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Sunday, April 16, 2023

Goliath's Kids - Life of David Sermon


Goliath’s Kids

“Life of David: Goliath’s Kids”

 King Saul was the very first king of Israel; at this point in their history they were ruled by Judges. But the people complained and wanted to be like all the other nations that had kings, so Samuel anointed Saul as king. But he disobeyed God’s orders and lost his kingship to David. Then we get to the point where David fights for Saul’s army and kills the giant Goliath, which was our story last week. Now we are going to fast forward in David’s life and see what happens when he and his army encounter more giants in David’s old age.

Turn with me to 2 Samuel 21. 2 Samuel 21:15 (read). I want us to see two things here. First, who is Israel, who is King David fighting with? (The Philistines) Ring any bells from David’s childhood? What was Goliath? (A Philistine)

Second, what has David become? (Weary)

2 Samuel 21:15–17 (NLT) 15 Once again the Philistines were at war with Israel. And when David and his men were in the thick of battle, David became weak and exhausted. 16 Ishbi-benob was a descendant of the giants; his bronze spearhead weighed more than seven pounds, and he was armed with a new sword. He had cornered David and was about to kill him. 17 But Abishai son of Zeruiah came to David’s rescue and killed the Philistine. Then David’s men declared, “You are not going out to battle with us again! Why risk snuffing out the light of Israel?”

In the course of this battle, David became weary. Ishbi-benob, one of the Philistine soldiers, took note of David’s condition and determined to make the most of it. He was one of the giant’s descendants, with weapons very much like those of his predecessor, Goliath. Among his weapons was a new sword, which he hoped to initiate by drawing first blood from Israel’s king.

Now, why might David be weary? Well, it is because he is human, and he has been through the ringer. So I’m not going in chronological order of David’s life; I’m just doing an overview. So in 1 Samuel 17 when David kills Goliath he is very young. Well what kind of things happen between that time and 2 Samuel 21? Well, David didn’t build Jerusalem, he actually had to take it over from a group called the Jebusites (2 Samuel 5). The Jebusites said even the blind and the lame would keep David from taking the city, but after centuries of failure by the various tribes and people of God, David finally whooped the Jebusites, and took the city.

Subsequently, the ark of the covenant was brought into the city, but not without the death of Uzzah during which God got angry, and then David got angry with God (chapter 6). But when it finally does make it to Jerusalem, David is ready to worship and party, but his wife Milcah doesn’t understand his praise and despises him.

Then, in chapter 11, there is the whole encounter with Bathsheba, and King David is plunged into the depths of adultery, murder, deception, and the death of an infant child.

In chapter 13, one of his sons rapes his daughter. So another son kills the rapist, and has to flee for his life. That son eventually returns in chapter 14, but has undergone a bit of an evil transformation. Next thing you know, David is on the run for his life from his own son, and eventually is forced to send his armies after his son, Absalom, who ends up dying in the chase after his head gets caught in a tree in chapter 18.

Is there any question as to why David might be a bit weary? I’m weary just thinking about it. And now he is face to face with giants. . .again.

So picture this scene. David is facing the Philistines, and probably thinking, “Haven’t I seen you somewhere before?” And these constant, ongoing battles against these mammoth people, combined with the struggles of life are taking their toll. David is worn out.

This is serious danger zone for the people of God. When we are facing an enemy that we already thought we had beaten, and to be quite honest about it, are just plain sick of having to fight. Worn out. Weary. Ever been there?

Verse 17 (read) Whew! That was close. Enough with these giants already. Right?

Who was there to come to David’s rescue but Abishai, brother of Joab and the deceased Asahel, all of whom were the sons of Zeruiah, David’s sister (2 Samuel 2:18). He was a renowned hero in Israel (2 Samuel 23:18). While David may well have had his frustrations with Abishai — and he may not have even liked him — he certainly was indebted to him.

This incident troubled David’s army as much as it may have bothered him. They nearly lost their king in battle. When David fought, he led his men into battle. It was one thing to lose a soldier in battle, but it was quite another thing to lose a king in battle. David had been rescued by Abishai this time, but what about the next? David was past his peak; he was not the man of war he once was. His men did not wish to lose David as their king, and so they insisted that David no longer go out to battle with them. Now David was past his prime, but all of us are in the prime of our lives, and we still have many, many battles to fight. In fact, in terms of spiritual warfare, meaning the warfare against our minds and hearts that tries to cause us to doubt the Word of God, we will fight that battle until our deathbeds.

