Homily – 4th Sunday in Lent, Year A

4th Sunday in Lent, Year A
1 Samuel 16:1b, 6-7, 10-13a
Ephesians 5:8-14
John 9:1-41
March 30, 2014

Jesus encounters a man born blind.  The fact that he was born this way is important.  If he had become blind, maybe there was an illness that went away on its own.  The fact he was born this way makes it clear the healing is a miracle.

The fact that Jesus restores the man’s physical sight is no small thing but the fact that the passage begins with Jesus’ disciples asking why the man was born blind should alert us to the fact that the passage is not simply about physical sight.

The disciples would see his blindness as evidence that either he or his parents had sinned but Jesus says that is not how God sees it.

This is not the first lesson that the Bible offers on “seeing as God sees.”  Our passage about Samuel and the anointing of David makes that clear.

Samuel is sent by God to anoint a new king to succeed Saul.  As Jesse brings his sons to Samuel, Samuel is sure that Eliab must be the one based on his physical appearance.  God immediately says no, he is not the one.  God tells Samuel not to just based on appearance or stature for “not as man sees does God see…but the Lord looks into the heart.”

It is David that God has chosen to succeed Saul.  David is a “youth handsome” with a “splendid appearance” but God chooses him for what is in his heart.

Turning back to the man born blind, early in the passage his physical sight is restored but as the story continues he comes to see who Jesus really is.  At the end it is the Pharisees who are blind.

The man accepts the healing of his physical sight without question.  He knows he can see.  Everyone else begins to question it.  Is he really the man born blind?  How was this done?  Who did it?

So the people take him to the Pharisees.  When they hear that the man has been healed, their first reaction is to claim that Jesus cannot be from God because he does this on the Sabbath.  They are blind to the fact that Jesus’ healing proves he is from God because they are spiritually blind.

When they question the man about who Jesus is, he responds “He is a prophet.”  Clearly, he is coming (but not there yet) to faith to know who Jesus is.

Next, the Jews try to dispute that the miracle happened, claiming this isn’t really the man born blind.  His identity and blindness is confirmed by his parents.

They continue to question the man, identifying Jesus as a sinner, but it is the man who says to them, how can Jesus be a sinner because God is obviously working miracles through him and God doesn’t listen to sinners.

At the end, Jesus finds the man born blind and the man comes to see that Jesus is the Son of Man.  He sees Jesus as God sees Jesus.

How well do you see?  I don’t ask this about your physical eyesight.  I can tell that some of you need glasses.  I know some of you are wearing contacts.  But physical eyesight is not what is most important.

How is your spiritual eyesight?

Do you judge based on outward appearance or do you look into the heart?

How do you look at suffering and illness?  Do you see only the physical illness or do you see God’s presence in the midst of the suffering?

Think about what this week will bring for you?  Does this bring to mind tasks that you must get done this week or do you think about what you might use what you will do this week to make the world a better place, making God’s kingdom known?

When you look at the person standing on the corner with a sign asking for help, do you see a “bum” or do you see a “child of God?”

When you see a crying child do you see a disobedient and disrespectful child or do see the love of God in the child’s heart?

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