“Move Into the Light”
Hello, and welcome to "Key to the Kingdom." My name is Bret McCasland. In a previous lesson, we focused on coming out of the darkness and moving into the light of Jesus Christ. We saw how that through the sacrifice of God's Son we are rescued from a world of spiritual darkness and transferred into His kingdom of light. Today we will explore that idea even further. We will notice what it is like for our spiritual eyes to be opened so that we can see clearer who Jesus is and what He has done for us. He truly is the light of this world and when we believe in Him there is no darkness. Our study will take us to a miracle Jesus performed as He opened the eyes of a man born blind. Many people wanted to know who was responsible for his healing, but this man wanted to know, believe in, and worship the One who healed Him. Hopefully, we have that same desire, to know and believe in Jesus Christ, the One who moves us out of darkness and into His light. I invite you now to open your heart and your Bible as we study together.
One of the things the Bible tells us about Jesus Christ is that He came into this world to make an eternal difference, and He did that in a variety of ways. He did that by sharing the good news of the kingdom of God. He did that by telling parables, or stories, to illustrate that teaching. He also did that by performing miracles, by changing people's lives, allowing the blind to see and the lame to walk and helping those who could not hear. He even raised people from the dead. Yes, one of the things Jesus did was to make an eternal difference in the lives of many people. And as God's Son, He also represented His Father. He went where His Father directed Him to go. He said what His Father directed Him to say. But if we were to give some kind of a summary statement concerning Jesus' ministry here upon this Earth, we might simply say that He went about doing good. Yes, Jesus did good at every turn. He blessed people. He gave them hope. He changed people's lives. He did good in so many different ways. Throughout His ministry He met people who had all kinds of problems, and yet not a single one of those problems presented to Him was too great for Him to overcome. And by the power He received from His Father in heaven, He transformed people's lives. Jesus also came to fulfill the Old Testament teaching. He came to bring life to its messages, and He did that, again, through His ministry. For example, listen to these words from the Old Testament book of Isaiah, chapter 61 verses 1 and 2. <The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach the good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn...,> Those words were spoken by Jesus as He began His ministry, and they are found in the gospel of Luke, chapter 4 verses 18 and 19. And that is what Jesus did, He went about doing good. He went about healing and blessing those who were brokenhearted, setting free those who were held captive by sin. He went about releasing the bondage of those who were imprisoned in so many different ways. Yes, Jesus blessed the lives of many people. In fact, He brought light to their eyes. And, that's what He stated in John chapter 8, verse 12: <"I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life..."> Yes, Jesus brought light to people's lives. No longer did they need to walk in a world of darkness, but they could experience a brand-new life in Jesus. And, that is played out in a story that is recorded for us in John chapter 9. It's played out in the life of one who could not see, but yet Jesus opened up his eyes, both physically and spiritually. I hope you'll go with me to John chapter 9 as we re-tell the story and then draw some lessons from it. As Jesus and His disciples were walking through Jerusalem one day, the disciples saw a beggar sitting there on the side of the road, a person who was blind. In fact, he had never been able to see. He was blind from birth. And they asked Jesus the question, "Who sinned, this man or his parents?" And Jesus responded by saying, "Neither sinned, but rather this is an opportunity for God's power to be displayed in his life." Jesus then spoke these words in verse 5, "While I am in the world, I am the light of the world." And with that, He spit on the ground. He made some mud with that moisture and then put that mud on the blind man's eyes. He then told him to go across to the Pool of Siloam, also located in Jerusalem, to wash out that mud, and he would be able to see. Well, that is exactly what that man did. He went to the Pool of Siloam. He washed away that mud, and immediately he could see. His eyes were opened. He began to be able to see a world he had never seen before, and he was excited about that. Jesus had compassion for this man. He was genuinely concerned about his well-being, and He was moved with pity, and He displayed His Father's compassion upon him. He blessed him by opening his eyes. Well after he was healed, no doubt, the man begins to explain to various people what happened. He begins to tell the story over and over again. Perhaps he goes to those people with whom he sat every day, begging for the daily necessities of life, and he told them about a man named Jesus, who opened his eyes. He told his parents what happened and he was excited to share with them, the people who had brought him into this world. He wanted them to know about him now being able to see. But the main thing in regards to this man's healing was that he was blind but now he could see and he wanted to find the person again, called Jesus, who had opened his eyes. Even the Pharisees got in on the questioning. The Pharisees were the religious leaders of the day, and they wanted to know more about this man called Jesus: What took place in regards to the healing? And the reason was Jesus healed this man on the Sabbath day. Now, the Sabbath was a day of rest: No work was to be done, whatsoever, but spitting on the ground and then making mud and putting it on someone's eyes was considered to be work and so the religious leaders said, "He is opposed to God. He doesn't come from God because He does not respect the Sabbath laws." But then on the other hand, there were some who said, "Oh, this could not have been done unless Jesus, in fact, did come from God." I think about the man's parents, once again. They were questioned as to what happened, but they let the son describe and re-tell