John 9: 1-41 (NKJV)

[A
proclamation suggestion: This message could be delivered in a segmented format
with the congregation singing a verse of Send the Light (Charles H. Gabriel,
1856-1932) between the divisions. In a nighttime worship setting, consider doing
the introduction with lights out.]

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 that same place and 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 (John 8:12; 9:5). This Lenten season offers special opportunities to influence
others for Christ. How can we be used to send the light?

There
are souls to rescue; there are souls to save (vv. 1-7)

Whom
do we see as we pass by? Both 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). That same issue of time faces every disciple. 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 (vv. 8- 34)

The
work of Christ always brings a varied response; the healing of the blind man
created quite a stir in his community. The neighbors, the Pharisees, and his
parents demonstrate 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,
like these 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 (vv. 35-41)

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” (Galatians 6:9).

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 Christ-like 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 than 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!”

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