Tag Archives: identity
Focus! Keeping Your Eyes on Jesus in a Near-Sighted, Distracted World! (The Blind Man in John 9 – Part 4)
Although this man remains anonymous throughout the story, he was well-known in the community. When he comes home from obeying Jesus’ call to wash off the mud on his eyes, a fascinating debate takes place!
In this series of blog posts on FOCUS I want to examine my own vision and ask if my spiritual eyesight is getting dim, distracted, or damaged by choices I make. We will be looking at a number of key biblical passages which emphasize this sense of sight. I am particularly looking forward to pondering the healing miracles which turned blind people into sighted people.
Returning Home: In today’s verses we see what happens when the man born blind returns home. Two groups meet him — his neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging. This man was a known quantity to them. Some lived close to him and his parents. Others knew him publicly as the born-blind-beggar they might have walked around or, perhaps, even dropped a few small coins into his begging basket.
An Identity Crisis: Rather than rejoicing in his healing, a dispute erupted over whether this was the same man who had been living his life begging. Some said it was the same man. Others said, “Nah. But it could be his twin!” (or words to that effect).
Sometimes those who aren’t sightless treat those who are as if they are also deaf! But this man-born-blind heard their argument and jumped in! He declared, “I am the man!”
A Personal Story: When I began my teaching career, the Bible college where I taught was going under financially. So I had a friend take a picture of me in my best teaching pose (I couldn’t find the original, but that young man looked a bit like me). I sent that picture to several seminaries to apply for a position. Notice that I had a Greek sentence on the board to impress any future employers. And the translation — “I AM THE MAN!” — wasn’t on the original picture. This is a direct quote from our text here in John 9. I don’t think the seminary that hired me noticed the not-so-subtle reference to the blind man’s statement!
A Courageous Choice: You know, the man born blind had an option. He could have denied being the beggar they all thought they knew. He could have said, “Beg?! I’ve never begged in my life!” But he didn’t. He declared who he was and his declaration would lead to some serious consequences.
Today’s Challenge: May I ask you — do you correctly identify yourself as one who has been touched and healed by the Lord Jesus? Such a confession involves admitting your need and giving God credit for what He’s done in your life. And spiritually sighted people do just that!
DON’T FORGET WHO YOU ARE! (A Study of I Peter 2:9-10)
You may have heard the story of the man who said he was going through a double crisis. “Really?” His friend said. “What do you mean?” “I’m going through both an identity crisis and an energy crisis.” “What?” “Yes, I don’t know who I am — and I am too tired to find out!”
I. Your Identity (v. 9)
1. A Chosen People (v. 9)
2. A Royal Priesthood
3. A Holy Nation
4. God’s Special Possession
II. Your Purpose (v. 9)
>> “that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
III. Your New Status (v. 10)
>> You have moved from the category of NOT A PEOPLE to the category of THE PEOPLE OF GOD! And you’ve moved from the sad status of NOT RECEIVING MERCY to the blessed condition of HAVING RECEIVED MERCY!
Today’s Challenge: Do you know who you are in Christ? Then live today as a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, and as God’s special possession. Not for yourself — but to declare the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light!
Insight from a Blind Man (A Study of John 9) Part 7
So the man “went and washed, and came home seeing.” Simple obedience is so refreshing, isn’t it?
But then there is the question of IDENTITY. He returns home and people don’t recognize him. His neighbors and those who had seen him begging are divided. Some thought it was the blind beggar; others that he just looked like him.
What’s sometimes interesting is that we can treat people with one disability as if they had two. We speak louder around blind people. Why? As they debated this man’s identity, they forgot that he could talk. He was not mute!
During my years at Northeastern Bible College in NJ, it became evident that the school was going under financially. I had a friend take a picture of me in front of a blackboard to attach to my resume that I was sending to other Bible colleges for a teaching position. (That is NOT me to the right). It was only after I had sent out my resume to several schools that I realized what was written behind on the blackboard in the picture. It was a quote from our text, John 9: ἐκεῖνος ἔλεγεν ὅτι Ἐγώ εἰμι. Which being translated means, “I AM THE MAN!”
I don’t believe I got any offers of employment from those schools. But let’s not miss the point. This man knew who he was — and he admitted it! (I would have been tempted to have turned my back on that past life and said something like, “Blind man? I don’t know what you’re talking about! I’ve never begged in my life!”).
This man could have said, “Once I was blind — but now I can TALK! And I know who I am.” Do you, my friend? (to be continued)