear listen.” Eyes, ears, hearts all have to be open to receive the word of
Christ, otherwise darkness will prevail.
John 8:12, 9:1-11
Ephesians 5:8-14
March 1, 2015
Pastor Lori Broschat
So Jesus came to separate believers from nonbelievers, those who could see from those
who would not. Does it seem unfair that He made that distinction? It wasn’t really all His
idea. Centuries before He was born God made the same declaration through the prophet
Isaiah, “You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive.
For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes
they have closed, lest they see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with
their heart and turn, and I would heal them.”
Jesus Himself declared the prophecy fulfilled when answering the disciples as to why He
spoke in parables. He added this commendation, “But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and
your ears, for they hear. For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to
see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear and did not hear it.”
When Paul wrote to the Ephesians, a people new to the Christian faith and immersed in a
pagan culture, he reminded them of the life to which they had been called. He said, “For
once you were in darkness, but now you are light.” Not that they were in darkness or lived
in darkness, but that they actually were darkness; evil in nature. Through the love of Christ
and the Holy Spirit they had now become light. They had captured the light of Christ and
were now called to reflect it; to live in ways that were good, right and true, pleasing to the
Lord. That tells us that even those who were blind can indeed see. It also tells us that once
we have entered the light never to go back into the darkness.