Newsletter June 2019

Open eyes

 Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.  I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.  As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” (John 9:1-3)

     Jesus is in Jerusalem at the time of the Feast of Tabernacles.  His disciples have heard Him debate with the religious leaders and declare in the Temple “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 8:12).  Now they come across a blind man sitting by the wayside to beg from those going to worship in the temple.  This man has never seen light; all he has known in his life is darkness.  Surely somebody is to blame for his condition – if not he himself then maybe his parents.  Jesus, however, corrects his disciples; the man’s plight was to reveal God’s glory.      

     Then Jesus goes up to the man and does something rather unusual: He spits on the ground, rubs the dirt into a clay-like mixture and puts it on the man’s eyes and sends him to wash out his eyes.  The man obeys His instructions and, amazingly, the he returns seeing.  Those who knew him as the blind beggar are confused – is it really him or just his lookalike?

     The man confirms that it is truly him.  Now they want to know how this was possible.  He tells them “A Man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed, and I received sight.” (John 9:11)  A miracle!  This must immediately be reported to the Pharisees – the religious leaders!  The Pharisees, however, are not enthused.  Rather than rejoice with the man and those who witnessed his healing, they point to the fact that it is the Sabbath when no work may be done.  Surely someone who heals on the Sabbath cannot be from God.  Rules are there to be kept.  This Jesus must be a false prophet.

     These religious men could not rejoice with the healed man.  They did not understand what it was like to receive sight, when all one has known is darkness.  They could not receive the Light of God that had come into their midst.  They saw Jesus, but did not recognise him.  As Christians today, we confess our faith in Jesus as God’s Son.  Yet do we really recognise Him?  Do we know what His priorities are?  Are we concerned about those who live in darkness?  Or are we too blind ourselves to perceive what matters to Him?  Is our focus merely on maintaining the religious routine we have become so used to?  Is our ambition to advance God’s kingdom rule or to promote our own causes. 

     Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.”  Then some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these words, and said to Him, “Are we blind also?”  Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, ‘We see.’ Therefore your sin remains.” (v.39-41) 

     Jesus divides – into those who believe in Him and those who reject Him.  He came into this world of darkness as the Light of God.  He came to open the eyes of the blind that they would see.  He told his disciples, “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.  As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” (v.3)  Jesus has ascended to the Father, but He has sent us His Spirit – that same Spirit who worked in Him when the Father raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places. (Eph. 1:20)  May our spiritual eyes be opened, that we may know what is the hope of His calling.  May we not be blind to what He is doing, but rather engage in it. May we truly be His body on earth, the fullness of Him who fills all in all, so we can fulfil by His power what He has begun – to bring light to those who sit in darkness.

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