The Man Born Blind, Pt. 1: Creation and Recreation, John 9


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“The Man Born Blind, Part 1: Creation & Recreation”

John 9

February 16, 2020

Faith Presbyterian Church – Morning Service

Pastor Nicoletti

 

We move into John chapter nine this morning. John nine fits together as one large unit … but there is a lot there in those forty-one verses. Rather than either trying to break up the flow of the story or fit everything into one sermon, we will spend at least two Lord’s Days in this chapter – with each focusing on a different theme in the text.

 

With that in mind we turn now to John chapter nine.

 

Please do listen carefully, for this is God’s word for us this morning.

 

9:1 As he [that is, Jesus,] passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 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 and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.

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?” 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.”

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.

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.

 

This is the word of the Lord.  (Thanks be to God.)

 

“All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” [1 Peter 1:24-25]

 

Let’s pray …

 

Lord, with the psalmist

we ask that your steadfast love would be upon us,

according to your promise.

Take not your word of truth from our lips,

for we know that our hope is in your revelation spoken to us.

Help us to keep your commands continually,

to walk in your ways in all areas of life,

to speak your truth to the people and the powers around us,

to find our delight in your testimony to us,

and to love your revelation to us.

Grant this now as we turn to your word together,

and all the days of our lives.

In Jesus name, Amen.

[Based on Psalm 119:41,43-47]

 

As I said, there are a number of themes in this chapter, but this morning we will focus in a theme that is present throughout the chapter, but that especially comes up in the first few verses.

 

In those first verses, the question that comes up is: Where must we look to be made new? Where must we look to address the brokenness in our lives?

 

But before we get to our text’s answer, we need to ask where we tend to look. Where do we tend to look to be healed? Where do we tend to look to be made new? Where do we tend to look to address the brokenness in our lives?

 

And the answer that comes back, I think, is that we tend to look to ourselves. We tend to look to ourselves in order to fix ourselves.

 

And I don’t mean that simply on the level of having self-agency or taking responsibility for ourselves. Of course, we are called in many ways to be responsible for ourselves and for our own growth.

 

But my point goes deeper than that. My point is that our default, is to look to ourselves as the primary source of our own renewal.

 

You see this in a range of ways. According to one recent study, the “self-improvement” market is now an $11 billion industry. Whether through books, or videos, or apps, or any number of things, we are always looking for techniques that we can employ to improve ourselves – to renew ourselves. [Marketdata LLC]

 

It’s mid-February … so many of us are coming off of our New Year’s ambitions for self-improvement. And wherever you are with that – whether you’re still going, or you’ve given up, or you never tried in the first place, my suspicion is that we all approached the very idea of self-improvement the same way. We all approach it as relying almost exclusively on ourselves. And whether we keep going, quit, or never try, that usually says more about the different ways we view our own abilities, than it does about different approaches to growth and change.

 

We almost all look to ourselves for improvement, for renewal, for growth.

 

That doesn’t come out in full in our text – but we see one symptom of that mentality. We see it in the question asked in verse two. The question in verse two is a bit of a curveball. We are introduced to a blind man in verse one and we might expect a straightforward healing story. But then this question comes in in verse two. The disciples ask Jesus “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” [Leithart, 60] The disciples see this blind man and reach for a simple, straightforward, and manageable source of the problem. They want to know whether this man’s parents sinned, or if this man sinned as a fetus in the womb, as an explanation for his being born blind – two categories that would have been common assumptions in their time and place. [Carson, 361-362] And they seem to restrict the possibilities to those two.

 

Of course the Bible tells us that our sin can lead to suffering in our lives, and it acknowledges the reality that the consequences of sin often trickle down generational lines. But it by no means restricts the causes of suffering to those two categories. In fact the entire book of Job is set against restricting the cause of suffering to one’s own sin – something the disciples here seem to have forgotten. [Carson, 362]

 

There are many reasons why suffering or brokenness enters one’s life. And often the cause is a mystery. And this man’s blindness is one such example. Jesus says the man was born blind so “the works of God might be displayed in him.” Now … there’s no way to know that just by looking at the guy. The cause of his suffering then, was unknowable to the disciples or to any other human being. Only God knew why he was born blind.

 

And a lot of our struggles – whether suffering or brokenness in our lives (as in the case of the blind man), or even to temptations in our lives – a lot of our struggles are a mystery to us when it comes to their cause. We don’t know why they are in our lives.

