[A proclamation suggestion: This message could be delivered in a segmented format with the congregation singing verses of “Send the Light” (Charles H. Gabriel, 1856-19320) between sections.]
Returning from a night crusade in a northern Nigerian village, my missionary host stopped the car on the side of the road to meet another preacher returning from his assignment. Without security lights or the sound of a generator, we seemed to be in the middle of nowhere. It was the darkest night I’ve ever experienced. The next day, we passed the same place. I was surprised to find many people lived in the area. Light made all the difference. Jesus’ encounter with the man born blind demonstrates the impact of the Light of the world (
There Are Souls to Rescue; There Are Souls to Save (
Whom do we see as we pass? Jesus and the disciples saw “a man who was blind from birth.” Jesus saw an opportunity to do “the works of God.” For the disciples, “the blind man was an unsolved riddle rather than a sufferer to be relieved” (Merrill C. Tenney. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 9, 1981, p.105).
With the cross looming, Jesus emphasized the critical need to “work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work” (v. 4). Every disciple faces the same issue of time. Our personal time is limited; opportunities to influence friends, family and neighbors soon disappear. There are souls to rescue, and now is the time to be about the work.
Pray that Everywhere Grace May Abound (
The work of Christ always brings a varied response; the healing of the blind man created quite a stir in his community. The neighbors, Pharisees, and the man’s parents demonstrated the difficulty people have in accepting the grace of Christ. In the presence of amazing power, some people are content to remain where they are or defiantly resist Christ’s grace.
Tragic substitutes only keep people in the darkness. Some are only curious about the spiritual power displayed, discuss the possibilities and move on (vv. 8-12). Some people allow religious legalism to keep them in the dark. “This man is not from God, because he does not keep the Sabbath” (v. 16). Others, such as his parents, are afraid of personal consequences if they accept God’s grace (v. 22). For some, pride and personal position feed false security and superiority (vv. 28-34). An individual doesn’t have to be blind to be in the darkness. Pray and work so that everywhere grace may abound.
Let Us Not Grow Weary in the Work of Love (
It’s difficult to keep sending the light when people resist. Don’t give up! We need to remember this case study of a man coming to the Light. His spiritual discernment progressed from an encounter with “a man called Jesus” (v. 11) to his declaration, “He is a prophet” (v. 17), and finally to, “Lord, I believe! And he worshipped Him” (v. 38). “Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (
Before his profession of faith, Jesus “heard that [the Pharisees] had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said to him, ‘Do you believe in the Son of God?'” (v. 35). Jesus did what the hymn admonishes: “Send the Light! And a Christlike spirit everywhere be found.” Would more people in darkness come to the Light if we went and found them? Do we cast out the sinner until he or she changes? I heard a drug addict tell of his difficulty in attending church because he felt so different from those in the church and wondered if he was welcome. In his powerless condition of darkness, a committed Christian reached out to him and didn’t give up on him. The former addict now lives in the Light and works while it is day to bring others to the Light of the world.
Send the Light! “Send the light, the blessed gospel light; let it shine from shore to shore! Let it shine forever more!”