“Do You Believe…?” — Part One
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“Do You Believe…?” — Part One

John 9:24–38  (ID: 2524)

When Jesus healed a blind man, you’d think his community would have celebrated his good fortune. Instead, the religious zealots of the day immediately turned on him and his family because he was giving Jesus the glory. Even though the evidence of his transformation spoke for itself, the Pharisees blatantly refused to give credit where credit was due. Alistair Begg describes this dramatic controversy and encourages us to stand up, like the blind man, for the truth of what God has done.

Series Containing This Sermon

A Light in the Darkness

A Study of Christ’s Encounters with the Lost John 9:1–41, Mark 5:1–20, Mark 6:30–43 Series ID: 25401

Sermon Transcript: Print

I invite you to turn with me to John chapter 9. Now, we’re going to read the section in chapter 9, just at one point, and then we’re going to pray together.

Verse 35: “Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, ‘Do you believe in the Son of Man?’”

Father, we pray that with our Bibles open and our hearts, we trust, seeking and sensitive to your truth, that the Spirit of God will be our teacher, so that both in speaking and in hearing, in understanding and in believing and in living out the gospel, that we might be enabled in everything by you, the living God. We cast ourselves completely dependent upon you in this time. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Well, we’re coming this morning for the fourth time to the ninth chapter of John’s Gospel. And last time, we noted the formalism of the Pharisees, and we considered the fear of the parents. It actually says right there in verse 22, “His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews.” The Jews were such an intimidating presence that the man’s parents had determined they would fudge the question that was addressed to them, and at the same time, they would pass the buck. And they said, “Why don’t you ask our son?”—the one who had been born blind and now can see. “Why don’t you ask him?” Verse 23: “He is of age.”

We come now to our third word, which we managed unsuccessfully to reach last time, and that word is faith. Faith. When we use the word faith, many things come to mind. Some of us may think that faith, in the New Testament, is akin to going to the hairdresser’s, whereby you sit in a chair and you entrust your head and your hair to somebody that you may have met or may never have met. And there is a measure of faith involved in that. You take your money to the bank, and you give it to them in good faith that they will actually do what they said: look after it and give it back to you—at least the same amount, if not a wee bit more. Or you go to the pharmacist, you ask for your prescription, they fill the prescription, they put it in a little plastic thing, and you take it home to your bathroom. And I wonder if, like me, you ever think about that just before you pop the first one. You say to yourself, “What if they gave me Mr. Simpson’s prescription?” And I don’t know who Mr. Simpson is, nor do you. I invented him. But what if his prescription could kill me? I’m putting a tremendous amount of faith in that pharmacist—that he or she was having a good day, paying very careful attention, and making sure that the right pills went in the right little plastic bucket.

Well, in some senses, that is true concerning faith in Jesus—but only in some senses. Because what the Bible says about faith is this: that it is by grace, through faith, that we are saved, and this is not our own doing; it is the gift of God.[1] So that the very faith that a man or woman exercises in the person of the Lord Jesus is not something that they look inside and find for themselves and by themselves, but it is actually a gift from God, enabling blind people to see and those who do not believe to begin to believe.

And John of all the Gospels is very, very clear that nobody lives in a middle ground between believing and unbelieving. John 3:36—you needn’t turn to it—reads as follows: “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son,” or doesn’t believe in the Son, “will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.” These are very solemn words, and they’re very important words, and I mention them now because it sets the context for what we go on to consider.

This man is, once again, in verse 24, summoned before these religious leaders. And their process of intimidation continues: “‘Give glory to God,’ they said. ‘We know this man is a sinner.’” Now, it may be that that phrase “Give glory to God” is, as the margin suggests, “a solemn charge to tell the truth,”[2] which is likely. But it may also be that what they’re arguing is, “You should give glory to God, not to this Jesus of Nazareth, whoever he is and wherever he comes from. Give the glory to God; don’t give the glory to him.” Either way, they are seeking to drive this man away from his conviction. The reason that they didn’t want any glory to be given to Jesus was because, by their own testimony, they knew Jesus to be an open sinner.

