Pastor John Kerr
Theme: “Do You Really Want a Miracle?”
Text: John 9:1-41
Sunday, March 22, 2020
I should have alerted you to the enormous text—a whole chapter! I could have had you bring a newspaper, donut, coffee, needlepoint or something as you read this.
In the gospel of John the stories are long. The reason for these lengthy narratives in John is that we are told what happens and along with that a discussion about its concerning Jesus.
In John’s gospel, the function of Jesus is to reveal God. “No one has ever seen God,” says John, “except the only son in the bosom of the Father. He has made God known.” The way for you to know God is through Jesus who says, “I am the light of the world.”
And in a deeper way than is apparent to us, Jesus opens the eyes of a blind man. The man can now see for the first time in his life. On into the story, the man sees and believes that Jesus is the revelation of God.
In John’s gospel in most stories, some believe and some don’t. So, in the end Jesus says that there are those who were blind and now see and get the point. While others claim to see, but are really blind, are all wrapped up in their own ideas of God and religion, and are blind to the revelation of God.
So, Jesus heals this man and leaves. In the meantime, the man is by himself, trying to navigate he new life in his old neighborhood. He goes back to his neighborhood and some of his neighbors say, “Isn’t that the fellow that used to sit on the corner and beg?” “No, he just looks like him, but it musts be somebody else.” “No, I think he’s the one.” “Well, it looks like he can see now. You know, I always thought he was just pretending and getting money for nothing. He’s laze and good for nothing and should get a job.”
Then they call in the clergy and the leaders of the synagogue who interview the man. “What day did this happen?” The man said,“On the Sabbath.” “That’s it! The Bible says six days you shall work and on the seventh rest. He worked on the Sabbath and mixed mud, put it on your eyes and healed you. That’s a no-no. He broke the Sabbath. He’s a sinner. Case closed!”
They call his parents in. “Is this your son?” “Yes.” “Was he born blind?” “Yes.” “How did this happen?” “We don’t know. We don’t want to be involved in this. He’s old enough to answer for himself.” They heard that if they took up with this Jesus bunch, they’d be expelled from the synagogue, and so they said, “We’re innocent. We don’t know anything. He’s an adult. Ask him.” And they backed away.
They call the man in again. “Tell us that this man is a sinner.” He said, “I don’t know how a man who does good is a sinner.” They said, “Are you trying to teach us? We’ve been to seminary. You’re just a layperson. You don’t know anything about this.” He said, “Well, I know this. I was blind and now I can see.”
So they resort to the only thing left—anger. Tempers flared and they threw him out of the synagogue. Jesus returns, finds the man and says, “Do you believe?” He says, “Yes.”
I want to point out with this story something that is strangely fascinating to me. Here’s this man who experiences the greatest day in his life. There’s nothing close to it before. Yesterday he was on the street corner with his beat up guitar, plucking out a tune and trying to sing, his hat is upside down with a few pencils in it and a sign that reads “I’m blind. Please help me.” He begged during the day and when evening came, somebody ushered him home, set his table, put food in front of him, put him to bed and so ended his day. Day after day after day since his birth it was the same routine.
But today he is on his own. He can see. He doesn’t need anybody; he doesn’t need a sign, or a guitar, or hat with pencils. He can see and make it on his own. But the sad thing is he’s all by himself. Are his old neighbors there? No. What about his family? No. His church? No. He’s totally alone.
Why is it that when a person has some wonderful, good news to share, he or she is all alone? I don’t understand it. I do know that when this man was dependent and couldn’t care for himself, these people were all around him doing what they could, helping him just as it is true today. But now he can see, and they are gone.
Why is it if someone is hurt, dependent, down and out, we rush to them? But if someone is still working, in good health, kids aren’t in jail, and family is doing fine, why do they have trouble getting anyone’s attention? When I announce in church that a member’s house has burned down, we run over with food, clothing, beds, bedding and mattresses. What else do you need? We can help. We’ll take up an offering. We’ll hold a benefit dinner. That’s the way it is. Somebody’s sick, there’s a death in the family, an accident and we’re right there. If we didn’t do that, we wouldn’t be church.
But I’m wondering about those people who are doing fine, or so it seems, but are lonely. A girl comes to school with a cast on her leg and walks with crutches. “What happened?” “I was in an accident and broke my leg.” The kids start signing her cast. She didn’t know she had so many friends. There were 97 names on that cast by noon. “I’ll carry your books.” “Let me help with your crutches.” “I’ll get a tray for you.” Yesterday she didn’t have friends. Today they’re crawling out from everywhere.
We pounce on people with misfortune to show how caring and sympathetic we are. And that’s right and appropriate. But there are a lot of folks who seem to be doing great, but don’t have someone to share their good news with. What does it take to get the church to notice? A 15-watt bare light bulb swinging from the ceiling, cigarette butts floating in stale beer, no job, no family, no friends, and you and I say, “There’s somebody we can help.” But what about the person who’s doing fine, except for one thing—“I don’t have anybody to share my good news with”?
Here’s a man who experienced the most wonderful day in his life and he has nobody from his family, church or his neighborhood to share with him. “But he doesn’t need anyone.” Wrong!
My grandma Kerr used to say, “When you’re down and out, that’s when you’ll find out who your real friends are.” Bless her heart, but she might not have been one hundred percent right. When you are doing well, that’s when you’ll find out who are your real friends.
Most people in our congregation are doing well. Some are retired and doing well. Some are working and doing well. Most of us are doing well. Then do we need each other? Don’t let “doing well” fool you. Some who are doing well would love to have somebody to share their good news.
Let’s give ourselves to each other not only when we’re down and out and would love a good meal and don’t feel like fixing something; but also when we’re up and running and smiling and saying, “Isn’t life great?” Life is great, except for one thing—and you can fix that.