John 9:1-7 The Works of God Made Manifest 6/6/2004 ßà
#1. A Man Blind From Birth (John 9:1, Luke 19:10, Isa 48:8, Psalm 51:5, Eph 2:3, Rom 3:11,18)
#2. I Must Work the Works of Him That Sent Me (Rom 8:28, John 9:4, Matt 11:5, 1:21, 12:36)
#3. Go Wash in the Pool of Siloam (John 9:7, Eph 5:25-26, Tit 3:5)
Please open your Bibles to the Gospel according to John 8:59 (2X). This is the last verse in chap. 8, because I wanted you to see how there is this remarkable connection between chapter 8 and chap. 9. The title of the sermon today is, “The Works of God Made Manifest” (2X). What does it mean, “to make manifest”? It means, “to make evident, or to make certain, by showing or by displaying”. That is what God is doing in this chapter 9 of John’s Gospel. God made evident the works of God concerning salvation and concerning the Bringer of salvation, the Lord Jesus Christ. I am going to preach today on the amazing miracle the Lord Jesus did on the eyes of a blind beggar as recorded for us in John chapter 9. I did not want to title it, “A Blind Beggar”, since I have already used this title for the healing of another blind beggar, about 3 months ago. But let us read now from John 8:59,
Joh 8:59 Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.
This is tragic! They wanted to kill the One who could be their greatest benefactor. The only One who could save them from going to Hell, was the one they wanted to stone as if He was a dangerous enemy. Jesus hid Himself from them. In other words, He made Himself invisible to them, and passed through their midst. If Jesus would continue to hide Himself from these persons, they will go to Hell for sure. The Lord Jesus said in John 14:6, “No man cometh unto the Father, but by Me” and we read in Acts 4:12, “Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved”. They who have cut themselves off from Jesus will have an eternity in Hell to regret it. But this is the nature of everyone in the human race. Every one of us came into this world as enemies of God and hating God, even though we dislike admitting it. This is what the Bible says, and this is the mirror that God holds up when we read and study the Bible. Therefore when we become saved we give God all the credit and all the honor for having saved us. This is what we are finding here in the Gospel of John in chapters 8 and 9. Look at the similarities in chapters 8 and 9. Both in chap 8:12 and in chap 9:5 the Lord Jesus said, I am the Light of the world. In chap 8:59 Jesus made Himself invisible for those who took up stones to cast at Him, in chap 9:1 Jesus passed by a man who also could not see Him, because he was blind. And look at the contrasts in chapters 8 and 9. In chap 8 the Lord Jesus is the Light exposing the darkness of unbelief; in chap 9 the Lord Jesus is giving light to the eyes of a man. In chap 8 the Jews are stooping down to pick up stones; in chap 9 Jesus is stooping down to make anointing clay. In chap 8 Jesus hides Himself from he Jews, in chap 9 Jesus revealed Himself to one blind beggar. In chap 8 Jesus speaks to a group of people in whom the Word has no place, in chap 9 Jesus speaks to someone who promptly responds to the Word. In chap 8, inside the temple, Jesus is called a demoniac, in chap 9, outside the temple, Jesus is confessed as “Lord”. In chap 8 Jesus was testing human responsibility, in chap 9 Jesus is acting in sovereign grace. When we compare these two chapters we see here the sovereignty of God in His elective program, and we see the providence of God in arranging it all in such a way that we cannot miss God’s elective program. You see, the Bible says clearly in Eph 1 and in other passages that God, before the foundation of the world, chose a people for Himself, which the Father elected as a Bride for His Son. These people, God’s elect, were chosen from all nations, tribes, peoples, races and tongues; not only out of the nation of Israel, but out of all the nations of the world. God would personally see to it that each one of His elect would be washed from their sins by Christ on the cross, would be visited by God the Holy Spirit at some point in their life to make them Born Again, and to experience faith and a desire to please God as evidence that they have become saved. For whom did Jesus make Himself invisible? For those in the temple whom He presently left in their sins. For whom was He still visible? For His disciples, because they accompanied Him to the exit of the temple. In John chap 8 we see an unbelieving world that is ruined by sin, and in John chap 9 we see the saving of a few who are the remnant chosen by grace. Let us now look at this man who was blind from birth:
#1. A Man Blind From Birth (John 9:1, Luke 19:10, Isa 48:8, Psalm 51:5, Eph 2:3, Rom 3:11,18)
Joh 9:1 ¶ And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.
