Change is Good (If Jesus is Involved) from John 9
Story of Change
Man born blind. John 9.1-2
Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. 2 And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
Here was a situation that had gone on for years. A tragedy, really.
A Hebrew couple is expecting a baby. They make all the usual preparations and have all the usual pre-celebrations. They’re getting some baby things together, having dream filled conversations and can’t wait to meet their child. They don’t know if this is a boy or a girl and can’t find out until this child’s birthday. So labor and delivery come, don’t know if this is their first or not, but you Moms tell me that every labor and delivery is a little different. Then comes the moment.
They meet their child and say “It’s a boy!” and there’s congratulations all around. Such a high.
But after the mom has counted all his little fingers and toes she looks at his eyes. And as much as this was supposed to remain a great moment it all of a sudden wasn’t.
Blind. And there was nothing they could do about it. They obviously loved him enough to raise him, taught him as best they could how to survive, but he would be dependent on them for life. For life. No trade learned, money made, independence, just long term dependence on family.
And to add insult to injury, people figured they must have done something wrong. You must have sinned big time and that’s what caused this. That apparently was the thinking of the time. If something bad happens you must have done something to make God angry and I wonder what it was. Hmm. The devil loves to perpetuate that lie. Everything bad happens because there’s something wrong with you and what you’ve done.
So these parents lived with a cloud over them. And this boy, lived with the knowledge that he was a special burden to his family and somehow it was his fault. And if there was one other thing they knew it was this: things will never change. How could they?
Along comes God in the flesh. On a rather ordinary/extraordinary day.
Jesus had just been accosted by the religious Jews. It all happened in the Temple area. And as Jesus responds to them and tells them more of the truth of Who He is, they get angrier and angrier. Finally, when Jesus cleverly tells them that He is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, they pick up stones to kill him with. He just walks out of the Temple with them wondering which way He went.
Now you and I would be rattled by that. We would be upset at the conflict, the anger and shouting and picking up stones kind of conflict and we would be pretty distracted. Not Jesus.
Jesus is Epic. As Jesus passed by the crowd of now confused would be assassins, He sees this young man who was blind from birth. And got the question: who sinned?
Not them necessarily. We all sin. But their sin wasn’t the direct cause of this. He was made so that the works of God should be revealed in him, in his life. There’s a lot to talk about there, more than we have time for this morning, but here’s this blind man, nobody’s fault per se, and God is going to work in his life and use the blindness to gain glory. His life was about to change simply because he was in the sights of the Savior Messiah Jesus. Where He is there is change afoot.
So you know the story if you’ve read this chapter. Jesus somehow calls this blind man over, maybe someone goes and gets him, maybe Jesus went over to him. Jesus bends down and spits on some soil. He spits to make some mud. The blind man hears all of this and wonders what in the world is going to happen next. He doesn’t run, can’t run. And Jesus has him close his eyelids and He paints them with spit mud. Tells him to go to a pool called Siloam and wash. Reminds me of Naaman the Leper from Elisha’s time.
Verse 7b So he went and washed, and came back seeing.
The rest of the chapter plays out the aftermath and it ends up with this now healed young man excommunicated from Jewish society and worship in the Temple. Jesus finds him, identifies Himself as the Son of God and this nameless young man worships Him, believing. He is now eternally changed and given a whole new set of relationships in a whole new life.
What can we learn about Jesus from this?
Everywhere He goes, change happens in human lives. And even if we don’t understand it, we’re confused, and it causes waves, it’s good. It’s for the good.
As a matter of fact, all along the way, once we meet Him and give our lives to His Lordship, change is the theme. We used to sing this chorus. From glory to glory He’s changing me, changing me, changing me.
From Romans 8 we read this:
For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
So what facilitates this, what can we learn about change?
1. The closer to Jesus the more dramatic the change.
Jesus changed every situation He walked into. He caused a division most everywhere He went too, but it was the proximity to Him that changed everything.
That’s why prayer, Bible study and meditation, church attendance and worship, these are the ways we reduce the gap between us and Him.
Have you been stuck lately? Depressed and mellow because of the same old same old? Falling into the same bad habits, same sins and problems and I’m just walking on the same boring path I’ve been on forever, it seems. Focus. Close the gap between you and Him. He brings change by His nature.
2. Once in His Presence, stay on the operating table.
Surgery and movement don’t go together. I knew a pastor from years ago who needed brain surgery and it was being done with a laser. A nurse accidentally bumped the table. He moved. And he was a cripple for the rest of his life.
The blind man didn’t run. And that changed everything. Even when he didn’t understand, he stayed on the table. Mud? Spit? Wash in a pool that I need help to find? He stayed with it, even though.
3. Change has a ripple effect.
It isn’t just you that changes, it’s the environment around you too. Sometimes it doesn’t seem pleasant or helpful. But that’s okay. It brings good disruption to have Jesus change your life. In the end it’s great that change has come. He works all things together for good to those who love God and are the called according to His purpose.
So how are you with change?
Oh no, change is bad! I’m going to lose out and the changes in my life have been a majority bad in their results. I can understand that if you have lost a child, your marriage is over or you lost your job and can’t seem to find another one, you might not be open to change. Change is inevitable. But I’m telling you, change that He brings may not be understandable at first but it ends up being good.
Will you let Jesus change your life? Gospel and prayer.
When God is near, change is the result. And change is good in its end because God is good.