But just like David’s army, if we get weary and exhausted, we have the potential to fall into sin, never to rise or return to Christ. But that’s the wonderful thing about the Body of Christ, the other believers around us. So know that this Christian walk is a team effort; no one is successful by themselves.

[1] Following Christ is a team sport — So again, we are the church as a people. In our culture, we’ve gotten used to “going to church” versus being the church. But no gathering of believers known as the church can move forward without everyone doing their part, and contributing. Serving God by serving his people is actually an act of worship; it’s just as sacred as prayer, just as sacred as taking communion. The apostle John tells us:

1 John 4:20 (NLT)

If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?

1 John 3:18 (NLT)

Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.

David’s men, especially Abishai show their love for their teammate, their leader David, in a real and tangible way. Let us help, serve and assist our fellow Christians in any way we can.

The next paragraph, verses 18–22, follows closely on the heels of verses 15–17. In the former battle with the Philistines, David had been attacked by one of Goliath’s offspring and had nearly been killed. The decision was reached that David would no longer accompany his men in battle. But could they win without this Goliath-killer? Was David essential to Israel’s victory against the Philistines? Verses 18–22 give us the answer.

In subsequent battles, other descendants of Goliath emerged, and they were killed also.

2 Samuel 21:19–21New Living Translation (NLT)18 After this, there was another battle against the Philistines at Gob. As they fought, Sibbecai from Hushah killed Saph, another descendant of the giants. 19 During another battle at Gob, Elhanan son of Jair from Bethlehem killed the brother of Goliath of Gath.The handle of his spear was as thick as a weaver’s beam!20 In another battle with the Philistines at Gath, they encountered a huge man with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in all, who was also a descendant of the giants. 21 But when he defied and taunted Israel, he was killed by Jonathan, the son of David’s brother Shimea.

So David’s men killed other giants from Gath, the city of Goliath. The final “Goliath” descendant is saved until last, and no wonder. What a sight he must have been! Nevertheless, Jonathan the son of Shimei, David’s brother, struck this giant down like the rest. Why are these stories given to us here? Let me make a couple of observations and then draw out some applications.

I see some emphasis here on the next generation. Saul has passed off the scene, as have his sons. These are the sons who could have challenged David’s son Solomon for the throne. But God providentially removed them. David here retires from his military career, just like one day all of the military people in here will retire. Even Yukino-San’s father, who did 36 years with the JASDF, had to eventually retire. We seem to be moving from one generation to the next.

Have you ever watched how professional athletes “retire”? The one thing they never want to do is retire after a bad year. They want to quit while they are ahead. I can understand that. It is better to go out with a shout of triumph than with a whimper of defeat. This is why earlier this year, in his very last NBA game, Kobe Bryant, at 37 years old, scored 60 points! He had spent 20 years with the Los Angeles Lakers and wanted to go out giving it everything he had. But now when we think of David…I think you and I can agree that David went out about as well as anyone could. Granted, David needed some help to finish Ishbi-benob, but this fellow was killed and the Philistines were defeated.

The success I am thinking about is to be seen on a greater scale. When the Israelites demanded a king, it was so they could have a man who would fight their battles for them and lead them into battle, especially against the Philistines (1 Samuel 8:19–20; 9:16). What would they do now when David was no longer able to lead them in battle?

The answer is beautiful, but let me take you back even further in time. When the first generation of Israelites had an opportunity to possess the land of Canaan, they failed because they were afraid of the giants who were reported to be in the land (see Numbers 13:25–33). When the Israelites were intimidated by the Philistines, Goliath was their champion who frightened the Israelites badly. David stepped forward and killed Goliath, and the Philistines were defeated. But now, David is no long able to handle the “Goliaths” which the Philistines put up against him. Does this mean that Israel is in trouble? Not at all! Was David no longer able to fight? No problem! Men were lining up to take on all the Goliath’s the Philistines could put up against them. And these offspring of Goliath were all killed and the Philistines defeated. What a way to end David’s military career, by leaving a legacy. So my question for each and every individual be is, when you are done with the military, what will be your legacy? I’m not talking about the awards you won, or the rank you retire at, but whom did you influence for Jesus Christ?