His eye fell on this man, whom Jesus intended to save. The man did not see Him. The man did not call upon Christ to save Him. Christ took the initiative, knowing that this was one of His elect people. This man became saved even though he did not ask for it. And so it is with every one of those whom God saves. This blind beggar is a type or a picture of every one of God’s elect who become saved. This man portrays each one of us who are called God’s elect. We all came into the world spiritually blind from birth, and therefore we are beyond the help of man. We all are beggars to God, because we are all spiritually bankrupt; we have nothing that we can offer to God. But Christ sought us out, “for the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). Thanks be to God that He made us aware that we were blind. This story is a beautiful illustration of what sovereign grace is. God alone does the saving, and our “free will” does not even enter the picture.
What was so important that this man was blind from birth? Why was the physical healing of this man so much more spectacular if he was blind from birth? You see, a baby who is born blind is blind because the child has cataract eyes. It means that the lens behind the iris in both eyes has become opaque, and thus no light can enter the eyes of the baby. These days we can do something about it. Through a simple eye operation the cataract lens is removed and a clear plastic lens is inserted in its place. But this has to be done within a few weeks after the baby’s birth. If, for example, you wait with the operation till the child is 5 years old then the child will never see. You can make the eyes of such a child optically clear by removing the cataract lens and implanting a clear plastic lens, and project the image of his surroundings on the retina, but the brain does not know what to do with this image. As you may know, the process of seeing with the eyes involves that the brain will process the image on the retina, and this processing requires millions of calculations each second in the brain for each eye. This is what the brain must learn to do within a few days after the child is born. Therefore, if the brain has not learned this at an early age, then the brain is not capable any more to execute this difficult process and the child will never see. And so, from the medical perspective, the physical healing of a man who was born blind is a many times greater miracle than the healing of a blind man who could see at one time. Jesus not only healed his eyes, but Jesus also gave him a new brain.
Jesus saw a man blind from birth. Jesus was no longer busy in His mind with the Jews inside the temple who wanted to stone Him, but His mind now focused on this blind man. He had compassion on this man who could not see all his life, and especially, who could not see Jesus. Blindness, just like all the other physical handicaps, is a result of Sin. Adam’s sin of eating from the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil had the result that diseases and calamities and death were distributed over the human race. We all get our fair share. And so, let us also learn to hate our sin, which is really the cause for many sorrows. Jesus saw a man not only physically blind, but He saw a sinner spiritually blind from birth. And this man was a picture of the terrible condition of all mankind. All mankind has an understanding that is darkened and their enmity against God only increases with age. They cannot see their own blind condition, and therefore they cannot see their need for a Savior. The natural man is born blind spiritually, and even if you tell him that he is blind, he does not know what seeing is. The Bible tells us plainly that we were spiritually blind and on the way to Hell. Man is called “a transgressor from the womb”, in Isa 48:8, and “we are shapen in iniquity and conceived in sin”, from Palm 51:5. And therefore, we are “by nature the children of wrath, even as others”, as it is stated in Eph 2:3. God says in Rom 3:11 that “there is None that seeketh after God”, and in Rom 3:18, “There is no fear of God before their eyes”. And so, if God would not interfere because He is a gentleman who does not interfere with the free will of man, then God must send every one of the human race to Hell, because they are all sinners. This is what God’s righteousness demands. But praise be to God that He had mercy on us, and that He did interfere in the affairs of man. Jesus had mercy on this blind man who did not even know that he was on the way to Hell. Therefore God the Holy Spirit prompted the disciples to ask Jesus this question:
Joh 9:2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
Can you see how little pity the disciples had for this blind man? Instead of having pity on this man, they were philosophizing why he was born blind. They were philosophizing about the origin of human suffering, rather than pity the suffering man. Many people are unconcerned about human suffering until it strikes them personally. Then they will either draw closer to God or the suffering may drift them farther away from God. Apart from the Word of God man cannot find the reason for suffering. Only when we study the Word of God can we find the source of human suffering. Of course all suffering originates from Adam’s sin. From there on we can group all human suffering into three categories: #1, It may be the result of simple “cause and effect”, such as: You smoke cigarettes, then there is a high probability that you die of lung cancer. #2, It may be the result of “spiritual battles in high places”, such as in the case of the sufferings of Job. That is why we cannot judge where the suffering comes from. #3, God is drawing His elect closer to Him through their suffering, and God is further hardening the hearts of the reprobate through their suffering. Here in John 9 it is clearly a case of #2, of “spiritual battles in high places”. The Lord Jesus explained this to the disciples in verse 3,
Joh 9:3, Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents (It is not a case of cause and effect): but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.
