Message for 03 22 20 Jesus heals the blind man - John 9:1-41

 

This miracle brings to mind a different miracle 

One from the Disney line of stories 

 

An image of a desolate Cinderella 

Weeping outside with her head on a bench.

– feels like there is no hope 

 

Her sisters ripped apart the dress made by mice 

For her to have something to wear to the ball 

Here she is crying her eyes out 

 

And arrives her Fairy Godmother 

To bring her comfort and give her some help along the way 

“We’ll have to hurry because… Even miracles take time…” 

 

That seems to be the case here with Jesus 

Though there's no bippity boppity boo

 

There is not an immediate healing 

 

First, he makes mud out of his own spit and dirt! 

I’m not gonna lie 

that part makes me want to throw up a little… 

 

Then he tells him to go wash in the pool of Siloam 

He is still blind by the way… 

 

He has to make it to the pool and then 

wash in the pool and then he is miraculously cured 

Yet no one seems to believe that he is the blind man! 

 

Yet the people didn’t even believe 

what their eyes were telling them! 

They were really basing everything on their ASSUMPTIONS 

They saw a “blind-man” 

not a man who happened to be blind 

 

They are revealed as being blind, spiritually in darkness 

It definitely does not feel good to be judged on appearances  

 

Happened to me one time 

as I was visiting a kinda high-profile lawyer 

If you know me you probably know 

I don’t tend to dress up on a daily basis.  

Usually some pants and a button-up shirt, 

often with short sleeves (gasp, the horror!). 

 

He looked me up and down 

with a look on his face that said 

he was quite a bit condescending of my attire. 

 

Reminds me of

Story of the anointing of David in 1 Samuel: 

All the brothers went first but none were chosen by God 

Then last of all the youngest, is chosen by God 

 

The reason is: 

“…for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart." 

The one who had “been born into sin” 

 

for the act of being born blind 

Is the one who becomes the teacher of the Rabbis 

 

By appearances they should have been the ones to recognize God’s work in Jesus 

But the one to receive the miracle, 

Was the one who by all appearances 

was the most sinful of all 

 

But as we learned at the beginning 

It was not because of his blindness really 

The miracle was simply to give glory to God 

To teach about who God is and what God wants from us 

 

In reality the ones who are the sinners 

are not those who suffer misfortune 

But those who judge them for it 

 

When we say that we have it all figured out 

When we say who is in, and who is out 

When we say that we never have doubts 

 

Then we are blind 

But when we admit our blindness 

Then we can be made to see 

 

Appearances can actually tell us some things 

But more often than not we are confused 

We have learned so much about the workings of the world 

But we still can’t explain so much 

 

We become arrogant in what we know 

In our learning and education 

We can make that same mistake 

that the legalists have done throughout the centuries 

 

And inherently reject something 

that does not fit our preconceived notions 

And legalistic cultural rules 

 

Or we can us the law of love 

In our interactions with new ideas, with new people, 

different ideas and people 

 

Look upon the heart 

 

similar to the transformation of Cinderella 

There is a purpose to this miracle 

 

For Cinderella, 

it was for people to finally see who she really was 

 

And I think we might say something similar 

for the man born blind… 

Had anyone ever paid attention to him before? 

 

Yet here they were, everyone asking him questions, 

Everyone astonished over what had happened to him 

Brought to the center of attention 

but they don’t know really what to do with him 

 

His very presence there is an affront to their assumptions 

And so, he is simply done away with 

Sent out of the synagogue so as not to bother the leaders

And the rest of the people 

 

He is healed and made whole, 

Then rejected by the people because of that 

Yet Jesus is right there 

Welcoming him back into community 

Not just any 

But a new way of being community 

 

I saw it just the other day at the grocery store 

Woman in line saw someone else with toilet paper 

Asked very nicely where she got it 

Went to check while waiting for her turn 

None left 

 

And the other lady just gave her some of the toilet paper! 

 

A little coronavirus miracle in the midst of my week! 

 

A little bit of Mercy and compassion 

and generosity mixed together! 

 

Lack of MERCY in the religious legal system of Jesus’ day 

         Pretty much every time period struggles with this! 

 

They had their lineage from Moses 

We have our own traditions passed down 

We happened to be born in the United States 

and have all that tradition (plus Lutheranism) 

 

None of this can bring us comfort and peace however 

In the valley of the shadow of death 

 

Only God with us - The center of all that we are, 

all that we could be 

 

We all have a part in sharing this community based on love 

There was an email sent out – ideas from Christian Bakken 

Options for letter writing and making phone calls 

To stay connected to one another!

 

There is something for everyone to do in these days 

With Christ as our example 

our light in the darkness 

That same Spirit that filled his lungs lives in us 

 

Showing us how Christ can be a light to our paths 

Let us pray that Christ be our light today 

And help us to step forward boldly in action for the world.

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

Further notes not included directly in message:

 

How are our values as Christians supposed to be different from societal values in general? 

As children of the light, how do we act in that light, to become that light? 

 

“Jews were not meant to see miracles as proof for or evidence of God. 

 

Rather, miracles happen for a purpose.  They heal.  They glorify.  They teach. 

 

They also change perspective.”  - Rabbi Evan Moffic  

   "The Jewishness of Jesus"

 

Supernatural miracles 

Miracles of everyday life  

Miracles of once in a lifetime or rare  

 

Miracles should not be the basis of our faith 

The Pharisees in the story were told what had happened 

But they still couldn’t have faith 

 

The Hebraites in the Old Testament experienced miracles 

To escape Egypt and more 

And still doubted God and lacked faith 

 

Miracles cannot be the basis of our faith 

 

Miracles stem from a “leap of action” Abraham Heschel 

 

What does it mean to expose evil today? 

 

How can we be on the side of healing and wholeness?

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