The One Thing to Know | Kylen Perry

Kylen Perry // Mar 26, 2024

Do you want Jesus to be Lord over all your life, or just part of it? This week, Kylen Perry walks us through John 9 to show us that Jesus will meet us where we are, but He isn't just concerned with healing the areas of our lives we decide need fixing, He wants to make everything new.

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Porch, what's up? How are we doing? Man! It's so good to see you. How are you tonight? Good? Doing okay? Hey, special shout-out to some of our friends tuning in from across the nation…Porch.Live Midland, Porch.Live Dayton, and Porch.Live Des Moines. We're really glad you guys are joining in. Thanks so much for tuning in and being a part of what God is doing, not only here in our city, but in your city too. God can genuinely meet with anyone, anywhere, and at any time, so we're really glad you would trust us with your Tuesday.

Well, just a few years ago, Brooke and I were traveling to Colorado for a wedding in a remote city called Lake City. We'd never been there before, but we knew by the time we landed in Denver, it was approximately a four-hour drive from the airport to the destination. So, we land in Denver. We make our way over to the rental car agency. We get into our rental car.

Right as I'm pulling out of the parking lot, I stop the car, look over to my wife, and say, "Hey, we should just pray. We have four hours in the car together. We should pray that over the course of the next four hours God would meet with us." So I prayed this specifically. I said, "God, as we drive today, would you make yourself known to us along the way?" Then I proceeded to hit the gas and pull out of the parking lot, and we traversed our way to our destination in Lake City.

One hour passed by. Two hours passed by. Three hours passed by. Then four hours passed by. As I looked around, I could tell… "It doesn't really feel like we're getting close to Lake City. I've never been there before. I don't know what it looks like, but it doesn't seem like we're actually getting as close as we should be by this point. Brooke, where are we at right now?"

She proceeded to look at the GPS, and she realized we were still three hours away from our destination, which was horrifying to learn in the moment, because by the time we learned this news, we could have already been there. We could have already showed up and said, "Hello" to the bridal party and gotten into our room and checked in nice and cozy, but instead, we still had three hours in the car. I love my wife, but that's seven hours of total driving, and that's a long time behind the wheel.

So, we look around. I'm traumatized by the fact that we still have this long to go, so I start to wonder to myself, "What happened?" Then I realized it was Apple Maps. It led us astray. It took us down the longest foreseeable route possible from Denver to our destination. We had made a grievous mistake. We did not choose the quickest route. Instead, we chose a long route, unbeknownst to us.

So, in this moment I'm frustrated…frustrated with the situation, frustrated with my wife, frustrated with the fact that Colorado even has a route that's this long to get to this city when it's not necessary. I am so frustrated that our GPS has taken us down a road the likes of which we never had to go, yet it was a road the likes of which God very clearly wanted us to drive down.

As we made our way to Lake City down the scenic route, we found we were trapped in a field of wildflowers in bloom, crystal lakes cascading through thousands of acres, all at sunset, because this route that we did not choose for ourselves, but God chose for us, actually took us into the Rio Grande National Forest, and it was there that God decided to answer my prayer. He was making himself known to us along the way.

Now, why do I tell you that? Because over the course of the last several weeks, we here at The Porch have been working through a series called Essential that has felt a lot like this journey of mine in Colorado. We've been talking about the one thing that brings everything into focus. That has been our destination: to talk about the one thing, yet it has taken us now five total weeks of time to unpack one thing, which feels a little bit like a bait and switch.

You're like, "Wait. I showed up for one thing, and I've gotten over a month's worth of teaching. What is with this? This shouldn't be so difficult. This is the most important thing, yet it has taken so long for you to explain to us. I feel like I've shown up week after week after week, and I feel like I'm learning the same thing over and over and over. Why is it taking so long?"

The reason is that which is most important, according to the Scriptures, the one thing God wants you to know, which is that we should aspire to see as much of him as possible… We don't arrive at that quickly, but instead, that's a process that takes a long time and often leads us down a road much farther than we initially intended or expected.

This is why we've been journeying through this series. We have been looking at these "one thing" statements…one thing I ask, one thing I lack, one thing I do, one thing I need, one thing I know. Those statements reinforce the importance of seeing God for who he is. That's the most important thing in the Bible: to get your eyes on him, to set your gaze on him, to see him and as much of him as possible, which takes time.

