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Hope for the Hopeless

April 8, 2018 | Pastor Bruce Plummer | From the series: Hope

Hope is not a wish, but instead, a solid, reliable expectation! There are keys to unlocking hope that can be found in a great miracle story of the Bible. In it, a blind man receives sight and his life is forever changed. What happened to him can happen to you, whether you can physically see or not! *Sermon notes are posted, but the sermon recording is unavailable! Our apologies!*

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Sermon Notes

Today’s Scripture Reference: John 9, the Man Blind from Birth

In the past few weeks, we’ve defined hope as a solid, reliable expectation, not a wish. Don’t think Jiminy Cricket, okay? We learned that hope is found in God and even though He may use people in the process, He’s behind all hope. Do you need hope?

In December of last year, I was taken on a trip, through Compassion International, to Guatemala, the country just South of Mexico in Central America. One of the things we did was visit a couple who had an infant child. I won’t go through the details of their story, but at one point in our conversation we asked the parents of this child a question: What are your hopes for your child’s future? If you asked an American parent that question, what do you think would be the answer? Good health, college education, a good job, a family of his own. They had no answer. Blank. Because they didn’t have the luxury of thinking that way. Instead, it’s all about survival.

John 9.1-12 says,

1 “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?” 

3 Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. 4 I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 

6 When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. 7 And He said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went and washed, and came back seeing. 

8 Therefore the neighbors and those who previously had seen that he was blind said, “Is not this he who sat and begged?” 9 Some said, “This is he.” Others said, “He is like him.” He said, “I am he.”10 Therefore they said to him, “How were your eyes opened?”

11 He answered and said, “A Man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed, and I received sight.”

12 Then they said to him, “Where is He?” He said, “I do not know.”

Jesus saw a man. And gave His attention to him. Even though He had plenty of reason to be distracted by what He had just been through..

Did this man that Jesus saw have hope? Yes, likely, in some ways. But did he have hope that he would have an average life? With average expectations? A job? A wife and children? No, absolutely not. Blindness was a matter of fact to him.

Think about this. He never had seen any image, at all. He could hear, feel, smell and taste, probably in an extraordinary way. But he never saw anything. Ever.

He needed help. Maybe he could get himself around in a familiar place. But for him to go somewhere new, large or small, was very difficult. He needed the help of others.

He likely was taken advantage of. Jokes were made. And pity given. Probably in earshot. People thanked God that they weren’t as bad off as him.

Did he have any hope of that changing? No. Did he have faith? No. Did he ask Jesus to give him sight? No.

Nothing changed until Jesus came along. He saw him. A lot of people had seen him before. But Jesus saw him. And saw a greater future for him. And had the means to make it happen. Jesus saw him as an individual who had the attention of God.

The disciples saw him as a case study. Like most of humanity who doesn’t know the individual person. Their assumption was something like Job’s friends. He must have sinned or maybe his parents sinned in such a way that this blindness is the result. Jesus said look, it isn’t about their sin. This is all about God’s intentions for his life.

Did the blind man sin at all? His parents? Of course. They weren’t sinless. But as to this blindness, sin wasn’t the issue. The will and resources of God were the issue.

So hope. Hope, if you’re going to have it and receive the expected result (remember, hope isn’t a wish), there are at least three major elements needed.

1. Hope is in a Person.

Jesus is the light of the world. And as such, He is the hope of the world. Hope for this blind man wasn’t in a program, some medical intervention or essential oils. Those things may be used in the process. But hope is in a Person. And that Person is Jesus.

2. Hope requires humility.

God could have chosen any one of a number of methodologies to use to bring this man from blindness to sight. The one He chose required humility on the part of the man. Big time.

Jesus chose the spit mud method. Why couldn’t he have just touched the hem of Jesus’ garment? Because that wouldn’t have touched this man’s life in the same way. It demonstrated faith, it demonstrated hope it demonstrated singular focus.

So Jesus spit on the ground. Hey, I’ve got something for you. Close your eyelids. Yeah, here you go. I made mud out of spit and I’m putting it on your eyes. There.

That required a special kind of humility. A special willingness to only think about God. Humility isn’t thinking less of yourself. It’s thinking of yourself less.

And that brings us to the next element.

3. Hope requires obedience.

As if it wasn’t enough for his eyes to be now covered in spit mud. With who-knows-who watching this. Now Jesus gives a directive. Go, wash in the Pool of Siloam, which is translated, “sent”.

He’s still blind. Nothing has changed. And now, he’s directed to get himself to this specific pool of water, and wash. What, there wasn’t water in a canteen anywhere? People carried some water wherever they went. No, not good enough. I said go to Siloam.

So it doesn’t tell us, but I can guess that it wasn’t right there. At least, a blind man had to ask for help. Was there a friend or relative there? Maybe. But this blind man was somehow determined to obey. And it resulted in hope realized.

And he saw. For the first time in his life. Yes people questioned. You look so much like the blind guy near the Temple. Is he your brother?  No, no, it’s really me. What? How did that happen?

He caught the attention of the Person of the Lord Jesus. He humbled himself and let the Lord do what He was going to do. And he obeyed, even though it didn’t make a lot of sense.

We could stop right there.

Is there any hopelessness in you?  Man, I would love things to change, but I’m stuck in my life. The answer for receiving hope is the same for you as it was this man.

But we can’t stop right there. Because the Bible brings us to another set of blind people. They could physically see, but they were blind in another, more profound way. They were the religious leaders, the Pharisees. And long story short, they questioned the formerly blind man, his family, and when the blind man acknowledged Jesus as the source of his now realized hope, they excommunicated this man from the Jewish community. Wait, what? They just didn’t see their need for Jesus. They were blind.

And that brings us to the end of the chapter: John 9.39-41

39 And Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.”

40 Then some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these words, and said to Him, “Are we blind also?”

41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, ‘We see.’ Therefore your sin remains.

Okay, what? What was Jesus saying?

You Pharisees can’t admit that you’re blind. You won’t come to the Person of Hope. You won’t humble yourselves. And you certainly won’t obey.

You’re blind to the truth. You’re blind to who you really are. And you’re blind to the future. And because you won’t admit that you don’t see, don’t have all the answers, and that you need a Savior, you’ll stay blind.

Does God promise to heal every person who is physically blind? He healed many blind people, but no, not every blind person, not all. But He does promise something greater. Hope can come to anyone. Any drug addict. Any adulterer. Any thief. Any liar. He can give you real hope.

Question: How can I see things that I just can’t see?  Answer: You have to be given sight by Another. But I just don’t understand, I just can’t see it. Why can’t I see it?  Or maybe better yet, why can’t my friend or brother or sister see it? It’s just an inability to see. Doesn’t do much good to figure out why. The path to sight starts with going to, getting the attention of Jesus. He already sees you. Humble yourself, admit your lack. Be obedient to what He says.

Hope is in a Person. The Lord Himself. And it’s real. Just as real as that man’s sight.