Saturday, April 5, 2014

John 9:35-41 (ESV)

35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 36 He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” 37 Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.” 38 He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him. 39 Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” 40 Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?” 41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.”

Do you recall when Jesus found you? This may sound like an odd question because people, when they talk about Jesus, typically talk about how they found him. It is as if Jesus were the one who was lost. Imagine that if you can! Jesus Christ—fully God, fully man—lost and needing someone who knows where things really are!

In this part of the story where Jesus heals a man born blind, Jesus “finds” him after the religious rulers of that time had cast him out of their presence. That was a big deal then. Today, it would be something like a powerful group of authorities taking away your citizenship, or your job, or your house, or your family—permanently. If that happened to you today, you would certainly feel like you were lost. And you would be certain that you had lost something fundamental to life as you had lived it, something that once had helped you to make sense of it all. In a flash, your cozy understanding of things would vanish, and you would see quite clearly that it was never coming back.

Imagine, then, what it was like for this man who was born blind. All of a sudden he sees; and then he gets a lot of questions. Then, they throw him out! Next, Jesus finds him, and asks him a new question.

This is how Jesus finds us all. First, he opens our eyes. Then, because we have changed and see things differently, we act differently. Then we get a lot of questions—that’s when we begin to feel a little lost. And then suddenly, there he is, asking us just like he asks everyone, “Who do you say that I am?”

Lord, you are the Christ, the Son of the living God!

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Friday, April 4, 2014

John 9:13-34 (ESV)

13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. 14 Now it was a Sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. 15 So the Pharisees again asked him how he had received his sight. And he said to them, “He put mud on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.” 16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” And there was a division among them. 17 So they said again to the blind man, “What do you say about him, since he has opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.”
18 The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight, until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight 19 and asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” 20 His parents answered, “We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. 21 But how he now sees we do not know, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.” 22 (His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone should confess Jesus to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue.) 23 Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”
24 So for the second time they called the man who had been blind and said to him, “Give glory to God. We know that this man is a sinner.” 25 He answered, “Whether he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” 26 They said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” 27 He answered them, “I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?” 28 And they reviled him, saying, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. 29 We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.” 30 The man answered, “Why, this is an amazing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him. 32 Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” 34 They answered him, “You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us?” And they cast him out.

When we are born again – baptized through water and the Spirit – God comes to reside in our heart. The Greeks have a word for heart. It is “kardia” (καρδία). This word refers to so much more than the physical organ beating in our chest. To the people in Jesus’ time, the heart was the center and source of the whole inner life. To believing Christians, it is the resting place of God within us. It is an inner awareness that God is with us. In this passage, the man born blind was healed by Jesus and was able, for the first time in his life, to see; physically and, eventually, spiritually. His very testimony before the Pharisees can be summed up in one statement: One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see (v. 26). He was made a whole person by God! When God comes to reside in our heart, we are healed of our spiritual blindness and our eyes are opened for the first time to the wonder that is God. We too are made whole by Him. We proceed from darkness to light. From then on – every day of our life – our walk grows us in Christ. We become more like him and the light shines more brightly than ever around us and within us. Let us always continue to walk in the light that is Christ Jesus and grow ever closer to Him.

Most Heavenly Father, we pray earnestly to you to reside firmly in our hearts. Help us to grow, O’ Lord. Make us more like you every day as we come into your Heavenly Kingdom. Amen.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

John 9:1-12
1 As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6 Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud 7 and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.
8 The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar were saying, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” 9 Some said, “It is he.” Others said, “No, but he is like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.” 10 So they said to him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” 11 He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed and received my sight.” 12 They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.”

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be blind since birth? Never knowing what anything actually looks like? What would go through your mind if you had been blind since birth and then you were suddenly able to see? While that may be difficult to process on a physical level, unless you have been through that, spiritually we go through a “blind but now we can see” before and after giving our lives to Christ.

Before Christ there is darkness. One cannot even see where their next step is being taken. Context clues can be used to attempt and get some semblance of direction but there is no clarity, not even a glimmer. We see that it is Jesus who creates a way for this man to see for the first time just as he does for our spiritual blindness. His neighbors recognize him yet have trouble because of the man’s new sight and the formerly blind man must clarify to his neighbors by saying “I am the man.”
When our once blind eyes now see, people should have that same reaction. “Are you sure that is ___?” “It looks like them but I don’t think so.” What a great miracle it is for someone who was once blind to now see, to have a clear vision of the path before them, to be made new by the healing hand of Jesus Christ. We have all been called to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to help the blind now see by pointing them towards Jesus.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of sight, for opening my eyes and allowing me to see. I pray that I may follow your call and be a light unto the world and help others gain their sight by pointing them towards you. In Your Great Name I pray, Amen.