Peter, was probably on high alert as he walked beside the Lord Jesus that day. It was dangerous for Christ and His disciples to be in Jerusalem. Just a day or two before, Jesus had been confronted by a group of Pharisees, escorting a woman who had been taken in adultery. Peter heard them say something like, “What do you say about this woman?” After Jesus stooped down and wrote something in the dirt, the men slowly left without getting a verbal answer. Jesus then said to the woman, “I won’t condemn thee; go, and sin no more.” Immediately thereafter Peter heard Him say, “I am the light of the world; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” What a tremendously powerful and important statement. Those who follow Christ shall not only walk in light, seeing where they are going, but shall possess the life which is a part of that special light.
Other Pharisees heard those words and then began another debate with the Lord. Peter was taking in every word, as was John who recorded it all for us in the 8 chapter of his gospel. As the conversation went back and forth, getting more heated, eventually the person of Abraham came up. And Jesus implied – implied and understood by the Jews – that He was the God of Abraham. He said, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.” Now perhaps you can see why Peter was so tense.
Then in the next verse we read, “And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.” Peter was one of the disciples who asked, “Master, who did sin, this man or his parents, that he was born blind.” How did the disciples know that the man was born this way and not blinded by some sort of accident? It is probably because this man was well-known to everyone in Jerusalem. Peter then became a witness to the blind man’s miraculous healing. However, he was probably not there when the man was later interviewed by the Jewish authorities. Nevertheless, in that interview this man used a word which Peter also used here in I Peter 2. The man, who had been healed, answered the Jews’ charges against Christ, saying, “Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence (my benefactor) is, and ye he hath (miraculously) opened mine eyes.” Then later Peter wrote: “Christian, ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.”
At the conclusion of verse 9 Peter uses four words which I’d like to highlight. He speaks of darkness, a marvellous light and the calling which brings blind people into that light. He says that as Christians we should be filled with praise to the Lord, “who hath called (us) out of darkness into his marvellous light.” If there is a way to make some blind person see Christ Jesus and this light, it would just add to my joy and praise, because I am one of those former blind people.
Let’s study the comment from Peter’s epistle, by considering the healing of the blind man in John 9.
The first thing I see was JESUS’ INITIATIVE in regard to this blind man.
It was Christ who called the man, not the man who called on Christ.
How many blind men do you think were living in Jerusalem at the time? If I had to guess, I’d say there were a lot more then than there are today. Postnatal blindness is not as common today as it has been in the past. When the Oldfield children were born, their nurses immediately put drops into their eyes to prevent infections which commonly result from the birth process. In some states it is a law. In some states it is done automatically unless the parents forbid it. It is said that those drops over the years have prevented thousands of cases of blindness. But of course, they didn’t have those measures in 30 AD. This man, whom Jesus healed, was probably one out of many blind men in the city.
There doesn’t appear to be a large crowd around the man when the disciples pointed him out. And as such there was no immediate benefit to the Kingdom of God, for Christ to heal him. So why did He do it? Was it because the Lord knew what was going to take place later in the day? Did He know that this man was going to become one of the 120 disciples on the Day of Pentecost? I don’t know, and in some ways it doesn’t matter. Christ simply chose to heal this man. This came entirely out of the Lord’s grace. There was nothing in the blind man to provoke it. He was not calling out to Christ like others do: “Thou Son of David, have mercy on me.” Jesus took the initiative “that the works of God should be made manifest in him.” And that is ultimately why the Lord has healed and saved any other sinner. God’s own glory. “When (Jesus) had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, and said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam. He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.”
Later, after a full and busy day which that man would never have forgotten, the Lord added yet more grace. Verse 35 – “Jesus heard that they had cast him out (of the temple); and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee. And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.” Notice that the Lord Jesus went looking for the man. Even then it was not the man looking for Christ. And why did Jesus restore the man’s sight? That he might be turned into a worshiper of God. At that precise moment there was someone else who became filled with praise to the Lord “who hath called (him) out of darkness into his marvellous light.”
There is something in Jesus’ words to this sighted man which is intriguing. The man asked, “Who is this Son of God to whom you referred? Tell me more.” “And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee.” It is doubtful that the man returned to the Saviour after his sight was restored; he just came away seeing. But Jesus said, “Thou hast both … seen him…” “You have previously seen Him and are now talking to Him.” How was it that the blind man had already seen Christ? Let’s table that for a moment.
A second word Peter uses is “DARKNESS.”
This man had probably never seen the light of day. He lived in a world of utter darkness. If it was an infection which had stolen his sight, it came upon him relatively quickly, before his new born baby eyes could naturally see. If his blindness was due to a birth defect, then it is even more obvious: the man never got to look into his mother’s tear-stained face. The disciples, reflecting the ignorance which was rampant in Israel at the time asked, “Who did sin, this man or his parents that he was born blind?” It has always been common to believe that bad things happen to people because they do bad things. In this case, since he had been born blind, that blindness must have been because the man’s parents did something to offend the sovereign God. “Not so,” said the Lord. Neither one of those generations was the source of this infirmity.
