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Focus! Keeping Your Eyes on Jesus in a Near-Sighted, Distracted World! (The Blind Man in John 9 – Part 11)

The interrogation of the man born blind decidedly goes downhill from this point on. He has referred to Jesus as “a prophet” (i.e. a man of God) and has declined the expert opinion of Israel’s religious leaders that Jesus is “a sinner.” But the story continues.

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.

Hurling Insults: The Pharisees lose it when the man born blind says to them, “Surely you don’t want to become his disciples too, do you?” (v. 27). That was the last thing these Pharisees wanted! So they engage in hurling insults against the man. Verse 28 reads 28 ἐλοιδόρησαν αὐτὸν καὶ εἶπον· Σὺ μαθητὴς εἶ ἐκείνου, ἡμεῖς δὲ τοῦ Μωϋσέως ἐσμὲν μαθηταί. (Literally, “They insulted him and said, ‘You are a disciple of that one, but we are disciples of Moses.'”)

This verb loidorēō is used only four times in the New Testament. Here in John 9 it can be translated “scoffed.” In Acts 23:4 it is translated as “insult.” In I Corinthians 4:12 Paul is speaking of the Apostles’ response to persecution and says, “When reviled, we bless.” And in I Peter 2:23 we read of the Lord Jesus: “When he was insulted, he did not respond with an insult; when he suffered, he did not threaten . . .” People resort to insult when logic and reasoning fail them — and they feel threatened!

Knowledge and Ignorance:  The Pharisees protest that they are disciples of Moses. They declare, “we know that God spoke to Moses . . .” Their knowledge was certain and sure — and they were convinced that they were in the right.

It is interesting that Jesus says in John 5:46- “If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. These Pharisees admit their ignorance about Jesus when they say, “but as for this fellow we don’t even know where he comes from.” (v. 29).

Here these religious leaders of Israel have the opportunity to learn about Jesus from someone who has been the recipient of one of His miracles. But they argue for their complete loyalty to Moses, failing to realize Jesus was, in a real sense, the new Moses.

Today’s Challenge: In a sense, everyone is a disciple, a follower, of someone, even if that someone is . . . themselves. As disciples of Jesus, we need to speak the truth about Who He is and why He should be followed. And we do that with our words and our behavior.

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2021 in focus

 

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Focus! Keeping Your Eyes on Jesus in a Near-Sighted, Distracted World! (The Blind Man in John 9 – Part 6)

Now the inquisitions will begin with this man born blind who has been healed by Jesus! His sense of sight has been given by the grace of God, but his sense of hearing and his ability to speak will be greatly tested by those who don’t care for Jesus.

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.

The Pharisees Who Don’t . . . See! The man is brought to the Pharisees, the religious leaders of Israel. Motive? If we give them the benefit of the doubt, these neighbors and those who knew the man born blind may well have brought him to the Pharisees for their approval, their blessing. But one crucial fact is now brought out: “Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man’s eyes was a Sabbath.” (v. 14) The Pharisees saw themselves as the protectors of the Sabbath and viewed Jesus as one who disregarded their leadership.

The First Inquisition: A second inquiry into how the man was healed takes place (note the word “also” in v. 15). Why did they want to know about the process? Probably to conclude that work was done . . . on the Sabbath!

Short and Sweet! The man’s answer is reduced to three steps: “(1) He put mud on my eyes: (2) and I washed; and (3) now I see.” He kept his answers brief. The last thing this man wanted was to be grilled by these self-righteous hypocrites who had it in for Jesus.

Today’s Challenge: How do you and I deal with really religious people who want nothing to do with Jesus? I think we should tell our story of salvation with simple words, and without fear.

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2021 in focus

 

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Focus! Keeping Your Eyes on Jesus in a Near-Sighted, Distracted World! (The Blind Man in John 9 – Part 5)

This man who has been miraculously healed by Jesus does not hesitate to self-identify as the blind beggar everyone knew. But now he could see!

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.

In our discussion of this most extensive description of a miracle in all of the Bible, we have seen the disciples’ asking about the cause of the blind man’s disability. We noticed that Jesus didn’t mind their multiple choice question. He just objected to there being only two possible answers in the minds of the disciples. Jesus declares that neither the man born blind nor his parents were to blame for his “handicap,” but this happened “so that the works of God would be displayed in his life.”

Details! Details! Well, one work has already been displayed! The man obeys Jesus, goes and washes off the mud in the pool of Siloam, and comes home SEEING! The neighbors and those who knew him from his daily begging want the facts about how he got healed. When I was a kid, TV was in its infancy — and one of my favorite shows was Dragnet! Sergeant Friday’s classic challenge to a witness of a crime was, “The facts, Ma’am. Just the facts!”

The Bare Facts: That’s what these people wanted from the man born blind — the facts. And that’s what he gives them. I’ll bet he ticked off the six points of his healing, holding up his fingers as he went over the steps:

Geographical Ignorance: They then ask him where this Jesus is and he says he doesn’t know. It is interesting that Jesus doesn’t tell the man to go wash and come back. The man could have easily not come back to where Jesus was (although the story sounds like it took place close to where he lived, or at least begged). I suspect he wanted to thank Jesus for the miracle of sight.

Today’s Challenge: This man knew virtually nothing about Jesus. “The man they call Jesus,” he said. And the man is not yet saved. But Jesus had compassion on him and healed him. How has Jesus healed you? Thank God today for the simple steps He took to bring you into His family!

 
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Posted by on August 26, 2021 in focus

 

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The Theology of Calvin . . . and Hobbes (Ignorance)

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2021 in Calvin & Hobbes

 

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Do We Have Our Heads in the Sand? (A Great Commercial)

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2021 in commercials

 

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The Theology of Calvin . . . and Hobbes (The Right to Remain Ignorant)

“Being educated against my will!” Most of us don’t know what we need to know. And, for believers, ignorance is NOT bliss — or blessed! As a challenge, read through I John (all five chapters) and notice how often he emphasizes the word “know.” Quite an enlightening exercise!

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Posted by on November 2, 2020 in Calvin & Hobbes

 

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Not knowing the answer! (time for a great cartoon!)

I love the creativity of Calvin’s father.  If he doesn’t know the answer to a question, he makes one up!  And his made-up answers are quite ingenious!

Questions:

1.  Why is it that we Christians find it difficult to say, “I don’t know”?

2.  In our interactions with those who have not yet trusted in Christ, could it be that saying “I don’t know” would obligate us to do some research to give better thought-out answers to good questions?

 
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Posted by on June 22, 2014 in answers

 

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