You just need to turn back one page to chapter 8 and I’ll show you why that is true. Jesus, in a quite remarkable statement, tells them that although they think themselves to be very secure as children of Abraham, they’re really children of the devil, because the devil is a liar, and they tell lies too.[3] And then, in John 8:45, he says, “‘Yet because I tell [you] the truth, you do not believe me! Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I[’m] telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.’ [And] the Jews answered him, ‘Aren’t we right in saying that you[’re] a Samaritan and demon-possessed?’”[4] That’s their response to Jesus. And it is in light of that that they challenge this sign, that they challenge this miracle, and they challenge the testimony of this particular individual. But if they thought they could intimidate him, they are discovering that they actually can’t, that this man has a little bit of mettle to him, and he is able to respond very clearly.

“A second time they summoned [him] …. ‘We know this man is a sinner,’” they said. And then look at his reply in verse 25: “Whether he[’s] a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” In other words, what he really says to them is, “I don’t know about what you know, but I do know what I know, and what I know is that I was once blind, but now I can see. I mean, you seem to,” he says, “have all these kind of inferences, and all these assertions, and all these observations about Jesus. And I’m listening to what you’re saying, but I’m standing before you as a testimony to the fact of what has happened: I was a blind man, but now I can see.”

Well, that kind of irrefutable evidence is hard to face. And recognizing it, in verse 26 the Pharisees retreat to the questions that they’d been asking previously: “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” If you look back up to verse 15, that’s exactly what they had asked him before: “The Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight.” Now they’re back asking the same question.

Now, it may be that this is indicative of their interrogation style. If you like detective programs—and I must confess, I don’t watch any of the contemporary ones. I have no interest in them. But if you give me some old ones, I can go back there with you—and some old British ones, particularly. But that’s just my problem. But I always enjoyed the situation where the person who was accused was taken into the white-walled room with the single table and two chairs, one for the detective and one for the accused. And then the detective would run through the questions. The man would answer the questions, the detective would stand up, walk out the door, close it, and leave the man there. Next scene, the detective returns, sits down in the chair, asks the exact same questions all over again, gets up, walks out the door, slams the door, comes back. Next time he says, “Would you like a cigarette?” And the guy said, “Yes, please.” So he takes the cigarette, lights it up—asks him the exact same questions all over again!

You say to yourself, “What’s up with this detective? Has he run out of questions?” No, what he’s doing is, he is repeatedly going through the same stuff in the hope that somewhere along the line he will be able to identify an inconsistency in the man’s response and thereby be able to get leverage so as to further convict him.

Now, it may well be that that’s what they’re doing—that they’re hoping that if they keep asking him to say the same thing over again, his account of what took place will actually contradict itself. Or it may be—and I think this is more likely—that the reason they ask these two questions again in verse 26 is because they’ve run out of steam. They have just run out of steam! There’s no air left in their balloon. There is nothing left for them to say. They are confronted by this incontrovertible evidence. And standing on the side of truth, the man, in verse 27, takes the offensive: “We’ve already been through all of this,” he says. “I’ve told you this already. You didn’t listen the first time. I can’t believe you want me to tell you again—unless, of course, you want to become his disciples as well.”

Notice, incidentally, the progression in this man’s thinking. Back in verse 11, when they had asked him how his eyes were opened, he said, “The man they call Jesus.” “The man they call Jesus.” In verse 17, as they press him, he says of Jesus, “He is a prophet.” Here in verse 27, he recognizes that Jesus is of such a stature that there are those who would become his disciples and his followers.

But now the argument, or the interrogation—I don’t think it’s fair to call it a conversation; it was much more than that—but it has now reached the tipping point. And the man has forced his accusers to play their hand. They’re going to have to show what they have in their hand. They’ve played the poker game of this dialogue for long enough. He’s calling it: “Show me what you’ve got.” And what have they got? Nothing.

And so they do what always happens when the weakness of an individual’s argument becomes obvious: they resort to insults. When you no longer have anything else that you can say to substantiate your claim, the chances are you’re going to say something like, “You’re ugly, and your mother dresses you funny.” And at that point, the person that you are arguing with knows he or she has got you, because you now have nothing to say that is logical or progressive or challenging, and all you’ve got left is to start slinging insults around.

And that’s exactly what they did. Verse 28’s graphic: says that they threw their insults at him. They threw their insults at him, claiming, again, the high ground of their theological background: “We are the disciples of Moses! We know that God spoke to Moses. But as for this fellow, this person that you’re on about, we don’t even know where he comes from. We haven’t got a clue.”