 

But even when we don’t know their cause … even when we can’t know their cause … we often like to tell ourselves that we do … even if we pin the whole thing on ourselves.

 

Of course, sometimes we can see how an affliction in our lives was directly caused by our action or inaction, and when we do see that, we should take responsibility for it.

 

But often we cannot see what caused a particular grief or sorrow. And yet even when that is the case, our tendency is to blame someone – even if it is ourselves.

 

We can do this in our parenting, where we try to attribute any flaw in our children to ourselves, as if there could be no source of problem in their lives besides us. We can do it in our career or our finances, as if we should have foreseen any twists or turns that an industry or a market was going to take. We can do it with health issues, determined that we can identify the mistake that we or someone else made that led to our illness. Whatever the problem in our lives, we are usually convinced we can find a simple cause for it, even if in truth the cause is really a mystery.

 

And in that, we would often rather falsely blame ourselves, than admit that we don’t know why an element of brokenness or sorrow is in our lives.

 

And the reason we would often rather falsely blame ourselves is because then we can tell ourselves that we really are in control of our life and how it goes. Because if every brokenness in our life is caused by us, then it would seem that every brokenness in our life can be fixed by us. If the causes are all within our power, then it seems that the solutions must all be in our power as well.

 

Which brings us back to that first point: that we primarily look to – and we prefer to look to – ourselves for healing and renewal and wholeness, rather than to anyone else.

 

When there is a problem, we look to ourselves to fix it.

 

Cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker, in his book Denial of Death, which I mentioned quite a bit last Lord’s Day, pushes this fact further. He essentially says that underneath such efforts to recreate parts of ourselves, is a desire to create ourselves in the first place.

 

And that might sound a bit odd … but bear with me for a minute.

 

I don’t know if it’s a universal human tendency, or mainly a tendency in our culture. But either way, it is a tendency for us. We long to create ourselves.

 

We want to be self-made people – to determine for ourselves who we are. You see this throughout popular entertainment. Whether a more artistic independent film or the most recent animated children’s movie, a theme we see again and again is that we can’t let our parents, or the community we grew up in shape who we are – but we each need to decide for ourselves who we are and who we will be. We need to make ourselves.

 

Now, granted, sometimes families and communities mis-shape people and fail to appreciate their unique giftings and traits. That of course is true. But many other times people don’t really understand themselves, and they use their freedom to do all sorts of harm to themselves and others, and it’s family and community that can hold them together. Both are possible. Both elements can be good or bad. It’s not categorical. And yet, most of the stories we tell ourselves as a culture – in fact almost all of the stories we tell ourselves as a culture – are categorical: self-determination is good, and being shaped by those around you is bad. We want to be the makers of ourselves.

 

And this comes out in other places as well. When we tell people about ourselves, we tend to tell a story about how we made and shaped ourselves, emphasizing our role, and downplaying the roles that others had in making us who we are. We want to convince others that we have made ourselves.

 

And that’s also one of the most appealing things about social media. It might be a caricature – a virtualized version of ourselves that is displayed on social media. But it is a virtual person that we get to make – that we get to craft. We put forward whatever perspective we want out there. We decide which foibles to hide and which to try to spin as endearing. We are drawn to the opportunity provided by a virtual version of ourselves to in some sense get to make ourselves.

 

We are a culture of people who want to believe – and want others to believe – that we have made ourselves. And it is that fact that drives us to believe that we can – that we mustremake ourselves when something is wrong. Which in turn drives us to believe that all of our problems are manageable. We can handle them because we can fix ourselves, because we can make ourselves.

 

This is how we respond to brokenness in our lives. We seek solutions from ourselves because we long to be the true source of ourselves.

 

Our text this morning tells us that we are right about one aspect of that, and very wrong about another aspect of that.

 

It tells us that we are right that there is a connection between who has made us and who can remake us.

 

And it tells us that we are wrong to believe that the one who can do either of those things is us.

 

What we see in our passage this morning is that because Jesus created us, Jesus is the one who can recreate us.

 

Because Jesus created us, Jesus is the one who can recreate us. And the connection to those two things is key to this passage.

 

In several ways, the way Jesus performs this miracle, and the way John records it, force us to see that connection.

