I remember thinking the same thing as a boy. Back in the late 60’s/70’s there was a time when the fad was to have dramatic stories of conversions. One group in my area was the Jesus people. Many Sunday evenings a few Jesus people would come to church and I’d hear testimonies of a life of drugs and stories of dramatic conversions. Even as a boy, I would think I don’t know the date I became a Christian, I was not a drug user or an alcoholic, I just quietly accepted Christ sometime when I was young. My story was not that exciting.
Everyone has a story. John chapter 9 is a story of a blind man who was blind from birth, miraculously healed by Jesus. The blind man is never named. Change the details and it could be anyone. Although there are many lessons in this chapter, I want to focus on how often the blind man tells his story. All that he seems to know is that “I was blind but now I see.” (He must have borrowed that line from Amazing Grace.)
You have a powerful story. Maybe others have read the Bible more times, been to the ends of the earth and back again, and have a dramatic conversion experience, but your story is second to none. Somebody will be enriched by your story told to the level of your understanding. Jesus Christ trusts you to tell your story to the level of your understanding and experience. Don’t apologize for your story.
Everyone has a story, but some of you feel inadequate. You are afraid if you start talking, people will have questions in which you do not know the answer. Take to heart the example of the blind man: he sticks to the story of what he knows. God uses the blind man to the level of his experience and understanding. That’s all the Lord expects of you.
One of my teachers gave some advice: in ministry, if you learn three words, and learn these three words well, you will be set apart from other pastors. The three words work for everyone. The three words: “I Don’t Know.”
The blind man is constantly asked questions about what happened, and he keeps coming back to the simple story of what he does know (John 9:25). Sometimes people are drawn to a cult because cults typically claims to have all answers. That is not true in Christianity. We believe God has all the answers, but that doesn't mean every Christian is fully equipped to answer all questions. People, Christians and non-Christians alike, constantly come up with questions of which the real and true answer is, “I do not know.” Don’t be afraid of being stumped, because that’s reality. Facing death people commonly ask, "why this person?" The answer: “I don’t know.” Theological questions often have the same answer: “I don’t know.” Sometimes people try to trick you; it’s ok to say "I don’t know," but then follow up with the explanation, “this is what I do know.”
Don’t be afraid to admit you don’t have all answers, but focus on what you do know. I may not know why a particular person died, how God makes decisions, or what he allows, but I do know that God is good. I do know that God has taken many people through the process of grief and the world can go on. I may not know what exactly is going to happen at the end of time, but I do know the Bible promised God will never leave us nor forsake us. The blind man through-out this John 9 does not have all the answers, but he does keep reaffirming the bit that he heard and saw. Everyone has a story.
The blind man eventually challenged his interrogators (John 9:27). The Blind man knew the answer. When pressed he took a stand. When you get to that place of telling your story trust the Lord to give you the words. Respect people. But if the people talking to you don’t respect you, you cannot be a doormat, either. The blind man is a nobody, yet he is able to stand up to the religious leaders of the day because they were starting to disrespect him and trap him in things he never said or did. The Blind man sticks with the basic facts of what he knows, but doesn’t allow himself to be twisted around. John 9:27 is a gem of a statement: "[The blind man] answered, 'I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples, too?'" There are those who will ask the same questions over and over again, and this man’s patience grows weary. He calls them to account for their questions.
John 9:28-29 show that the man’s accusers are too sophisticated for their own good; the accusations also affirm that the accusers are ultimately threatened by Jesus. The accusers don’t understand Jesus. The man immediately comes back to the basic simple facts in John 9:30-33.
In the end, the scripture says the Pharisees “threw him out.” Most likely he was thrown out of the synagogue. He is no longer acceptable. The man was not acceptable at the beginning of the day because he was blind, and now at the end he was unacceptable because the religious leaders did not like his story. But the story is not done, for Jesus comes and finds him. READ 35-38. The man is willing to learn, and with no hesitation, he accepts the Lord as One who is worthy of Worship.
Everyone has a story. Two characteristics of a faith story:
1) The blind man’s story is a story pointing to Christ. The story is about what Christ has done in your life. The story is meant for others to hear and respond. Everyone has a story that points to Christ. If you tell me you don’t have a story, then let me modify my statement: Everyone has a story that points to Christ that wants one…. Do you want a story? Ask the Lord to reveal himself, to make you whole, bring your needs before him, take away your guilt, or meet other needs. The blind man’s words continuously point to Christ. Read through this chapter and underline how often the blind man’s story points to Christ. Everyone that wants one has a story that points to Christ.
2) So often we think a testimony is for other people. I notice as I look at the blind man’s story there is a progression of faith in the man’s own testimony. Usually we think of our story as a vehicle to bring others to Christ, but equally important, when you hear your own story, as you glorify Christ, your faith grows. The blind man’s story progresses in understanding, acceptance, and belief. Initially, when the blind man first gains sight, his story in John 9:11 is that "some guy named Jesus put mud on my eyes and now I can see." At the end, there is a progression, so that when confronted by Jesus one more time, he says, “Lord, I believe” and he worshipped him (John 9:38). Christ is first some man, then a prophet, a teacher to follow, not a sinner, and finally the Lord to worship.
The blind man’s story is not only for others, but it’s also for himself. Show me a person that is constantly sharing with others the things God is doing in his or her life, and I will show you a person that is maturing in their faith. Everyone has a story, and the story is needed for personal growth and maturity. I have a friend. When I first met him, he now tells me the only reason he went to church was to get the girl. My friend accepted Christ, but a huge motivation was to keep the girl. My friend and the girl were married. In time my friend started sharing his own story with others. Today he is thrilled to have the girl, but his relationship with Jesus Christ has taken on a mature dimension, and he is constantly ready to share what God is doing in his life. When you tell your story, it is a form of praise and amazement at what God has done. I know myself better than anyone else, and I am probably more amazed than anyone else. It must be the same for you.
Everyone has a story. Be willing to share your story because you will have opportunities. It’s ok if you don’t know all the answers to the questions people will ask. “I don’t know” is a perfectly acceptable response. The Lord will give you the courage and words when it is time to challenge people, because you cannot let people walk all over you either. As you tell your story, focus on what you do know, “I have seen…” Focus your story on Christ. And one of the most incredible results as you tell your story: you will grow in your faith. Everyone has a story.