Tonight, we're arriving at the end of our destination, because tonight we find ourselves on the fifth "one thing" statement, which is in John, chapter 9. What you need to know is this. As we turn to this story, we're going to catch up to Jesus in Jerusalem. It's in chapter 7 that he travels to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles.

What you need to know about the Feast of Tabernacles is it was one of three annual feasts the people of Israel would celebrate every single year that was a pilgrimage feast. That meant they would celebrate this feast by way of traveling back to the Holy City. Native Jews, spread all over the globe, would return to Jerusalem in this moment, which meant the city was busting at the seams with people. There are thousands upon thousands upon thousands of people, travelers who are native Jews who have returned to the city for the Feast of Tabernacles.

This feast is like a giant party. Everyone has high spirits, because they've shown back up to celebrate God's provision for the nation of Israel over the course of the last several centuries. That's what's happening in this story. We catch up to Jesus in a moment where he's surrounded by thousands. People are setting up booths. They're in temporary shelters. The streets are littered with folks. In this scene, we see in verse 1:

"As he 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.'"

We're going to work all the way through this passage, but I do want to stop here for a minute, because we need to see what's happening. The disciples see this man, this man born blind, sitting on the side of the road, and they ask Jesus an odd line of questioning. "Hey, this guy is pretty messed up. He's in a weird situation. Whose fault is it? Is it his fault? Did he sin against his parents? Or is it his parents' fault?"

That feels strange to us, yet what we need to know is it actually accords with Jewish tradition. According to Jewish tradition, at the time of conception it was believed that a fetus could choose between two different inclinations: one good and one evil. If it chose an evil inclination, then it would do things. It would kick in the womb, it would make the pregnancy really hard, and there would be a lot of morning sickness.

The belief was that fetus had chosen an evil inclination and, thus, it stood likely to suffer some sort of defect as it came into the world. This was one belief. The alternative was that God was revisiting the errors or mistakes of the parents upon that child. "Hey, you guys messed up in the past, so what I'm going to do is I'm going to get my pound of flesh from the little guy." That was kind of God's perspective according to Jewish tradition.

Jesus knows this is what they're thinking, and he's like, "No, no, no. That's not what happened here." He says, "No, it's not the man's, nor is it the parents' fault. They're not the cause of his condition. His flaws don't exist to perpetuate his shame; his flaws exist to promote God's glory." That's what he says. His pain is not pointless; it's purposeful. God wants to use him to make himself known.

I think it's important for us to take time and unpack this really quickly, because some of you have walked in here tonight, and you have some imperfections, some blemishes, some deficiencies, and you think, "God, you just don't love me. This has happened to me, I guess, because of something I did in the past." What you need to know by way of this quick text is that your imperfections, that thing which you feel is so messed up in your life…

It's not the result of some divine displeasure God has with you. That's not the case. Instead, what this text is telling us is there's no karma in the Christian life. There's no "What you give is what you get. You reap what you sow. What goes around comes around." That's not a philosophy in the Christian worldview. The Christian worldview is not that we get what we deserve; it's that we get what we do not deserve. We get what Christ deserves.

What does Christ deserve? The love of God, a love that's not transactional, that's not quid pro quo. "Hey, you give me a little bit of that, I'll give you a little bit of this." That's not the kind of love God has for his people. It's not the kind of love he has for his Son. He has an unconditional love, which is ours in Christ. We get grace, unmerited favor.

Jesus is using this man's story tonight to help us realize that his blemishes are but a canvas upon which God is going to paint a beautiful portrait for us to see, which is why he does what he does next. Verse 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 and said to him, 'Go, wash in the pool of Siloam' (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing."

Now, Jesus' treatment of this man is very different than the disciples, and it's very different than anyone's treatment of this man. None of us would treat this man this way, because it's not common to smear mud onto people's faces. This is something that's very unique to Jesus, yet is very purposeful to Jesus. You see, the disciples engage this man's condition as fodder for theological discussion. "That guy looks like he did something wrong, so what do you think caused it?" That's not what Jesus does.

He doesn't see his condition as just fodder or fuel for theological discussion. He sees it as an opportunity for new revelation. He sees it as a chance to present, both to this man and to the rest of the crowd, the watching world in that moment, who God is. It's what we said at the beginning. The most important thing is to see as much of God as possible. Jesus is looking at this man and saying, "This is perfect. I can help them see God through this guy's example." So, Jesus takes us to our first point.

