Read John 9
In part 1, we took a look at an the age-old question, "Why is there pain and suffering in the world?" To the believer, the answer "So that the works of God might be made manifest," is more than sufficient. The unbeliever, however, will not be satisfied. The skeptics and the scoffers will keep coming at you with more questions and rebuttals to your Biblical answer...don't be discouraged. Remember, they are unbelievers. What do you expect?
John's gospel account gives us several examples of believers who witness to others after they meet Christ. There is the witness of John the Baptist in Chapter one where he is engaged in "public evangelism," preaching in the wilderness. There is the "household evangelism" of the nobleman whose son was healed. Then there is the woman at the well who published the word around town that she had met the Christ...on and on the list goes, but the story in our text presents my favorite teaching on the subject of the witness of the believer.
Today's simple lesson, from the life of the blind man who was given sight, shows us how to deal with the world's questions regarding our faith. In this story we see the man's witness to the spectators, the witness to the skeptics, and the witness to the scoffers. Let's look at them.
Witnessing to the spectators
You've probably heard someone say "The only Bible some people will ever read is your life." Some have called it "lifestyle evangelism," and it is not necessarily a bad thing. The idea is that you can reach others for Christ by showing them an example of a life that has been changed by faith in Jesus. Unfortunately, too many Christians do not live the life of a "born-again" believer. In this story, we have the example of this man who was born blind. All the neighbors knew of him. They had seen him blind, trying to get by from day to day, and no doubt they had pity on him.
But after he met Jesus and was given his sight, the people were amazed at what they saw. This looks like the blind man, but he's not stumbling over things. He's walking with confidence. He seems to be able to see where he is stepping. And so they began to ask questions, and the man proudly proclaimed "I am he." He told them about meeting Jesus and what He had done for him. What a clear illustration of what we should be doing in our community!
Witnessing to the skeptics
But of course there will be doubters! This doesn't mean there is no hope for them. They are just trying to wrap it around their mind. "Am I being tricked?" "How exactly does this 'faith in Christ' work?" People want to know. Unfortunately, many of us can't give a great, theological answer with very much confidence. In fact, the whole plan might sound kind of strange to us, too. Can you imagine telling everyone that Jesus spit in the dirt, made mud, and rubbed it in your eye? We know it sounds strange to people when we tell them God's "simple plan" of salvation, but we just tell them what we know. This man's answer to the skeptics was "One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, I now can see." Another great example of how we answer the world regarding what Jesus has done for us!
Witnessing to the scoffers
Perhaps my favorite part of this story, though, is how we see the "uneducated," man answer the Pharisees (who, by the way, should have had all the answers). They kept coming back to the man because they didn't like to see him convincing others to turn to Jesus. Remember, they hated Jesus because he threatened their lifestyle and their position and their power. Ultimately, that is why people still reject Jesus today. Jesus still threatens their lifestyle and their power. Jesus told the disciples that men would treat them bad, but not to worry because it wasn't them that they hated, it was Jesus.
After trying to stand up to the Pharisees a couple times, they wouldn't leave him alone. After questioning them yet again, he gives a very appropriate answer. "I have told you already, and ye did not hear: wherefore will ye hear it again? Will ye also be his disciples?" You know, I have wasted a lot of time arguing and debating with people who are never going to place their faith in Christ. We should always prepare to have an answer to give people. The Bible says in 1 Peter 3:15,
"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
However, there will always be the scoffers who really don't care what your answer is. There is a lot in the Bible that tells us how to deal with these. Let's not even waste a bunch of our time on those, but let's spend our energy spreading what we do know to all who will listen.