the story. And like everyone else, they agreed that this was their son and that yes indeed he was born blind but now he could see, but they did not know for sure how all of that took place. They did not know about this man Jesus, and it seemed like they really did not want to get involved. But, the man who could now see wanted to find the One who had healed him. Oh, he did not know for sure where He had come from. He did not know for sure where He was staying or anything about Him beyond the fact that people called Him Jesus. And each time he is asked the question about the healing, from his friends, or the religious leaders, or his parents, or anybody else, he told the same story over and over again. He never changed it. It was the same message; that, Jesus spit on the ground, He made mud, put it on my eyes. I then went to the Pool of Siloam, washed it out, and then I could see. Some might say that this man got tired of telling that story over and over again, the same message over and over, repeated several times throughout the day: Perhaps so. My guess, however, is this man was excited to tell the story over and over again and it did not matter to him how many times. He wanted other people to know about what Jesus had done for him. He wanted other people to know that Jesus was a miracle worker. And, he was excited that now he could see a world he had never seen before. Well, in one final exchange between the healed man and the religious leaders, they asked him once again about the healing that took place. And the healed man said, "If this man were not from God, He could do nothing." And with those words, the healed man identified Jesus with God. He recognized Him as the Son of God or as God's representative here upon the Earth. And the religious leaders, upon hearing that, accused him of being a sinner since birth and they immediately threw him out of the Temple and he had no rights or privileges in it, any more. Oh, how sad that must have been. The man was there in the Temple to worship and praise God for the healing that had just taken place, but now he could no longer be there to do that and so he was out on the street, once again. I want us to pause for just a moment and think about some of the emotions this man experienced. First of all, he was born blind. He had never been able to see. Oh, people told him stories, no doubt, about God's wonderful creation, but he could not see it for himself. He was also a beggar who was out on the street, which means perhaps he was of age and his parents really did not have much to do with him any more. And so, he sat with the other beggars every day, begging for the daily necessities of life, begging for someone to provide a meal or to give some money. And then, this man was also rejected, sitting there at the edge of town, overlooked, neglected by the mainstream of society. He felt alone. He felt unappreciated, and he was just trying to make it from one day to the next. But then, Jesus came along and He gave him his sight. Well, no longer was he blind but now he could see everything people had told him. He now could go out and provide for himself because he could make a living. He could see in order to do other things. But, perhaps there was one emotion that he continued to feel, and that was that he still felt rejected. Perhaps his parents did not stand up for him like he wanted them to. Maybe his friends or other beggars kind of disassociated from him and held him at a distance because they really did not want to get involved. And then, there were the Pharisees. They accused him of being a sinner from birth, and perhaps even looked for a way to get back at this man called Jesus who had healed him on the Sabbath day. Yes, nobody believed in him, but he longed to believe in the One who healed him. He wanted to become His follower. He wanted to know more about Jesus, to become His disciple. Well, Jesus heard about what happened to him, of being thrown out of the Temple, and He comes to the healed man a second time. And, we read this exchange in chapter 9 of John, verses 35 and following. <Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when He found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” “Who is He, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in Him.” Jesus said, “You have now seen Him; in fact, He is the One speaking with you.” Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped Him.> Once again, Jesus shows His Father's compassion to this man, to the man who has been rejected and thrown out of the Temple. And then, He asks him that all important question, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?" Well, the healed man wants to believe. He says, "Who is He, so that I can?" And Jesus says, "I am He. I am the Son of Man, the One who has come from God." And what does the healed man do? He begins to worship. Perhaps he falls down on the ground and he kisses Jesus' feet. He holds on to Him. He worships Him. He praises Him, in some way, because he knows now that Jesus is the One who has healed him. As we look back on this story, we find that the disciples were more concerned with solving the problem of who sinned, this man or his parents, than they were in showing compassion. And the reason was, the common thought in that day and time was that if someone was suffering blindness, or lameness, or leprosy, or a host of other problems, it was a result of some sin in his or her life, or they were bearing that pain and suffering because of someone else's sin. Jesus said that's not the case it all. We think about the neighbors, and the others, they simply tried to ignore the healed man. They did not want to get involved. The Pharisees, or the religious leaders, saw this as a way to trap Jesus because they felt threatened by Him. But, look at Jesus. He saw this man in need of His Father's love and compassion and He poured it out upon him. Jesus brought light to this man's darkness. And Jesus is still the light that brings us out of our darkness. He transforms our life. He removes our spiritual blindness so that we too can see the light of the Lord. He opens up our eyes so that we can sing the praises of Him who called us out of darkness and into His marvelous light; 1st Peter 2:9. I hope that you'll watch this short video clip. It is entitled "A Light at the End of the Tunnel," as it illustrates what we have just talked about here in John chapter 9.
