“I was blind but now I see!” (John 9:25)
If you are not familiar with this passage of Scripture within the context of the gospel according to John, perhaps you recall hearing the words sung in John Newton’s famous 1779 hymn “Amazing Grace.”
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
In John’s gospel, we read of Jesus healing a man who had born blind. This took place on the Sabbath, the day of rest for the Jewish people. Throughout the ancient world in general, and within the Jewish culture in particular, it was believed that suffering was the result of sin; the greater the suffering, the greater the sin. This man had been born blind, so people believed that either his parents had committed some great sin, or perhaps the man himself sinned within the womb. Jesus dismissed this notion, saying, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life” (John 9:3).
After the blind man’s miraculous healing, both he and his parents were questioned by the religious leaders, not because there was insufficient evidence of this supernatural healing, but because they were jealous of both the power and popularity of Jesus and how it was diminishing their influence over the lives of the people. After the religious leaders had condemned Jesus for healing on the Sabbath, they intimidated the man’s parents, and finally kicked the man out of the synagogue.
With that backdrop in mind, let’s take a brief look at what I call “Personal Testimony Power” as it relates to two things: audience and argument.
AUDIENCE – The audience that was questioning this blind man was comprised of the religious elite, the most educated and influential people in Israel. Because the Jewish religion and the synagogue were the center of life for the people of Israel, the religious leaders sat in the seat of power that could profoundly affect people’s lives. “Give glory to God,” they said sternly to the man Jesus had healed. “We know this man [Jesus] is a sinner” (John 9:24). In effect they were saying, “You’d better agree with us that Jesus is a blasphemer, or you will be excommunicated — evicted from the community of Israel.” Yet even in the face of the most powerful audience in Israel, this uneducated man, who had been blind since birth, stood boldly against the seat of power in his culture, without any fear of the consequences.
ARGUMENT – The man’s argument could not have been more straightforward. He was not intimidated by the religious leaders’ power, position, or prestige. He was not fearful of their education or intellect. He knew what he was before Jesus showed up — blind — and he knew what he was after his encounter with Jesus — able to see. This was his personal testimony, and it contained the power of the universe: “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind, but now I see.”
Every Christian has this powerful personal testimony. Often we hear some of the dramatic stories of salvation in the lives of others, and we begin to believe that our own stories are nothing special, certainly not noteworthy enough to share with an audience. But this is simply not true! When Jesus entered your life, the greatest, most miraculous power in the universe appeared with Him: the power to give sight to the blind . . . the power to raise the dead to life . . . the power that saved you. You need no complex apologetic argument, no special story, no divine discourse to share with others. There is no more powerful story to share about the saving power of Jesus than this: “I was blind, but now I see.”
When was the last time you shared this glorious Good News with someone?
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!