George H. Morrison - Devotional Sermons
The Man Born Blind
Who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?--Joh 9:2
The Self-Forgetfulness of Christ
The eighth chapter of John closes with the Jews insulting Jesus. Angered by His claim to have been before Abraham was, they had taken up stones to cast at Him. It was then that Jesus, going through the midst of them, passed by; and it was in passing by that He saw the man. Would you have had eyes for a blind beggar, do you think, after treatment such as Jesus got? Would you have been swift to benefit a Jew when the Jews had hardly dropped the stones to stone you? It reveals the self-forgetfulness of Christ, that after this rough handling by the Jews, He should handle a Jew so tenderly as this.
If there is one story which we know by heart, we have it here. Some of us never see a blind man by the pavement, but we think of these eyes that were opened long ago. There are men who have been blinded by disease or accident; this man was blind from birth. He had never seen the meadows or the hills; he had never looked on his mother when she kissed him. Was there any hope for lost eyes like these ? The cleverest doctor in Jerusalem said No; but Jesus of Nazareth passed by, and He said, Yes. It is Christ's way to delight in saying Yes when all the wisdom of the world is saying No. And then how Jesus made the clay, and bade the blind man wash his eyes in Siloam, and how the blind man went and washed and saw (like another Caesar with his veni, vidi, vici), all this the mother will tell to her delighted children.
Purpose in Our Sufferings
There are one or two lessons that we must not miss, and first, there is a purpose in our sufferings. That blind man was a puzzle to the disciples. The first thing Jesus thought of was to heal him; the first thing the disciples thought of was--"Who was the sinner, this man or his father?" They might have learned from Job, if nowhere else, not always to link sin and suffering together. Then Jesus taught them what the blindness meant. There was a purpose in these sightless orbs. They were to bring the heart that beat behind them somewhere to trust in the great Savior of mankind. How often had the blind boy asked his mother, "O mother, what is the meaning of this darkness?" And with a breaking heart his mother had had to answer, "My dearest child, I do not know; God knows." Now Jesus came, and mother and son were taught. The secret of the darkness was unlocked. It was that the works of God might be shown forth. Do I speak to any crippled lads? Shall this little article be read to some blind girls? Be patient; do not call it cruel and bitter. The day is coming, perhaps here, certainly yonder, when you will understand.
Christ Loves to Help Our Faith
Some miracles were accomplished by a word. When Jesus went to the grave of Lazarus, He only cried, "Lazarus, come forth." But here He made clay and anointed the eyes of the blind man with it, and the question is, Why did our Lord do that? Did He need to do it? No. Did He wish the cure to be reckoned doubly wonderful by adding obstacles that made it doubly difficult? I feel at once that is not Jesus' way. He wished to strengthen faith; that is the answer, for without faith there are no mighty works. Had the man not heard from his neighbors twenty times, that spittle and clay were medicinal for the eyes? Do we not read in Tacitus of a blind man who begged Vespasian to spit upon his eyes? Jesus began upon the man's own level. He quickened faith by starting from common ground. He was leading the man by an old village recipe to the faith through which a miracle is possible.
The Man Was So Changed, the People Hardly Knew Him
His friends were sore perplexed. One could have sworn this was the man who begged. Another was ready to swear that it was not. Some argued that he was very like the beggar, but every one of them recognized the change. Now there are many things that change a man. Absence will do it--we hardly know our friend when he comes home! Suffering does it--what a difference in your sister since that illness! But neither absence nor suffering so changes a man as does the wonderful handiwork of Jesus. It gives new hopes. It brings new outlook. It kindles new desires. It creates a new heart. Old things pass away under the touch of Jesus, and all things become new.
What Christ Had Done Kept Him Loyal
After his healing, the blind man was sorely tempted to be false to Jesus. There was trouble at home; his parents were endangered. The priests and Pharisees were passionately angry at this new jewel in the crown of Jesus. And to think that he--who yesterday sat and begged--should stand in the temple and argue with the Pharisees! I am sure that when he went to bed at night, he wondered in the dark how he had done it. And then, through the lattice of his room, he saw the twinkling of a single star. Ah! it was that, that eyesight, that had stirred him. It was what Christ had done for him that kept him loyal. Let it be so with every one of us. Remember Bethlehem! Remember Calvary! Recall what Christ has done for you, and then--
Should the world and sin oppose,
We will follow Jesus,
He is greater than our foes,
We will follow Jesus.
On His promise we depend,
He will succor and defend,
Help and keep us to the end,
We will follow Jesus.
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