Pastor Nelson Bonilla: 3-19-23 Sermon – “Do you see what He sees? ”

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John 9:1-25; 1 Samuel 16:1-13; Ephesians 5:8-14

Our Gospel’s story today unfolds as Jesus and his disciples are by the Temple in Jerusalem. While walking, they saw a man who is blind from birth and the disciples asked Jesus a question “Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” (John 9:2). There are a few points, which this story addresses, and I would like to speak about three. The first one is suffering. It was a belief in Jesus’ days –and sadly in ours too- that when some tragedy or illness occurred, they thought it was God’s way of punishing people for their sin. Therefore, we are not surprised to hear Jesus’s disciples asking that question.

From the beginning of time, people have been trying to understand why bad things that cause suffering in this world happen. For some, the presence of difficulties and suffering in the world is God’s punishment, as it is implied in Jesus disciple’s question. Others simply believe that God does not care, and others just believe God does not exist. What is good about this story is that Jesus immediately clears this up for us by saying that this blindness has nothing to do with the sin of this man or his parents and by healing the blind he shows that God cares.

Second point in this story is about what we see. When Jesus’s disciples saw the blind man, they immediately saw a person punished by God. However, Jesus saw something different; Jesus saw the opportunity for the works of God to be displayed in the blind man; where the disciples saw the opportunity to question the spiritual life of the blind man and his parents, Jesus saw the opportunity to display God’s mighty work.

The third point I want to address in this story is the spiritual blindness. There are two kinds of blindness in the story. One is the physical blindness of the man who was born blind and the second is the spiritual blindness of the religious leaders. From the story, we can imply that spiritual blindness is worse than physical blindness. Jesus was able to heal the physically blind man. After Jesus healed him, he was able to see what others could not, that Jesus was a prophet. However, the spiritual blindness of those leaders who did not want to recognize Him as the Messiah, not even Jesus with all His power was able to heal. These are the same leaders that later killed Jesus accusing him of heresy and blasphemy.

While I was preparing this message, I remembered when I used to play “I spy” with my kids. Do you remember that game “with my little eyes I spy… something beginning with the letter…or something yellow or red. Sometimes was easy to guess what the other person was spying and sometimes it was hard. When it was hard it helped a lot to stand where the person asking was standing, so we can have the same view.

I believe our relationship with Jesus is something like that game. Seems to me that He wants to play the same game with us; he wants us to see or to “spy” what He sees. However, He and us know that it is not easy, because as in the disciples’ case, tradition plays a key role in how we see or interpret our reality, or in the religious leaders’ case their personal interest stopped them to see what Jesus wanted them to see.  

if we want to spy what He spies; if we want to see what and how he wants us to see, we must stand where He is; we must see thru His eyes, and that only happens when He, Jesus lives in our heart. Because Jesus does not want us to see with our eyes, He wants us to see with our hearts. There are two scriptures I base this statement on. One is Matthew 6:22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light.” What gives us healthy eyes? The contents of our heart. Listen now Luke 6:45 “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”

 If our hearts are full of prejudice, we will see only guilt in people and consequently we will learn to judge; if our hearts are full of hate, we will see people worthy of punishment and destruction; if our hearts are full of guilt, we will only see God’s punishment. However, if our hearts are full with the presence of the Holy Spirit, the same Holy Spirit who was over Jesus, we will learn to see as He sees. After the blind man had the encounter with Jesus not only his physical eyes were healed; his spiritual eyes were also healed. In verse 17, he is questioned by the religious leader, “What have you to say about him? It was your eyes he opened -they told him- The man replied, “He is a prophet.” In verses 28-30, the questioning continues, “You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses! 29 We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.”

30 The man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will. 32 Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”  

 After the encounter with Jesus, even the way he saw himself changed. Verse 25, says, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” I was blind, now I see. He saw Jesus in a different way that the religious leaders, he also saw himself as a former blind. What a great lesson this former blind is giving us, see yourself and see others as Jesus sees us.

 Sisters and brothers when you look at yourself what do you see? Do you see what your friends say you are, or do you see what God says you are? Learn to see yourself as Jesus sees you, so you will be what He wants you to be. When Jesus sees you, he sees the reason why he left his throne of glory; when he sees you, he sees the reason why he went to the cross.

When you see your brothers and sisters, what do you see? Do you see what Jesus sees? Remember, you and everybody here are God’s children, God’s personal possession listen how the prophet Zechariah 2:8 describes the relationship between God and us for whoever touches you, touches the apple of his eye.”

When we see outside of our church, what do we see? Do we see people who deserve going to hell for not being here with us or do we see the opportunity to share God’s love? There is a very popular commercial that ends asking, “what’s in your wallet? I would like to end my sermon today asking, “what’s in your heart?  Because depending on the content of our hearts, that’s what our eyes, will see.

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