John 9: Light And Darkness

This world is full of order, design, complexity and beauty. It was designed by a Great Designer and Amazing Artist. The human body is fantastic. It was designed by the Creator to house the soul and interact with the physical world. The human body has layers upon layers of complex and elegant design – light years beyond anything our greatest scientists and engineers could come up with.

One example – the eyes and the visual system. The eyes are part of a complex visual system that enables us to interact with the world. The eyes collect light from the surrounding environment, regulate its intensity through a diaphragm, focuses it through an adjustable assembly of lenses to form an image, converts this image into a set of electrical signals, and transmits these signals to the brain through complex neural pathways that connect the eyes via the optic nerve to the visual cortex and other areas of the brain.

A recent article from the Institute for Creation Research informs us that the visual system develops in the womb with built-in plans and specifications. Tissues form the eye in a precise choreography of carefully timed steps. At the same time, nerves are constructed to bring data from the eyes to the brain. After a child is born, his eyes take in data. Light photons hit the back of his retina, which converts patterns of light into a flow of electrical signals. These data are sent down the optic nerve to the brain for interpretation into information. However, the brain cannot interpret the data until memories are formed for future reference. Both the processes of retrieving memories and associating them to data patterns are essential to complete the function of sight.

As simple as they seem, even eyelids display complex design. They protect eyes from dust and debris and keep the eyes lubricated. Tears not only help clean your eyes, they also contain antimicrobial agents and other compounds that produce a euphoric effect and help you feel better after crying emotional tears.

Our eyes not only allow us to see the world but help us to reflect the emotions of our inner spirit. You can tell a lot about what is happening with a person by observing their eyes.

Our visual system, including our eyes, reveal amazing design and purpose. Our visual system is an tremendous gift from the Creator. Lack of sight is a major disadvantage.

Because they are so common and so important, light and darkness, sight and blindness are used as metaphors. Light and sight represent truth, revelation, knowledge, success, safety, happiness and life. Darkness and blindness represent the opposite: ignorance, confusion, chaotic thinking, error, defeat, unhappiness and death.

Because we live in a fallen world that is satanically controlled and is in rebellion against God and is under a curse, some people are born without the ability to see. Some are born with sight but during their life, lose their sight. Whether we are born with or without sight, all of us are born spiritually blind – ignorant about God and spiritual truth. The good news is that Messiah is able to restore our sight – physically and spiritually.

As Yeshua went along, He saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Many people assume that tragedies of various sorts, including birth defects, are punishments from God for sinning. If a child is born blind, God is punishing the parents; or God is punishing the child, who must be particularly inclined to do evil. While God can punish parents because of their sins with something like the death of a child, as He punished David for his sins of adultery and murder, divine punishment is not always the explanation for tragedies that happen to us or to those close to us; and I would say, it is rarely the explanation.

In this case, Yeshua knew that being born blind had nothing to do with the individual or his parents. A higher purpose was at work. “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Yeshua, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.

Yeshua revealed several things to us:

Sometimes God will allow bad things to happen for a higher purpose.

When something bad happens to us, or to those we love, generally our first reaction is to be upset because we only see the bad. We need to calm down and understand that God is so great and so good, that He is able to bring good out of bad. He is able to bring light into our darkness. With faith in God’s grace and wisdom, our tragedies can end up teaching us more about God and His higher purposes.

Yeshua knew that His Father was going to use Him to heal this blind man. He also knew that He only had a limited amount of time to serve God and help the Jewish people. As long as it is day, we must do the works of Him who sent Me. Night is coming, when no one can work. After that period of glorious light in which the Son of God was in the world blessing us, night would come – a difficult, dangerous time when He would not be able to serve God by teaching us and helping us – referring to His arrest, horrible sufferings and horrible death.

Like Yeshua, we need to be aware that there may be times when life becomes so dark that there is little or no opportunity to serve God the way we would want to. We should not waste the time given to us, or take opportunities to serve God for granted.

Then Yeshua made an astounding claim about Himself, one He made before. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world. Yeshua claimed to be the source of truth, victory, happiness and life for all human beings everywhere. To receive those blessings, we need to know who He is and become loyal to Him. When we do that, we leave the darkness and enter the light. We are no longer confused. We are close to God. We are headed to life, not death. Why wouldn’t anyone want that?