1. Jesus meets us where we are so we can see him as he is. That's why he spits on the ground, makes some mud, and smears it on the guy's eyes. This isn't a long-lost treatment for blindness. This is something Jesus is very uniquely and specifically doing for this guy. There's an important detail in this story. This man was born blind. The author, John, really wants us to get it. He wants us to know this guy was born blind.

It says he was blind 13 times over the course of this entire chapter, and it details that he was blind from birth over five times in this chapter, because he needs us to know Jesus isn't just curing a very general kind of blindness; he's curing a very specific kind of blindness. It was a blindness that was from birth. Meaning, this man's issue is he was created wrong. His problem isn't that he lost vision; it's that he never had vision. The issue is he was created blind.

So, catch this. What does Jesus do? He stoops down, and he meets the man where he is. He takes from the dust of the ground. He forms new life, which he smears onto this man's eyes. Instead of just giving restoration to his sight, he brings re-creation to his sight. Jesus becomes the God of creation. Do you see it? That's what he's doing in this moment.

What's amazing about this is as Jesus goes along, he doesn't just meet this guy where he is; he meets this guy where everyone is. He performs a miracle the likes of which would have put everybody on notice, because he performs what we know as a messianic miracle. The Old Testament talks about three specific miracles that only the Messiah would have been able to perform.

Those three miracles are, first, cleansing a leper, because to cleanse a leper, you would have made yourself unclean, which the Messiah couldn't be. The Messiah had to be clean. Second was casting out a mute demon. The proper Jewish methodology for exorcism required that you cast a demon out by its name. That's how you had authority over it.

If the demon was mute, if it couldn't speak, then you couldn't know its name, and you had no authority to cast it out. The Messiah would be able to do that anyway. The third messianic miracle was he would be able to heal a man born blind, because this isn't just an act of restoration; it's an act of re-creation. It's recreating something that was never there to begin with.

You see, by the time we reach this story, Jesus has already performed two of those miracles. He has done the first two. As he comes to this moment with this man, he performs the third, which puts everybody on red alert. It freaks everybody out. They see that he doesn't just heal this blind man. A lot of people were getting healed by Pharisees. This was something rabbis could do at some level of infrequency. Jesus does something that has never been done in the history of humanity. In so doing, he proves "I'm the Messiah."

It's kind of like the process you go through to get verified on Instagram. That's what Jesus is doing. He's trying to earn (not pay for) that little blue check mark. He wants everyone to know, "I'm the real deal. I'm the genuine article." So, what does he do? He does exactly what you would do on Instagram. He presents that he's authentic. You have to represent a real and genuine person. Jesus is that. We can historically verify the fact that Jesus is authentically real.

There has to be a level of uniqueness to the person's account. You have to represent the unique presence of that person. One account is allowed per person, just meaning you actually have to be you. Jesus is not trying to be anybody he's not. He's very content in his identity, a very secure individual. So, he's uniquely himself and no one else.

He also presents a complete account. He demonstrates to everyone that, yes, he is public. He does have a bio. "Hello. I'm the Son of God." He has a profile photo. "You can catch me on the Galilean seaside, and I'm active. I'm out here. I'm doing things. I'm teaching. I'm performing miracles." Jesus is very completely himself.

Lastly, he's notable. He is noteworthy. People want to know him. He is a well-known figure. He has a brand, a persona, the likes of which sends people flocking. They want to get as close to this guy as they can. They are fascinated by the authority with which he teaches. Jesus is verifying for everyone, "Hey, I am the Messiah, and to leave no room for doubt, I am going to perform these miracles so that you know I am he, and no one else is," because this is a title you don't buy but you earn. It's something that has to be proven.

Jesus is doing that in this moment. He's showing "I'm the literal King. I'm the Anointed One. I'm the Deliverer, Savior of God's chosen people Israel. That's who I am." That's what he's proving to everybody by way of this moment. He's the one people have been waiting for, that stories have been told about, that prayers have been lifted to, that hope hinges upon. That's who Jesus Christ is. In doing this miracle, yes, he's meeting this man where he's at, but he's meeting everyone where they're at too.