[2] We are all called to establish a spiritual legacy — — The people no longer needed a king to do their fighting for them; they were willing to fight themselves, even against the offspring of Goliath. Now this is what I call a great way to retire.

There is also a sense of closure in that things left undone, things not dealt with under Saul’s administration, are now made right by David. The army of Israel has reached the point where David need no longer fight their battles for them, or even with them. There are many mighty men who are able to carry on where David left off.

This to me is a very important lesson in leadership. Often people want leaders who will do their job for them. The task of leaders is not to do everything, but to facilitate, to train, equip, and encourage others who will take our place and do even better than we have. Under Saul, not one man was willing to stand up to Goliath. In David’s ministry, there were many willing and able to do so. David is now free to step aside (first as commander of the military and later as king) because he has done his job well — he has helped to create a level of leadership that is ready to take his place.

Let us leave a legacy of righteousess, holiness and faith in Christ everywhere we go. My prayer is that everyone we come across would want to follow us as we follow Christ, just as David’s men followed him as he followed Yahweh, God the Father.

Here we go. Jump to 2016. A huge global giant we face is terrorism. You guys, as long as there is sin in this world, there will be terrorism. I was watching a documentary the other day in which a journalist was imbedded with an Army infantry unit in Afghanistan for many months. This same journalist then went to Fallujah, Iraq to get imbedded with Marine and Army infantry units to fight Al-Qaeda. On April 5th 2004, U.S. Marines had surrounded Fallujah. That was the first battle. The second battle took place in November and December that year. The third battle for Fallujah happened in June this year, this time our forces fought ISIS instead of Al-Qaeda. Also, we fought against Al-Qaeda in Ramadi and Mosul back in 2003, 2004 and 2005, and well, we’ve had to retake these cities from ISIS here between 2014 and this year. So the battles were different, but then they were also very similiar; 10–15 years of the same battles. However, not even terrorism is something new to God, or something he can’t handle. That’s a global giant, but it’s a giant that’s being slayed; and our personal giants can be slain as well. Through God’s grace, you are able to find five smooth stones, and slay the giant in your life. I don’t care if it’s cancer. I don’t care if it’s the attitude of ex-husbands or wives. I don’t care if Goliath’s kids are your horrible bosses. Jesus Christ is strong enough, Jesus Christ is big enough, to kill all Goliath’s kids.

2 Samuel 21:22 (NLT) 22 These four Philistines were descendants of the giants of Gath, but David and his warriors killed them.

I love how this portion of David’s giant-killing career highlighted his entire army and all his other warriors. It says David and his warriors killed them. First, David worked in cooperation with a team, but it wasn’t just any old team. It was his warriors!! What does it mean to be a warrior?

What’s a warrior? A person who fights in battles and is known for having courage and skill. A warrior is a woman or man engaged or experienced in warfare; a person engaged in some struggle or conflict. Every believer is a king and queen, and a priest and priestess according to the Bible. So if you are a king or a queen, why are you not surrounded by warriors? Why are you around people who are spiritually weak? Now I don’t mean if you are weak if you struggle; everyone struggles. But there is a difference between struggling with sin and doubt, and just talking yourself into defeat. That’s not what we do, Neighborhood!

We are those that defeat; we are not the defeated. You know…just because it looks like the same battle from the past doesn’t mean that it is. Today, it was the Iraqi Army that has taken the lead to recapture Iraq’s major cities from ISIS, and the U.S. military was the supporting cast, especially in Ramadi. Ramadi, Bagdhad and Fallujah made up the “Sunni Triangle,” like the Bermuda Triangle, it was the most deadly area for U.S. troops. The recent recapture of Ramadi from ISIS by Iraqi security forces was a HUGE step in the right direction. David had to take a step back in this text, just like the U.S. Army had to take a step back in fighting ISIS in Iraq. And David’s supporting cast stepped up and took the lead. The Iraqi Army is finally taking charge of their country. We have to be each other’s supporting cast, or we will all lose. If one of us loses, all of us loses. This is why we lean on each other in times of war. But you don’t have to be afraid of Goliath’s kids.