This man has not been drawn closer to God through his suffering, because this has been going on for a long time without any change. However, God’s providence placed this man in the path of Jesus so that God may receive all the honor, and all the credit, and all the glory for what will be done to him, just like in the case of Job. And just like in the case of Lazarus whom Jesus restored to life, the Lord Jesus said in John 11:4, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby”. And so, the sickness and death of Lazarus became an opportunity for Jesus to show the world how God was glorified in the raising of Lazarus. Likewise, the death of the apostle Peter by crucifixion was to the glory of God. Jesus explained to Peter that he would be crucified, and then Jesus said to Him in John 21:19, “This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him: Follow me”. And Peter followed Him, in spite of the gruesome death that was waiting him. The same can be said for the sufferings of the apostle Paul. These too were to the glory of God, because God told him in 2Cor 12:9, “And he said unto me, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness”. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me”. And so, in all these cases God’s providence arranges events in such a way that through all these sufferings God will be glorified. I placed these sufferings under the category of “Spiritual battles in high places”. Is this correct? Must the battles for the glory of God be labeled as “Spiritual battles in high places”? Most definitely they must! You may recall that about 200 years ago all the Christian denominations were embracing a Gospel of salvation by “Grace Alone”. The only exception were the Methodists, who are Arminians, which means they follow the free-will gospel of Jacob Arminius. A free-will gospel attributes part of the credit for salvation to man, which means that man receives part of the glory. This is a lie sowed by the devil, for God says in Isa 48:11, speaking about salvation, “For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it: for how should my name be polluted? And I will not give my glory unto another” (2X). God said in Rev 20:3 that near the end of time Satan “must be loosed a little season”. This is what we are seeing presently, and the result of the loosing of Satan is that the free-will gospels are spreading throughout the world like wildfire. These are the “Spiritual battles in high places” of our days. Thankfully God has shown us that the true Gospel is by “Grace Alone”. These are the works of God that are made manifest through the healing of this blind man. We may not question God for what He is doing. God has a wise purpose in all the afflictions of His elect. In some way He will be glorified thereby. It is His sovereign pleasure to do so, and God knows what is best. Therefore we will agree with the Scriptures that say, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Rom 8:28).
#2. I Must Work the Works of Him That Sent Me (Rom 8:28, John 9:4, Matt 11:5, 1:21, 12:36)
Joh 9:4 I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
What were those works of the Father that Jesus was sent for? First of all Christ was sent to earth to bear the sins of all the elect and atone for their sins on the cross. Are those the works that Jesus referred to in John 9:4? The context dictates that the works Jesus referred to must relate to the healing and to the saving of this blind man. What other work did Jesus come to do? We read in:
Mat 11:5, The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them (2X).
Who are the poor? The beggars are the poor. The elect who still need to be saved are the poor, because they know that they do not have anything to offer to God. And so, the second reason the Lord Jesus came was to preach the Gospel to the poor. Can we say that the third reason the Lord Jesus came was to perform healing miracles on all those who sought physical healing from Him? No! All those miracles of physical healing were pictures of salvation. All those physical healings were part of preaching the Gospel to the nations of the world, but the Gospel message was preached in types and pictures of salvation. The people who were healed were not necessarily saved from their sins. But here in John 9 the blind man who was healed also became saved. What does that tell us about the works of the Father that Christ came to do? It tells us that the Lord Jesus preached the Gospel to this blind man and Christ came to save him from his sins. How did the Lord Jesus Christ do that? Christ came to bear the guilt of all the sins that this blind man had accumulated over the years, and about half a year later the Lord Jesus stood before the Judgment seat of governor Pontius Pilate, but in the Spirit He stood before the Judgment throne of God laden with all the sins of all those He came to save. And then He was condemned to die, but in the Spirit He was condemned to suffer in His Soul the 2nd death, which was the penalty that must be paid by all those He came to save. That penalty is an eternity in Hell. Only the equivalent of what we would have to pay could satisfy the righteousness of God. The Lord Jesus had to pay the equivalent of an eternity in Hell, and He paid this from Thursday evening when He suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane, until Friday afternoon about 3 O’clock, when He died on the cross. Christ suffered in His Soul the equivalent of an eternity in Hell. Only God knows how to do the math, because we humans cannot understand how God measures infinity and how God’s righteousness could be satisfied by Christ’s suffering. But we know that Christ was successful in paying for our sins, because He rose again from the dead on Easter Sunday morning. This was a gigantic evidence that the penalty was fully paid. Now the question arises, “For whom did the Lord Jesus pay the penalty that wiped away sins?” One thing is sure, Christ did not suffer the equivalent of an eternity in Hell for those who themselves are going to Hell. That would be double jeopardy. Either Christ paid for all your sins, or He paid for none of them. When the angel of the Lord said to Joseph in Matt 1:21, “Thou shalt call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins”, it specified that Christ paid for the sins of only His people. And who are His people? They are all those He came to save, because these are the only ones who become saved. No one else would want the salvation Christ has to offer. No one else will repent of their sins, since repentance is a gift from God. Moreover, “the works of Him that sent Christ” were not only works that were pleasing to God, but they were works which had been predestinated by God. These works must be done because God had eternally decreed them. Therefore, the Lord Jesus Christ must pay all the sins of all the elect whom God chose from before the foundation of the world. On the other hand, the sins of all the reprobate were passed by, because God decreed from eternity past, “That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment” (Matt 12:36) And therefore Christ paid only for the sins of His elect, the remnant chosen by grace. Then Jesus said:
Joh 9:5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.