 

Of course, the connection should already be there for us as we read John’s Gospel. It may be helpful to remember at this point that John began his Gospel in chapter one by telling us: “In the beginning was the Word,” – that is, the pre-incarnate Jesus – “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

 

John begins by pointing to Jesus’s role in creation, and alludes, in a number of ways, to the creation story of Genesis chapter one. He opens with the same words as the Book of Genesis. He tells us that Jesus was with God the Father as God the Son when all things were made. God created with words in Genesis one, and John identifies Jesus as the Word. He points out that Jesus brings light that shines in the darkness, which reminds us of the first day of creation, when God separated the dark from the light.

 

John begins his Gospel in chapter one by telling us that Jesus is the one who created us.

 

And then John points us back to that same truth in a striking way here in chapter nine.

 

Take a look at it again. First, Jesus comes back to the theme of light. In verses five he says, “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” And his words send our thoughts back to John chapter one, as well as Genesis chapter one. Jesus is evoking the early chapters of Genesis for us, and he is doing it for a purpose. [Leithart, 72-73]

 

In verses six and seven we read “Having said these things, he [that is, Jesus] spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud and said to him, ‘Go, wash in the pool of Siloam’ (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.”

 

One writer comments: “Jesus goes to odd lengths to heal the blind man. He could have simply spoken and given sight; he could have sent the man to Siloam to wash in the pool. Instead, he goes through this elaborate process, first concocting spittle-mud, then anointing the man’s eyes, and finally sending him off to the pool for washing. Why the clay appliqué?” [Leithart, 128-129]

 

And as we think about it, we realize that Jesus is driving us back again to those early chapters of Genesis that he alluded to moments earlier.

 

Because in Genesis chapter two we read first in verse six that God made a mist to water the whole face of the ground, and then we read in verse seven: “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.”

 

God, like a potter, combines, presumably, the mist watering the ground, with the dust of the ground, and his own breath, in order to create the first man.

 

And then here, in John chapter nine, Jesus spits on the ground. And spit usually combines both saliva and breath. The breath is usually the propellant. Which means that Jesus here combines the dust of the earth with a mist and his own breath, in order to make mud … which he then applies to the man’s face as he heals – as he renews – as in some sense he re-creates the man’s eyes and makes them whole again. [Leithart, 128-129]

 

Because Jesus created us, Jesus is the one who can recreate us.

 

That is the key point taken from how Jesus heals the man born blind here.

 

Jesus does not tell the man how to heal himself. He doesn’t tell him how to make himself new. He rather identifies himself as the man’s Maker, and therefore as the One who can make him new.

 

And it’s worth pausing and considering whether we really accept those two truths for ourselves.

 

Do you really believe – do you really live as if – Jesus created you? And do you really believe and live as if Jesus is the One who can recreate you?

 

Consider the first question. Do you really believe – do you really live as if – Jesus created you?

 

First, does a belief that Jesus made you shape the way you think about Jesus? As you pray to Jesus, as you worship him, does it feel to you like you are worshipping One who is distant and detached … or does it strike you that you are speaking to the one who formed every detail of your body, every aspect of your heart, every dimension of your soul, and every nuance of your mind? Does it occur to you that he knows you that intimately? Jesus made you. Do you interact with him as if that is really true?

 

Second, do you really believe that Jesus created you when you read and think about the Bible? It is not uncommon for people to get frustrated – to feel overly restricted – by the commands of Scripture. But would we feel that way if we really believed that the One who gives us the Scriptures is also the One who made us?

 

Would we not trust the maker of any thing – of any device, of any object, of any piece of technology – would we not expect the maker of something to be able to tell us the way it is best used? And if that is true, wouldn’t we expect the same of the One who made us and the world we live in? If we truly believed that the Lord was our Maker, it seems we would be eager to his instruction for us. But we often are not … because we often fail to live as if he truly is our Maker.

 

Third, do you really act as if you believe that Jesus made you when you think about your strengths and weaknesses – your gifts and your flaws?

 

On one level, we are often distressed by the way we have been made. We are gifted in one area, when we’d rather be gifted in another. We are distressed and discontented by our weaknesses – our lack of natural abilities in certain areas.

 

But if Jesus made us, then he intended us to have the strengths we have. And he even intended us to have the natural weaknesses we have. If you really believed that Jesus made you – and that he made you with intention – crafted your heart and mind and body the way he wanted it to be, then would you be so discontented with the gifts given to you or the gifts withheld from you?