[3] Let God awaken the warrior within you — — Don’t be afraid of Goliath’s kids. They have names…..Little snot nosed brats like depression, lust and anger. Some of us have been divorced and now are remarried. We tried our hardest to fight for our marriages, but things just didn’t work out. And now we’ve gotten serious about Christ, but we have a former spouse who makes things hard when it comes to blended families. Discouragement and despair might rise in your heart, but just hold on. Remember that you have all of Heaven’s Armies with you! You have the Spirit of the Living God, the Spirit of the God of the Universe inside you. All of Goliath’s kids have to die.

2 Timothy 2:3–4 (NLT) 3 Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them.

1 Timothy 6:12 (NLT) Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have declared so well before many witnesses.

In terms of witnessing to the Japanese, God can work through the giant of cross-cultural discipleship and ministry (Butch and Keiko). Being afraid of witnessing to someone from another culture; that’s just another one of Goliath’s kids. So let’s kill the fear!

2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT)

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.


Father I pray that you would awaken salvation in the hearts of those who don’t believe. I pray that you would awaken conviction in the hearts of those who do believe, but still struggle with feelings of inadequacy, who might feel that they are not good enough, or may feel they are too dirty for God to do mighty things through them. But Lord, just like you worked through a broken, sinful man like David, you can take our ashes and give us beauty. You can turn our mourning into dancing. Make us your oaks of salvation; your pillars of righteousness. Save the lost souls in this room today, if there are any. And continue to sanctify and purify those who do know you, so they can do great exploits, and kill Goliath’s kids, in Jesus’ name, amen!

Glorified - John 12:20-43 Sermon

 GLORIFIED John 12:20-43 Sermon 

He spoke, and galaxies whirled into place, stars burned the heavens, and planets began orbiting their suns—words of awesome, unlimited, unleashing power. He spoke again, and the waters and lands were filled with plants and creatures, running, swimming, growing, and multiplying—words of animating, breathing, pulsing life. Again he spoke, and man and woman were formed, thinking, speaking, and loving—words of personal and creative glory. Eternal, infinite, unlimited—he was, is, and always will be the Maker and Lord of all that exists. And then he came in the flesh to a tiny spot in the universe called planet Earth—the mighty Creator becoming part of his creation, limited by time and space and susceptible to age, sickness, and death. Propelled by love, he came to rescue and save, offering forgiveness and life. He is the Word: he is Jesus Christ. It is this truth that the apostle John presents in this book. John’s Gospel is not a life of Christ; it is a powerful argument for the incarnation, a conclusive demonstration that Jesus was, and is, the very heaven-sent Son of God and the only source of eternal life.

 AUTHOR John the Apostle, son of Zebedee and Salome, and younger brother of James.

Bruce B. Barton, John, Life Application Bible Commentary (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1993), viii–ix.

So we see that this chapter starts with John describing how Jesus went to Bethany. He had just raised Lazarus from the dead in chapter 11, and people were flocking to Bethany to see Lazarus. At this point, the Pharisees actually plot to kill Lazarus because people are flocking to Jesus because of this miracle. Isn’t that sad? They were so absorbed with themselves that the Pharisees cared less about people’s lives that Jesus touched. Then Mary, the sister of Lazarus, pours out her perfume and washes Jesus’ feet with her hair. Judas is horrified at this, and this is where he goes out and plots to have Jesus killed. Then Jesus arrives in Jerusalem, and the people place palm branches on the ground and shout Hosanna! Glory to God in the highest. This was near the time of Passover, and some Greeks came to the feast. 

Greeks Seek Jesus 20 Now there were some Greeks among those who were going up to worship at the feast; 21 these then came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and began to ask him, saying, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 22 Philip *came and *told Andrew; Andrew and Philip *came and *told Jesus. 23 And Jesus *answered them, saying, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 “He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. 26 “If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him. 

Some Greeks request to see Jesus. Jesus says in order for something to truly bear fruit it has to die. Jesus says that we can’t love this life, else we will lose it. If we hate our lives in this world, we will gain eternity. Jesus said all those who follow him would be with Jesus where he goes, and will be honored by the Father. 

There is so much going on in this passage.  Jesus says that we must die before we can bear fruit. We must die to ourselves. This is another way of saying we should live crucified lifestyles. A crucified life is a life in which Christ will be glorified.