Well, of course, that wasn’t actually true. Because Jesus had already been involved in a dialogue with them. You can turn back one page, again, and I’ll point it out to you. In the conversation where they’re challenging the testimony of Jesus, Jesus says to them in John 8:23,

“You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I[’m] not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins.”

“Who are you?” they asked.

“Just what I[’ve] been claiming all along,” Jesus replied.

So there was some ironic sense in which they didn’t know where he was from, but there was another very realistic sense in which they did know. And it was the very things that he said concerning his origins that offended them. And they refused to accept what he said.

Leon Morris, whose commentary on John is arguably one of the finest, observes in the response of the man in verse 30 here—“The man answered…”—he says the man’s chain of reasoning is pretty good for someone who’d “been a beggar all his life, and presumably a stranger to academic and forensic argument.”[5] And it is quite remarkable, isn’t it? This man has got some gristle to him, doesn’t he? This man has got truth on his side. This man is not in any doubt at all as to what has taken place for him.

And so, look at how he answers in verse 30. I’ll paraphrase it for him. What he says to them is, “I find this truly remarkable! Your unbelief in face of the evidence is more of a miracle than my cure. The fact that you don’t believe, in light of the evidence, is more remarkable to me than the fact that I can actually see. Because there is a basis for my being able to see—namely, an encounter with Jesus. And you have seen what Jesus has done. And you refuse to accept what your eyes tell you. That’s more remarkable,” he says, “than the fact that I am now a seeing individual.”

And he jumps on the back of that, and he uses their same form of argumentation, pointing out, “We know that God does not listen to sinners.” In other words, what he uses is a syllogistic argument. You remember that from school, but we don’t need to go there. But in other words, he starts from premise, and subpremise, and conclusion—the very process that they had used back up in verse 16: “This man is not from God.” Premise. “For he does[n’t] keep the Sabbath.” Subpremise. Therefore, he couldn’t have done this. The exact same thing again in 16b: “Others [said], ‘How can a sinner do such miraculous signs?’” Same argument.

And what the man does is the exact same thing. He says, “One, we are all agreed that God doesn’t listen to sinners.” Now, don’t let that unsettle you if you are aware of the fact that you don’t know God and you’re aware of your sin. That’s why it’s very, very important always to understand the Bible in the context in which it is set. What is being said here is not that the thief on the cross didn’t have a hope in the world of ever getting to heaven because he was a sinner hanging on a cross next to Jesus, and he asked him, “Lord, will you remember me when you come into your kingdom?”[6] Did Jesus listen to the sinner? Of course he did! Did Jesus listen to Zacchaeus and his cries for change?[7] Yes, he did! Did Jesus listen to the woman taken in adultery?[8] Yes, he did! Well, what is being said here?

What is being said here can be best understood—and I’ll only give you one cross-reference. I could weigh you down with them, but I won’t. Psalm 66:18: “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.” The verse does not say, “If I had sin in my heart, God wouldn’t hear me.” God wouldn’t hear anybody then, would he? Because everyone has sin in their heart. So if sinlessness was the key to God listening, all of us would be up the creek. No, “If I had cherished sin in my heart, if I was committed to my sin, then God wouldn’t listen to me.” He says, “We know that’s true. God does not listen to the impenitent. He hears the cries of the penitent, but he does not listen to those who are willful in their unbelief and in their sin.” Secondly, he does listen “to the godly man who does his will.” He listens to those who do what God says, who are in a right relationship with him. It’s a kind of Matthew 6:33 statement: “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness”—doing of the right thing before God—“and all these things will be added to you.”[9] God does not listen to the cries of the impenitent, but he does listen to the cries of those who do his will.

Thirdly, he says, “[no one] has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could[n’t] do [anything].” Now, they knew that was the case, because even in the miraculous events that we have in the Old Testament—even in the records of the things that Moses did in going before Pharaoh in Egypt and so on—there is no record of any man opening the eyes of a man born blind. And so, with a simple logic, and yet with a compelling logic, the man beats them at their own game, turns the tables on them, and says, “You know, you’re the ones who’ve been starting off with the premise, ‘We know this, therefore that; we know this, therefore that.’” He says, “Let’s do the same thing. We know that God does not listen to the cries of the impenitent. We know that God does listen to those who do his will. We know that there is no record of ever anybody having a man open a man’s eyes. Therefore,” he says—conclusion, deduction—“if this man were not from God, he couldn’t do anything.”

