Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ as written and recorded by the apostle John. More specifically, today’s passage is found in the first twenty-one verses of the tenth chapter of the gospel. When you come to this particular portion of scripture you will find the apostle John shifting gears from the narrative and account of the man who had been blind from birth to the narrative of the Pharisees whom Jesus was speaking to towards the end of the ninth chapter. If there is one thing that has always gotten me about the layout of the divine Word of God, it’s that when the Bible was written in its original language, it wasn’t written in the form and format we have before us today. What I mean by this is that when it was written in its original language, there were neither chapters, nor were there verses in the text. The manuscripts and documents which we have before and in front of us today is what we have as a result of students and scholars alike inserting the chapters and verses which we now see when we open up the word of God. When the scripture was written and when it was in its original form and format it neither contained chapters nor verses, and was essentially a continual and continuous document. It wouldn’t be until later generations when chapters and verses were added to the scriptures in order that men might find it easier to read and study the scripture. Now, you might be wondering why I would even take a Brit period of time and even include this words at the outset of this writing. There might be some who would read this document and would not understand, nor recognize why such words would even be relevant to that which is before us in the text. As I stand here this morning I can’t help but feel it’s necessary for us to recognize and understand this concept of chapters and verses, for it would be incredibly easy to read the words found within the tenth chapter as brand new chapter and as a new line of thought. It would be incredibly easy to read the words which we find within the tenth chapter of the gospel which the apostle John wrote and view it solely through the lens of that which is contained therein being an entirely new line of thought. It would be very easy to take the words which are found in the tenth chapter and the narrative that is contained therein and to consider it as something altogether new rather than building upon that which is found in the previous chapter. I am thoroughly convinced that when we come to the words which are found in the tenth chapter of the gospel which was written by the apostle John we must read and consider the words contained therein and understand them in the context of what took place and what was written within the previous chapter. I would even dare say that we cannot, we dare not and must not read the words which are found in the tenth chapter separate, Independent and apart from what we have in the ninth chapter.
If and as you come to the tenth chapter you will find that it immediately begins with red letters which when found within the scriptures denotes the words which were spoken by Jesus the Christ. What makes and what marks this as so incredibly interesting and intriguing is how the ninth chapter concludes and how the tenth chapter begins and opens up. As you read the final verses within the ninth chapter you will find Jesus the Christ speaking unto the blind man concerning Himself being the Messiah. What’s more, is that when you come to the final verses of the ninth chapter you will find Jesus the Christ—not only speaking about a physical blindness which was present and manifested within the life of this man since birth, but also about a spiritual blindness. I’m all reality, I would dare say that while the ninth chapter seems and appears to be all about physical blindness, it was in and through that physical blindness that we would come to the ultimate reality which was to be seen and understand. What I mean by this is that it would take the works of God being manifested within the life of this man who had been blind from birth in order that the true reality of spiritual blindness might come to light. It is absolutely and incredibly interesting to think about and consider the fact that while the ninth chapter begins and opens up with physical blindness which was manifested and present within this man’s life from birth, it would ultimately and inevitably transition to Jesus speaking—not only unto this blind men who had been given sight, but also to the Pharisees who also heard the words Jesus spoke unto the blind man. The final verses of the ninth chapter conclude—not with Jesus speaking of a physical and natural blindness, but speaking to a spiritual blindness. When you come to the final verses of the ninth chapter you will find Jesus not speaking of the physical blindness which had once consumed the life of this man from birth, but rather about a spiritual blindness which had gripped the hearts and minds of the Pharisees. What’s more, is that the Pharisees which were present on this particular occasion and which heard the words Jesus spoke unto the blind man actually became offended and upset with Jesus because of the words which He had spoken. If you read the text carefully you will find that the Pharisees who were undoubtedly still present before and around this blind man heard the words which Jesus had spoken unto Him, and became incredibly offended with what He had spoken unto them. The apostle John seems to indicate the strong reality that the Pharisees which were present on this particular occasion heard the words spoken by Jesus the Christ and could not handle that which they had heard Him speak. In all reality, I would dare say the words which they heard Him speak provoked them within the depths of their heart and souls, and as a result, they had to address and respond to Jesus.
Upon coming to the final verses of the ninth chapter of the gospel which was written by the apostle John you will find Jesus speaking unto this man who had been born blind after he had been excommunicated from the synagogue. What is so unique and incredibly interesting about this passage of scripture is that immediately after this man who had been blind from birth had received sight for the first time, he immediately began to experience judgment and criticism at the behest of the Jews, the neighbors which had previously known him to be blind and begging, and even the Pharisees. Within the ninth chapter of the gospel which was written by the apostle John you will find this man not only begging of and from those whom he would encounter on a daily basis, but he was also blind from birth. This man had spent his entire life without vision and without sight, and now for the first time within his entire life he was actually able to see, witness and behold the world which was before and around him—the world which was always before and around him, yet which he could never fully experience and engage. I have to pause for a moment right here and see a tremendous parallel between this man who had been blind from birth and how he had spent his entire life living in and living within the world, and yet he could not fully experience and engage the world. Though this man was very much alive, and though this man as present within the world, there was an entire world before and around him which he was completely unable to experience because he simply could not see it. We cannot afford to miss this unique and distinct reality, for to do so would be to miss that which I am convinced directly applies to many within this generation and many who are present among us. There is not a doubt in my mind that there are countless men and women who while they might be present within the world—they are separated from the world and haven’t been able to fully enjoy and experience it. I am convinced there are countless men and women among us who although they are present in and within the world, they are unable to fully experience it because of the blindness that is present within their lives. Oh please don’t understand that what I am speaking of is not necessarily a physical and natural blindness, but rather a spiritual blindness which prevents and hinders them from experiencing the world. What’s more, is that there are countless men and women who are present among us who are present in and within the world, and yet they are completely unable to experience the enter into the reality of the world because there is something that is present within their lives which actively hinders them from being able to experience it. There are countless men and women who are present among us within this generation who although they are living in the world are completely and utterly unable to experience the world because there is some hindrance and barrier that limits and prevents them from being able to do so. This man who had been blind from birth was present within the world and could even interact with it to a certain degree and measure, however, his blindness prevented him from fully experiencing and interacting with the works the way many others do.