This statement had reference to what Christ was about to do, because the next verse says, “When He had thus spoken”. He was going to give sight to the blind man, and He was going to save him from his sins. As long as He was in the world, this is what He must do. And so, when Jesus speaks of Himself as “The Light of the World” we must realize that He was only a Saving Light for those who are the elect of God. No one else wants Him as their guiding light. What world is this that Jesus is referring to? It is the world of the elect of God. It is not the world of the reprobate. His light is the “Light of Life”, according to John 8:12. If you turn a couple pages to your left you can see in John 8:12 that His Light is the “Light of Life”. But He shines His light only in the hearts of those He intends to save. This is stated so clearly in 2Cor 4. Put a sticker here in John chapter 9 and please turn about 140 pages to your right (ß) to the 2nd Epistle to the Cor 4:3 (2X). In this chapter of 2Cor 4 God revealed to us that the reprobate have no part in the Light of the glorious Gospel of Christ. The Light of Christ does not reach them, because it remains hidden to them. They have no knowledge of what salvation is, and in fact they cannot hear and they cannot see spiritual things, because they are spiritually blind and deaf, and Christ is not going to anoint their eyes or give them hearing. We read in
2Co 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
2Co 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light
of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
2Co 4:5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.
2Co 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
2Co 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
Verses 4-6 speaks of the Light that brings “the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ”. When Christ shines in our hearts, we know Him and we know the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Read it carefully now. It does not say that we know the face of Jesus Christ, but we know the glory of God. No one today knows the face of Christ. And what is the glory of God? It is the glory of God to be victorious over sin. Christ was absolutely victorious over sin. Moreover, God says in verse 7 that we who have this treasure, which is the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God, we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the excellency of the power of that Light may be seen as from God and not from us, because we are just breakable unattractive earthen vessels. Here again, God must receive all the glory. Please return to the Gospel according to John 9:6 (2X). And there we see that the Lord Jesus acted out a parable. We read in:
Joh 9:6, When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay,
What an uncouth thing to do! Why in the world would the Lord Jesus make such dirty goo to anoint someone’s eyes? Does Jesus not know that there are all kinds of nasty bacteria in the soil? Does Jesus not know that the cornea of the blind man’s eyes is still very tender and irritated by dirt? O Yes, Jesus knows all these things, but Jesus was doing this deliberately to drive home a point. The clay was pointing to Adam. Jesus could have used the soil without spit, and He could have sprinkled the soil on the man’s eyes. This would also point to Adam, who was made of the dust of the ground. But that is OT language, and those are words written in Hebrew. Jesus knew that God would write about the Potter and the clay in Greek in the NT. Put a sticker in John 9 and please turn about 100 pages to your right (ß) to Rom 9:20 (2X). We have here the story of the Potter and the clay. The Potter represents God, and the clay represents Adam. This is the same word for clay as used in John 9:6. This is the passage that Jesus was referring to when He made clay. Here is an object lesson for us to get to know the God whom we are serving. Most people do not know Him as this God, because they do not want to know Him. They simply skip this passage in Rom 9. But here we read in:
Ro 9:20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?
Ro 9:21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour,
and another unto dishonour?
Ro 9:22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:
Ro 9:23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,
Ro 9:24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?
