John 9:4 (NLT)
4All of us must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent me, because there is little time left before the night falls and all work comes to an end.
John 9:39-41 (NLT)
39Then Jesus told him, “I have come to judge the world. I have come to give sight to the blind and to show those who think they see that they are blind.”
40The Pharisees who were standing there heard him and asked, “Are you saying we are blind?”
41“If you were blind, you wouldn’t be guilty,” Jesus replied. “But you remain guilty because you claim you can see.
First, I have to comment on Zephaniah. This book, like many of the writings in the OT is just dark. God, through these prophets is just coming down on the people for their sin and rebelliousness. It is actually hard for me to receoncile a God of love and patience with this heavy condemnation.
God is obviously trying to turn them around. But in our society of compassion, tolerance, and pop-psychology, this kind of language doesn’t seem very “supportive.” But, when someone is standing in front of a speeding train, I suppose that isn’t the time to mix words. That’s when we have to get vocal and convince them to avoid death.
I do like the way Zephaniah concludes his book though. It is very loving and shows the tender side of God — that is cool.
This whole story in John 9 is pretty cool. Every time I read it, I am more understanding of the time and place that surrounded this event. Jesus must have had a lot of fun healing this man. Can you imagine the chaos that this must have created? Can you imagine the questions, the gossip, the confusion, and the controversy?
People would be running to and fro — telling their friends, running to see for themselves, and excited about this spectacle. In today’s society, the cell phone circuits would jam and the Internet would be abuzz. Pretty soon the TV news trucks would arrive, extend their satellite antennas and broadcast this sensational news story.
I think we underestimate the wonder of Jesus’ miracles.
Jesus makes a couple of bold statements. First, He prophetically tells the disciples (and us) that we must work quickly to do the work of the father wheile there is still time. We sometimes underestimate and undervalue the work we have to do before Jesus returns. It has eternal consequences.
Another bold statement that Jesus makes is at the end of this chapter. He says that He has come to give sight to the blind and to show those who think they can see that they are actually blind. This is no easy mission. As a pastor, I feel this is much of my job too. To comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable.
But, often the blind can only see after supernatural intervention. It wasn’t the mud and saliva, it was God’s power manifested in this man. Counseling, listening, comfort, books, lectures, psychology, and all the other tools at our disposal may feel as good as warm mud in our eyes, but in reality they are just as primative — compared to God’s intervention.
On the same note, showing those who think they can see that they are actually blind is just as difficult. In fact, for me this group is even harder to work with. These are the people that really tick me off. They come in many shapes and sizes — the blow-hard, the know-it-all, the dysfunctional who are in denial, and the incompetant who can’t be taught. In fact, the common thread here is their unteachable spirit.
Maybe the reason I struggle with these folks is because I too can be quite unteachable. Hmmmm… I too can be stubborn. Yikes! I too think I know it all and can be quite opinionated.
So, maybe before I can teach the unteachable, I need to be teachable. Before I can help the know-it-alls, I need to be humbled. Before I can hep those in denial, I need to face my creator and see myself for who I really am. Before I can see, I have to realize that I am blind.
The blind who know they’re blind are ready to be healed. Those who are blind, but don’t know it have a much longer journey to take. Today I realized how blind I really am. Today I realized that I don’t have any advanced tools or skills that can help people to see. All my best efforts are like spit and mud.
The only way to help people out of their blindness is through the healing power of Jesus Christ — that’s it!
Father God — forgive me for my ignorance. Forgive me for thinking I was brilliant, all-knowing, and all capable. Forgive me for my unteachable attitude. Forgive me for my stubbornness. Forgive me for thinking that my dirt and spit could actually heal anyone.
You are the source of strength. You are the source of healing. You are the source of love. You alone are God and you alone are worthy.
Help me to see how blind I really am and then help me to seek you for healing. Give me sight Lord!
Hmmm… just realizing that I am blind makes me see that much clearer — thanks God!