I’m reminded of a story of a blind man who was on his deathbed. The man had been born blind but that didn’t stop him from serving the Lord. He was very active in his church, always giving, never asking for anything in return. Everyone loved this old man. Children ages 6-60 came to him for his straightforward, good Christian advice and counsel. You may say he was the epitome of what Jesus talked about in Matthew 7:16 when he said “You shall know them by their fruits...”
Well one day the pastor of the church came to pray and to talk with him. The pastor when he approached the man’s bedside said, everything’s going to be fine? The old man responded, “I know everything’s going to be fine”. I’m not worried at all. Matter of fact, I’m real happy right about now. Well, this kind of threw the pastor for a loop. Here is a man on his deathbed and he is reassuring the pastor that everything is going to be all right, and to top things off, the sick man claimed that he is real happy right now.
After that exchanged both he and the pastor were quiet for a moment then the old man spoke up. He said, ‘‘Pastor you know why I’m happy right now?”
The pastor, with tears in his eyes about now responded, why? The old blind man said, “Just think, I’m lying here about ready to die. And when I die, I’ll close my eyes for the last time, because the next time I’ll open them, I will be able to see. And you know what? The first person I will ever see in my life will be Jesus Christ.”
Now this story serves as an illustration that this old blind man had been given sight a longtime ago, sight that really mattered. Sight to see things not in the natural but in the spirit, and his focus was still, as it always had been, on seeing Jesus Christ.
Well I came to ask you this morning, “Oh say, can you see”?
Do you remember when your eyes opened up? Who or what did you see? Now I’m not necessarily talking about being saved. Because many of us have been saved for a long time, and been in church all of our lives. But we have grown up and we have experienced more things about ourselves, about others, and the world, which, in part changed our views on how we approach, handle, and views things now. When was it that you really saw and what did you see?
Was Jesus the first person you saw? Did we reflect on how Jesus has been a part of our life in spite of our current situation and circumstance? Did you see how he had brought you? How he has kept you? How he still loved us in spite of all the idiotic and insane decisions we made in our life? Did you see how he protected you, comforted you, cared about you? Did you see how he gave you chance after chance, after chance? Did we see how Jesus was still working in our lives despite our objections to the help that He was providing? Did we see and recognized Jesus working in our lives? I just want to ask the question this morning...Oh
say, can you see ...
Or did we see ourselves like James said ... looked in the mirror and forgot what we looked like. When we look in the mirror of life ... did we see a broken down, beat up shell of a person desperately searching and seeking serenity? Did we see our life as an un-orchestrated orchestra out of tune with the dark, damp, and destitute realities of life? Did we see the broken relationships, shattered dreams, and unfulfilled desires that led you and I to be wondering aimlessly through the desert of despair? In other words, did we see ourselves not living but just going through the motions of life? When we saw for the first time, what did we see?
Oh say, can you see ... what did we see when our eyes were opened. What did we see when we looked into the mirror of our life.
My brothers and sisters, there are still many people who still cannot see. As a matter of fact, there are some people who just don’t want to see, they just don’t want to get it. Some people can’t see the forest for the trees. They can’t see any light at the end of the tunnel, regardless of how bright the light might be. God has manifested His presence time and time again in our life, blessing us, delivering us, shaking us up, bringing us through, giving us friends and family members who love and care for us, showing us a better way, but we still refuse to see.
And this morning, I would like to remind all of us to open our eyes and see what the Lord is doing with us. See where the Lord has brought us. See where the Lord is taking us. See what the Lord is doing for us in our life. See through many dangers, toils, and snares, we have already come. Let’s open our eyes and see God’s magnificent majesty at work.
Because with Christ in our lives, I agree with the songwriter that “I can see clearly now ... the rain is gone”. With Christ in our lives, we can see all obstacles in our way.