I am the light of the world. That’s an amazing claim. While many people have claimed to be God’s messengers who know the truth, none followed up their claim with a miracle like Yeshua did here.

After saying this, He spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. While Yeshua ordinarily healed people using just words, or by laying His hands on people, here He did something different. He made mud using some of His saliva and applied the mud to the blind man’s eyes. While this might be repellent to us today, people in that culture did not feel the same way. The saliva of a holy man was part feel of him, and mud was used to heal some wounds. So, mud made from the saliva of a holy man could be extra effective for healing. Yeshua did this to help the faith of this blind man.

Along with the application of the mud, Yeshua asked him to do something. “Go,” He told him, “wash in the Pool of Shiloach” (this word means “Sent”). It was an inconvenience for the blind man to go to the pool and wash; but the man had enough faith in Yeshua that he was willing to be inconvenienced.

So the man went and washed, and came home seeing. The man did his part at the request of Yeshua, and God did His part.

Lesson: if Yeshua asks us to do something, we should do it, even if it’s not convenient. If Yeshua asks us to be actively involved in His Community, be part of it; learn, grow; receive correction; encourage your brothers and sister, do something to help – we should do it, even if it’s inconvenient. If Yeshua asks us to shout from the housetops what He whispers to us, we should boldly and courageously tell others the Good News and the truths of the Word of God – even if it isn’t convenient.

A lot of big changes happen to a man who is born blind and is miraculously healed. The way he carries himself and the way he acts can make him appear to be a different man. His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, “Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?” Some claimed that he was. Others said, “No, he only looks like him.” But he himself insisted, “I am the man.”

A man who was a blind from birth now able to see? That didn’t happen, even among the Chosen People. Those who knew him wanted to know how this great miracle took place. “How then were your eyes opened?” they asked.

He replied, “The man they call Yeshua made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Shiloach and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.” Simple. Easy. Clear. And Yeshua was central to it.

“Where is this man?” they asked him. “I don’t know,” he said.

Something very unusual had taken place. The neighbors and acquaintances wanted to let the religious leaders know what had happened. They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind.

God had enabled Yeshua to do a very great miracle. This was an opportunity for these religious leaders, who had already decided to reject Yeshua, to reconsider their rejection. But they didn’t. John tells us: Now the day on which Yeshua had made the mud and opened the man’s eyes was a Sabbath.

These leaders believed that healing on the Sabbath was a kind of work that violated the Sabbath. They knew that Yeshua had healed others on the Sabbath. And now He had healed someone else on the Sabbath. So they began an investigation into this possible criminal act. Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight.

The formerly blind man gave them a simple, clear recitation of the facts. “He put mud on my eyes,” the man replied, “and I washed, and now I see” – to which there were two very different responses.

Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for He does not keep the Sabbath.” Ordinarily, God only uses people close to Him and approved by Him to do miracles, and in all of history, only a few human beings were allowed by God to do a miracle. Keeping the Sabbath is a major commandment. God would not use a Sabbath-breaking sinner to do miracles. Therefore, this group reasoned, Yeshua could not be sent by God. He must be a false prophet. The second group wasn’t so sure. But others asked, “How can a sinner perform such signs?” So they were divided.

Fallen human nature is funny when it comes to truth. If you don’t get the answer you want the first time, try something else. Maybe then you will get the answer you want. Then they turned again to the blind man, “What have you to say about Him? It was your eyes He opened.” Maybe the man who was healed knew something about Yeshua that would discredit Him in some way. The man replied, “He is a prophet” – not the answer they wanted.

Most of them were sure Yeshua couldn’t be a prophet. Maybe this was a hoax to get them to change their minds about Him. They broadened their investigation. They still did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they sent for the man’s parents. “Is this your son?” they asked. “Is this the one you say was born blind? How is it that now he can see?”

“We know he is our son,” the parents answered, “and we know he was born blind. But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don’t know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself.” His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who already had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Yeshua was the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. That was why his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”

And sadly, in spite of the fact that Yeshua is the Son of God and the Messiah, and came into the world through the incarnation, and lived a perfect life, and died a special atoning death, and rose from the dead, and is alive now, and is the Savior of the world; and even though He, working through millions of Jewish followers and followers from the nations, has done so much good to the world for 2,000 years, this is still this the position of the Jewish leaders – that if anyone acknowledges that Yeshua is the Messiah, he is banned from the synagogue.