 

And while God is not the author of the brokenness that is in this world, he is still sovereign over its expression. It was humanity, in the rebellion of our first parents, that brought sin and brokenness into the world. But God uses even that for his purposes, and he allows it to show up in our lives in accordance with his intentions. We see that right in this text.

 

Look at verse three again. God did not make the world with blindness in it – blindness came as a result of the fall. But even so, God orchestrated the way blindness would show up in this man’s life for God’s glory, and for the man’s good. Without this affliction, this man would never have had the interactions he has with Jesus in this chapter. As the man’s Maker, God had a purpose and an intention for him, even in how he allowed the man to experience brokenness.

 

Until verse three, God’s intention in allowing the man to be born blind was a mystery. And for us, God’s intention in much of our suffering will remain a mystery to us for most or all of our earthly lives.

 

But if we believe that God is our sovereign Maker, who orchestrates every detail of who we are in this broken world, then we must believe that even the brokenness, even the sickness, even the deficiencies, even the challenges we face – all of them have been orchestrated according to his intentions for us.

 

Fourth and finally, we need to ask if we really live as if Jesus made us when we approach our callings.

 

So many things in your life you are called to, but may have never asked to be called to.

 

My wife is reading Eugene Peterson’s book Run with the Horses. She shared with me this week a passage in which he considers the prophet Jeremiah, and the fact that before Jeremiah does anything on his own, God tells him that he – that God – has given Jeremiah as a prophet to the nations. That was Jeremiah’s calling.

 

Peterson writes: “He gave Jeremiah away. I can hear Jeremiah objecting, ‘Wait a minute. Don’t be so quick to give me away. I’ve got something to say about this. I’ve got my inalienable rights. I have a few decisions about my life that I am going to make myself.’ Imagine God’s response: ‘Sorry, but I did it before you were even born. It’s already done; you are given away.” [Peterson, 41]

 

There’s a lot about our lives and the callings on our lives that we did not choose. We did not choose the time and place we are born into – though each places unique callings on our lives whether we want them or not. We did not choose our parents or our family of origin, though we are called to love them and honor them. We did not choose what our children would be like – though still we are called to nurture and care for them. We did not choose most of the challenges we have faced in life, but we are called to respond to them faithfully. We did not choose to be made with the gifts we have, but we are called to use them for God. We did not choose to be born as a man or a woman, as tall or short, as rich or poor, in fact we did not even choose to be born at all, but nevertheless here we are, and our very existence brings obligations and callings on us that we did not choose or seek.

 

And all of that only makes sense if the One who issues those callings is also the One who made us. He made us, we are his, and he has the right to call us as he wills. We should trust that the One who made us knows what he is doing with us.

 

This is how we must live if we truly believe that Jesus is our Maker.

 

And that leads us to our second question: Do you really believe and live as if Jesus is the one who can recreate you – and not you yourself?

 

We’ve spoken already of all the ways we try to recreate ourselves – all the ways we rely on ourselves to make ourselves new. But our text reminds us that the only One who can make us new – the only One who can recreate us – who can truly make us whole – is the One who made us in the first place: Jesus Christ, the Son of God, through whom all things were made.

 

In our text we see Jesus make a part of the man’s body new. But we also see him make something much deeper new. In fact, that’s a large part of why we needed to hear the whole chapter this morning.

 

Because Jesus not only remade part of this man’s broken body – he also remade part of his broken soul.

 

All around this man are those who cannot see Jesus for who he is. They are spiritually blind. They are spiritually corrupt. They need to be remade. And as this chapter begins, we are given no reason to think that the man born blind was any different.

 

But then Jesus makes him new. And he can see physically – which is a shocking miracle.

 

But the greater miracle is that more and more, as the story continues, he can also see spiritually.

 

In verse eleven, all the man knows is that a man named Jesus healed him. In verse seventeen he ventures further and says that Jesus is a prophet. In verse twenty-five the man says that he does not know whether Jesus is a sinner or not. But then few verses later, in verse thirty, the man’s earlier hesitancies seem to be pushed aside. He pushes back against the Pharisees and declares that Jesus cannot be a sinner, but must be from God. He takes a stand and sides with Jesus. And then, by verse thirty-eight he confesses his faith to Jesus himself.

