Blog / Book of the Month / (s)elective blindness / John 9 / Pr. Lucas Andre Albrecht / March 19th, 2023/ Mount Olive Lutheran Church

(s)elective blindness / John 9 / Pr. Lucas Andre Albrecht / March 19th, 2023/ Mount Olive Lutheran Church

(s)elective blindness / John 9 / Pr. Lucas Andre Albrecht / March 19th, 2023/ Mount Olive Lutheran Church


John 9; Ephesians 5:8-14
Theme: “(S)elective blindness”
Intr – I have a thesis and no one has been able to change my mind yet. There’s no cold in Saskatchewan in March.

        Here’s my evidence:

-Most of my life I’ve lived in places where March didn’t have any cold;
-I saw a guy walking in jeans and sweater as I was coming to Church;
-Many places in the World actually don’t have cold in March
-I don’t see any of you wearing heavy clothes right now; the temperature seems pretty comfortable here.

What did I just do this is generally called “Confirmation bias”. You pay attention to what you want to confirm what you already think you know. In this sermon based on the context of John 9 I’ll call selective blindness.

1 – The SIGN

        First of all: Jesus actually heals a blind man. This is not a mere “spiritual story” to illustrate a point. It shows Jesus as the Son of Man, Son of God – which deepens further the blindness of the Pharisees.


        The context shows us selective blindness happening in at least three levels

a.   In dealing with Scriptures

-“Who sinned so that he was born blind?” (disciples)
-“It must be a fraud, for He does not keep the Sabbath” (Pharisees)
-You are born in sin and wishes to teach us? (Pharisees)

Good Biblical use – Scripture interprets itself. Good outcome.
Bad Biblical use – Tradition, spirit of the moment, cultural aspects, our mood or our desires interpret the Bible. Bad outcome.

When used correctly the Word of the power of God for salvation. When misused, it is the wrath of God for condemnation.

b.   In dealing with a person

“You were born in sin and wish to teach us?”[1]
Sometimes the way we are blind to certain things in the Word of God may lead us to arrogance or contempt to other people, especially if they are not in the same realm of belief in which we are. We are not to concede even and inch when it comes to right teaching. But we need to take heed so that the wrong kind of application of the right teaching wouldn’t hurt people and throw them out of the presence of Christ.

c.    In dealing with Jesus

“Give glory to God”. They might have accepted Jesus and given even some honor if He would just change a bit to conform to their mold.

This is how the world treats Jesus. This is how sometimes even Christians are tempted to do so. “Okay Jesus, you are love, you bring peace, you want people to go well, that is all awesome. But can you please just change, or not mention (enter here whatever the spirit of the time wants us to change: heaven and hell, salvation exclusively through Christ, Triune God, what is love, gender, beginning and end of life, )

This is us. Sinners who are under regular danger of dealing with Scriptures in a wrong way and therefore misconstruing Jesus and not treating our neighbour with the fullness of love prescribed by the Scriptures, which include Law and Gospel.


        Jesus called the blind man to faith. He healed his eyes, but more than that he awakened faith in his heart. The blind man first confessed Jesus because of a material miracle. But later he confesses Jesus out of faith that was awakened in his heart. Now he was cured even from His spiritual blindness.

        Just like you and me. We were born blind and away from God’s Word, From Jesus, and from one another. But on His Cross Jesus made humankind elective blinds, in two senses:

-Objective: forgiveness is won for every one;
-Subjective: As we are called to faith in Christ, we know we were elected by God in eternity to be with Him.

        The way the treat the Scriptures impacts the way we see Jesus. And the way we see Jesus impacts the way we deal with people. As we are grounded in His Word as it is, as we are fed in the Sacraments as they are, we remove our selective blindness and remains steadfast I the whole counsel of God. We won’t ask Jesus to change to conform to our mold, but we will be transformed constantly by the power of the Holy Spirit to be more like Him and less like us, or less like the world wants us to be.

        That won’t make us, or shouldn’t make us arrogant, but compassionate towards people and the World.

Here are some further reflections for our consideration:

-The blind man was so grateful for what Jesus done for him that he did not shy away of giving a powerful witness before powerful people: He is a prophet. Gratitude for what Jesus did, does and will do for us is the only real “strength” that can prompt us to give our powerful witness before a world growing hostile to the Christian faith: Jesus is the Lord. And what happens when we confess that Jesus is the Lord and that the Bible is His word? Hostility and enmity with the World.[2]

-A beggar comes before the Pharisees and turns the tables.[3] A “criminal” dies on a cross and turns the world tables. Jesus.

-God’s works and wonders are frequently hidden in our world, so He uses ways to make them known, as in the sign performed by Jesus. When you are facing difficult times, don’t look back for a cause, a sin, a mistake, a punishment. Look forward, to what God is making, to what he promised He Will make and what you know that will happen.  Look to Scriptures and to Jesus In Christ the Light of the World.

By the way, the same question might have been asked at the foot of the Cross, when people saw Jesus dying like a criminal: “Who sinned, Him or His mother so that he would suffer such punishment?” What was happening there, even though it was the payment of the cost of sin, was ultimately the manifestation of the Glory of God in His Son. He came as the Light to the World so that by faith we can see Him - and see Him clearly.

 Cc – Well, yes my friends, there’s cold in Saskatchewan in March, I have to admit due to mounting evidence I haven’t considered before. This is the way we deal with Scriptures as well: we avoid selective blindness and pay attention to the whole counsel of God, by the assistance of the Holy Spirit. From there we see clearly who Jesus is, and then also who our neighbour is. From there we see clearly, precisely and eternally.


[1] Resorting to authority doesn’t solve the question, only highlights the blindness of those leaders. The Pharisees say “we know” about something that was wrong. They condemned the ex-blind man who says “I do know” when he was confessing the truth. Back to the Vermont School: We know a male cannot be a female. But the word says “we know” and then reviles us as the Pharisees: “You are born in sin and you want to teach us right and wrong? Get out of my face.”

[2] For example: “Vermont Christian school barred from future tournaments after forfeiting game against team with trans student”.
That ex-blind man was under the risk of being aposinagogos, “without a synagogue”, without a Church. We are under the same risk of “apolitikos”, being “without  a society” who will welcome us. But it is even worse when it is inside the Church, like it happened with that no-name blind man. People from His own Church, who should know the Bible better, ban him for confessing exactly what the Bible says. We Christians are at the risk of being discriminated against even by other Christians entities, as they embrace what the World thinks of God, not what the Word teaches about God.

[3] “We are disciples of Moses”, said the Pharisees. True disciples of Moses are Disciples of Christ, or their Moses is a fake one.

[4] For example: “Vermont Christian school barred from future tournaments after forfeiting game against team with trans student”.




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