Why don’t more Jewish people accept Jesus? One reason is fear of the Jewish leaders and the power they have to ban people from the life of the Jewish community.

The fear of man is real, and it is powerful, and it works, but we must not give into to it. Like Yeshua, we must be courageous and fear God rather than people. And even though following Yeshua can cost us membership in the Synagogue, or the Catholic Church or the Mosque, or a political party, it’s right to follow Yeshua. Amen?

Fallen human nature is funny when it comes to truth. If you don’t get the answer you want the first time, try something else. If that doesn’t work, try what you did before. Maybe it will work the second time. A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. “Give glory to God by telling the truth,” they said. “We know this man is a sinner.” The leaders increased the pressure. They told the now sighted man that he must be lying, and that he should confess his lie and tell the truth.

The man was smart. He kept his response brief and to the point. He replied, “Whether He is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”

Fallen human nature is funny when it comes to truth. If you don’t get the answer you want the first time, or the second time, try again. Maybe it will work the third time. Then they asked him, “What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?” He answered, “I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? The man was frustrated and annoyed. He expressed it with some sarcasm. Do you want to become His disciples too?”

I love his use of sarcasm. But the religious leaders didn’t like it at all. Then they hurled insults at him and said, “You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses! We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where He comes from.”

I love plot lines where the hunted becomes the hunter, the oppressed turn things around and vanquish their oppressors. The man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where He comes from, yet He opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does His will. Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. This was a singular miracle. And he concluded: If this man were not from God, He could do nothing.” And this man, who never read one book, and almost assuredly wasn’t trained in any of the rabbinical academies, was absolutely right.

Fallen human nature is funny when it comes to truth. If you don’t get the answer you want the first time, try something else; and try it again and again. If that doesn’t work, attack the messenger. Insult him. Diminish his status. To this they replied, “You were steeped in sin at birth. This was the simplistic and erroneous analysis of these religious leaders. The man was a sinner from the moment he was born. He was ignorant and untaught. How dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out.

I love this next part. Yeshua heard that they had thrown him out, and when He found him, He said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” Who is Yeshua? Someone who hears about those who are insulted or rejected for taking a stand for Him and for the truth. And, Yeshua is Someone who makes a special effort to find those people and bless them with additional insight. Yeshua heard that they had thrown him out, and when He found him, He said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” The Son of Man, of course, is Yeshua Himself – the ideal human being, the perfect human being, and the unique human being described in Daniel 7, who appears before the Ancient of Days, God the Father, and is exalted by the Ancient of Days and given authority to rule mankind.

It’s interesting: the pressure and persecution from the leaders (opposition can be a good thing for us) caused this man to focus on Yeshua, and the more he thought about Yeshua, the more he found himself believing in Him. This man, who only met Yeshua that day, was now willing to believe anything Yeshua asked him to believe. He had the faith of a child. “Who is He, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in Him.” Yeshua said, “You have now seen Him; in fact, He is the one speaking with you.” Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped Him. Who is Yeshua? A miracle-working prophet sent by God. And the Son of Man. And Someone who is worthy to be worshiped, and only God is to be worshiped.

John concludes this interaction between Yeshua and the man who could now see with a statement on blindness and sight. Yeshua said, “For judgment I have come into this world (judgment in the sense of testing, trying, assaying), so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” There are many reasons Yeshua came into this world – to reveal God; to teach us; to die to atone for us. Another one of the reasons Yeshua came into this world is to make it clear who are the people who truly love God and who don’t – even if they are the religious leaders of the Chosen People. For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind. Yeshua is the light of the world. Everyone is who really attracted to God and to truth will be attracted to Yeshua and believe in Him. Those who, like the Pharisees, but don’t really love the truth, and don’t really love God, will reject Yeshua and remain in the darkness. Thank God for Yeshua, who helps us know where we are really at with God and with truth and with salvation!

Some Pharisees who were with Him heard Him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?” Yeshua said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains. It’s bad to be ignorant. It’s even worse to be ignorant but claim that you know the truth.

Maybe you’ve heard the saying: “It’s not what you don’t know that kills you, it’s what you know for sure that ain’t true that kills you.” When we assume we know the truth, but are wrong, we no longer are open to the truth when it’s presented to us. And when that comes to ultimate truth that is found in Yeshua, that is damning. That will kill us. May God gives us the grace and humility to be able to respond to the truth. Amen?