“Hath not the Potter power over the clay”, which is Adam, to make vessels unto honor and vessels unto dishonor? Does not God have this authority over the clay? And does not God call these vessels unto dishonor also “vessels of wrath fitted to destruction”? And does not God call these vessels unto honor also “vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory”? And who are these vessels of mercy? Verse 24 answers, “Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles”. This is the God whom we serve! Why do so few people know Him? Is it not plainly stated here in Rom 9 that God divided the human race into elect and reprobate? If some are elect, then by necessity the others are reprobate. Most people do not know this because most people do not want to study the Bible. Many people hold to the notion that the elect only refers to the Jews. That is plainly not true! Verse 24 says “not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles”. God chose His people, the remnant chosen by grace, His elect, the Bride of Christ, out of all the nations of the world. So now, why does the Lord Jesus refer to this passage of the Word of God when He made clay to anoint the eyes of this blind man? Please turn again to John 9:6 (2X). The clay was a mixture of dust and spit. The dust refers to Adam and the spit refers to the curse on Adam. Adam after the Fall came under the curse of God, since Adam became the property of Satan. Adam sold himself and all his posterity and all his possessions into the hands of Satan. This is what the clay represented that Jesus made. Jesus covered the eyes of this man with a symbol representing the sinful Adamic body and the curse of sin on Adam’s race. This was the cause of this man’s blindness. This was why he was born blind. This cause of his blindness is what he needed to wash off. When he would wash off the sinful Adamic body from his eyes, and wash off God’s curse on sin, then he would be freed from the stranglehold of Adam’s sin upon his eyes, and he would be able to see. Moreover, since the symbolic nature of the clay and the washing of it represented a washing from the curse of sin, Christ also washed his sins at the same time to make the picture of salvation complete. And then we read in the next verse:
#3. Go Wash in the Pool of Siloam (John 9:7, Eph 5:25-26, Tit 3:5)
Joh 9:7 And (Jesus) said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.
What the blind beggar needed was water to wash his eyes. And since we are dealing with an acted out parable we need to know, what did that water symbolize? Let me quote to you what God says in Eph 5:25-26, where God says, “Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word”. It is pointing to water as representing the Word of God, the declaration of the Gospel of salvation. Reading God’s word does not wash our sins, and hearing the Gospel message does not wash our sins. But the guilt of our sins has been washed when Christ suffered and died on the cross, and this washing has been applied when we heard the Gospel message with our spiritual ears, and the Holy Spirit brought faith into our heart. Likewise, we read in Tit 3:5, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost”. Here again this verse speaks of the washing of regeneration that was done at the time that we were “Born Again” by God the Holy Spirit. And thus the water that the blind man needed to wash the curse of sin from his eyes was the water of the Gospel, the Holy Spirit thereby applying the washing of sins that Christ would have done on the cross. Then why would the Lord Jesus send this man to the pool of Siloam? In fact, God emphasizes the name of the pool of water: “Siloam”, which means, “Sent”. And who is the One who was Sent by God to this earth? It is the Lord Jesus Christ who was Sent. And where can He be found? He can be found in the written Word of God, in the water of the Gospel, in the pool of Siloam. When we turn to that Word of God we learn that the Lord Jesus Christ is the One who has been Sent by the Father to atone for our sins and to preach the Gospel. It is through the Word alone, as taught by the Holy Spirit, that we can come to know the Christ of God, and know Him personally. How could we be certain if we have come to know the Christ of God? Well, look at this blind man. “He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing”. In other words, he obeyed Christ blindly. He believed and did what Christ told him to do, without hesitation. How can we see in ourselves if we are truly followers of Christ? Well, do we believe His words? Do we believe God when He says that we have an Adamic body, which is inclined to sin? Do we then watch and pray so that we do not fall into temptation? Do we mean business when we decide to avoid sin? Is sin something that we consciously do, or is it something that sneaks up on us? Do we consciously do those things that are pleasing in God’s sight? Does it please us to do those things that are pleasing in God’s sight? Do we enjoy engaging in Bible study? If so, then where are all those people at the time we do a Bible study here in church on Sunday mornings or on Sunday afternoons? Do we love the brethren? If so, then where are all those people when we gather to socialize on Sunday mornings and Sunday afternoons? Do we really have a fervent desire to do those things that are pleasing in God’s sight? Do we truly have an urgent desire to make the works of God manifest? If I may paraphrase, Christ would say, “Look at this blind man and look at what I have done for him. This is what I have done for you. What have you done to show your gratitude to a man who rescued you out of a burning house?”
AMEN. Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.