Catch this. This is amazing. Jesus meets this blind man where he is. What does this man need? He needs re-creation. He can't see. He has never been able to see. So, what does Jesus do? He stoops to his level, and he performs the miracle in a way that demonstrates he is the creator God. What about the crowds? What do they need? He meets them where they are. He performs a miracle the likes of which they all had been anticipating, they had all been waiting for.

He performs a miracle that demonstrates he is not just a teacher, a prophet, a nice guy, a moral example to follow, or a revolutionary leader. No. He is the Messiah. And not only that. The Pharisees in the story… What does Jesus do? He performs a miracle on Sabbath. And not just any Sabbath; a high Sabbath, a festival Sabbath, a really important day.

He performs it on a day that was intended for rest, and it sends the Pharisees up in arms, because he wants to prove to them "I am the Lord of the Sabbath." Do you see it? In this one moment, he meets everyone right where they are so they can see him exactly as he is, which is why God brought some of you here tonight.

You've not walked into this room and fooled God into seeing you as something other than you are. You've not come in here and cleaned yourself up enough that God is like, "Yeah, man. You're looking good." No. You walked in here tonight, and he knows you exactly as you are in your inmost self. Not like this guy, not blind and begging, but burdened all the same. What he wants to do for you is exactly what he does for this man. He wants to meet you where you are that you might see him as he is.

For some of you, he knows you are overwhelmed by the approval of others. You just want people to like you. You'll do anything. "I'll compromise my character. What do I have to do? What do I have to sell? Where do I have to be? What do I need to say?" You'll do anything, because you just want people to approve of you. Jesus is like, "Calm down. I'm a friend who's as close as a brother." That's what Galatians 3:29 tells us.

Some of you are trapped in addiction. You are enslaved to your sin. You have cravings, hungers, appetites, and desires the likes of which you have prayed would go away, yet they are still there, waiting for you early in the morning and late into the evening. You are trapped in an addiction. Jesus is saying, "Hey, I'm a wonderful counselor. I can help you through that." (Isaiah 9:6)

Some of you are desperate for things to get better…in your job, in your relationship, with your family, amongst your parents, in your friendships…whatever it is. You're just desperate for things to get better. "God, it seems like nothing will ever actually improve." He's saying, "Hey, you're not hopeless. You have me. I'm the hope of glory." (Colossians 1:27)

Some of you are haunted by past mistakes. You think back to that thing you did, not just yesterday, not just last week, not just last month, but years ago, and you're still carrying it with you. You're haunted by something that happened so long ago. He's looking at you and saying, "No, no, no. There's no sin I will not forgive." (Luke 23:34)

Some of you are not just thinking about the past; you are afraid of the future. It freaks you out. You don't know what's going to happen out there, so you just sit and dwell and worry and complain right here. Your fear of the future is something Jesus looks at and says, "No, no, no. You don't need to worry about what's ahead. I will take care of it. I am the way. I am the truth. I am the life." (John 14:6)

Some of you are enslaved to secrets you feel you can never share. There is some hidden sin, some forbidden shame that if it ever got out into the light of day, you'd lose your job. You'd lose your relationship. Your family would disown you. Your community would outright expose you. You can't get it out in the open. No one can ever know. "I'm going to the grave with this thing. I'll never share this secret I have." Jesus is looking at you and saying, "No. I am a Savior who has come to rescue you from that." (Luke 19:10)

Some of you tonight have been walking with God for a long time. You're comfortable in spaces like this. You know all of the lyrics of the songs we sing. You raise your hands in the right moments, yet you're spiritually flatlining, and you're doubtful things will ever return to the way they were at first. Jesus welcomes all who are weary and heavy laden. That's what Matthew 11 says.

To the last of you, your sin is not hidden in secret. It has been laid bare for all to see. You walk into rooms like this, and just by way of your presence entering the doorway, you feel exposed and vulnerable amongst a people like The Porch. Jesus looks at you and says, "I'm Immanuel. I'm with you. You're not alone. You're welcome here." Jesus knows your condition, and he has come close anyway. He wants to meet you where you are that you might see him as he is. That's what he does for this man, and that's what he wants to do for you, but there's a catch.

2. Jesus will complicate your life to clarify your vision. I hate to be the bearer of bad news. That's a tough bit to sell. I'll admit it. But it's true. I have to give it to you straight. This is what we learn in this story. Jesus not only wants you to see him; he wants you to see him clearly. Bing! He wants it to be 20/20 vision. He wants you to get all of him and more. He wants you to have the full array of who he is as a person, which means he will complicate your life to clarify your vision.