Now, let’s pause there for just a moment, because there’s a lesson here for each of us in speaking to people concerning faith in Jesus Christ. We may think that the high point in John chapter 9 is arguably verse 25, where he says, “I don’t know about what you know, but I do know what I know, and that is, I know that I was once blind, but now I can see.” Some of us, I think, have a real tendency to retreat to that kind of thing: “Well, you can’t argue me out of my experience. I know my experience. I know what happened to me. That’s what happened to me; therefore, [blows raspberry]!” You know, that kind of thing. Not a real raspberry, but a kind of metaphorical raspberry.

And our friends walk away from us and say, “Idiot.” Because they would be able to say that they’ve had experiences of different things and different places and so on. We have told them that we pray to the living God; they’ve said that they chant in the realm of Buddhism. We’ve said that there is peace to be found in this; they said they have never known such tranquility as they found it in that Eastern mindset. Well then, what are we going to do at that point, you see?

Well, this man is convinced of his testimony. But when push comes to shove and the challenge reaches for him, he is able to step up and say, “Well, let’s just think about this for a moment. And why don’t we think about this too? And have you considered that? And do you agree that this, this, and this leads to the deduction, that?” So his faith was resting in the experience of what Christ had done for him to this point, and he was absolutely without any doubt concerning it. But that wasn’t the beginning and the end of his argument.

Now, what we discover is that they feel the sting of this. The stinging impact of truth hits them. And in verse 34, they do the only thing they’ve got left to do, and that is, they throw him out. But you will notice they don’t throw him out until they have given their own answer to the question with which the chapter began. How did the chapter begin? Well, remember, with the disciples asking Jesus, “Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”[10] The Pharisees say, “We know the answer to that question. The reason you were blind is because you were steeped in sin at birth. You are a miserable sinner, that’s what you are. How dare you lecture us! Don’t you realize that we’ve gone to school for this? Don’t you understand that we have the legacy, the historical background of Judaism on our side. And you, some upstart beggar from the streets here, thinks to come in and confront us!”

You see how the challenge of truth gets under the skin of those who know they don’t know the very truth they are encountering? We ought not to be surprised when our friends and neighbors want eventually to throw us out. Frankly, we ought to get thrown out a lot more than we do, many of us. And the reason we’re not thrown out, the reason we’re accepted, may be because we are more represented by the fear of the parents than we are represented in the faith of the man once blind. We’re ready to fudge the questions: “Well, I don’t know about that. Oh, I’m not so sure about that. Well, maybe you could ask someone else about that.” Come on, have the courage of your convictions! “How dare you lecture us! You’re gone.” “And they threw him out.”

Now, let’s just pause for a moment and think about this man. We’re almost moving to the close; you can start to think about putting your tray tables up and preparing for a landing. But when I got to this point in the story, I just sat for a fair while, saying to myself, “What an incredible few hours or couple of days—however long is recorded here—it was in the life of this man.” This is not an invented story. This is an historical narrative. This is an encounter with Jesus. This is one of the signs that has been placed in the Gospels so that, as a result of seeing the sign, men and women might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and then that by believing they might have life in his name.[11] So this man stands as a sign to us of what it means to be spiritually blind and how we need Jesus to make us see in the same way that he needed Jesus to restore his physical sight.

What did it mean for him? He must have awakened to a fairly normal day, I would imagine. A routine for him would either to be led or to go by his routine path to his place of begging. And there he would sit and make the usual sounds and listen for the passersby in the hope that it would be a good day. Consider this man as he sits down, having made his way past flowers that he has never even seen and yet aware of the fragrance that comes from those same flowers. Look at him as he sits there, having never seen the sun rise or set over the Sea of Galilee. Look at him as he is identified solely and specifically by his predicament: he is a blind man; he is a beggar.

“Was he aware,” I asked myself, “of his becoming the focus of the conversation, as in verse 2?” Because if you have friends who are blind, you know that their senses almost inevitably are heightened—their other senses. Their sense of a fragrance. Their sense of sound. Their sense of hearing. Their sense of touch. Their sense of taste. They are able to teach those of us who can see a ton of stuff that we don’t see, even though we can see it!

Therefore, it is not difficult for us to imagine that as the man sits there, his ears pick up stuff. Did he hear somebody say, “Who sinned, this man or his parents?” And did he say to himself, “I wonder if they’re… I wonder if they’re asking about me?” And then he says, “Oh, they are asking about me. ‘Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ Oh, they are talking about me! I wonder what… I wonder who they’re asking?”