Perhaps you have heard the phrase "the light at the end of the tunnel." And when we say that, we typically do so when thinking about getting closer to the completion of some big project or event. We use it as we seek to accomplish a certain task or a job and little by little we realize we are getting to the end. Oh, it's always exciting to finish that project or task. It gives us a good feeling and we might even anticipate some reward or recognition. And yet at times, the tunnel seems oh so long. It's dark at the very beginning and we cannot even imagine getting to the end of it. But with patience and perseverance, we keep moving ahead. We keep looking toward the light, and we know that in due time we will make it. Yes, at times the darkness of this world seems overwhelming. It's too much to handle. We might not even be able to see any light, at all. And yet, we know deep down in our heart that Jesus is the light and He wants us to keep moving toward Him. He invites us to keep coming in His direction and to experience more and more of His marvelous light. And the closer we get to following Him, the dimness gradually goes away and before we know it we are living in the light of Jesus Christ, the One who gives us the hope of heaven. He guides us into a new and better way to live, as we experience His amazing love and salvation. Perhaps you are somewhere in that dark tunnel. If so, I encourage you to keep moving to the light of Jesus. His blessings will come as you move from the darkness to the light. And in fact, why not put the darkness of the past behind you and start moving to the light today?
Oh, the blind man of John 9 was transformed by Jesus. He went from living in a world of darkness to living in a world of light. He went from knowing nothing about Jesus to worshiping Him. And, he knew what John would write later on in 1st John chapter 1 and verse 5. <God is light. In Him there is no darkness at all.> Yes, this man knew that to be true of God's son Jesus Christ, as well. When I think about this story, I really believe that John records this story to teach us not to focus on our darkness, but rather to focus on the light of Jesus Christ. He heals our spiritual blindness so that we, like this man, can put our faith in Him. He opens up our eyes so that we can become His disciple and begin to worship Him, to become His follower and His disciple. Well something obviously needs to be said about physical suffering, as we're dealing with John chapter 9, and I realize that physical suffering affects the lives of many people today. Many people cannot see, or cannot hear, or cannot walk, or have some kind of disease that they have to deal with on a daily basis. And that's difficult, that's painful, and that's the reality of this world, a fallen world in which we live. We have to deal with that suffering, and those problems, and difficulties. But, here's the point that John seems to make to us today: When we believe in Jesus, and when we devote ourselves to being His follower, we will someday be healed. And no matter what our physical problems or suffering might be in this world today, there is coming a day when Jesus returns to claim all of those who belong to Him. And when that happens, we will be healed. There will be no more pain and problems. There will be no more sorrow and sadness. There will be no more death and dying, but we will be made perfect through God, through His son Jesus Christ. When we focus on what Jesus has already done for us, when we focus on the great sacrifice He made by giving His life on the cross then being buried and rising up again from the grave, it is then that we can enjoy a wonderful life full of love and salvation that comes from God. No matter what our physical problems might be here upon this Earth, we know there is a better day coming and we can look forward to that. No matter how dark our world might appear to be today, Jesus brings both light and life. And like He did with this man who could not see, He invites us, still today, to accept Him as the light of this world. Let's go to God in prayer. <<Oh Dear Father, we thank You so very much for sending Your son Jesus Christ to open up our spiritually blind eyes and to see who You are and what You have done through your Son. God, may we embrace Jesus Christ and the sacrifice He made on our behalf. May You please remove the blindness from our spiritual eyes so that we can see Jesus and put our faith in Him as the Son of Man, and become a part of Your family. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.>> Oh, this blind beggar was on a journey of moving from darkness to light. He longed to know who Jesus was and to become His disciple. He wanted to put his faith in Him, the One who healed him, and he was excited to worship Him. Oh today, our journey of finding faith in Jesus might be similar to his. Perhaps we are spiritually blind and unaware of who Jesus is and what He has done for us. Or, perhaps like this man, we are begging for a brand-new life. We want a new start or a second chance. Or, maybe we feel rejected, like this man did, by ourselves, overlooked, neglected by our friends and loved ones, on the marginal side of society and people question us and wonder who we are or why we are even in existence. But as we make our journey through life, may we truly see Jesus as the One who brings us out of that world of darkness, no matter what it is like, and into the wonderful light that He has in store for us. Today I would encourage you to think about the world of darkness in which you live and to realize that Jesus provides an opportunity for you to come out of that. He is the light of this world. He opens up your spiritually darkened life so that you can see Him and His love for you. I would pray today that you would receive that love. Receive the compassion and the mercies and the kindness of the Lord God Almighty and embrace a brand-new life in Jesus Christ, who is the light of this world. Yes I pray and I would encourage you today to come out of the darkness and move into the light of Jesus.
Thank you for tuning in to today's broadcast. I trust this message about moving into the light of Jesus inspired you to do just that. He is the only way through which any of us can overcome the darkness of this world. If you would like to know more about Jesus, perhaps you would be interested in a Bible study. It is a self-guided study, and absolutely free. Please, call the number on the screen, leave your name and address, and we will be happy to mail it to you in a few short days. Or, you can access that same study through our website, keytothekingdom.com. It is free there, as well, and you can work through it at your own pace. There are other lessons and study materials on the website which you might find useful and I hope you will take time to look at the various things we offer and benefit from them. Remember, there is never any cost or obligation for any of these items. Our desire is to assist you in any way, as you seek to move from spiritual darkness to the light of Jesus Christ. And so, please do not hesitate to contact us. Once again, thank you for tuning in to today's broadcast. I hope you will join us next time, same time and at this same station, as we continue to study the Bible on "Key to the Kingdom."