Okay. Okay. I’m not an expert preacher. But I recognize common mistakes when I see them — or commit them. If you preach, you just might find some help from my booklet, Ten Specific Steps You Can Take to Make Your Sermons and Preaching Better! (available from Amazon).
In this series of posts I am giving away some of my favorite sermon outlines. One of the most engaging miracles in the Bible is the story of the man born blind in John 9. I’ve shared the first two sermon points with you in our previous posts:
I. Tragedy Has Its Reasons! (vv. 1-5)
II. Obedience Has Its Reward! (vv. 6-12).
Let’s notice thirdly in this text that —
III. Boldness Has Its Price! (vv. 13-34)
What happens in this section is incredible. The man obeys Jesus, washes the mud off his eyes, and comes home seeing. But what does he see? Skeptics! People who knew him as a beggar doubting whether he was the same man (vv. 8-10). [I would have been tempted to say, “Beg? I’ve never begged in my life! You have me confused with some other poor soul!”]
Then the real interrogations begin. He gets dragged to the Pharisees for confirmation of the miracle. It may also be that they feared not reporting him to the religious leaders because, as we find out later, Jesus performed the miracle on the Sabbath (v. 14)! And making mud with His spittle constituted working on the Sabbath in the minds of these blind religionists!
The man-born-blind (he remains anonymous throughout the story) is given the 3rd degree several times, and even his parents are grilled by the Pharisees. No way could Jesus be of God, they were convinced, so there had to be some other explanation of this “miracle.”
After several rounds of trying to find contradictions in his story, the blind man reaches his limit. He lectures them on who is from God and who isn’t and they reply (with great pastoral compassion): “You were steeped in sin at birth;how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out of the synagogue (v. 34).
But . . . weren’t we all “steeped in sin at birth”? Being kicked out of the synagogue in Jewish culture was to be ostracized from the heart of their social and religious environment. News would travel fast. Perhaps there would be some who would say to this man-born-blind, “You’re under God’s judgment now! You’ve been thrown out of the people of God!”