 

Jesus has made new not only this man’s eyes, but also his heart – he has given him spiritual eyes to recognize Jesus for who he is.

 

We all face challenges in this life – both physical and spiritual. And Jesus is the one who can make us new.

 

Jesus promises he will make our bodies new and heal all our physical afflictions on the last day – on the day of his return. In his mercy, he may also bring some healing to our bodies in this life, through ordinary or extraordinary providential means.

 

But our biggest challenges – our greatest needs – are not in our bodies, but in our hearts and minds – they are in our souls. And as Jesus gives sight not just to the eyes of this man, but also to his heart, so he offers to do for us.

 

The one who made us offers to remake us.

 

Well, if we are to believe that, what would that mean?

 

Well, it would mean that like the blind man in the first paragraph of this chapter, we accept the means God has chosen to use in our lives, because we trust our Maker is at work behind those means.

 

And at this point preachers like John Wesley and John Chrysostom contrasted the man healed here with Naaman the leper.

 

Back in Second Kings chapter five Naaman is afflicted with leprosy. He learns of the prophet Elisha in Israel and goes to him to be healed.  And we read: “Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, ‘Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored, and you shall be clean.’ But Naaman was angry and went away, saying, ‘Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper. Are not Abana  and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?’ So he turned and went away in a rage.”

 

Now, Naaman later repented. But in his initial response, he contrasts well with this man born blind.

 

We too can be like Naaman. Jesus tells us how he will heal us. He tells us how he will make us new. And the means he points us to can seem so unimpressive: the Bible, prayer, the sacraments, the local church.

 

If we are honest, we find these elements underwhelming most of the time. Like Naaman we can think of alternatives that seem to us much better: we can think of books that seem far more helpful than this odd collection of 66 books and letters; we can think of actions that seem far more productive than talking into the air at God, or eating a little bread, or having a little water poured on our heads; and we can think of organizations that seem far more together, and polished, and impressive than a local church congregation ever does.

 

And we look at what Jesus gives us, and we look at the alternatives, and essentially, we say: “Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?”

 

But what Naaman does not yet see – and what we so often fail to appreciate – is that the instruments are not our hope, but our hope is in the fact that the One who uses them is our Maker.

 

And we see something of a model of that in the man born blind. We are not told what he was thinking, but when he hears Jesus spit, when he hears Jesus rubbing his fingers in the dirt, when he feels Jesus pressing mud against his eyes, the man does not object. He does not protest. When Jesus sends him to wash in an ordinary pool of Jerusalem, the man does not complain, but he goes. The man trusts not the inherent power of the instruments. But he trusts the One who wields them. And he is healed.

 

And Jesus works in a similar way with us.

 

There are many tools for growing our skills and improving our abilities out there – and they are not necessarily bad. Many are very useful. But none of them can make us new.

 

The only One who can make us new is the One who made us in the first place. And the means he uses usually look far less impressive than the means the world offers us. But he can do what they never can.

 

And so, like the man born blind, we must come to Jesus to receive them. We must receive his Word and Sacraments, we must offer our feeble prayers and praises, we must commune with his often-unimpressive people, and we must obey his commands even when they confound us.

 

Because he is the One at work behind them all. And since he made us, he can make us new.

 

There is a thrill in the idea of making ourselves – of creating our own self by our own efforts. There is a thrill … but it is a thrill that ends in despair. For it is an incredibly lonely project. It is a project we are not equipped to take on. And in the end, such an attempt crushes even the strongest.

 

And so Jesus calls us to trade the despair of our projects of self-creation for the joy of knowing the One who really made us.

 

Similarly, there can be a sense of honor and nobility in our attempts to fix ourselves. We want to be able to make ourselves right – to be able to make ourselves new. But this too ends in despair. For we cannot make ourselves right – we cannot make ourselves new.

 

And so Jesus calls us to trade the despair of our projects of self-renewal for the solid hope of giving ourselves over to the One who can truly make us new.

 

For he is our Maker. And only he can make us what we are truly meant to be.

 

Amen.

 

 

This sermon draws on material from:

Becker, Ernest. The Denial of Death. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 1973.

Carson, D.A. The Gospel According to John. PNTC. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1991.

Leithart, Peter J. Deep Exegesis: They Mystery of Reading Scripture. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2009.

Peterson, Eugene H. Run with the Horses: The Quest for Life at Its Best. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Books, 1983.

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