And then the answer: “Neither this man sinned nor his parents.”[12]

The blind man said, “Well, that’s fantastic!”

“But this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.”[13]

Can you imagine sitting there? Try and think yourself into it. You have been blind since your birth. You’re sitting at the side of the road. It’s a routine day. You’re a beggar. And suddenly, you’re the focal point of the conversation. And whoever it is that is answering says that this blindness, this blindness that I know, is there in order that the work of God might be displayed in his life. Can you imagine him saying, “I wonder what that means? I wonder what that is going to mean?”

The words of Christ give basis to the works of Christ.

And then… he hears a spit! [Spitting sound.] And then, [squishing sound]. And then, whoever this individual is says to him, “I’m gonna put this mud on your eyes.” Would you have said, “Okay, go ahead”? Unless you had heard the dialogue before! You see, the words of Christ give basis to the works of Christ. The work of Christ was an evidence of the word he had spoken. He had said, “This is in order that the work of God might be displayed in his life. Now this is the work of God.” The man submits to this and does as he’s told, and he comes back seeing. What an incredible story!

And then to his parents. And then to the community. All the confusion. And then to the religious leaders. He’s a walking miracle. He’s a challenge to the religious formalism. And in the attempts of the Pharisees to intimidate him, despite what he knows to be true, he gives as good as he got. Because these individuals, these religious formalists, couldn’t, wouldn’t believe their eyes. Don’t tell me that you can’t believe. Tell me that you won’t believe. Tell me that you won’t. Because there is enough evidence of the living God in creation and in your life and in your very sense of moral oughtness as to condemn you for your unbelief in God. There is not enough in nature to save you, but there is enough in nature to condemn you. Do not tell me you can’t see. Tell me you won’t see. That is what is pointed out here. That is what is made so graphically clear.

And John, in a summary statement a couple of chapters later, in John chapter 12, summarizes the response of these Jews. And he says in John 12:37, “Even after Jesus had done all these miraculous signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him.” “They still would not believe in him.” It wasn’t the absence of evidence. It wasn’t the absence of good evidence. It wasn’t the compelling nature of the truth that they confronted. They flat-out refused to believe in him.

And he’s been thrown out. “Now what?” he must have said to himself. What do you do now? He knew what it was to operate as a blind man, but he had no track record as a seeing man. Oh, I pictured him in my mind’s eye, walking away from this confrontation with the religious leaders. I saw him walk out into his community. He was in the crowd, and… But his whole existence had been defined by his blindness! Walking down the street like a sheep without a shepherd, almost. Y’know, what he needed was a shepherd.

Now look at verse [35], which is the end—and at the same time, the beginning. It was a long introduction, wasn’t it? “Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him…” “When he found him.” See, Jesus is about to identify himself in the very next chapter—it’s open on the page beside you—as “the good shepherd.”[14] What do shepherds do? They seek out sheep. Jesus is identified in Luke’s Gospel, chapter 19, as the Son of Man who came seeking to save those that were lost.[15] Unasked, the man had been healed. Unsought, the man had been found. And Jesus finds him in order that he might confront him with this most important question: “And when he found him, he said, ‘Do you believe in the Son of Man?’”

Now, the dialogue that follows needs to be either our evening study—I haven’t decided—or next Sunday morning’s study. I’ll decide this afternoon. But the question I want to leave in your mind—because this is the great question: “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” “Son of Man” is a self-designation for Messiah, for the Christ, for the Savior. “Do you believe in Jesus?” The nature of that belief, the significance of that belief, the sum and substance of that belief is far more than an intellectual awareness of the existence of a Jesus of Nazareth. It means the casting of myself upon, it means the relying of myself upon, it means entrusting all of my life and all of my eternity into the hands of Jesus of Nazareth, believing that he is the person that he claimed to be. Do you believe?

I conclude with this. Yesterday I managed to finish a book that has been part of my summer reading. Some of you have enjoyed, down at the big-screen place next to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, that amazing film Into Thin Air, which was directly tied to John Krakauer’s book Into Thin Air, and another book that he wrote called Into the Wild. And I’ve been reading now for a couple of weeks Under the Banner of Heaven, which is Krakauer’s exposé, as it turns out, of the radical fringes of fundamentalist Mormonism, and particularly the polygamist sects that spin around the circumference of things.

