A digital version of this week’s worship bulletin and sermon.




“I Cannot Tell”


Gathering Song           “God, Whose Almighty Word”           red book # 673


KYRIE                                                                              red book pg. 147(set 4)               



1 SAMUEL 16:1-13



JOHN 9:1-41

SERMON                                                              Pastor Chris Halverson

The Blind Man

It is an interesting thing,

John’s Gospel,

the letters of John,

and the Apocalypse by John the Revelator,

all share the same repetitive, braided together way of communicating.

-Why say a thing once, if you can say it a thousand times?

-Why give an orderly account of what you mean, when you can let chaos reign and meaning ebb and flow?

But, to untangle things a little, let’s look at three braids that will be threaded through today’s gospel lesson.

  1. Sin.
  2. Jesus reveals God.
  3. We are found by Jesus.

Let us pray,

  1. Sin.

Throughout John’s Gospel we find Sin to be lack of relationship with Jesus, failed encounters, not seeing your Lord right before your eyes, encouraging others to forsake the Faithful One.

The theme of Sin and sins—small s plural saturate this, the 9th chapter of John.

The Disciples start us off with a question about the connection between sin(s)—small s plural and …

sickness and disability and a rough lot in life?

Is it generational? Does the son pay for the sin of the father? Is a daughter doomed by mother’s misdeeds?

Or is it your own darn fault? Are we so personally responsible that every malady is our own?

This debate raged in the time of the prophets—in fact both Ezekiel and Jeremiah weigh in in favor of the second option. And even today we talk about nature versus nurture, families of origin shape who we are, yet our decisions have consequences…

But Jesus shifts the focus away from sins, to Salvation—saying essentially, “Hey guys, you’re burying the lede here! In this very moment, he who was blind, now will see—Look, this good thing is about to happen, and will point to God! Look, this man now gets to experience a full life!

But, Sin continues to rear its head. The religious authorities insist that Jesus is a sinner, and when the man who was blind isn’t so sure about their assessment of Jesus, when he calls Jesus a prophet, they declare that from his birth he’s been filled with sin and they cast him out.

  1. Jesus reveals God.

Jesus, in John’s Gospel, is the One who comes into the world, who reveals the Invisible God made visible—he is sent for this very task. While he is in the world we can know God in a unique and unqualified way—he sheds light on all the things of God, for he is the Light of the World. God’s work is revealed in his acts of healing.

In fact, this is Salvation—the enlightenment of the light of Christ. His transformational relationship with those he encounters—the Samaritan woman at the well, the Blind man, they are saved by experiencing Jesus Christ, the one sent by God.

At the same time, Sin, Big S Singular, is being confronted by the dawning light of Christ and calling it night. If you cannot see what he is doing, you’re more than missing something, you are blind and will be judged as such.

  1. Jesus finds the man

Jesus is found to be among sinners—he is declared a sinner by the Pharisees.

Maybe you didn’t catch that—but Jesus is said to be a sinner, he is identified as a sinner, for the sake of the world

—this light from God is seen as night because we aren’t seeing right, and he’s transforming it

—giving sight to the blind.

Jesus becomes Sin for us, that is true. Jesus comes into the world not to condemn the world, but to save it, save us.

And Jesus saves this particular man too

—he was thrown out…

Take a moment and imagine how strange it must be, seeing for the first time, but navigating that experience alone!

Well, Jesus finds him twice,

first to heal him of his blindness

and then to defend him, and re-define him.

Jesus seems to step between the formerly blind man and the Pharisees who are accosting him, in order to protect the man, and then Jesus insists that the Pharisees are the blind ones.

John’s Gospel braids


-Jesus as Revealer of God,


-being found by Jesus

together into a winding, intertwined, repetitive, faithful, reflection upon who Jesus is for the sake of the whole world.

Jesus heals a blind man

        As Jesus walked along, he saw a man who was blind from birth. Jesus’ disciples asked, “Rabbi, who sinned so that he was born blind, this man or his parents?”

        Jesus answered, “Neither he nor his parents. This happened so that God’s mighty works might be displayed in him. While it’s daytime, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

After he said this, he spit on the ground, made mud with the saliva, and smeared the mud on the man’s eyes.

        Jesus said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (this word means sent). So the man went away and washed. When he returned, he could see.


        The man’s neighbors and those who used to see him when he was a beggar said, “Isn’t this the man who used to sit and beg?”

        Some said, “It is,”

and others said, “No, it’s someone who looks like him.”

But the man said, “Yes, it’s me!”

        So they asked him, “How are you now able to see?”

        He answered, “The man they call Jesus made mud, smeared it on my eyes, and said, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed, and then I could see.”

        They asked, “Where is this man?”

He replied, “I don’t know.”


        Then they led the man who had been born blind to the Pharisees. Now Jesus made the mud and smeared it on the man’s eyes on a Sabbath day. So Pharisees also asked him how he was able to see.

The man told them, “He put mud on my eyes, I washed, and now I see.”

        Some Pharisees said, “This man isn’t from God, because he breaks the Sabbath law.”

Others said, “How can a sinner do miraculous signs like these?” So they were divided. Some of the Pharisees questioned the man who had been born blind again: “What do you have to say about him, since he healed your eyes?”

He replied, “He’s a prophet.”

        The Jewish leaders didn’t believe the man had been blind and received his sight until they called for his parents.

 The Jewish leaders asked them, “Is this your son? Are you saying he was born blind? How can he now see?”

        His parents answered, “We know he is our son. We know he was born blind. But we don’t know how he now sees, and we don’t know who healed his eyes. Ask him. He’s old enough to speak for himself.” His parents said this because they feared the Jewish authorities. This is because the Jewish authorities had already decided that whoever confessed Jesus to be the Christ would be expelled from the synagogue. That’s why his parents said, “He’s old enough. Ask him.”

        Therefore, they called a second time for the man who had been born blind and said to him, “Give glory to God. We know this man is a sinner.”

        The man answered, “I don’t know whether he’s a sinner. Here’s what I do know: I was blind and now I see.”

        They questioned him: “What did he do to you? How did he heal your eyes?”

        He replied, “I already told you, and you didn’t listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?”

        They insulted him: “You are his disciple, but we are Moses’ disciples. We know that God spoke to Moses, but we don’t know where this man is from.”

        The man answered, “This is incredible! You don’t know where he is from, yet he healed my eyes! We know that God doesn’t listen to sinners. God listens to anyone who is devout and does God’s will. No one has ever heard of a healing of the eyes of someone born blind. If this man wasn’t from God, he couldn’t do this.”

They responded, “You were born completely in sin! How is it that you dare to teach us?” Then they expelled him.

        Jesus heard they had expelled the man born blind.

Finding him, Jesus said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”

        He answered, “Who is he, sir? I want to believe in him.”

        Jesus said, “You have seen him. In fact, he is the one speaking with you.”

        The man said, “Lord, I believe.”

And he worshipped Jesus.

        Jesus said, “I have come into the world to exercise judgment so that those who don’t see can see and those who see will become blind.”

        Some Pharisees who were with him heard what he said and asked, “Surely we aren’t blind, are we?”

        Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you wouldn’t have any sin, but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.

HYMN of the DAY           “Amazing Grace, How Sweet the Sound”          red book # 779






OFFERTORY ANTHEM         “I Wouldn’t Miss Heaven for the World”




COMMUNION SONGS                    “Lamb of God”

“The Old Rugged Cross”

Also, red book # 593, red book # 581




SENDING SONG            “Awake, O Sleeper, Rise from Death”          red book # 452


POSTLUDE                  “Hymn Improvisation”               by Tom Baker