“He Opened My Eyes”

John 9:1-41

26 March 2017

The Rev. Todd R. Goddard, pastor

East Rochester and Zion West Walworth United Methodist Churches

 

 

Prayer.

 

Today’s gospel slowly

Almost painfully

Unfolds for us

In such a way

That it is a perfect metaphor

For Lent.

 

 

Lent begins in darkness;

Total, complete,

Dark-as-dark-as-the-darkest night,

Black-as-the-blackest ink.

The darkness of the wilderness

Is caste by the devil

With temptations

And all that is evil.

For forty days and forty nights

Jesus resists,

And we are given hope

That He just might be the light.

Perhaps the world does not need

To wait in darkness anymore?

 

 

Indeed, as Lent unfolds,

Light appears

Slowly, but surely.

And progressively

More and more light creeps in.

The penitent disciple of Christ

Travels the journey

And undergoes an awakening.

 

Nicodemus sneaks away

Under cover of darkness

To come and inquire of Jesus.

You must be changed

- Born from above -

Jesus teaches him.

For all those who believe

Will be saved.

The first sliver of light

breaks into the darkness.

 

The water at Jacobs well

Is replaced with living water.

He is that living water;

Drink him in

And never thirst for more.

 

 

His light is lifted up.

And today,

His light increases its intensity

 

 

Such that even those born blind

Still can see.

 

This is not a miracle story,

Although, it begins with a miracle.

This is a story of enlightenment

 

 

Coming to a man born blind.

Receiving his vision

Is just the beginning of his

Spiritual awakening

and awareness.

 

First his neighbors are amazed,

But they don’t know what to do with him.

So they bring him to the authorities;

The religious authorities.

(How’s that for neighbors!)

 

 

His sight divides the opposition.

Some noted Jesus didn’t observe the Sabbath.

Others wondered how a sinner could be blessed.

“What do you say about him?”

they asked.

“It was your eyes he opened,”

they accused.

(And we were led to believe

they were the authorities!

If they were the authorities,

Why would they have to ask?)

 

 

He said, “He is a prophet.”

 

Ah! Here we have it:

The second sign of this man’s

Spiritual awakening.

The man born blind,

The one who Jesus gave vision,

For the first time,

Has now moved beyond the literal miracle.

This man makes his first statement of faith:

“He is a prophet!” He witnesses.

 

“He is a prophet!” He says

To a less than receptive audience.

The crowd is

One that will join in cries “Crucify Him!” in just a few days.

The crowd is

One that smells blood in the water.

The crowd is

One that has homicide in its future.

 

Witness.

 

 

Witness makes

The light shine brighter.

 

Just as Jacob’s well served as

A baptismal font

And Jesus became himself

Living water,

A means of initiation

Into Jesus’ community,

So too has His saliva

Mixed with dirt

Spread on the eyes

And washed in the pool

Known as Siloam

Has become a baptismal rite

of cleansing,

of joining,

and of eternal life.

 

Unsatisfied,

And still divided,

The religious authorities drag in his parents.

Fearing their own skin,

They only report the facts.

They do not draw conclusions.

 

The authority’s flaw

Was to call this man back a second time.

 

With a diverse mix

Of sarcasm, logic, law, and lecture

Our healed man,

With a masterful stroke,

Demonstrates the fact that

He now stands in nearly complete illumination.

 

 

“Never since the world began”

the new disciple speaks,

“has it been heard

that anyone

opened the eyes of a person born blind.

If this man were not from God,

he could do nothing.”

 

And with that,

They drove him out.

 

Jesus immediately seeks him out

To bring the circle round full

And to a close.

“Do you believe in the Son of Man?”

“Who is he, sir?

Tell me so that I may believe in him.”

“You have seen him,”

and the one speaking with you is he.”

 

Illumination is complete.

The final sign of his spiritual awakening has taken place,

with his words,

 

 

“Lord, I believe.”

“Lord, I believe.”

 

As Lent unfolds,

Light appears

Slowly, but surely.

Progressively

More and more light creeps in.

The penitent disciple of Christ

Goes through an awakening.

 

Some of us love to muck around in darkness,

Believing no one sees what we are doing.

Some of us love

the penance of Lent,

and would be content to remain forever

in its half-lit world

filled with shadows and doubts.

Some eventually long to return to darkness,

While others become restless

and eager to look ahead

To possibilities that may be further revealed.

 

We recognize the fact that

 

 

Lent is not a place

to make our spiritual home.

Rather, it is the journey,

And nothing more than a journey,

Of increasing illumination

That culminates when all is revealed

By the eternal light of Easter,

Emanating from the empty tomb

Of our resurrected Savior, Jesus Christ.

 

Where there is light,

There is only Jesus.

 

 

And where there is Jesus

There can be no darkness at all.

Be in the light,

Dear friends.

Be in His light.

Amen.