We live crucified lives by keeping our eyes on the one who was crucified. Jesus encourages us to follow Him, but in this world with so many distractions, we must remember that we cannot do this in our own strength. We must rely on the power of God in order to live in a way that serves our neighbor.  To live in a way in which Christ, is glorified.

Now, Jesus is getting closer and closer to the cross. Once those Greeks came who wanted to see Jesus, that was a signal to Jesus that His time had come to be the Lamb of God, the Atoning Sacrifice for the sins of the world. 

Jesus Foretells His Death 27 “Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. 28 “Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came out of heaven: “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.” 29 So the crowd of people who stood by and heard it were saying that it had thundered; others were saying, “An angel has spoken to Him.” 30 Jesus answered and said, “This voice has not come for My sake, but for your sakes. 31 “Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. 32 “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.” 33 But He was saying this to indicate the kind of death by which He was to die. 

Jesus says his soul is troubled because his death is near. He doesn’t run from it, but embraces it and says he came to this hour for this purpose; to die for our sins. He prays to the Father to glorify his name. The Father responds audibly. Then Jesus says that now judgment is upon this world, and this world’s ruler will be cast out. Then Jesus says if he is lifted up, he will draw all men to Himself, to indicate he would die by crucifixion. 

I couldn’t help but think of another section of John in which Jesus refers to Moses and the Bronze Serpent: Numbers 21:9

So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.

The people were acting up and fiery serpents were sent to attack them. But when Moses lifted up the Bronze Serpent, and people gazed at it, they were healed. This idea is still in the Blue Cross Blue Shield logo today.  Jesus says in another section of the Gospel of John, chapter 3 verse 14, that just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that God could be glorified in His death. This is the entire point of this message, God glorified through Christ, and Christ glorified through our lives.   

Glorify is one of those biblical terms we often use without understanding its true meaning. The Greek root word is doxa, which refers to brightness, beauty, and even fame. One helpful way to think of the word is to substitute the word spotlight. Jesus was consciously giving God, the Father, permission to spotlight himself through what would happen to Christ, God’s Son. The Father responded by affirming that he had already spotlighted his name in Jesus and would continue to do so. When faced with a difficult task or decision, we can turn our thoughts back to why we are on this earth—to glorify God. Our life can spotlight God’s beauty and spread his fame. We can pray that God will guide us and work through us to glorify his name.

That is why Jesus came. To spotlight God’s beauty and love, and to spread His fame. That is why we are here also as Christians. To spotlight God’s beauty and love, and to make His name famous throughout the earth. To know Christ and make Him known. God is glorified in this. 

Bruce B. Barton, John, Life Application Bible Commentary (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1993), 258.

     Now, we see Christ constantly having confrontations with people. For as many people that followed Jesus, we also had people who did nothing but challenge him. Verse 34 highlights this. 

34 The crowd then answered Him, “We have heard out of the Law that the Christ is to remain forever; and how can You say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this Son of Man?” 35 So Jesus said to them, “For a little while longer the Light is among you. Walk while you have the Light, so that darkness will not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes. 36 “While you have the Light, believe in the Light, so that you may become sons of Light.” These things Jesus spoke, and He went away and hid Himself from them. 37 But though He had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him. 38 This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet which he spoke: “Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” 39 For this reason they could not believe, for Isaiah said again, 40 “He has blinded their eyes and He hardened their heart, so that they would not see with their eyes and perceive with their heart, and be converted and I heal them.” 41 These things Isaiah said because he saw His glory, and he spoke of Him. 42 Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God.

  • The Christ is supposed to remain forever 

  • Jesus says walk in the Light, become Sons of Light while you have the light. 

  • The people still didn’t believe, even after all the miracles. 

  • The people were more interested in man’s approval than God’s approval. 

The people became confused when Jesus said he would die by crucifixion. They remembered prophecies where the Messiah would rule forever. So they figured that Jesus could not be the Son of Man, aka the Messiah, because he was going to die. But there were prophecies about a Messianic figure who would die for the sins of all mankind.  The book of Isaiah has all these “suffering servant songs” which depict someone giving his life for sins. Here’s a bit of Isaiah 53: 

Surely he has borne our griefs
    and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 

But he was pierced for our transgressions;
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
    and with his wounds we are healed.

