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Friends Don’t Let Friends . . . Die! (A Study of John 11) Part 17

Why would the Lord Jesus create a situation in which His only response would be weeping? Could He not have stopped His friend from dying — and put an end to the sisters’ grief — and His own? Let’s look at the next section of John 11 . . .

33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked.

“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.

35 Jesus wept.

36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”

37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”

Jesus Raises Lazarus From the Dead

38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 “Take away the stone,” he said.

“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”

40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”

When invited to come and see Lazarus’ tomb, Jesus joined Mary and Martha and the professional mourners in weeping. He was moved by their grief. He was broken by the sadness that death had brought to that family.

Some Jews there said, “See how he loved him!” (v. 36). Jesus’ tears showed His great love for that trio.

But others asked, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?” (v. 37). What that group failed to realize was that ability does not equal appropriateness. Power does not supercede plan. The issue was not Jesus’ capability but His purpose.

We may assume that the blind man and his healing to which the Jews refer is the man born blind in John 9.  But their logic was as follows:  Jesus showed His power to a blind stranger <<>> Now someone He loved was dying <<>> Real love is intervening in that loved one’s tragedy <<>>  Jesus doesn’t keep His friend from dying (and He could have) <<>> Therefore, Jesus doesn’t really love Lazarus and Mary and Martha.  Our logic often gets us in trouble too, doesn’t it?  (to be continued)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2017 in logic

 

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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 26

To recap:  Jesus performs an incredible miracle for someone who knew next to nothing about Him.  Jesus seeks the man out after he has been excommunicated by the religious leaders and questions him about BELIEF.  Specifically, belief in the “Son of Man.”  The man born blind believes and worships.  An obvious example to all who read this story.  Do we allow for process when we are sharing “the Son of Man” with others?

Jesus knew that He would divide people into the believers and the non-believers.  He was not One about whom someone could respond, “Ummmm.  No opinion.”  He declares, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”  Interesting that we read in John 3, For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”  His mission is salvation.  For those who reject His salvation, judgment.

If we think of man as spiritually neutral, then judgment seems arbitrary.  However, if man is actively rebelling against the Creator of the universe, and the Son of God comes to rescue, what should happen to those who refuse to be rescued?  If the metaphor being used is that of a person drowning in the ocean, one could argue that a wise rescuer (lifeguard) would bonk a victim on the head and forcibly take them to shore if they fought the rescuer.

But we are far worse than an innocent drowning victim, aren’t we?  (to be continued)

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2017 in judgment

 

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Insight from a Blind Man (A Study of John 9) Part 25

Jesus goes directly to the most vital question: “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”  Before he can believe, he needs to be informed.  “Who is he, sir?  Tell me so that I may believe in him.”

For reasons I don’t quite understand, Jesus responds to his question in the 3rd person (“he”):  “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.”

I think there was the hint of a smile, a twinkle in His eye, when He said “you have now seen him.”  How in the world liberal “scholars” can say that Jesus never claimed to be the promised Messiah is beyond me!

The man’s response?  “Then the man said, ‘Lord, I believe,’ and he worshiped him.”  BELIEF followed by WORSHIP.  This man’s thinking about Jesus has progressed from —

THE MAN THEY CALL JESUS >>>> HE IS A PROPHET >>> I DON’T KNOW IF HE IS A SINNER >>> I WANT TO BECOME HIS DISCIPLE >>>>  A GODLY PERSON FROM GOD >>>> THE SON OF MAN WORTHY OF MY FAITH AND WORSHIP!

To recap:  Jesus performs an incredible miracle for someone who knew next to nothing about Him.  Jesus seeks the man out after he has been excommunicated by the religious leaders and questions him about BELIEF.  Specifically, belief in the “Son of Man.”  The man born blind believes and worships.  An obvious example to all who read this story.  Do we allow for process when we are sharing “the Son of Man” with others? (to be continued)

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2017 in conversion

 

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Insight from a Blind Man (A Study of John 9) Part 24

He’s being shunned, put under God’s judgment, discarded by the highest religious authorities on earth.  In a real sense, the story could end there — with the man born blind’s excommunication from the synagogue.

The Pharisees had made their ruling — he was steeped in sin at birth, was unapologetically lecturing these men of God, and deserved the harshest punishment short of stoning!  But at least he had his sight!

I wonder what was going through his mind as he is alone, kicked out of the synagogue, thrown out with words of judgment and rejection.  I wonder if his new eyes could only look in one direction — down.

And then Jesus came.  I wonder who told Jesus about the man’s excommunication.  And I wonder if they also might have become a follower of Jesus after the event.

At any rate, we read those precious words, “and when he found him.”  Jesus is looking for people.  He is seeking the least, the last, and the lost.  Here He looks for and finds the outcast, the heretic who called Jesus a prophet and the One whose prayer God heard.  He finds him.  Jesus took the time to seek this man out and to engage him in an eternity-changing conversation.

If I had been Jesus, I might have said things like, “I’m really sorry for all the trouble my healing you has caused.  I should have known that doing that on the Sabbath would have gotten you — and me — in trouble!  How’s the vision, by the way?”

That’s not what Jesus says.  In fact, He simply asks the man a question:  “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”  John’s gospel, the “gospel of belief” as one commentator labels it, emphasizes the more important issue.  What others deem critical and vital Jesus ignores.  He goes directly to the most vital question: “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” (to be continued)

 

 
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Posted by on April 23, 2017 in belief

 

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Insight from a Blind Man ( A Study of John 9) Part 23

“Steeped in sin at birth” — That’s the insult these men of God “hurl” at this man who sees far more than they do about Jesus.  He is then tossed out of the synagogue.

I grew up in the Brethren assemblies which leads me to the following joke:  “If you’re Catholic and you do something bad, you get excommunicated.  If you’re Baptist and you do something bad, you get disfellowshipped.  But if you’re Brethren and you do something bad, you get DISASSEMBLED!”

Being asked or told to leave a local body of believers ought to be one of the greatest fears of our lives.  The church ought to be that important to us!  But, alas, some would simply say, “I never liked the color of the new carpet anyway.  I’ll just go to the church down the street.”  And, sadly, the church down the street probably won’t bother to ask the first church why he was asked to leave.

I wonder what the parents thought right about now?  The thing they feared the most has happened to their son.  True, he’s got his sight, but he won’t be looking at the inside of God’s house any time soon.  He’s being shunned, put under God’s judgment, discarded by the highest religious authorities on earth. (to be continued)

 

 
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Posted by on April 21, 2017 in excommunication

 

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