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Jonah: Belief Contradicted by Behavior (Part 13)

Someone has said, “There is only one commandment for those who don’t believe in Jesus and it is this:  Watch those who do!”  The pagan sailors are not attracted to Jonah’s orthodoxy, but are outraged that he could be running away from such a God!  They put two and two together and conclude that Jonah’s God, the One who made the sea and the dry land, did not care to be disobeyed — and had done something about it!  HE had sent the storm.

As they had their theological discussion, the sea “was getting rougher and rougher.”  They ask Jonah, “What should we do TO YOU to make the sea calm down for us?”  These pagan sailors were no dummies.  And they realized that Jonah’s God was no impotent deity.  HE had pursued His servant and HE got his servant’s attention.  Yes, innocent sailors had gotten embroiled in the mix, but Jonah’s God was sovereign over that as well.

If one were to unit-read the book of Jonah (reading it straight through at one sitting), it seems apparent at several points that he wants to die!  He has these suicidal ideations a number of times.  Here he volunteers to be tossed over the side as a human bromide to calm an acidic sea!  Jonah is certain that throwing him overboard will placate his angry God.  And he is sorta right. (to be continued)

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2017 in Jonah

 

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Insight from a Blind Man (A Study of John 9) Part 28 (conclusion)

“What?  Are we blind too?”  I love how the Lord Jesus let people come to their own conclusions.  He doesn’t answer their question “Yes!” or “No!”  But He says, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin . . .”  So, in one sense, they were not blind.  Is Jesus saying that one’s ignorance of one’s sin means one is not guilty of sin?

“Your guilt remains.”  These last three words conclude this story of the man born blind.  The only other time we read of him is in John 11 where Jesus has allowed his good friend Lazarus to die so that He could raise him from the dead.  Before He calls forth Lazarus from the tomb, we read that “Jesus wept.”  Some respond to Jesus’ weeping by saying, “See how he loved him!”  Others said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?” (v. 37).

The answer, of course, was yes!  Jesus could have kept His friend from dying.  But He didn’t.  There was something more important than Lazarus’ physical survival. The risen Lazarus becomes a reason for many to believe in Jesus — and “so the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well” (Jn. 12:10)!

There is a price to pay in following Jesus.  For the man born blind, it was excommunication from the life of Israel.  For Lazarus, it was a contract on his head because many were believing in Jesus as a result of his testimony.

For those of us whose guilt IS GONE, what price are we paying to follow Jesus?  I look forward to meeting this anonymous man born blind in heaven.  I want to thank him for his boldness, for his courage, and for his simple new life of following Jesus. (I’ve written up a fictional account of this man which tries to fill in some of the details of his story.  Let me know if you wish a copy).

 

 

 
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Posted by on May 1, 2017 in guilt

 

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Insight from a Blind Man (A Study of John 9) Part 27

Man can choose not to be rescued.  In his rebellion, he can blame God, ignore God, and even hate God.  Proverbs 8:36 says, “But those who fail to find me harm themselves; all who hate me love death.”

But God allows rebellion, and the Pharisees hear Jesus saying that He had come into the world for judgment.  The Pharisees think they are judging Him, while the opposite is the truth!

Jesus divides the world into “the blind” and “those who see.”  But the category “those who see” is really “those who THINK they can see.”  Eavesdropping is okay until one realizes that one is eavesdropping on a conversation about oneself!

“What?  Are we blind too?”  Apparently they still saw the man born blind as a man who was still blind.  The construction of their question is such that they are expecting a “NO!” answer:   “We’re not blind too, are we?”

I love how the Lord Jesus let people come to their own conclusions.  He doesn’t answer their question “Yes!” or “No!”  But He says, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin . . .”  So, in one sense, they were not blind.  Is Jesus saying that one’s ignorance of one’s sin means one is not guilty of sin?  (to be continued — and finished!)

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2017 in spiritual blindness

 

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Insight from a Blind Man (A Study of John 9) Part 11

screen-shot-2017-02-27-at-6-11-22-amPresuppositions.  A fancy word which means an implicit assumption about the world or a background belief relating to an utterance whose truth is taken for granted in discourse.  Whew!  Everyone has presuppositions.  We assume that everything we believe is correct — or else we wouldn’t believe it!

The Pharisees, like us, had a lot of presuppositions.  They assumed they were entirely correct in their view of the Sabbath and their view of Jesus.  But before them stands a man who is looking around for the first time in his life.  He’s starting fresh.  All his assumptions and presuppositions have been radically altered by one act from this “sinner” — Jesus.

Frustrated that their inquisition isn’t helping screen-shot-2017-02-28-at-5-54-31-amthem in the least, they put the man born blind on the spot again and add an ingredient to the dispute, an ingredient that worked well for the Pharisees — GUILT!

“What have you to say about him?  It was your eyes he opened.”  No situation is too difficult or complicated that a little guilt can’t be added to it!  “You started this!  Your blindness caused Jesus to work on the Sabbath!  What do you have to say for yourself?”

But the man born blind “hasn’t got time for the . . . guilt” (to borrow the words from an old Carly Simon song).  He declares about Jesus “He is a prophet.” Oops.  Wrong answer.  And the dialogue will continue to seriously degenerate in the next few moments. (to be continued)

 

 

 

 

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Posted by on March 28, 2017 in guilt

 

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A Perfect Bible Translation!

 
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Posted by on June 19, 2015 in bible translations

 

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The Bible and . . . Guilt!

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“I know a little Greek — his name is Guido!”

My, how easy it is for all of us to want such a Bible!  When I was a freshman in Bible college (shortly after all the dinosaurs had become extinct), I remember listening to one of my profs give a stirring challenge to us to give ourselves completely to the Lord in some particular area of life.  His message was convicting, but I recall several of us who were struggling through first-year New Testament Greek saying to each other, “I wonder what that verse really says in the original Greek?”

We weren’t really looking for a better understanding, but for an OUT.  As a teacher for the last 30 years of New Testament Greek, I can say that most times the Greek puts things even more challenging than our English Bibles!

Questions:

1.  What’s one challenge you’ve found in the Bible that has made you think, “Wow.  Have I got some work to do!”

2.  Guilt has gotten a bad rap in today’s culture.  Granted, there is unbiblical guilt which is not healthy, is not built on God’s Word, and does not lead to life change.  But there is such as thing as biblical guilt.  Experienced any recently?  Why or why not?

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2013 in Greek

 

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CARTOON MONDAY! GOT GUILT?

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2012 in preaching

 

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