Spiritual Sight

Spiritual Sight

J.C. Thompson |

In John 9, Jesus restores the sight of a man who was blind from birth. Through this miracle, Jesus is teaching us He can remove the scales from our eyes and provide us with spiritual sight if we're willing to receive it.

Jesus at the Center of Transformation
Spiritual Sight • Message 5
J.C. Thompson
March 17, 2024


A. Introduction

We are continuing our series on Jesus at the Center of Transformation.

A classic hymn was written by a woman named Fanny Crosby in 1873. A friend of Fanny named Mrs. Joseph Knapp had composed a tune and wanted Fanny’s insight into what the music was saying. Fanny simply said, Blessed Assurance.

Fanny went on to pen the words that have comforted thousands with the words:

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God, born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.


What is most remarkable about Fanny’s story is that Fanny Crosby was blind. She caught a cold at about 6 weeks old and that cold led to some issues in her eyes and the treatment that ensued caused her to go blind.

Fanny over her lifetime wrote about 6,000 hymns.

This stanza of that famous hymn has a new light when you consider Fanny’s life story.

Perfect communion, perfect delight, visions of rapture now burst on my sight.
Angels descending bring from above echoes of mercy, whispers of love.


Fanny may have been blind in her physical sight, but I believe she could see the love of her Savior very clearly.

In today’s passage, a man receives both physical sight and spiritual sight from Jesus

In today's message, we'll talk about Jesus's sixth sign, when He heals a man blind from birth.  I apologize to those of you who are using printed devotionals. Starting tomorrow, you'll be in Week 6 for this week's readings.  You'll come back to Week 5 the following Monday.

In this instance, in John chapter 9, the disciples asked Jesus why this man was blind. This is often the case when we see those walking alongside others in suffering in the Bible.

I believe that we mistakenly think that if we knew why, it would help us deal with the suffering in a more positive way. If you remember it was Job’s friends who told him that he was at fault for his affliction.

The tension is that we can feel as if our suffering is a result of our sin, or even worse you might think it happened because you are bad.

This suffering and our why behind it goes with us wherever we go. We feel it when we pray, when we come to church when we want to reach out to a pastor or group, our suffering separates us.

Have you felt that? Have you felt that certain things in life are not meant for you because of a circumstance out of your control?

Have you felt that this thing happening in your life is a result of your choices and actions?

Do you realize that around you right now in our seats are people who are suffering and wondering if God is who He says He is in the midst of their circumstances?

But what Jesus shows here is that He breaks through all those things. Jesus shows the disciples and this man, that his blindness was not brought on by him or his parents sin. In our lives, the same could be said. It is possible that the suffering that you are experiencing is not because of your choices, but for some other reason. What does Jesus say about this man’s suffering? He says that this man’s suffering is not because of sin, but is a sign to point to Him as Messiah.

Your suffering could be a platform for God’s work, not a punishment.


B. Your suffering could be a PLATFORM for God’s work, not a PUNISHMENT.

In the case of this man, neither this man nor his parents had sinned.

This man’s suffering was not a punishment, but a platform for God’s glory.

This miracle was a unique miracle for a couple of reasons.

First, it was widely believed by these religious leaders that those born with diseases or conditions were brought on by sin, either by that person or their parents. So, they believed that only God could heal these conditions.

Second, this miracle, as well as many, in John involves water. If you remember, Jesus is baptized in John 1, Jesus turned water into wine, and Nicodemus speaks about water and the Spirit. The woman at the well is directed to find living water and the paralyzed man was trying to enter the pool of Bethesda. Water is a key element that John highlights in his gospel to point to the Jewish rituals of cleansing and purification. I think that John is wanting his readers to notice that Jesus is coming to make people clean in a way that the rituals were always pointing to, Him.

This miracle might be the biggest piece of that puzzle. This pool of Siloam, which meant sent, most scholars now believe was a mikveh or a pool that others would have been immersed in in order to become ritually pure. Jesus, the Sent One, sent a man to the Pool of Sent to be clean.

Jesus sends this man to wash the mud that Jesus put on his eyes and becomes clean and receives sight. This man obeys immediately and receives his sight.

An incredible picture and one that in our eyes provides significant depth and points of interest.

But this picture teeming with significance is responded to in an odd way by those who knew the man and the religious leaders.

I think their responses are ones that we should recognize are the same reactions we often have when God does something in our midst. We must be careful how we respond to someone when they express that God has done something miraculous.


C. You can Respond to God’s work by…

One of the most heartbreaking things in this story is that one of the first things that this man would have ever seen in his life would have been the faces of people who did not believe what God was doing in his life.

Skeptical Faces.


1. REFUSING to believe in His power.  (John 9:8-13. C/R: Romans 2:8)

His neighbors and others who knew him as a blind beggar asked each other, “Isn’t this the man who used to sit and beg?” Some said he was, and others said, “No, he just looks like him!” But the beggar kept saying, “Yes, I am the same one!” They asked, “Who healed you? What happened?” He told them, “The man they call Jesus made mud and spread it over my eyes and told me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash yourself.’ So I went and washed, and now I can see!” “Where is He now?” they asked. “I don’t know,” he replied. Then they took the man who had been blind to the Pharisees,

John 9:8-13 (NLT)


This man was not recognized by the people who would have seen him every day.

The crowd of onlookers could not receive the miracle that this man had received from Jesus. They could only recognize him by the identity of his struggle. Isn’t this the blind man who used to sit and beg?

When God starts working around you and in you, and you receive what He is doing by obedience, you begin to change. Not everyone will believe. Some will outright refuse.

This can’t be Doug, he’s just a beefcake and only cares about himself. This can’t be Russ; he’ll go back to his old self soon enough.

