Friday, April 27, 2012

What Comes First?

Do we judge and question those persons with disabilities or do we help them? In His teaching in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, "Judge not, that ye be not judged." Matt 7:1 We have studied the power of Jesus' words as He lived among us as a human being. His words had the power to purify the Temple for sacred worship unto God and restore the Samaritan woman afresh, exciting her to witness to all the people in her city that she believed Him to be the Messiah. This week we shall see His healing powers as we study John 9:1-17.

'And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?' John 9:1-2 Jesus had been teaching in the Temple and the Pharisees attempted to test Him once again. (See John 8) The Pharisees were interpreters of the Law. When things did not go as they planned, they continued to debate Jesus and mock His identity. Finally, they attempted to stone Him, but '...Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.' John 8:59 It is possible that Jesus and the disciples saw the blind man as they were leaving the Temple as mentioned at the end of chapter 8. It is also possible they would have met up with the blind man on a street of Jerusalem. What is important is that Jesus had compassion as He saw a man in need. He was about His Father's business in giving sight to the blind. (Luke 4:18) The disciples, however, displayed no pity and wanted to know who was responsible for the sin to cause the man's blindness. They did not initially see this as an opportunity for the man's healing. They had similar beliefs to the Jewish thinking of that day. The disciples wanted to know if the young man had sinned in his mother's womb or whether his parents' had sinned and passed this disability to him. (Ex 20:5) Why? They were walking with the Master who had the power to heal.

'Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.' John 9:3 God's mercy is stronger than our sins. Neither the young man's sins nor his parents' sins were the cause of his blindness. His blindness will witness the miraculous healing to the glory of God. (See also Job 1:8-12; 2:3-6 for Divine arrangements of God for His glory)

'I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.' John 9:4 In some versions of the Bible, it states "I must work..." In other versions, it states "we must work..." In either case, Jesus is including Himself and the disciples in the work that must be done. He was sent and commissioned by His Father to do the work of teaching and preaching the gospel. The work also includes a healing ministry. (John 3:15-17; Luke 4:17-19) This work must be done while it is yet the day (His life). Jesus knew the night (His death) would soon come when He would not be able to work.

'As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.' John 9:5 The gospel of John associates light with life and creation. Jesus is the light who promises all who come to Him will not walk in darkness. See John 8:12 As followers of Christ we are to reflect His light as He taught in His Sermon on the Mount. "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." Matt 5:14-16

'When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay,' John 9:6 Here we have Jesus, the Second Person of the Godhead and Creator, using a common healing practice. With the power of His words, He had previously healed those who were blind just by His words. It is unknown why He spat on the ground and made clay (mud) from the spit and dirt. It is possible He did so because kneading to make bread or clay was one of the thirty-nine categories of work forbidden on the Sabbath according to man. Was God's purpose of healing supposed to wait one day because of man's law? The Sabbath was made for man. See Mark 2:27 Jesus spread the clay mixture on the eyes of the blind man, but His healing power was not in the mud. It was in the faith and obedience of the blind man. '...God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;' I Cor 1:27

'And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.' John 9:7 The blind man stands with clay in his eyes. He can not see Jesus, but He accepts His instructions for healing. He does not realize that Jesus was sent by the Father with the purpose of being the light of the world as yet. Now he is sent for his healing to come out of physical darkness into the light and be a witness to the world. He was sent by Jesus who was sent by the Father to the pool of Siloam, defined as Sent. We assume he knows how to get to the pool or will get assistance. The healing was in his faith and obedience to the instructions he had received. He obeyed and returned able to see.

'The neighbours therefore, and they which before had seen him that he was blind, said, Is not this he that sat and begged? Some said, This is he: others said, He is like him: but he said, I am he. Therefore said they unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He answered and said, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash: and I went and washed, and I received sight. Then said they unto him, Where is he? He said, I know not.' John 9:8-12 The neighbors could not believe this was the same man who sat at the Temple and begged. He had a great transformation. Can you imagine never having had the blessing of sight and then given it? How would you react? Why would they think he would go back to waiting at the Temple for assistance and compassion? Some knew him and others said he was like the beggar man. Finally, the man stopped their discussion as to his identity and stated "I am he". Then their curiousity overwhelmed them. They were not overjoyed in happiness for his good fortune. They began to question him as to how he got his sight. He explained every fact, including Jesus' name. However, when asked of His whereabouts, the man could not adequately answer. He was blind when Jesus put the clay mixture on his eyes and had not ever seen Him.

'They brought to the Pharisees him that aforetime was blind. And it was the sabbath day when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes. Then again the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. He said unto them, He put clay upon mine eyes, and I washed, and do see. Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them.' John 9:13-16 The neighbors brought the man before the Pharisees. They wanted to remain in good standing with the religious leaders. His story had to be told to them to see if it was legal as he had been healed on the Sabbath. Perhaps there were was a follower of Jesus among the neighbors who wanted to prove He was able to heal. Whether that was true or not, the man told the facts again. There was a division among the Pharisees as to this healed man. Some concluded Jesus could not be of God because He did not keep the Sabbath day and was a false prophet. Others believed a sinner could not possibly do this type of miracle. The Pharisees were enemies of Jesus and the disciples.

They placed more importance on tradition and laws than the people for whom they were established. The Pharisees tried to entrap the man by asking his opinion of Jesus. 'They say unto the blind man again, What sayest thou of him, that he hath opened thine eyes? He said, He is a prophet.'John 9:17 By receiving the ability to see physically, the man had received spiritual insight. He believed the One who had given him sight had been sent by God. Yet he did not understand the full impact of his spiritual insight. Jesus was not just a prophet. He was King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He was the Savior, Redeemer, and Son of God. He had not received that spiritual insight as yet.

The best part of the story is the Pharisees harassed the man, until he defended Jesus saying, 'If this man were not of God, he could do nothing.' John 9:33 He was then put out of the synagogue, losing Jewish rights. John 9:22,34 By doing so, the man actually gained a blessing. Jesus sought him and asked if he believed in the Son of God. The man inquired as to the identity of the Son of God and Jesus introduced Himself. The man worshiped the Son of God. John 9:35-38 He was healed and met his Savior. That is light! Written by Deborah C. Davis

No comments: