Tuesday, March 24, 2015, 9:00 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “The Lord’s Anointed” (Is. 61). Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read John 9 (selected ESV).
Work the Works (vv. 1-5)
As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
God is completely sovereign over all things. He has plans and purposes for what he allows in our lives far beyond our natural ability to comprehend. God allowed this man to be born blind so that when God/Christ healed him, God’s works might be displayed in his life, and they were indeed!
I have been sick with a bad head cold for a week now. Physically, I feel miserable. I am congested, coughing and am experiencing periodic bouts with sinus pressure and headaches. This morning I have had a terrible time keeping my eyes open. I have been struggling to stay awake. There is nothing in me, that is in my flesh, which has the strength or willpower to sit and to write just now. I just want someone to come over and take care of me. So, I am completely dependent on my Lord to display his works through me today.
Jesus said that we must work the works of God the Father while it is day for night is coming when no one can work. The next sentence, I believe, helps us interpret what Jesus was saying here. He said, “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” I believe he was saying that we need to be doing the work of our Father in heaven while we still have life on this earth, for when we die, the work he has called us to do here will be finished. So, what is our work here? It is very much the same as that of Jesus (See Is. 61). We are to be lights to the world around us in living for the Lord, in showing the love of Jesus to others, and in sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ so that others can come to know him, too.
Go and Wash (vv. 6-7)
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 and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.
I see many parallels between the story of this man blind from birth, and Jesus’ healing of him, and the message of the gospel of our salvation. We are also blind from birth, not because we sinned before we were born, and not as the result of the sins of our parents, but we are born into sin because the first man Adam sinned against God and thus all of humanity has been under the curse of sin since that time. Yet, God gave humans a free will to choose to sin or to follow him. He didn’t make us puppets on a string. He wanted people who would love, serve and worship him because they wanted to. So, basically he allowed man to sin by giving him that choice, then through salvation and the indwelling presence of God’s Spirit within us, God is thus able to display his works in and through us.
I find it particularly interesting, in this specific instance of Jesus healing someone, that Jesus did not just touch the man so that he would be instantaneously healed. He did something we might consider strange, or gross, or maybe even unsanitary. He used his spit, mixed it with dirt, which made mud, and then he put it on the man’s eyes, and then told him to go wash it off.
So, this got me thinking about our salvation. For one, Jesus is the one who initiated this healing, not the man. Scripture teaches us that we cannot come to Christ unless the Father first draws us to him. Then Jesus used something from his own body and applied it to dirt, perhaps representing our sin, and he then applied it to the man’s blinded eyes. So, why did Jesus see fit to do it this way? I don’t know, but I do see how it is a picture of our salvation.
Jesus Christ applied our sins (the dirt) to himself when he died on the cross for our sins, but he also applied his life (through death) to our sins (the dirt). Then, he applied what he did for our sins (the mud) to our lives (our blinded eyes). He put our sins to death on the cross and he conquered them in his resurrection. He did this so we could be set free (be healed) of the curse of sin, so we could be free of the control of sin over our lives, and so we could be free to walk daily in fellowship with him, living in his righteousness and holiness.
When we accept our Lord’s invitation to his salvation, by faith, we then die with Christ to our sins, which is represented by the man obeying the Lord in going to the pool and washing off the mud, representing the removal of sin’s curse and slavery to sin from our lives because of what Jesus did in providing for our salvation. It is still the Lord who heals and who saves. We do not initiate this, and we can do nothing to earn it or to deserve it, but we must obey our Lord in dying with him to the sins which once enslaved us and by submitting ourselves to the cross of Christ in our lives so that we can be saved (healed).
Persecution Arose (vv. 24-34)
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.” He answered, “Whether he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” They said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” 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?” And they reviled him, saying, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.” The man answered, “Why, this is an amazing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. 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. Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” They answered him, “You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us?” And they cast him out.
When we are truly born anew of the Spirit of God, have repented of our sins, and have been empowered of the Spirit to walk no longer according the flesh, but according to the Spirit, and we begin to testify of God’s amazing grace in our lives in setting us free, we will face persecution. And, much of that persecution may come from religious people, too, because many religious people are righteous in their own eyes, but have not submitted to the cross. And, our testimonies and witness for Jesus Christ and his gospel will be an offense to them.
And, I am not speaking merely of those we consider to be legalistic, but most especially those who follow man-made religion and consider themselves to be liberated from legalism. Many of them have diluted the gospel to make it more appealing to human flesh, and thus they will find us to not fit in with their business plans for how to grow their churches, and they, too, may throw us out of their fellowships. I have been invited out of several.
Yet, I love this man’s testimony! He was not intimidated at all by these religious zealots who were trying to discredit the man Jesus who had healed the blind man. He knew where he was before. He knew he couldn’t see. And he knew Jesus had healed him. He didn’t have all the answers to all the philosophical questions these religious leaders might throw his way, but what he was convinced of was that once he was blind, but now he could see! Amen! And, that should be our testimony, as well. We know the sin we were born into. And, we know now that by the power of Jesus and what he did for us in dying on the cross for our sins, we are now free from that bondage to sin, and now we are free to walk daily in his righteousness and holiness, not in our own power, but in the power of the Spirit within us.
Your Guilt Remains (vv. 35-41)
Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.” He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him. Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.
When we are persecuted for righteous’ sake, Jesus will always be there to comfort us with his love and mercy. We can count on him. He will never leave us comfortless.
Yet, to those who choose to follow man-made religion and who insist on persecuting the Lord’s servants and witnesses, who are sharing the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ; and to those who are diluting the gospel to make it more acceptable to humankind, Jesus has strong words of rebuke.
It is not that they are not blinded by sin’s deceitfulness. They are. The difference between them and the man who was born blind, though, is that the blind man knew he was blind, and thus he was willing to have Jesus Christ heal him. Those of man-made religion think they can see, i.e. they think they are right and that Jesus is wrong, and that they don’t need Jesus or his message. Although many modern day preacher would dispute the notion that he or his followers might be in that situation, many are right where the Pharisees were because they refuse to listen to Jesus and to follow his Word, but have instead become followers of humans and their philosophies over and above the Word of God. And, so their guilt remains because they don’t see that they are blind, but claim enlightenment, only not from Christ, but from humans who think they know better than God.
Teach Them / An Original Work / May 24, 2012
Based off various scriptures
Open up the blinded eyes of
Those who walk in sin’s darkness.
Turn them to the light of Christ
And to His righteousness.
Turn them from the pow’r of Satan.
Turn them to the peace of Christ,
So they may receive forgiveness
And eternal life.
Teach them to put off their old selves
And their former way of life,
And to put on their new self,
Reborn to be like Christ;
To not copy worldly customs;
Be transformed in life and mind;
Obey freely His word in them,
Pleasing unto God.
Teach them how to love their neighbors
Truly as they love themselves;
Be a witness; share the gospel;
Satan’s lies dispel;
Comfort all who mourn in sadness;
Share Christ’s love and joy today.
Do this through your life and witness
For your Lord always.