“He Opened My Eyes”

John 9:1-41

March 19, 2023

The Rev. Todd R. Goddard, pastor

Rush United Methodist Church

| Centering Prayer |

I’ve got questions.

1. Does it matter that that this person was born blind, as opposed to being blinded after birth? Would your opinion be different if you had been born blind?

2. Did the man born blind need fixing?

3. Are trials God’s way to punish us for some unfaithful act we’ve committed?

4. Is blindness literal, or a metaphor for spiritual blindness?

5. What was the purpose of this miracle?

6. Why does John take such effort to report all the details of this miracle?

Just because the Gospel has been my life’s focus, interest, and study doesn’t mean I don’t still have questions.

What questions dare you ask?

Let’s first look through a wide aperture,

Take in a wide-angle view of the Gospel.

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 in Jesus

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 in intensity

Such that even those born blind

Still can see.

Time to zoom in,

To listen,

To look,

To explore God’s amazing gift of the Gospel of John.

Chapter 9 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!” (9:17)

He says

To a less than receptive audience.



Spit balling.

Eliminate all the obvious answers and go with what is left.

Jesus is a prophet.

How’d that go over?

The crowd is

One that will soon join in cries “Crucify Him!”.

The crowd is

One that smells blood in the water.

The crowd is

One that has homicide flowing in their veins.


Witness makes

The light shine brighter.

Note to self: witness make 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 …

… this mud

Has become a baptismal rite

of cleansing,

of joining,

and of eternal life.


And still divided,

The religious authorities drag in his parents.

Fearing their own skin,

The parents 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.” (9:33)

And with that,

They drove him out.

Jesus immediately seeks him out

To bring the circle round full

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.”

“And he worshiped him.” (9:38)

As Lent unfolds,

Light appears

Slowly, but surely.


More and more light creeps in.

Gathering light is poignant in the northern hemisphere.

The days are getting longer.

With gathering light

the penitent disciple of Christ

Goes through an awakening.

How about you?

Are you rising?

Most 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, Lent is the journey,

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.

Live in His light.


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