Readings: Psalm 23, 1 Samuel 16:1-13, John 9:1-14
Preached at Mount Hebron Presbyterian Church, MD, March 26, 2017
This story in John's gospel, about a man who is born blind, invites many different ways of reflection. There are a number of characters, and it almost comes across as drama.
There is, of course Jesus Himself. He is the focus of the account. What He does for the man, and how he is dealt with by his opponents, in a way that shows them up as deluded and confused, makes for one story. Next there is the perception and treatment of the man himself. Both by Jesus and by the council.
There is the account of the mans parents, whose integrity is questioned, yet whose delight must have beyond measure. Finally, there are the inquisitors themselves, who appear angry, intolerant and totally unable to grasp the truth that takes place before their eyes.
One version of the bible describes the man’s problem as “Being of blindness”, which gives us the initials B. O. B. which spells “Bob”. The phrase “Born Ocularily Benighted” also gives us the initials B.O.B. If anyone tells you there is no Bob in the Bible... well there is now!
So, by way of illustrating an intriguing, and in some ways amusingly ironic, biblical tale, I thought... if Bob had a story to tell, how would it go. So for your listening delight and, hopefully eye-opening spiritual unraveling, This morning I present to you...
The Story of Bob
‘Bob’s’ the name.
Used to be ‘Blind Bob’.
Now it’s just ‘Bob’ because I’m not blind any more.
Being born Blind Bob, you learn to see with things other than Bob’s eyes.
You see through sounds
Blind Bob learned to sense peoples emotions,
And know without being told.
‘Blind Bob’ was often treated as ‘Stupid Bob’.
Because I was non functioning in the ocular area,
The presumption was made that Blind Bob
Was also ‘Dumb Bob’ and ‘Deaf Bob’.
‘Would Bob like this’
‘Is Bob all right sitting there’.
‘Does Bob take cream in his coffee’.
‘Blind Bob’ learned that it was best to play the game of ‘Deaf and Dumb Bob’.
Blind Bob saw a lot going on that others missed.
Jesus came to town.
I could sense in His touch He was different.
He put clay on my eyes.
Vision! Wow.. so that’s what colors are!
He sent me to Siloam Pool.
Good-Bye ‘Blind Bob’.
Hello just plain ‘Bob’.
Now here’s trouble.
The religious folk didn’t care much for Bob.
Didn’t care much for Jesus either.
Particularly as it was the Sabbath Day when He said;
“Here’s mud in your eye.”
So they call me in.
“What did Jesus do to make you see?”
Bob explained about the mud on his eyes and the pool washing.
They get mad.
Some say this.
Some say that.
Bob senses these folk are having a hard time with themselves.
They are... to put it mildly... divided in opinion.
They asked me what I thought of Jesus.
‘He’s a prophet’ said Bold Bob.
Thy threw me out and sent for my Mom and Dad.
The Questions they asked them;
‘Was he really born blind?’
‘You’re making all this up, aren’t you?”
‘How can He see?’
‘Is this really your son?’
‘Are you sure?’
The answers they gave;
‘Sure is our son and sure was born blind!
Why can he see? Well, ask him,
He’s of age.
He’s got a tongue in his head.
He can answer’.
They call me back in.
‘Praise God’ they say.
‘Right on’ thinks much Blessed Bob.
‘No more stories Bob’ said the getting mad religious folk.
‘We know that this Jesus is a sinner, tell us what really happened’
Insightful Bob saw it all.
These religious folk were blinder than Bob born blind had ever been.
They couldn’t see a good thing staring them in the face.
Bob decides it’s time to play the game.
‘I don’t know if he is or isn’t a sinner, good sirs,
All I know is that I was ‘Blind Bob’ and now I’m just ‘Bob’.
Some of them start getting really mad.
Playful Bob starts to chuckle in his heart.
‘Bu-Bu-But what did he do-do-do,
Hu-Hu how did he oh-oh-open your eye-eye-eyes?”
Splutters one of them important folk.
‘I get it’ says Bob, “You guys want to be his disciples as well, don’t you?
“No, No, No, No, No, No,
You’re the disciple,
We don’t even know where this man’s coming from?”
Bob looks at them posturing, pontificating, puffed up, pathetic, peacocks.
“Now here’s a strange thing.
A man going round,
Doing stuff that has never been done since the foundation of the world,
And you, the religious folk, who know all about God,
Don’t know where He’s coming from?
Bob finds that rather strange!”
“You, you, you.. sinner,
Conceived in iniquity, scum of the earth,
How dare you lecture us, Get out of here..”
Further down the road,
Bemused Bob meets Jesus again.
‘Threw you out did they?’
‘Yep’ smiled Relieved Bob.
“Do you believe in the Son of Man?” asks Jesus.
“Point Him out to me, and I will” says Hopeful Bob.
“Don’t you recognize my voice?” says the Good Shepherd.
‘Master’ said Believing Bob.
‘I’m here’ said Jesus, ‘To make things clear;
Some of those who have never seen,
Are going to see it all,
Some of those who pretend to have great insight,
Are going to be seen for what they really are.’
Some Pharisees heard
With their ears.
Just like some who will never see Bob’s point,
They said to themselves,
“You’re not calling us blind are you?”
Bob mused on these on these things.
“If you’re born physically blind,
You learn to see things differently,
How sad to have all your faculties functioning fine,
And never see a thing.”
Thanks for listening. I hope you gained some insight from Bob's tale. As Bob said,” It would be sad to have all your faculties functioning fine, but never see a thing.” Amen!
To God's name be the glory!