This can’t be Sue; this change won’t last.

For some of you, God might be working in you, and you refuse to believe it. In fact, you refuse to see what is so obviously God. You are actively fighting against His work in your life.

Be careful.

If you refuse to obey Him and believe Him, the circumstances will not turn out the way you want.


2. REJECTING those who experience it.  (John 9:14-34. C/R: Joshua 7:19)

Because it was on the Sabbath that Jesus had made the mud and healed him. The Pharisees asked the man all about it. So he told them, “He put the mud over my eyes, and when I washed it away, I could see!”

Some of the Pharisees said, “This man Jesus is not from God, for He is working on the Sabbath.” Others said, “But how could an ordinary sinner do such miraculous signs?” So there was a deep division of opinion among them.

Then the Pharisees again questioned the man who had been blind and demanded, “What’s your opinion about this man who healed you?” The man replied, “I think He must be a prophet.”

The Jewish leaders still refused to believe the man had been blind and could now see, so they called in his parents. They asked them, “Is this your son? Was he born blind? If so, how can he now see?”

His parents replied, “We know this is our son and that he was born blind, but we don’t know how he can see or who healed him. Ask him. He is old enough to speak for himself.” His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who had announced that anyone saying Jesus was the Messiah would be expelled from the synagogue. That’s why they said, “He is old enough. Ask him.”

So for the second time they called in the man who had been blind and told him, “God should get the glory for this, because we know this man Jesus is a sinner.”

“I don’t know whether He is a sinner,” the man replied. “But I know this: I was blind, and now I can see!”

“But what did He do?” they asked. “How did He heal you?”

“Look!” the man exclaimed. “I told you once. Didn’t you listen? Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become His disciples, too?”

Then they cursed him and said, “You are His disciple, but we are disciples of Moses! We know God spoke to Moses, but we don’t even know where this man comes from.”

“Why, that’s very strange!” the man replied. “He healed my eyes, and yet you don’t know where He comes from? We know that God doesn’t listen to sinners, but He is ready to hear those who worship Him and do His will. Ever since the world began, no one has been able to open the eyes of someone born blind. If this man were not from God, He couldn’t have done it.”

“You were born a total sinner!” they answered. “Are you trying to teach us?” And they threw him out of the synagogue.

John 9:14-34 (NLT)


We see this man’s interactions with the Pharisees and with his very own parents. The Pharisees refused to believe that this man could have been healed. They thought that only God could heal someone with these issues from birth. So instead of reasoning that this man Jesus was God, they instead concluded that this man and his family were lying about him being blind.

What I love about this interaction is that it is fully an adventure in missing the point. This young man would have been begging for years because of his blindness for someone to help him. He gets healed, and they want to know about how it happened or if he is in cahoots with the healer.

But this man got his physical sight healed without fully receiving spiritual sight. He didn’t know who Jesus was. So, while they are up in arms about this man who heals, this man is going:

“I don’t care about any of that, I can see!”

I also want you to see that his parents were afraid of answering directly. They put the burden of sharing the story of his healing on him. What this boy must have been experiencing in that moment is heartbreaking. In the midst of receiving healing from Jesus, he tells his parents, and they reject him because they want to preserve their standing with the religious leaders and the church instead of affirming the work of God in their son.

They chose standing with the Pharisees over standing with their son.

When we begin to attribute the work of God to those around us who are not believers, we can feel ostracized. They’ll tell us that’s crazy talk. This fear of speaking about God’s miraculous work could cause us to shrink back from sharing and perhaps taking a blessing away from someone else that could have benefited from your testimony!


3. REJOICING in it.  (John 9:35-41. C/R: Isaiah 29:10,18; Luke 10:21; Romans 11:8)

I love this small section of Scripture here:

When Jesus heard what had happened, He found the man and asked, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” The man answered, “Who is He, sir? I want to believe in Him.” “You have seen Him,” Jesus said, “and He is speaking to you!” “Yes, Lord, I believe!” the man said. And he worshiped Jesus.

John 9:35-38 (NLT)


Jesus heard what was happening and rather than go defend His name or His work or His reputation, He went to find the man.

When you are suffering and God begins to move and you obey and start to feel like everyone is refusing to believe that God is moving, Jesus wants to meet you and minister to you.

Jesus doesn’t just give this man physical sight; He gives him spiritual sight.

This is the ultimate test of our response. Can we seek whether God is truly working? Can we see a miracle before our very eyes?

Have we been blinded by our lack of faith? Do you believe that God is moving around you?

You might have to get a little more childlike in your approach.

At that same time Jesus was filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit, and He said, “O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank You for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike. Yes, Father, it pleased You to do it this way.

Luke 10:21 (NLT)


When God moves in you or someone else, be brave and share the story.

When you sense the Spirit, share your story.

God is moving around us church.


D. Conclusion.

When God is on the move around us, how will we respond? I think about Fanny Crosby, her blindness could have been an obstacle to her from seeing God in a unique way. Instead, she relied on Christ for her spiritual sight and her songs have been bringing hope and healing to 1000s of people for years.

For you, I think there are many in this state of spiritual blindness. You are going through the Christian rituals. You are attending worship services, going to a group, serving and maybe even giving, but it just seems that something is missing. Like the Pharisees, you are spiritually blind and need to receive sight from Jesus.

If Jesus can restore the sight of a man who has been blind from birth, if He can regenerate optic nerves, do you believe that He can provide the spark to your heart and allow you to see life in the way it was truly meant to be seen? Do you believe that He can remove the scales from your eyes? Are you willing to ask and receive spiritual sight from Jesus?

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