Why do parents give their children chores? Why do they unnecessarily complicate their lives? Because without them they're spoiled, entitled, self-interested, and a pain upon this world. They give them chores because that's where they learn responsibility. That's where they grow in character. That's where they build some sense of maturity. They grow in gratitude. That's why they're given chores.

That's why my dad dragged me to our family farm and taught me how to cut firewood as a boy. When all of my friends on Saturday mornings were snuggled nicely in their beds and watching Saturday morning cartoons, I was out there in the cold of winter just swinging that axe, just working it. Why did my dad do that to me? Because he cared about me. He didn't want me to be like them. He wanted me to be better. He wanted to complicate my life to clarify my vision.

Yes, he wanted to teach me things. He wanted to grow my character. He wanted to help me learn responsibility, but it was in the complication that I not only got a vision for those things; I got a vision for him. I got to learn my dad. I got to get to know him. I got to understand his character. I got to learn from his example. In the process, I learned what it meant to navigate the hard together.

That's what Jesus is doing with this guy. He complicates his life. Jesus tells him to go and wash in the pool of Siloam, which really doesn't mean much to us. Can we just be clear on that? We probably don't have much grasp of ancient Jewish geography. This just sounds like he saw him at the temple and invited him. "Hey, buddy. I'll take you by the hand. We'll just walk over here to the pool of Siloam, put some mud on, wipe it off, and you're going to see." That's what we feel like this is, but that is not the case.

If you go and look at historical maps, what you realize is this is a half-mile journey down a 400-foot declined pitch on one of the three busiest days in Jerusalem. That's cruel! That is unusual punishment, Jesus. Why would you tell a blind man to do that? That is hard enough for regular people. I know folks who can't make that kind of hike today, yet you're asking someone who can't even see to traverse that sort of terrain. That feels crazy!

Jesus cares too much to not complicate his life. You see, Jesus is doing this for a very specific purpose. Couldn't he just snap his fingers, give but a word, and give him his sight back? Of course. No doubt Jesus could do that, but therein lies the significance to this story. Jesus is less concerned with this man's physical sight and more concerned with his spiritual sight. He is less concerned with the eyes of his head and more concerned with the eyes of his heart.

That's what Jesus' aim is, and that's his aim for us too. Second Corinthians 5:7: "…for we [those who know the Lord Jesus Christ] walk by faith, not by sight." Hebrews 11:1: "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." John 20:29, from Jesus himself: "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." Jesus could have solved this man's blindness in but a moment, but the blindness of his heart took a little bit more time.

I know this lesson really well. When my wife Brooke and I moved to Houston, we went to work with young adults there, people in the exact same stage of life as you. As we made our way to Houston, I was pumped. I was so excited. I had been working in college ministry and cutting my teeth in smaller ways, but for the first time, I was going to get to lead and teach and shepherd God's people.

I was amped. I was ready to kick butt and take names. I walked in, and I was like, "Here I am," yet I was the one whose butt got kicked. I was the name that got taken. It was so much harder than I expected, especially in my first year. I remember at the end of the first year looking up to God and being like, "Why? God, why would you do this to me?" It's one of the best lessons I've ever learned.

He taught me in that season, "Kylen, I will take you places you would never choose to go to teach you those things you need to know. I will lead you into places you would never choose, yet it will be those places that you'll never take back." You see, it was through the pain…not despite it, but through the pain…that I learned to trust God, to trust him with my life, to trust him with my future, to trust him with my family. In the process of doing so, I got a clearer vision of him.

Friends, God will complicate your life to clarify your vision. He wants you to know him; so much so that he will inconvenience your life and disrupt your plans. Does that mean it's easy to handle those moments in the future now that we know that? No. Not at all. I was just thinking about this guy's story. This is a hard ask.

Don't you think during his journey to Siloam he probably thought, "Why am I even doing this? This is so hard. I can't even see. Jesus, you couldn't have picked a closer pool? There are plenty in Jerusalem for you to choose. Why would you pick Siloam? Why are you sending me down this path to this place? Why couldn't you pick something easier?

Not only that, Jesus. The thing you're trying to do is something no one has ever done before. Like, I'm going to be the first one? 'Hello, everyone. I'm the man born blind who was healed. History, count my name. It was me.' No, that's not going to be the case. This feels crazy. Why would he do this?"