All we like sheep have gone astray;
    we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
    yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
    and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
    so he opened not his mouth.

By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
    and as for his generation, who considered
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
    stricken for the transgression of my people?

And they made his grave with the wicked
    and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,
    and there was no deceit in his mouth.


Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
    he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
    he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.


Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
    make many to be accounted righteous,
    and he shall bear their iniquities.


Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,
    and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
because he poured out his soul to death
    and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
    and makes intercession for the transgressors.

This was written 700 years before Jesus was born.  And yet, look at what it says. When his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring, he shall prolong his days. He poured out his soul to death, and was numbered among the transgressors. Yet he bore the sin of many (past tense), and makes intercession for the transgressors (present tense). 

What an incredible and powerful description of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Some groups of Jews believe that Isaiah 53 is talking about the nation of Israel as a whole taking on the sins of the world. But we know that this passage is referring to Jesus. He who took on our sins, transgressions and iniquities. By his stripes we are healed.  You know, a lot is said about physical healing in many churches. But what about emotional and mental healing? What about freeing us from guilt and shame over our sins? This world will bring suffering. But Christ promises that in His Father’s house there are many mansions. He is preparing a place for us, and will bring us to himself. I struggle with many invisible scars, wounds and conditions. But his grace is sufficient. No one knows what Paul’s thorn in the flesh was. But He prayed and Christ did not take it away. Instead, Jesus said his grace was enough for Paul. Where we are currently in our lives, is his grace enough? I believe it is. And I believe God is glorified in our weaknesses. Amen. 

New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), Jn 12:20–43.

"Sight For The Blind" - John 9 Sermon


Author and Title

The title says that the Gospel was written by John, and other evidence identifies this John as the son of Zebedee. The external evidence from the church fathers supports this identification (e.g., Irenaeus, Against Heresies 3.1.2).


The theme of John’s Gospel is that Jesus is the promised Messiah and Son of God. By believing in Jesus, people can have eternal life (cf. 20:30–31).


John 9:1-23

English Standard Version 9 As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6 Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man's eyes with the mud 7 and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.8 The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar were saying, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” 9 Some said, “It is he.” Others said, “No, but he is like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.” 10 So they said to him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” 11 He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed and received my sight.” 12 They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.” 13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. 14 Now it was a Sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. 15 So the Pharisees again asked him how he had received his sight. And he said to them, “He put mud on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.” 16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” And there was a division among them. 17 So they said again to the blind man, “What do you say about him, since he has opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.”18 The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight, until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight 19 and asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” 20 His parents answered, “We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. 21 But how he now sees we do not know, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.” 22 (His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone should confess Jesus to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue.) 23 Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”


We see here that Jesus passes by a man blind from birth. Jesus spits on the ground and makes mud from his saliva. He places this on the man’s eyes, tells him to wash in the pool of Siloam, and then the blind man is able to see. He was then taken to the Pharisees, and interrogated.  They are upset that Jesus healed on a Sabbath day. However, half the Pharisees were divided, because some of them said there was no way a miracle like this could take place unless it was from God. After questioning the man who was healed, the Pharisees question his parents. They deflect and tell the man to speak for himself, because they are afraid of being kicked out of the synagogue. 


8:58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, aI am.”

59 So bthey picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.

I’m not sure we can fully understand the magnitude of this miracle sometimes. This is an astonishing feat. Healing a man born blind? That means that Jesus didn’t repair any eye tissue that was already there. No, Jesus made retinas, lenses, eyelashes, eyelids, all on the spot. The Origin of Species, we read: To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree.”1

Wow. You even see Darwin here saying that the human eye is too complex to have evolved; it had to be created.  So Jesus created eyes for this man, a miracle that only God in the flesh can do. And why did he spit on the ground and make mud? Jesus can easily heal people just with a word, right? Well, the commentators I read as I prepared for this think that Jesus wanted to point people back to Genesis. Genesis 2:7 English Standard Version 7 then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.  We see that God formed man from the dust of the ground. Very similar to what Jesus does with this man’s eyes, right? Jesus is trying to show people that he is co-creator of the world with God the Father: Colossians 1:15-20

English Standard Version 15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

So Christ created everything we see. Could it be that it was Jesus, walking in the Garden in the cool of the day with Adam and Eve? Could it be that it was Jesus himself who formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life? 