We have to go back a lot farther to find the sin which caused this blindness. The root of all the problems in this world can be traced back to the sin of Adam. Not only did the poison of Adam’s sin enter the human DNA and blood stream, but God’s creation in general, the world, was cursed. As a result, not only do sons kill their brothers, but bugs and lions bite, and viruses destroy lungs and eyes.
The Bible has a great deal to say about this darkness and blindness, but I can only begin to address it. The blindness which is most serious, doesn’t involve the eye but rather the heart. Eyes are not the only way to “see” things, and perhaps they are not even the best way to see. Faith, for example, gives us sight beyond our eyes. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (with the eyes.)” And then there is the heart which sees beauty in people and things which can’t be seen with eyes. Either of these may have been the man’s sight of Christ to which Jesus later referred.
The Apostle Paul was warning the saved Greeks in Ephesus to live above the way they were raised. Ephesians 4:17 – “This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their HEART.” And the Lord Jesus in speaking to the Jews said, “For this people’s heart is waxed gross… and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes… and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.”
When John was introducing the Saviour to us in the first chapter of his gospel, he said, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things were made by Him… In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” The darkness saw not the light. This is the great result of sin – blindness. The Word – Christ Jesus – “is the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, (but) the world knew him not.”
John 9 tells us that the Jews demanded an explanation from the blind man, so he told them what he knew. “He put clay upon mine eyes, and I washed, and do see” – verse 15. Verse 26 – “Then said they to him again, What did he to thee? How opened he thing eyes?” Was it surgery? Was it medicine? Was it Satanic trickery? “He answered them, I have told you already, and ye did not hear.” Why didn’t they hear or see? Because their hearts were blind. Not only were they born blind, but they refused the Biblical medicine which the Lord had made available to them.
“And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.” That man was – or still is – a picture of you. That was me and every other Christian on this planet. But, as Peter says, the Lord has “called (us) out of darkness into His marvellous light.” This should unlock our lips of praise to the One who has done this.
“The Lord hath called you out of darkness into his MARVELLOUS LIGHT.”
As I’ve already pointed out, in John 8, just after the Lord dismissed the sinful woman, He said,“I am the light of the world; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” Peter heard this. He paid attention. He remembered, and the truth poured out as he penned his first epistle. He also heard other statements quite similar to this. Jesus said to Nicodemus, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” “This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” Peter’s friend John wrote: “In him (the Word) was life; and the life was the light of men” – John 1:4.
The Jews were blind when looking at Christ, because they refused the ointment their scriptures contained. They couldn’t see the prophecies which spoke of the coming Messiah as the great light. Scriptures like Isaiah 60:1 – “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people (of Isreal): but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side. Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee.”
Isaiah 9:2 – “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.” Isaiah 9:5 – “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.” Isaiah 42:5 – “Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein: I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house. I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.” Israel should not have been surprised that the man claiming to be the Messiah and the Son of God was healing blind eyes. It had been foretold by God.
Later, when Peter wrote to the strangers of Asia, he added two adjectives to his reference about the light. “Ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into HIS marvelous light.” We are talking about God’s light, or Christ’s marvellous light.
Science keeps giving us new ways to produce light, and in some ways even different kinds of light. We have had incandescent light bulbs for years, and then came fluorescent bulbs. At some point we were sold on compact fluorescent bulbs and halogen bulbs. We have white light and yellow light. Now we have light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and laser beams. But there is one light which science will never replicate – God’s own light in the person of Christ. “HE is the light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” He is “the sun of righteousness” with healing in His wings – Malachi 4:2. There may be health and healing in some kinds of light treatment, but Christ the Light is the only treatment for the malady of sin.
“That ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his MARVELOUS light.” The blind man was healed when he washed the muddy spittle from his eyes. That was marvelous. The man’s parents were testified that they didn’t know how he was healed. It must have been through a miracle. It was marvelous. The man said to the Jews “Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.” Is there anything that is more marvelous than that? He even used the word “marvellous,” but it wasn’t in regard to the miracle; it was to the Jews’ unbelief. “If this man were not of God, he could do nothing.” This is indeed marvelous.
There is no better way to conclude this message than with the words of the Lord Jesus. In the context of the healing of this blind man, Christ said, “For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.” What does that mean? The Son of God came into this world with one primary purpose and several things which spin off that purpose. He came to seek and to save the lost. He came to call blind men into the light. And He came to give spiritual sight to those who stepped into the light. And the first step toward this sight is to understand our blindness. Christ came not “to call righteous but sinners to repentance.” He will not heal those who refuse to recognize their blindness. If you will not acknowledge that you are a sinner and alienated from God, you will never be reconciled to God. “For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.”
In the process of pointing out our blindness, Christ makes a distinction between sighted people and the blind. Call it “judgment” if you like. In the sight of God, you are either blind or sighted. You either have life or you are spiritually dead. You are either under the blood of Christ’s sacrifice or you are under the wrath of God.
I pray that you might see what God sees. Answer Christ’s call this morning and yield yourself to His grace. Let Him bathe your eyes and soul in His mercy. Repent before God and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.