I like John MacArthur a great deal and have learned much from him. But I was not really reading for insight and new understanding as I recently went over his first sermon on John 9:1-12. I was getting rather grumpy about the whole thing as I found more things with which to disagree – poor word choice here, bad example there.
God kindly let a few paragraphs of Pastor MacArthur’s sermon just blow me away and show me what was going on in my own heart! Emphases in bold are mine:
Sovereign grace dominates this whole miracle. It isn’t this man running to Jesus saying, “Oh! Oh! Oh! Heal me, heal me!” No, Jesus saw him, and see that’s the way sovereign grace is, isn’t it? It’s Christ seeking us. We could not see Him except He saw us. We are blind, we’re absolutely blind. We have no capacity to see God. We have no capacity to see Jesus Christ. We are incapacitated, we are stone blind, spiritually speaking. We can’t see. . .
He’s not blind because of sin, this man is a prepared vessel, he is a miracle waiting to happen. Kind of exciting, isn’t it? He was born blind for one reason, so God’s glory could be seen in this healing by Jesus Christ. That’s why He was born blind…for the glory of God…sometimes is why suffering comes. . .
Even affliction can be for the glory of God. All these things can happen for the glory of God and this was a prepared vessel, a miracle waiting to happen. This was a blind beggar sitting at a gate waiting for the time planned in eternity past that Jesus would pass by and manifest His glory by touching his eyes so he could see. Fantastic truth. . .
And you know what happens when Christ turns on the lights in your soul? All of a sudden truth becomes recognizable, doesn’t it? You know the truth. All of a sudden love is seen, peace is beheld, glory is fully expressed. God becomes visible in the sense of focus. Christ becomes real. The eye of faith sees and understands and the light dawns. And to this blind beggar He gave both, physical sight and spiritual sight.
Why did He do it? What was the purpose? The purpose of it was for the glory of God.
John MacArthur, Jesus Opens Blind Eyes, December 13, 1970.
I still would have preferred he handled some things differently – but he certainly hit the central theme in a helpful way! I’m grateful God didn’t let me go through this entire sermon with a grumbling spirit, but let truth shine very brightly to drive my self-righteous, darkness-enjoying, man-centered sin away.