John 20:22

And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.

Christ had the power to deliver the Spirit of God to the disciples. He literally breathed the Breath of Life into his followers after his resurrection.  So it’s not a stretch to believe that Jesus created Adam and Eve, and was walking with them in the Garden, because Colossians tells us he made everything we see, and John 1 echoes the same. But why the pool of Siloam? Again, why didn’t Jesus just say the words, and the guy could be healed? I believe that Christ used that washing to illustrate baptism. 


We see at the beginning of creation we have the Word, the Spirit, and the Father.  The Spirit of God is hovering over the waters to create life through the Living Word, who is seated at God’s right hand. We see that Naaman the leper was healed of leprosy after he washed in the Jordan river seven times. We see when Jesus arose from his own baptism, the Spirit descended over the waters of the Jordan in the form of a dove, and the Father spoke in an audible voice to confirm Christ’s identity as the Only Begotten Son of God.  I believe that Christ was showing us the healing and creative power of water when it is combined with his Word.  In baptism, there is the death of the old Adam, and the rising of the last Adam in us:

Another text about baptism illustrates this rising and dying. Romans 6:4 - We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

Colossians 2:12 - having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.
1 Peter 3:21 - Baptism, which corresponds to this (the flood), now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, So surely, Christ can breathe new life into our situations, if he can resurrect us in baptism, and breathe the Spirit of God onto His disciples.  Surely, Christ can remake, reshape and renew our souls. He can heal damaged relationships, strained marriages, and a host of other circumstances.  Regardless of the reasons for our suffering, Jesus has the power to help us deal with it. When we suffer from a disease, tragedy, or disability, we should not ask, Why did this happen to me? or What did I do wrong? Instead, we should ask God to give us strength for the trial and a clearer perspective on what is happening.  GOD MAY USE OUR SUFFERING How can God be at work in a desperate situation? There may be times when we have done everything possible to solve a problem. After we have explored the options, exhausted our resources, probed our motives, asked for advice, and done what was suggested, we may have found that nothing seems to have changed. We may have persisted in prayer and asked others to pray for us, and yet perceive no answer. The truth is, the solution, resolution, or answer may not ever come in this life. But it is also true that regardless of our difficulty and whether or not our burden is removed, God is still at work. • God may use our experience to help advise and encourage others who pass through the same trials. • God may use our suffering to break through the hardness of another person and bring about change in them. • God may use our unresolved need to motivate others to keep searching for a solution from which others will benefit. • God may use our endurance in suffering rather than the suffering itself to be an encouraging example to other believers.

Bruce B. Barton, John, Life Application Bible Commentary (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1993), 193.

Bruce B. Barton, John, Life Application Bible Commentary (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1993), 192.

For He is God. Unfortunately, everyone in Jesus’ day didn’t see him as God. Let’s see what else the Pharisees had to say. 


John 9:24-34

English Standard Version

24 So for the second time they called the man who had been blind and said to him, “Give glory to God. We know that this man is a sinner.” 25 He answered, “Whether he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” 26 They said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” 27 He answered them, “I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?” 28 And they reviled him, saying, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. 29 We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.” 30 The man answered, “Why, this is an amazing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him. 32 Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” 34 They answered him, “You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us?” And they cast him out.


·         Man wasn’t concerned with Jesus’ sin—he was just healed

·         How can he not be from God doing the miracles he does?

·         Never happened since the world began.


This regular guy got it, this layperson got it, when the Pharisees did not. He understood who Jesus was, and where he came from. This gentleman was undaunted by the hypocrisy and arrogance of some of the Pharisees….there were good ones like Paul and Nicodemus around. But these particular Pharisees couldn’t see past their noses to look at the beauty of what happened. They were so fixated on the rules, and following them to the letter, that they missed the move of God. 


Let’s not miss what God is doing because of the packaging!!  Just three years ago, I never would’ve imagined that I’d be Lutheran, preaching at a Lutheran church. But now that I’m here, I can’t understand how I got along for so long without knowing folks like yourselves. What I love so much about the AALC is that it is so Jesus-centered.  And of course, you are too, being “Christ” Lutheran and all. You know what? We may be a small church in a rural town, but we belong to Christ, and he belongs to us. God is with us, and we believe in the Son of Man. Let’s see what happens to this man who gets kicked out of the synagogue after confessing that Jesus is from God. 


