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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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Insight from a Blind Man (A Study of John 9) Part 22

Aren’t you glad God listens to “sinners”?  The Pharisees were caught on the horns of their own dilemma.  They were convinced that Jesus was a “sinner” in the sense that He could not be the Promised Messiah of God.  He had violated the Sabbath as well as stood up to God’s religious authorities, the Pharisees.

But they had, standing before them, an honest-to-goodness miracle.  A man who had been born blind looking at them.  (I wonder what kind of look he was giving them?).  They could not explain this miracle away.  They couldn’t get the parents to give information that would help them explain this away.  And they were growing more and more frustrated by the second.

Then they get a lecture!  From the second half of their dilemma.  And he is not reluctant to dogmatize!  “We know God doesn’t listen to sinners!”  “We know He listens to the godly person who does His will!”  Lumping himself together with the Pharisees appears to have been the ultimate insult.

And then he dogmatizes further: “Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”  Those were the last words he spoke to these Pharisees.

Dogmatism has a way of either convincing the opposing party or inciting them.

“You were steeped in sin at birth!”

And these opponents (who already had smoke coming out of their ears and flames coming out of their eyes from the man born blind’s question “Do you want to become His disciples too?”) had reached the end.

“You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!”  And then they threw him out of the synagogue.  Out of the center of Jewish social and religious life.  Out into the world.  Out into the judgment of God. (to be continued)

 

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2017 in dogmatism

 

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Insight from a Blind Man (A Study of John 9) Part 21

From whence do you get your theology?  I mean, the things that you really deep-down believe — where do those come from?  Your own thinking?  What your church or pastor says?  Contemporary media or the musings of whatever “intelligentsia” happens to be holding court?

Would you take your theology from a SINNER?  Someone that you KNEW was “steeped in sin at birth”?  Probably not.

And it’s one thing when someone like that makes statements such as, “I kind of think that . . .” or “I’m coming to just about believe . . .”  But what if their dogmatism is downright in your face?  What if that steeped-in-sin-under-God’s-judgment person were to make theological declarations to you and framed them by the words “WE know”?

You’d be offended, right?  You’re the religious expert and you’re being lectured to by a lifelong, wide-eyed beggar who’s got mud on his face.

But TRUTH has a funny way of not caring who the messenger happens to be. And the more offensive and unlikely the carrier, the more it seems TRUTH relishes the process.  And in this situation, the carrier speaks the truth.  Mostly.  We say “mostly” because the man born blind declares a known fact that might be up for debate.  He says, “We know that God does not listen to sinners.  He listens to the godly person who does his will.”

Actually, God does listen to sinners.  That’s the only category of human beings that’s left!  And, boy, are we glad He does!  (to be continued)

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2017 in truth

 

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Insight from a Blind Man (A Study of John 9) Part 20

screen-shot-2017-03-06-at-5-25-29-amClaiming to be a disciple of Moses was one thing.  Jesus has just told them in John 5 that theirs was a mere claim.  They weren’t really disciples of Moses.

They then claim to have certain knowledge about God speaking to Moses.  This they knew.  What they didn’t know was where “this fellow” came from!  And these were the leaders responsible for the spiritual safety of the people of Israel!

The ignorance of the man born blind (how he was healed) is matched by the ignorance of the religious leaders (regarding the identity of Jesus).  That kind of stalemate gave the man born blind an opportunity to perhaps exit the conversation.  But “in for a dime, in for a shekel,” as they say.  So he attacks!

“Now that is remarkable!  You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes.”  Isn’t the man born blind really saying, “You’ve failed the geography test — which was a small matter — how in the world can you pass the miraculous one?”  And I think he used his brand new eyes to stare them down one by one.

What do you and I KNOW?  I mean, really?  We know that God loves us.  We know that He’s done something about our sin.  And we know that He is in the sight-giving business.  But only to those who recognize their own blindness and want it taken away.  (to be continued)

 

 

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2017 in discipleship

 

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Insight from a Blind Man (A Study of John 9) Part 19

screen-shot-2017-03-06-at-5-25-29-am“Somewhere out there is a tree, tirelessly producing oxygen so you can breathe.  I think you owe it an apology.” That’s a great insult!

I haven’t had insults hurled at me since, well, never! I guess that means I’ve never been in a situation — a standoff — with angry, religious gestapo who want to kill Jesus.

And then they talk about DISCIPLESHIP!  “You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses.”  But were they?

In John 5, the Jewish leaders began to persecute Jesus.  We read, “17 In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” 18 For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.”  Later Jesus says, “45 “But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set. 46 If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. 47 But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?”

Hmmm.  Jesus didn’t think they were very good disciples of Moses.  Jesus refers to Moses as “your accuser” and logically argues, “If you believed Moses, you would believe me.”  I wonder:  What steps had the Pharisees taken that had removed them from being disciples even of Moses(to be continued)

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2017 in discipleship

 

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