Jesus is the Light of the World
Third Sunday in Lent
Sermon on John 9:1-7, 13-17, 34-39 by Pastor Ben Sadler
Jesus is the Light of the World
Text: John 9:1-7, 13-17, 34-39
Do you believe in Karma? Karma is the belief that there are bad people in this world and there are good people. And those who do bad, get what they deserve and those who do good are blessed. Is that your system of belief? When we get a flat tire maybe we might say, “Oh, it’s Karma because I driving too fast on the highway.”
When you think about your relationship with God, do you think that God uses the Karma system as he deals with you? You do bad and he punishes. You do good and he blesses.
Do you think God uses the Karma system? Let’s take a look at our reading to see what Jesus has to say.
Jesus was walking with his disciples and they saw a man who was blind from birth. They asked Jesus, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents that he was born blind?” Sounds like they believe in a form of Karma, doesn’t it? If this guy is suffering from such a terrible handicap like blindness, well he must have done something wrong. But he was blind from birth? So the disciples were wondering, “Maybe his parents sinned and this is their punishment?”
But Jesus responds, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.” What does Jesus mean? This man nor his parents sinned? Maybe your thinking, “Jesus, my pastor talks about sin every weekend. I’ve learned that all people have sinned. What do you mean that this man didn’t sin?” Jesus is not saying that this man and his parents were sinless. On other occasions Jesus speaks clearly about how we are all sinful from birth. In this situation Jesus is just answering the question. He is trying to explain to his disciples that this man’s blindness was not a punishment from God.
Sometimes God does punish us or discipline us for our sin. Sin has its consequences. If you eat cheeseburgers everyday, you might have some blood pressure issues.. If you have sex outside of marriage, and live like of your average sitcom, you wind with a life that’s broken. Sin has definite consequences.
But that isn’t the situation here. Jesus is explaining that life is more complicated than karma. When you see someone suffering, it isn’t time to judge whether they deserve to be helped. It’s time to serve.
The disciples wanted to discuss why this man was blind. Jesus doesn’t want to waste time discussing this man’s ailments. Jesus said, “This man was born blind so that the work of God could be displayed in his life. As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me.” Notice what he says, “We must do the work of him who sent me. It’s not time to philosophize about this man’s suffering. Go help him for goodness sake!”
The week I was looking at this text my daughter was sick. She has been coughing every night. All I wanted to do was sleep. And then, Shelby starts coughing. I remember the initial reaction that came into my head. Instead of jumping out of bed, looking forward to an opportunity to serve, I felt sorry for myself. It thought, “What did Shelby do to deserve this cough? What did I do to deserve a night without sleep?” Someone must have done something to receive this bad situation. Finally, I stopped feeling sorry for myself and I got up and got my daughter a glass of cold water.
I bet you have your own stories. Your neighbor lost his job. And instead of finding a way to help him, you judge him. Maybe the first thought that goes through your mind is, “He deserves it. He doesn’t seem to be a nice person.” Maybe that’s true, but Jesus shows us here that when someone is suffering, it is not time to judge, but time to serve.
Your mother’s health is failing. And maybe it is hard to want to help her. Is your initial reaction? Her health is bad because she doesn’t take care of herself. She deserves it. That might be. But Jesus shows us here that it is not time to judge, but time to serve.
You see, Jesus doesn’t believe in Karma. There is no such thing as so-called good people and bad people. Jesus says that we are all in the darkness. The Bible says that if you keep all of God’s laws, but miss one opportunity to love someone, in God’s eyes, it is as if you broke all the laws.
Karma says there are good and bad people. Christ says that all are by nature in the dark. But look at verse five. Jesus says, “I am the light of the world!”
The light of the world comes into our world of darkness, and what does he do? Jesus does the work of the father. He sees this man suffering, and he doesn’t waste time discussing the cause of this man’s blindness. He heals him. He spits on the ground. Makes some mud with his hands. And spreads the mud on this man’s eyes. Jesus says, “Go wash yourself in the pool at Siloam.” He washed and was healed.
Jesus loved this man for all the times you and I haven’t loved those who are suffering. Jesus said, “This man was born blind so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.” The work of God was to love him. The work of God was Jesus perfect love in your place. Jesus’ perfect love covers up your lack of love.