But as he comes to the end of his book, after 334 pages, he has a little section called “Author’s Remarks.” And he says, “The genesis for this book was a desire to grasp the nature of religious belief.”[16] He said, “I wanted to find out about religious belief.” And since he was brought up in the West, and since he was brought up in a framework of Mormonism, he used Mormonism as the sort of template or the prism through which he considered religious belief. We might have wished that he had chosen Christianity or the New Testament, but anyway, that’s what he did.

And as he ends the book, he quotes someone who says that “those who write about religion owe it to their readers to come clean about” what their view of the world really is, to acknowledge where they stand in relationship to faith or in relationship to belief versus unbelief. And he said, “Well, I think that that’s fair—that one, as an author, has to come clean about one’s own theological framework.” And then he said, “So [here is] mine: I don’t know what God is, or what God had in mind when the universe was set in motion. In fact, I don’t know if God even exists, although I confess that I sometimes find myself praying in times of great fear, or despair, or astonishment[, or] at a display of unexpected beauty.”[17]

And then he says, “[Although I don’t know these things], accepting the essential inscrutability of existence…” It’s a great phrase, isn’t it? “Accepting the essential inscrutability of existence.” In other words, the mystery of life itself. Accepting the unanswered questions factor. “Accepting the inscrutability of existence [itself] … is surely preferable to its opposite: [i.e.,] capitulating to the tyranny of intransigent belief.”[18] He says, “I think I’m in a better position saying, ‘I don’t know,’ than if I’m in the position of saying, ‘I flat-out don’t believe, and I don’t want to know.’” He said, “I think this is the better of the two positions.” I think he’s right, don’t you?

And then he closes:

And if I remain in the dark about our purpose here, and the meaning of eternity, I have nevertheless arrived at an understanding of a few more modest truths: Most of us fear death. Most of us yearn to comprehend how we got here, and why—which is to say, most of us ache to know the love of our creator. And we will no doubt feel that ache, most of us, for as long as we happen to be alive.[19]

I tell you, if he had put his telephone number just right underneath that, I’d have called him yesterday afternoon, sitting on my back patio, say, “Hey, John, I loved your book. You’re breaking my heart with the end. You’re killing me with your end. Have you ever considered this: Did you know that Jesus, John, can make blind men see? Do you know that?”

Do you—never mind the person next to you—do you believe in the Son of Man? You may, even as you sit here, cry out to him, “Lord Jesus Christ, I do believe. Help all of my unbelief.”[20]

Father, thank you that we’re not left to our own devices when it comes to the Bible. Thank you that each of us, if we have a Bible, can at least go home and read John 9 again. Some of us need to read the whole of John’s Gospel, and to do so with the expectation and the simple prayer, “Lord Jesus Christ, if you are real, show yourself to me.” We pray, Lord, that you will bring us to genuine, living faith in your Son, Jesus.

And may the grace of the Lord Jesus, the love of God our Father, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be our portion, today and always. Amen.

[1] See Ephesians 2:8.

[2] John 9:24n (NIV 1984).

[3] See John 8:44.

[4] John 8:45–48 (NIV 1984).

[5] Leon Morris, The Gospel According to John: The English Text with Introduction, Exposition and Notes(Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, n.d.), 493.

[6] Luke 23:42 (paraphrased).

[7] See Luke 19:1–10.

[8] See John 8:1–11.

[9] Matthew 6:33 (paraphrased).

[10] John 9:2 (NIV 1984).

[11] See John 20:31.

[12] John 9:3 (paraphrased).

[13] John 9:3 (NIV 1984).

[14] John 10:11 (NIV 1984).

[15] See Luke 19:10.

[16] Jon Krakauer, Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith (New York: Anchor, 2004), 335.

[17] Krakauer, 340.

[18] Krakauer, 341.

[19] Krakauer, 341.

[20] See Mark 9:24.

Copyright © 2024, Alistair Begg. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations for sermons preached on or after November 6, 2011 are taken from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

For sermons preached before November 6, 2011, unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® (NIV®), copyright © 1973 1978 1984 by Biblica, Inc.TM Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Alistair Begg
Alistair Begg is Senior Pastor at Parkside Church in Cleveland, Ohio, and the Bible teacher on Truth For Life, which is heard on the radio and online around the world.