Tag Archives: boldness
Focus! Keeping Your Eyes on Jesus in a Near-Sighted, Distracted World! (The Blind Man in John 9 – Part 10)
“A Pharisee’s Gotta Know His Limitations!” So they move to round two of their inquisition of this man who undoubtedly wanted to be released to go do some sight-seeing. They hit him with the same questions: “WHAT DID HE DO TO YOU? HOW DID HE OPEN YOUR EYES?” Losing all restraint the man born blind responds with equal directness: “I told you already! And you did not listen!” He then questions their motive: “Why do you want to hear it again?” (v. 27).
An Infuriating Question: But the Coup de grâce (a death blow to end the suffering of a severely wounded person or animal) is the man born blind’s last question: “Do you want to become his disciples too?” You can see the smoke coming out of their ears and the flames torpedoing from their eyes at this most inappropriate question! The Greek is very interesting here — μὴ καὶ ὑμεῖς θέλετε αὐτοῦ μαθηταὶ γενέσθαι; The little negative μὴ (mē) is used by John to indicate a question which expects a negative answer. What the man born blind is really asking is, “Surely you don’t want to become his disciples too, do you?”
Today’s Challenge: Although this man is not yet saved, he does not hesitate to tell what he knows — and to challenge those who deserve to be challenged. Ask the Lord to give you courage today to speak the truth — in love — but to do it with boldness!
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!”
1 I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart;
before the “gods” I will sing your praise.
2 I will bow down toward your holy temple
and will praise your name
for your unfailing love and your faithfulness,
for you have so exalted your solemn decree
that it surpasses your fame.
3 When I called, you answered me;
you greatly emboldened me.
4 May all the kings of the earth praise you, Lord,
when they hear what you have decreed.
5 May they sing of the ways of the Lord,
for the glory of the Lord is great.
6 Though the Lord is exalted, he looks kindly on the lowly;
though lofty, he sees them from afar.
7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
you preserve my life.
You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes;
with your right hand you save me.
8 The Lord will vindicate me;
your love, Lord, endures forever—
do not abandon the works of your hands.