But maybe you are still holding on to some guilt. Maybe you feel guilty because you blew it when your neighbor was in trouble. And you didn’t act like a Christian when your mother was sick. Jesus took those sins to the cross. You are forgiven for your sin. You are forgiven because Jesus lived for you. Jesus died for you. And Jesus rose for you. He is alive, and he is the light of your life.
As forgiven children of God, listen to what Jesus says. He said, “As long as it is day, WE must do the work of him who sent me.” It’s time for us to get to work and serve other people. The world is a dark place. You are to be the light of the world.
I’ve lived in Orlando since August of last year. And I am beginning to know my neighbors more and more each day. There is maybe one couple that was born in Orlando. The vast majority of the people moved here. And they don’t have family to help them. It has been surprising to see how the neighbors help each other out. John’s car broke down, so Steve lent his car to John. Don was redoing his backyard so Brad went over there and helped out. They each seem to care about each other. And do you what? Most of them aren’t believers.
How much more does the Lord want us to look for people who are in need so that we might love them. If your neighbor lost his job. Go over to his house and pray for him. Or maybe help them find opportunities to pay his bills.
If your family member is sick, pray for them. Make a meal for their family. Do some of their yard work. Look for ways that you can reflect the light of Jesus to your community.
And why do we do this? Why did Jesus heal this man? Why do we look for ways to love others? Look at what happen in our lesson. This man who was healed was confronted by the religious leaders. The Pharisees hated Jesus. They didn’t see him as the Son of God, the Messiah, the Savior of the world. So anyone who followed him was to be excommunicated from the synagogue. That’s what happened to the man who was healed. When the Pharisees confronted him, he testified, “I believe that this man is a prophet.” So they threw the man who was healed out of the synagogue.
Jesus heard that this man was thrown out, so he went to see him. He found him and asked, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” The Son of Man was a term used in the book of Daniel for the coming Savior, who was also the eternal God. So Jesus was asking the man, “Do you believe in God coming to earth as the Messiah?”
The man replied, “Who is he. Tell me so that I may believe in him.”
Jesus replied, “You have seen him; in fact he is the one speaking with you.” You have seen him. You used to be blind, but the Messiah healed you. You used to be spiritually blind, but now you see the Son of Man.
The man replied, “Lord, I believe.” And he worshiped him. He became a believer. And you will meet this man some day in heaven.
So now can you answer the question, “Why did Jesus heal this man? And why do we help those who are suffering?” First of all, we want to love them because we have received love from our good Lord. But more than that, there is no better way to build a relationship with someone than to serve them. As we as believers, start individually loving those around us, we will build many relationships. And you will have the opportunity to ask them, “Do you believe in the Son of man? Do you believe in Jesus? Do you know where you are going after you die?” Your new friend might reply. “Not really.” Or “I hope I get to heaven.” You get to answer, because Jesus lived, Jesus died and Jesus rose for you. Your sins are forgiven. Heaven is for you.”
Leighton Ford was an evangelist who once told a story about an Asian exchange student who spent a year at a small college in the southeastern part of our country. When the year was over, this young girl was a Christian. When asked how it happened, she said that there was a girl who befriended her. “She built a bridge to my heart and Jesus walked over it.”
That’s what happens when you serve others. You shine the light of Jesus on them, and Jesus works in their heart through the Word. When you tell them that Jesus is the God who saved them, a bright light shines in their heart.
In the last verse of our text, Jesus summarizes what he wants us to know from this lesson. “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” This seems like a strange summary statement at first. But it sums up what we have been saying. Jesus doesn’t believe in Karma, as if those who suffer are some how worse sinners than those who seem to be blessed. Jesus says all are under the darkness of sin. All are spiritually blind. And to those who recognize their spiritual blindness Jesus gives spiritual sight. But to those who think they can see without Christ. They cannot really see. They only think they can see. Jesus makes them blind. God shows us our blindness so that he can open our eyes to see Jesus our Savior.
I don’t know if you have noticed this in our culture. But it seems we are getting more and more isolated. We come home, close our garage, and turn on the TV. Let’s be weird. Let’s look for ways to get to know the people around us, so that we might pray for them. Look for people who are suffering like the blind man in our text, and go and serve them. And when we do we will have an opportunity to shine the light of Christ on them. While it is daytime, Jesus said, WE must do the work of him who sent me. You have seen the light of Jesus. Now let it shine. Amen.