Why does this man press on? For this reason. I think he was desperate enough to keep going. I think he was weary of the hopelessness. I think he was tired of his circumstance, and he heard from one man a voice and a truth that sounded like the God he had heard for so long say, "I can help you. Take this and go there," so he did. He got up, and he moved. You see, desperation is a great motivation. It'll move you forward. It'll keep you going.

I think some of you are in this place tonight. Amidst the hard of whatever it is you're enduring, the pain of whatever you're feeling, some of you are desperate enough, like this man, in this seat you're sitting in tonight, to humble yourself and say, "Jesus, I don't know if you can fix me. I don't know if you can heal me. I don't even know if you can help me, but, God, I know I can't, so I might as well try. Where's Siloam? What can I lose?" Wrong question. It's not what you can lose, because you can't lose a thing by trusting in Jesus. It's what you can gain, because you can gain everything.

3. One touch from God changes everything. That's what happens in this story for this guy. Look at how the rest of the passage unfolds. It starts with an interrogation by the Pharisees. It says the Pharisees get wind of what happened, that Jesus is out here and performing these miracles. And rightly so. As religious leaders, he has performed enough of these messianic miracles that they should investigate. But they don't just investigate; they interrogate this guy. There's some pride. There's some ego. There's some platform here that they're worried Jesus is encroaching on, so they gather this guy, and they say this.

"They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. Now it was a Sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. 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.' 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. 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.'"

You see, they can't make sense of it. They are so dissatisfied with this guy's answers that they go from interrogating him to interrogating his parents. "If he's not going to tell us the truth, bring in Mom and Dad. They will tell us the truth. Is he suspect? Should we trust him? Is he believable?" They're trying to find a way, a loophole, a path toward manipulating around this situation, yet it says there's division among them. They cannot agree. So, they have him come back, and the interrogation escalates. It moves from interrogation to intimidation, which is what we see in verse 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.' He answered, 'Whether he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.' They said to him, 'What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?' 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?'"

I kind of like this guy. He's throwing a little jab, a little sarcasm in the mix. You can feel the tension rising in this moment. The Pharisees are openly dissatisfied with the man's claims. They're not just behind hushed doors, talking to each other, and saying, "We can't make sense of this." They are looking at him and saying, "We can't make sense of this. This doesn't compute."

Yet, as he stands before the religious leaders, and they're not only interrogating him but intimidating him, he doesn't back down. He does not give ground. He doesn't bend. He doesn't bow. He doesn't break. He stands stalwart. Why? Because one touch from God changes everything, which raises an important question for us. Why is this his reaction? He was blind. What do you think he wanted? To see. He got it. He had already gotten the thing he wanted.

So, he's in the middle of this interrogation in the process of this intimidation, and he has his sight. In the midst of this conflict, why doesn't he just plead the fifth and throw Jesus under the bus? "Sorry, man. It's you or me." Why does he go down with the ship when he could just go into the trade portal, you know, swap teams, leave Jesus behind, and join these guys? He has his sight. He has what he wants. Why does he stand in allegiance to Jesus?

Because (this is big, and I don't need you to miss this) one touch from Jesus didn't just change something in this guy's life; it changed everything in this guy's life, which is a really confronting thought for some of us here tonight, because if we can be honest with ourselves, some of us just want Jesus to change something.

Like, "Jesus, I don't need you to change everything in my life, but I just need you to change something…my job, my paycheck, my bank account, my position in the office. Maybe move me completely from this city to that city. My relationship status would be amazing. Can you help me change my body? That'd be great too."

We just want him to change something. Maybe it's not a tangible something. Maybe it's an intangible something. Maybe it's "Jesus, can you help me change my desire? Can you help me change my dreams? Can you help me change my skills, my giftings, my talents? Can you help me change my reputation, my knowledge? Can you help me change that?"

Listen. These things are not inherently bad. In fact, they're morally neutral, but if Jesus Christ is not Lord over all of your life, then he is not Lord over any part of your life. There is one throne in your life, and you don't get to sit on it. It's his. He is King. Paul tells us in Philippians 2:9-11, "Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow…" That's what you do to kings. You bow before them.

"…in heaven and on earth and under the earth…" There is no mark of real estate anywhere in all of the cosmos that is excluded from this. Everyone will bow the knee. "…and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." If that's not enough, Paul keeps going in Colossians 1. He says:

"He [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 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. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 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."