And once you start seeing you become a better person than you were before. Things that you use to say, you don’t say anymore. Things you used to think about, you don’t think about anymore. Things that tripped you up, you walk around them now, you can step over them now, you can go under them now, or you can put your hard hat on and go through them now! It’s the power of Christ Jesus in your life that makes it possible for you to see.
So I came to ask you this morning, “Oh say can you see”
This is what we find in our text. A man who was born blind that wanted to see. The man in his physical ailment was reduced to being a beggar, hanging around street corners looking for the day’s handouts. In Jesus day, you were considered a nothing, a nobody, and an incomplete person if you had any physical ailments. So you were shunned by your community and by your family members. You were called unfit and unworthy. You had no one to protect you and no one to call to help you out. Sometimes, the money that you received from begging, especially for a blind man, was taken away by someone else. It was a tough life for people who could not see.
And it is a tough life for those who cannot see today. And I am not talking about physical blindness, even though I imagine that being physically blind is tough at times.
But what I am talking about this morning ... is people who can see, but yet they are still blind. They come in all shapes and sizes.
You see Jesus had no business even stopping and talking with this man because as custom in Jesus day, a person who was higher in status than you didn’t talk with you, especially if you were a religious authority. It was the whole religious system that reduced people to insignificant individuals that Jesus rallied against. Jesus went to places and talked to folks that many of our good church folks wouldn’t go to, or speak to, unless it will make them feel good.
But thank God, Jesus is still going up into folk’s mess that even ... good church folk don’t want to get into. But Jesus will go anywhere we are and if you called his name, you can be delivered and set free.
As we read the text, Jesus does heal the man and he receives his sight. However, I believe we can quickly learned 3 lessons about seeing. Because when you are truly touched by Jesus, He’ll open your eyes, and you will see these 3 lessons.
The first lesson that you learn is that when you open your eyes and see, you can always see Jesus working. It doesn’t matter what day it is, the Savior is always working. The religious social club of Jesus day interpreted the 4th commandment, remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy as a day when absolutely no work was to be done.
However, Jesus had already told them in Mark 2:27 that the Sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the Sabbath. In other words, human needs and conditions come before any rule, rite, ritual, or regiment.
And he follows up that statement by saying that the Son of Man is Lord even over the Sabbath. In other words, Jesus is saying, I am not bound by your traditionalism. I am not shackled by your wicked ways. I am not hindered by your botched beliefs. I am not held hostage by your interpretations. Human needs and love for all humankind comes first!
What this also tells us is that the Jesus is always working on any day of the week. It doesn’t matter if it’s Christmas, Labor Day, 4th of July or our birthday. Everyday is the Lord’s Day. You can call him up anytime, day or night, darkness or light. In the morning, or in the evening.
People want to talk about the right time, the appropriate time and place, but when we are drowning, wallowing in our own self-pity, we need help and we need it right now! Jesus doesn’t take time off, go on vacation, take sick leave or show up for work late, because we all know that He’s always on time! I like the way we sing that song. (He’s an on time God, yes he is).
And when we can truly see, we may not understand what’s going on. It might not sound like a good plan to us. We still may be a little confused. We may wonder how are we going to get out of this mess, but if we can truly see, we can see that Jesus is always working it out!
The 2nd lesson I see here is that when you can see, you see people for who they really are. It’s only after your eyes have been opened can you see this truth. All his life he has only heard the religious leaders as they talked about God.
He held them in high esteem. He believed that they had his best interest at heart. But now since his eyes were opened, he was seeing another side.
In the man’s happiest hour, he was being questioned and interrogated because Jesus came into his life. The religious leaders didn’t want to believe this miracle. They didn’t want to believe that this man who had been born blind was now seeing.
But maybe the real reason that they didn’t want to believe this miracle was that Jesus had something to do with it. They had already threatened anyone who confessed Jesus as the Messiah with expulsion from the synagogue. In other words, support this Jesus fellow, talk about him in a positive way, and be kicked out of the place you have learned to love. The same thing is happening today ...they call it separation of church and state. No wonder the man’s parents when questioned said, that we could testify that he was born blind, but we don’t know how he is able to see? By even mentioning Jesus name they would have been kicked out of church.
