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Insight from a Blind Man (A Study of John 9) Part 10

screen-shot-2017-02-27-at-6-11-22-amThe Pharisees were in a pickle.  They knew that the Sabbath was inviolable, but they also knew that Jesus had broken the Sabbath.  He had worked by making mud on the Sabbath!

They logically deduced, from their premise that their view of Sabbath-keeping was the correct one, that Jesus could not be the Messiah promised of God.  It just did not make sense!  Why would the Messiah violate His own commandments about treating the Sabbath as holy?

As we learn in Jesus’ other fights with the Pharisees, they had replaced God’s Word with their own traditions.  What they were defending was not always God’s truth, but their perspectives and additions and expansions of God’s truths.  And Jesus seemed to not care a whit when He broke their Sabbath!

NOT KEEPING THE SABBATH = NOT BEING FROM GOD.  Their logic was impeccable.  The only problem was that they now had a healed tourist in their midst, a grown man who wanted to go SIGHT-seeing!  He had been healed — by a Sabbath-breaker!

Their theological machinery was blowing a gasket!  “How can a sinner perform such signs?”  Of course, every miracle done by God through every human being in the Bible (apart from Jesus) was done through a sinner, was it not?  Something was terribly wrong — either with the miracle itself or the details of the miracle or the Person of Jesus.  Or their presupposition about the Sabbath?

I imagine that by this time the man born blind was becoming increasingly impatient.  Fingers screen-shot-2017-02-27-at-6-28-18-ampointing at him.  Accusations made.  Questions hurled like poisonous darts.  Looks of disgust, religious indignation, logical confusion reigning.  He was probably done with talking.  He wanted to go see some things.  (to be continued)

 

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2017 in john 9

 

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

screen-shot-2017-02-25-at-5-36-55-amAh, the miracle was done on the SABBATH!  The Pharisees saw themselves as the keepers of the Sabbath and their logic or lack of logic got them into a lot of debates with Jesus over the purpose of the Sabbath.

Jesus did not check the calendar to see what day it was before He spat on the ground, made mud, put it on this man’s eyes, and told him to go wash.  For Jesus the time was always right for a miracle!

The religiosity of the Pharisees blinded them from the truth about the Sabbath, the truth about this blind man, and the truth about Jesus.  Religion has a way of doing that.

Religion can be a substitute for the righteousness that is offered freely in the gospel. Religion can take the place of compassion.  Religion can poison one’s mind and cause one to think that he or she can work their way to heaven.  Religion can seduce one into minimizing God’s mercy and trampling on His grace.  Religion nailed the Son of God to the cross, didn’t it?

There is indeed a God-consciousness built inside each of us that is either met by God’s mercy or twisted by man’s own religious efforts.

The Creator of man, the Second Person of the Divine Trinity, stooped to make mud, much like man’s original creation in the beginning.  He can make mud and He can fashion it any way He chooses.  But man can judge Him by man’s religion and condemn His creative intervention into our world of darkness.  In a world of dust and dirt and precious little spiritual water, He spits on the ground He made and does something wonderful.  Which religion condemns. (to be continued)

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2017 in religion

 

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Insight from a Blind Man (A Study of John 9) Part 8

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Why do people want to know HOW something happened? They ought to be enthralled THAT something happened, don’t you think?

The problem here is that process is all-important to the religious leaders — and the people they have taught.  The real issue in this interrogation — for the friends and later especially for the Pharisees — is the day of the week in which this miracle took place.  THE SABBATH!

As the neighbors and those who had formerly known the blind man discover, Jesus had MADE MUD on the Sabbath to put on the man’s eyes so he could go wash and so he could — for the first time in his LIFE! — see!  The man born blind is succinct in his response:  “The man they call Jesus . . .”  He knew next to nothing about Jesus, not even His whereabouts.

“The man they call Jesus” — Soon this man would be calling Jesus “Lord”!  But first he has to go through a series of interrogations — and they will not be pretty.

Thank God that our ignorance does not inhibit the God of glory to do works of power in our lives!  He who made the deaf, the mute, and the blind (Ex. 4) can reverse the effects of the Fall and give sight where there had only been darkness.

Could it be that this man was actually wanting to find “the man they call Jesus” to thank Him?  screen-shot-2017-02-25-at-5-58-44-amAnd his searching gets side-tracked by this series of inquisitions?  He certainly becomes irritated and agitated (as we’ll see later) as the questions are hurled at him like  stones at the public stoning of an adulteress.

But for right now, he tolerates the questions and will be led to the religious authorities, presumably to give their stamp of approval to his miracle.  However, religion can become ugly.  Quite ugly. (to be continued)

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2017 in john 9

 

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Insight from a Blind Man (A Study of John 9) Part 7

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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. screen-shot-2017-02-24-at-6-05-08-am(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)

 

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2017 in john 9

 

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Insight from a Blind Man (a Study of John 9) Part 6

screen-shot-2017-02-23-at-5-21-21-amAfter giving His brief talk on working while it is day, the Lord Jesus did something that most of us find gross.  He spat on the ground.  My parents taught me not to spit in public.