Jesus is supreme, Jesus is King, Jesus is Lord, and he gets to sit on the throne of your life. That's why one touch from God changes everything. That's the one thing this man knows. He was blind, but now he sees. And not just physically sees; he spiritually sees. That's what the Greek in this moment says. The word for sight here is blepo, which means he doesn't just see what's tangible; he sees what's true.

That's what the hand of God does in the life of a person. That's what one touch can do for you tonight. It can change everything. It can erupt your rhythms, it can disrupt your plans, and it can lead you into deeper, fuller, more lasting life than you'll find anywhere else, than you yourself will ever lead yourself into.

Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He is the hero of heaven. He is the Light of the World. He is the Prince of Peace. He is the Messiah, according to this text, who was sent to save. For this man (and, I pray, for you), no amount of interrogation and no amount of intimidation could ever sway his allegiance from this King. Jesus is God become man that man might come to God, and no cost incurred in this world is worth the riches of all he affords, even the cost of being cast out, which is where the story finishes.

At the very bottom paragraph of this text, it says the Pharisees can't make sense with this guy, so they cast him out. There's a really detailed explanation of what that kind of casting out means, what that sort of excommunication looks like, according to Pharisaic tradition, but for the sake of our time, what you need to know is he is cast out in such a way that its only modern-day equivalent is death. He's removed from the synagogue. That's what verse 22 tells us.

He's removed from the Jewish community, that which he has wanted to be a part of and at last has a chance to because he has his sight. He loses it. He's removed from it. He is ostracized from community. He is cast out of society. He is alienated and alone, left forbidden on the fringe. It's there that Jesus comes to him. When no one else wanted him, Jesus says, "I want you. You may be cast out, but I'm closing in."

As he engages this man, he looks at him and says, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?" To which this guy responds, "Who is he, sir? I want to believe in him, but who is he?" I can just imagine Jesus sitting face-to-face with this guy, staring into those eyes which now can see. He says, "You've already seen him, and it is I who is him."

Friends, don't you know that Jesus Christ has done for him what he wishes to do for you? He wishes to engage you tonight wherever it is you are, to meet you in that place that you might see him as he is, for that is what he has done in descending from heaven above, coming to earth below, meeting us here, fallen, broken, bruised, and busted humanity, meeting us in our death, that we might see him in his life and receive that for ourselves too.

Jesus wants for you what he wanted for this man. He wishes you to know, "Your life is so complicated, but I bore that complication upon the cross that it might clarify your vision of who it is I am." Jesus wants you to know, just as this man does himself, that one touch from God can change a person forever. Jesus Christ is the gracious hand of God extending to those who feel so far off and yet will be brought home should they place their faith in him and follow him heavenward.

Friends, don't you know Jesus is the one who has come near to be cast out that we who are cast out might come near? This is the heart of our King. This is the one thing to know. If you're blind, tonight you can see. One touch changes everything. How badly do you want for that touch tonight? Let me pray.

Father, I just thank you. I thank you, God, that in moments like this you come close to meet us. People from all walks of life and an assortment of backgrounds… You come close to meet us here in this moment to teach us that same truth we all need despite our diversity, which is that one came for all that all might be united as one under his name.

Father, I pray that you would move in this moment, that your Holy Spirit would come and would sweep amongst us, that you would have your way amongst my friends here in these seats. God, there are some people here tonight who want a fresh touch from you, who want a touch from heaven. I pray, God, that you would reach down and meet them where they are and lift them to where you yourself sit tonight.

Others, God, are here, and what they need is humbling. I think about the Pharisees in this story. They have so much line length and page work, yet what we see from their example is that spiritual arrogance leads to spiritual blindness. I pray, God, that for those in the room who may, in fact, know you, they would say, "Jesus, I'm blinder than I thought. Would you light up my life, give me new sight, and lead me in the way everlasting?"

For others, tonight is a night of salvation, that they might look to you and say, "Jesus Christ, be the Lord of my life. I've reached the end of myself. I am desperate enough to follow. It's not what I have to lose; it's what I have to gain, and it's you, my God, who I wish to gain tonight. Save me from my sin, forgive me of my iniquity, and lead me home that I might be with you forever." This room is yours. These people are yours. Would you sit on the throne of our lives, God, we pray? In Christ's name, amen.