John 9:35-41

English Standard Version

35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”36 He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” 37 Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.” 38 He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him. 39 Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” 40 Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?” 41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.


  • Jesus found out the man was de-synagogued and asked him if he believed

  • The man worshipped Jesus

  • Jesus said he came to this world for judgment–to make the blind see, and the seeing blind. 

  • Pharisees asked if they were blind; Jesus said YUP.


This formerly blind gentleman was finally kicked out of the synagogue, although we don’t know for how long. Now, before we go further, let’s look at the attitudes of the two parties involved: 

A COLLECTION OF ATTITUDES Contrast the attitude of the Pharisees with the newfound attitude of the blind man. Spiritual Blindness Condemnation Pride Hopelessness No concern for others Insensitivity to sin Anger

Blind Man: Spiritual Insight Humility Compassion for others Forgiveness Hope Desire to repent and change Love

20/20 VISION The longer this man experienced his new life through Christ, the more confident he became in the one who had healed him. He gained not only physical sight but also spiritual sight as he recognized Jesus first as a prophet (9:17), then as his Lord. When you turn to Christ, you begin to see him differently. The longer you walk with him, the better you will understand who he is. Peter tells us to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18 niv). If you want to know more about Jesus, keep walking with him.

Bruce B. Barton, John, Life Application Bible Commentary (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1993), 202.

Bruce B. Barton, John, Life Application Bible Commentary (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1993), 201.

 He may have gotten kicked out of the synagogue, but this former blind man experienced true worship. He became a worshiper in Spirit and Truth, like Jesus predicted in John 3.  Jesus was saying listen, I am here. In fact, right before this encounter with the blind man, in chapter 8, Jesus was in the temple with the Jews, and he made his famous I AM statement…before Abraham was, I AM.  Basically, Jesus said it was Him that Moses was talking to in the burning bush in Genesis. Jesus is saying there is no need to go to a particular location to worship God. God can be worshiped anywhere, because He is worshiped by true worshipers in Spirit and in Truth. True worshipers must be people of the truth, that is the Word of God, and people of the Spirit, people whom the Spirit of God works in and through to accomplish God’s purposes on the earth. The Pharisees were blind because they were so focused on truth, they resisted the Holy Spirit, who was working through Jesus to show them that Jesus was the Messiah. Truth with no Spirit leads to dead and dry religion. The Spirit with no truth leads to fanaticism and experiences that don’t point to Christ. I am a former Pentecostal. So I believe in experiencing God. But any experience I have of God should flow to and flow from Jesus Christ. 


The entire point of Jesus healing this blind man was to point people back to Himself. Ultimately, the blind man placed his faith in Christ and believed and worshiped Him.  People have been talking about the revival that recently took place at Asbury Theological Seminary. I think it’s great, as long as people are converted to Christ and lasting change takes place in their lives. But only time will tell if something like that truly happened. I will simply quote the words of Gamaliel in Acts 5: Gamaliel: Acts 5:38-39 So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God! 

     You judge a revival by its fruits. You judge a Christian conference by its fruits.  You judge a non-profit ministry or a church, or a Christian leader by their fruits. 


The fruits that I am talking about are the fruits of the Spirit. It’s not about how much they know, but how do they relate to other people? How do they relate to God? When everyone in the world seems to have blinders on, the Spirit of God can give sight to our blind spots. We all have places in our souls and in our actions in which we gloss over, ignore, or avoid confronting, because they are painful. Maybe the pain is caused by things people have done to us. Maybe this pain is guilt that we feel over things that we have done. But Christ gives sight. He shines a light into those dark places within us, not to condemn us, but to heal us. There are memories we have that keep surfacing because Jesus wants to deal with it. He wants to get the junk out of our systems, if we’ll let him. I leave you with this poem by Horatius Bonar

Light of the world, for ever, ever shining, There is no change in thee. True light of life, all joy and health enshrining, Thou canst not fade nor flee. Light of the world, undimming and unsetting, O shine each mist away! Banish the fear, the falsehood and the fretting; Be our unchanging day. Horatius Bonar