When I taught in India a few years ago, I was a bit shocked to see women spitting in public!  But Jesus was intentional.  And the man born blind must have been a bit surprised to hear the sound of Jesus spitting on the ground.

The Lord then mixed His spittle with the dirt screen-shot-2017-02-23-at-5-38-28-amon the ground, making some mud.  He put it on the man’s eyes.  Why would He do such a thing?  Some commentators suggest that, in that day, such a mud compact was thought to be helpful.  I believe Jesus did this so that when the man “came home seeing” people would easily connect his healing with this action by Jesus.

Jesus tells the man to go wash in the Pool of Siloam.  Why does John tell the reader that this word means “Sent”?  Well, the man has been sent, hasn’t he?  “Sent” implies a mission — and this mission, as difficult as it must have been for the man born blind to complete it, would change his life!

Could not the Lord of Glory, the Second Person of the Divine Trinity, simply have spoken the man’s vision into being?  Could He not have simply touched the man’s eyes and said something like “Be opened!”?  Of course, He could have.  But the man is given a simple command — and he obeys.  There is something quite attractive in such simple obedience.  “The man went and washed, and came home seeing.”

The Bible’s succinctness in telling this story cries out for elaboration.  And I have heard that cry!  I’ve written out a fictional account of this miracle, trying to fill in the details.  If you are interested in my re-telling of this story, please drop me an email (theoprof@bellsouth.net) or state your interest in the comment section below.

The question for us today is simple:  What command has Jesus given you that you simply need to OBEY? (to be continued)

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 18, 2017 in john 9

 

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Insight from a Blind Man (a Study of John 9): Part 5

screen-shot-2017-02-13-at-9-05-43-am We live in a 24/7 world where darkness has been turned into light by the invention of the light bulb!  In Jesus’ time when it got dark, people turned off the TV and went to bed.  Daylight was for working; nighttime was for sleeping.

This man born blind had only known NIGHT.  He had never seen a sun rise or a sun set or a flower or a pretty girl or an angry Pharisee.  It was always night for him.

The Lord Jesus was fond of using metaphors screen-shot-2017-02-19-at-5-57-08-am in the gospel of John.  He uses the metaphor of birth in chapter three, of water in chapter four, of bread in chapter six, of darkness (night) in chapter nine.

Jesus knows that He is on a mission to do “the works of God” and the time to do those works is the daytime.  As the light of the world He was personally obligated “to do the works of him who sent me.”

Actually, when you think about it, the expression “the light of the world” implies nighttime, doesn’t it?  We don’t need light during the day, but during the night.  Perhaps Jesus is saying that this world is very dark, even in the daytime.

Jesus’ followers, we are told in Matthew 5, are “the light of the world.  A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.”  In a real sense, we have taken the place of Jesus as the light of the world!  Earlier in John 8 Jesus had said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  Jesus says, “While I am in the world . . .”  The implication is that He was here only for a short time and soon would be returning to His Father.  And in this in-between-time, we are the light of the world.

Letting your light shine? (to be continued)

 

 
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Posted by on March 16, 2017 in john 9

 

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Insight from a Blind Man (A Study of John 9) (Part 4)

screen-shot-2017-02-13-at-9-05-43-amscreen-shot-2017-02-14-at-6-19-21-amYes, sometimes we can serve God better with our wounds than with our wellness.

Jesus makes it quite clear here that He KNEW why this man was born blind!  No one but GOD can declare “This happened so that . . .”  This man born blind was part of God’s plan to reveal His Son as Savior to the world — one needy person at a time!

I never played on high school sports teams, but instead had a paper route to make money.  But if I had, I would probably have a few trophies.  At least some participation ones!  Wait a minute, I have several table tennis and tennis trophies that I’ve won as an adult, an old adult.  Now.  If I were really serious about my trophies, I would not lose them in the garage or put them in a box in the attic.  I would screen-shot-2017-02-18-at-6-06-39-amdisplay them in a prominent place at home — on the kitchen table, by the front door under a spotlight — you get the picture.

Jesus says, “this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”  Here’s a display case.  What is its use?  Yes!  To show off stuff!  We are DISPLAY CASES of God’s work in our lives.

That seems to be a pretty passive place for us to be, doesn’t it?  We are just display cases to show off the works of God.  People are not supposed to look through us to God but at us and at what God has been and is doing in our lives!  Now, we can mess up being DISPLAY CASES, can’t we?   We can be so dirty (with sin) that no one can see what’s displayed inside.  We can refuse to turn the light on in the case and just sit there in the dark.  We can distract people’s attention and highlight other things that we’re proud of that aren’t the works of God.

What a marvelous statement.  This man, born blind, had never seen anything in his entire life, but would soon not only himself see, but he would be seen by others as a display case for the works of ALMIGHTY GOD!  From blindness to display.  Not a bad transition! (to be continued)

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2017 in john 9

 

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