Jesus heard that they had cast [the man who was born blind] out; and when He had found him, He said to him, “Do you believe in the Son of God?”
He answered and said, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?”
And Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you.”
Then he said, “Lord, I believe!” And he worshiped Him.
And Jesus said, “For judgement 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.
[John 9:35-41 NKJV]
‘You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you’.
These two witnessing elements are the key to believing in the Son of God, Jesus Christ, for when we are ‘born again’ we see Him, and when we are touched by the Holy Spirit, He talks with us. The third and God-completing factor is that we believe and do nothing else but worship Him. Hallelujah!
Only the Son of God can reach us in this way, and He does so by anointing us — not with oil — but with potters clay, the dust of the earth made moist from His own mouth. In other words, He makes us anew by mixing heaven and earth to create new life.
‘For judgement I have come into this world.’
We can often think of judgement as condemnation or punishment, and it can be used in the context of sentencing a law-breaker, and the word has that meaning. However, it also carries the idea of objective assessment and discernment. It can be positive as well as negative, depending on our disposition.
If we are ‘abiding in Him’ we have nothing to fear from His judgement. Jesus, in revealing that His judgement was ‘that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind’, turns our preconceived notions upside down, or inside out.
It is clear that Jesus always upsets the natural viewpoint of man, whether it be rational or irrational, for the simple reason that we are the creature not the creator. We cannot understand the mind of God unless it is put into us by the Holy Spirit. God — through Jesus Christ — changes our disposition and brings us back into intimate communication with our Creator, so that, if blind we may finally see and understand.
Never assume anything that has not been made yours by faith and the experience of life; it is presumptuous to do so. On the other hand, be ready to be considered foolish for proclaiming to others what is really yours.
[from ‘Disciples Indeed’]
But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind and received his sight, until they called the parents of him who had received his sight.
And they asked them, saying, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?”
His parents answered them and said, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind;
but by what means he now sees we do not know, or who opened his eyes we do not know. He is of age; ask him. He will speak for himself.”
[John 9:18-21 NKJV]
The predominant themes in John 9 are belief (faith), seeing (understanding) and the nature of sin. The verses above reveal more about the Pharisees attitude to this healing of the blind man. Their belief was a construct, a fantasy, and had more to do with their own pride than seeking the truth of their faith.
‘Ask and you shall receive’. They were twice told by the blind man’s parents to ‘Ask him.’ When the answer was not what they wanted, the (formerly) blind man was cast out. We see a similar thing happening today in many areas of life. We all look for confirmation of what we already understand and believe, but we must constantly be on our guard against wrong teaching, or persuasive ideas that come from the world and not from The Lord. Jesus Christ is ‘of age’ and we can ask Him for His help; His clarity and life to overcome all difficulty.
In recent times there has been the worrying rise of a number of prominent people — leaders and outspoken men and women in their countries — who spout verifiable falsehoods and continue to promote such blatant lies until many come to believe them, and indeed will rally round their cause, against the evidence of their own eyes and experience. We must be ‘watchmen on the walls’.
Set up the standard on the walls of Babylon; make the guard strong, set up the watchmen, prepare the ambushes. For the LORD has both devised and done what He spoke against the inhabitants of Babylon.
[Jeremiah 51:12 NKJV]
One thing we must be clear about, is that our Lord remains in control of all things and we need not fear. The following passage (from ‘The Message’) makes clear that God will not strive with those who consistently refuse Him ...
The Anarchist's coming is all Satan's work. All his power and signs and miracles are fake, evil sleight of hand that plays to the gallery of those who hate the truth that could save them. And since they're so obsessed with evil, God rubs their noses in it—gives them what they want. Since they refuse to trust truth, they're banished to their chosen world of lies and illusions.
[2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 MSG]
It is the same today as it was 2000 years ago, and so we should not be surprised when we look around us and see unbelief and many lost in ‘lies and illusions’; or as the NKJV has it, taking ‘pleasure in unrighteousness.‘
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, help keep our eyes focussed on you, and let us not be drawn away by lies, fantasy and illusions. Keep us grounded in Your truth, watchmen against the troubles from Babylon, O Lord, in Jesus’ name we pray.
Some of us are no good unless we are kept in the circumstances in which our convictions were formed, but God is constantly stirring up our nests so we may learn that a relationship with Christ is not altered in any circumstance.
Logic or a vivid past experience can never take the place of personal faith in a personal God.
It is easier to be true to a conviction formed in a vivid religious experience than to be true to Christ, because if I am true to Christ, my convictions will have to be altered.
They brought him who formerly was blind to the Pharisees.
Now it was a Sabbath when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes.