What the man was hearing and seeing now didn’t sound like the love and fellowship that these leaders preached all those years when he wasn’t able to see. And in this we learn a valuable lesson. When we are touched and healed by the Master and are able to see, some people will believe that your new vision is phony.
People are going to say that you did not see what you saw. When you say that you were touched and healed by Jesus, some are going to laugh at you. Some folk are going to bet wages trying to predict the month and day in which you will return back to your old life.
They won’t believe that you are sincere. People will question your motives. They will wonder what you have under your sleeve. Some people will have a hard time, believing you have changed. Instead of being happy for you…somebody is going to question you and your purposes for giving your life to Christ.
Some people are more comfortable with you in your hopeless positions in life. Some people feel more comfortable if you stay down forever. People will want to hold you back. They will try to dismiss you, destroy you, deter you, steal your song, burst your bubble, rob you of your blessing, carjack your comfort, jump your joy, hijack your hope, trying to leave you for dead.
But, I just want to tell you this morning, don’t let a weeklong devil disrupt your Sunday joy! I hear Jesus saying in John 10:10, “The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy: I have come that they may have life and have it more abundantly”. In other words, just keep on keeping on. Don’t let anybody stop you. Don’t let anybody remove you from your position. Don’t let anybody break you up or break you down.
Stand on the promises of God. Stay rooted in scripture. Just keep on hanging in there because the best is yet to come.
The 3rd and final thing you see is that ... after you see Jesus working, after you see people for who they are, you must see to it that you give credit where credit is due. In other words, keep on praising.
The Pharisees were still arguing and whispering among themselves whether or not this man was telling the truth. They were just arguing not over the truth, but some other mess that had no place in the conversation. If the Pharisees would have stopped long enough to see they could have marveled also at the wonder workings of God, but they could not see.
There’s a lot of blind folks out there today debating and deciding on stuff that really doesn’t matter. They are arguing with one another saying what you have and what you see isn’t real. They think it’s going to wear off.
Oh say, can you see ...
When you can truly see, you see all of your critics for what and who they really are. You will know how to handle them and just keep on worshipping and praising Jesus Christ.
When someone comes up to you and say, your religious experience is hogwash and you are just acting like you are saved, You can just tell them like that man said in the text “Whereas I was blind, now I see.” You tell them; I probably can’t tell you all the details of an immovable, and all-powerful God.
You can tell them that ... I don’t understand what God is doing all the time. I may not be able to quote scripture like some others. I haven’t walked the ivory halls of a theological seminary. I may not be able to preach like Paul and I may not be able to tell you, homiletics from hermeneutics or exegete a text of scripture. But you can call me crazy if you want to, say I’m losing my mind, all I know is I was blind, but now I see!
You can go tell those people that they can evaluate, interrogate, narrate, abbreviate, delegate or mandate all they want, but I see what I see, I know what I know, I feel what I feel, I have what I have and whereas “I was blind, but now I see!”
All I know ... is that God has been good to me.
He has been better to me than I have been to myself.
He has brought me from a mighty long way.
God has brought me from darkness into the marvelous light.
And every now and then when I’m all by myself, I just have to say thank you!
- Thank you, Thank you! I can see! I can see!
- Jesus in your life, Jesus morning, noon, and night!
- All Jesus all the time.
- Jesus like visa, He is everywhere I want to be.
- Jesus, like AMEX, I never leave home without him.
- Jesus, like bounty, He is the quicker picker upper.
- Jesus, like a Timex, He took a licking, but kept on ticking.
And I don’t know about you, but I’m so glad Jesus opened up my eyes
And now that my eyes are opened
It’s Jesus all the time
Jesus in the morning, Jesus at noon, Jesus in the Midnight hour
Because whereas I was blind, but now I see.