Sermon Text: John 9:1-7, 13-17, 20-41.
Fellow redeemed in Christ, who is the Light who gives the light of faith: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and Jesus our Lord. Amen.
Jesus heals a man who was born blind. This is a story about faith.
In the Bible, God uses blindness to picture being in the dark spiritually. The blindness of unbelief. We can’t make ourselves unblind by our own reason and strength. We can’t come to believe in Jesus on our own. So He gives us the light of faith. This happens in Baptism. What this man says – “I washed and I see” – is a great description of our own baptism!
So this is a story about faith. Jesus says, “I Am the Light of the world.” In John 1 it says He is “the true Light who gives light,” that is, the light of faith. He’ll show it by making a man who’s never seen – “a man blind from birth” – to be able to see. But even more, this man will confess faith in Jesus, and this means that he’s able to see, while the unbelieving Pharisees are “blind.”
But this isn’t just about receiving faith. It’s about what faith does. Here his faith is attacked start to finish, and in response faith speaks. That’s confessing the faith. But it isn’t just “faith,” it’s the content of faith; in the Pharisees’ words it’s: “What do you say about Him?” We learn what it means that
WE CONFESS JESUS CHRIST
This miracle takes place in the first 7 verses. Short and sweet. Jesus takes His spit and some dirt to make mud, puts it on the man’s eyes and tells him to go wash, and we hear: “he went and washed and came back seeing.”
But then there are 34 more verses of story. It has five parts: first, the people who were used to seeing him begging, question him. They don’t think it’s him, he has to say: “I am the man,” and not just once. He “kept saying” it.
The second part is, they bring him to the Pharisees, who question him. Third part, the Pharisees grab his parents and question them in a threatening way. Fourth part, the Pharisees question the man again and really get into it, try to bully him but it doesn’t work, so finally they banish him from the temple. Fifth and last, Jesus finds the man alone and brings him to fully confess faith in Jesus as the Son of God. Which means he has eternal life!
Although there are five parts to it, we see a common thread throughout the first four parts, which is: his faith is attacked. He experiences hostility in reaction to what he says about Jesus. He has to fight to maintain that Jesus gave him his sight. This is because of the Pharisees, who keep after this guy.
The Pharisees knew that what this man was saying about the miracle in such a simple way – “He put mud on my eyes, and I washed, and I see” – he was saying it about Jesus. The Pharisees know that if Jesus did give sight to a man who never had it before, this is something only God can do. People might believe that Jesus is true God, that He is the Son of God as He says.
So instead of attacking Jesus directly, incredibly they attack this young man who just received his sight. First they go after his parents. They make sure his poor parents know that “if anyone should confess Jesus to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue.” They obviously were poor. He had to live by begging at the temple. So it was devastating to be com- pletely banished from temple or synagogue: such a person was to be treated as if he were dead – no one’s allowed to eat or drink with him, talk with him, etc. (Edersheim II 182/3). Their parental anxiety over his well-being leads them to say nothing of his healing. They can’t even rejoice in it!
Then the Pharisees summon the formerly blind man. It’s a breathtaking exchange. They pretty much order him to say that Jesus “is a sinner.” They badger him with: “What did He do to you?” They belittle this poor man. And yet he doesn’t let himself be looked down on. He isn’t submissive or on the defensive. He says: “I have told you already, and you would not listen!” He just keeps telling them what Jesus did for him. He confesses Jesus Christ.
It’s amazing that we learn it from this man-born-blind. There are great Bible verses on this subject of confessing Christ. In Romans 10: “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” And from Jesus in Matthew 10: “Whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven” (NKJV).
This man didn’t know any of this. He just does it. We want to notice that he doesn’t talk about himself. He keeps saying what Jesus did for him. He doesn’t talk about his faith but about Jesus. Jesus is the content and the object of faith: whom you believe in. That’s what we must focus on. Faith doesn’t come up until the end, when Jesus asks him: “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”and says “it is He speaking to you,” and he says: “Lord, I believe.”
So thinking about this, that We Confess Jesus Christ, from all this we learn:
- We Confess Jesus Christ In a Hostile World
The world hasn’t changed yet, has it? It’s just as bad in this way. We’ve moved into the minority category in America. Only 44 percent of Americans in recent studies believe in the God of the Bible. Look at various teachings in the Bible – Jesus’ own teachings – and a far lower percentage agree with us.
We could moan and complain about this, but it won’t change it and we don’t see this man do that. Instead, see it as an opportunity: an opportunity to confess! Persecution, and feeling unwelcomed by or out-of-sorts with the world we live in, is actually a good sign. It means that you’re confessing Christ. Going to a church here, where true doctrine matters, is a confession.
This is the form evangelism often takes. You, as a Christian, live in a world that’s hostile to your faith yet you don’t change, you hear His word and keep it. If people attack you or get angry with you over it, you have an opportunity to confess Christ and give a reason for what you believe and do.
- We Confess Jesus Christ By Saying What He Has Done For Us
We worry about what words to say. How we can witness. But it doesn’t need to be that complicated. Look at this man. He just kept saying what Jesus did for him. He didn’t talk about himself. He said what Jesus did for him.
You do this already. You do it in church. What is the creed? We call it a confession of faith, it begins: “I believe.” But it’s a confession of who God is and what He’s done for you. He’s the Father; He made me and cares for me. He’s Jesus Christ; He died for me. He’s the Holy Spirit; He gives me faith.
See how that works? Saying the creed just tells you what to say. It’s all about God, it’s all centered in Jesus. You have to confess this all alone, knowing the devil is there, and especially in our own doubts and struggles. We say the creed daily as a shield against Satan and to exercise ourselves and be stronger in our own faith. And then with other people, you do the same – since you’ve already practiced it on yourself.
It’s just that simple: saying what God has done for you. And then we go to church and read our Bible at home, following through on this confession.
When you open your Bible, you’re confessing Christ. When you stop to pray, you’re confessing Christ. When you ask God to forgive you, you’re confessing Christ. When you look to marry someone who shares this faith and prioritize that, you’re confessing Christ. When you don’t approve sinful choices that your child or your friend makes, you’re confessing Christ.
- We Confess Jesus Christ Without Losing the Joy
There’s one more thing to pay close attention to. Remember how the man’s parents weren’t able to rejoice in his healing? It was because of the attacks. Fear, danger and threats overwhelmed their joy. This is what the devil does. He doesn’t want you to have the joy of what Christ gives you. The hostility in which our faith has to exist threatens to make us joyless Christians. We might even keep God’s truth but be bitter and resentful over what it costs.
As we confess Christ, we don’t want to lose the joy. Nobody will listen to a Christian who speaks the truth with anger. That hurts us too. So we want to confess Christ, first to experience the great joy of being certain of Him.
If anything’s preventing this, find what it is: fear, worry, guilt, sadness, or having been hurt or sinned against. Where does God help you with this? When He helps you with it, this is what He gives you to confess: to say it to God in praise and to say it against the devil: “Satan, I defy thee.”Then you can confess Jesus before others, joy included. Amen!