Then the Pharisees also asked him again how he had received his sight. He said to them, “He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.”
Therefore some of the Pharisees said, “This Man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath.” Others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” And there was a division among them.
[John 9:13-16 NKJV]
We see that he (whom Jesus healed) had been born blind and was no longer so, having been transformed by his encounter with Jesus. His inquisitors — again looking for reasons to denounce Jesus — asked that he explain his receiving of sight, and concluded that it could not be a God-given miracle because it happened on the day of rest.
But even among these religiously dogmatic men there was division — at least some of them realised that this conclusion did not make sense. How could someone who broke the law and healed a blind man on the Sabbath — and therefore was a sinner — perform a miracle of healing?
If a sinner then He could not heal on the Sabbath? If from God then surely He would keep the Sabbath and would not heal on that day? Their religious zeal made them blind to the truth, something the blind man had now been gifted and had understood.
Again, we see that a rigid adherence to religious form can blind us to the same truth we purport to seek and believe.
PRAYER THOUGHT: Lord keep us hearing from Your Holy Spirit, that Your truth may be forever a part of us.
Asking in prayer is at once the test of three things — simplicity, stupidity, and certainty of God.
[from ‘Disciples Indeed’]
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 9:1-5 NKJV]
This story which opens John chapter 9 is one of only seven miracles Jesus brought that John relates. They were obviously chosen by John to reveal specific aspects of The Saviour’s earthly ministry. This is not something I have considered looking at up until now, but now that I have seen it, I feel that I must search out the matter.
For now I shall confine today’s meditation to the passage noted above. The central theme is the nature of sin, and Jesus’ assertion that not all sin is the same. The disciples obviously held to the view that blindness — or any infirmity — occurred as a result of sinful behaviour.
‘Not so,’ says Jesus. In this case the man was blind (since birth) so ‘that the works of God should be revealed in Him’. This statement makes out that the man was created blind by God, so that His power to recreate and make whole (make perfect) could be revealed. Thus, this is not a matter of sin.
It also shows something which continues to be a misunderstanding for Christians today — the difference between sin and sins. Jesus was made to be ‘sin’ to recreate our disposition to sin, not to remove our ‘sins’, our natural character.
‘For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.’ [2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV]
We can see in verse 6, a description of how Jesus made the change in the man who was blind — it is an act of re-creation — of re-forming the man anew.
‘When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. And He said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went and washed, and came back seeing.’
The cure of uncertainty is a new note of intercession prayer. The reason for perplexity in meeting the actual occurrences of life is because we are losing face-to-face contact with Jesus Christ through His Cross. We must get back to the place where we are concerned only about facing our own inner souls with Jesus Christ who searches us right down to the inmost recesses.
[from ‘The Place Of Help’]
Gather yourselves together, yes, gather together, O undesirable nation, before the decree is issued, or the day passes like chaff,
Before the LORD'S fierce anger comes upon you, before the day of the LORD'S anger comes upon you!
Seek the LORD, all you meek of the earth, who have upheld His justice. Seek righteousness, seek humility. It may be that you will be hidden in the day of the LORD'S anger.
[Zephaniah 2:1-3 NKJV]
Who is being addressed here? Who are the ‘undesirable nation’? It seems that we are talking of ‘fearful Gentiles’, or ‘greedy heathens’; other expressions we can derive from those words.
Gathering together is what we do, and for these last 14-15 months that has been impossible. Indeed, we cannot be sure — as a small house church — when we can legitimately gather again in full number. However, we can be assured that whatever the physical obstructions to gathering may be, the gathering in the Spirit is unhindered.
What is really interesting in this passage from Zephaniah — and the lesson we can learn — is that the exhortation to gather is made to the ‘undesirable nation’; the people who are not a part of spiritual Israel, the Kingdom of God. The word translated here as ‘gather together’ is qâšaš meaning ‘to become sapless through drought’.
So, rather than addressing people who do not know God, as might be supposed, Zephaniah is addressing those who know God but have turned their backs on Him; those who ‘forsake the gathering’, who have left to join the ‘undesirable nation’; those who backslide and drift away; those who no longer drink of ‘the living water’.
Nowadays we might say — far less eloquently than Zephaniah puts it — “Come on, everyone. Pull your socks up!” Whether we feel that we need to pull our socks up or not, it is certainly an encouragement to ask The Holy Spirit to ‘Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.’ [Psalm 139:23-24 NKJV]
It is because our Lord Jesus Christ went through the depths of agony to the last ebb in the Garden of Gethsemane, because He went through Calvary, that we can boldly enter the holy place.
[from ‘If Ye Shall Ask’, now titled ‘If You Will Ask’]