I’ve been holding this in for a couple of weeks now.  I have to get this out.  CHAPTER 9 OF JOHN MAKES ME WANT TO STAND UP AND SHOUT!    I read it several times in the past week and each time my blood almost began to boil.  I mean REALLY!!  How much more evidence did those Pharisees need?  Reading that chapter makes me want to be in the synagogue crowd and anonymously murmur… ‘Idiots! Those Pharisees must be idiots!’

I know.  I know.  That would not be very ‘christian’ of me.  But I kind of like to think that if I were there and I did say that that Jesus would shift his eyes over to me and give me a little smirk of agreement.  {I’m pausing to take a breath before I continue to write because my fingers seem to be pounding the keys!!!}

The ninth chapter of John has some very interesting things that are fascinating to study in depth.  The debate of generational sins (children paying for the sins of their parents & grandparents).  The prophetic links of blindness and the Messiah…see Isaiah 29:18, 35:5, and 42:7.  Verse 31 of John nine stirs up the question, “Does God really not hear the prayers of sinners?”  (Job 35:12-13; Proverbs 15:29; Isaiah 1:15…those are likely some of the Scriptures that the blind man knew and prompted him to say what he did in verse 31)

At first I thought I would focus my writing on the Pharisees…comparing them to the many arrogant, self-righteous ‘christians’ that fill up churches every Sunday in our country.  . . .but…I don’t feel like boiling blood tonight so I think I’ll spend my mental energy thinking about the blind man in the story.

Don’t you just love this guy?  Just think about the day he had. He  probably woke up thinking it was going to be another day in the life of a disabled blind man….begging for handouts and ignoring the insults of those who pass by him.

Then….after a group of men walk by and one of them puts a saliva mud pie on his eyes, he is healed and goes from being an outcast to being a celebrity.  Can you imagine the emotions?

As usual, the Pharisees step in and take away all the joy of what should have been a time of celebration.  The once blind man was treated like a criminal by the religious leaders.  Here’s my very favorite verse in this chapter, spoken by the blind man to the Pharisees when they kept questioning him about his blindness… John 9:27 (NLT) “Look!” the man exclaimed. “I told you once. Didn’t you listen? Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples, too?”

Doesn’t that make you want to high five this guy?  I think I know why I love it so much.  It reminds me of the purity in the faith of someone who has just experienced the joy and salvation of Jesus for the first time. 

These new believers haven’t been taught what to say and not say in ‘church situations.’  When questioned about the changes that have taken place in their lives, they usually don’t have a theological discourse to give.  Instead, like the blind man in this story that was touched by Jesus, they just might be able to say…”Hey honestly I don’t have a clue how it happened.  All I know is that I have finally found the freedom I have searched for my entire life!”

A couple of years ago I took the new member’s class at my church.  In this class, I sat next to a girl who I had met on the first night.  This new friend, Michelle, had just recently experienced the freedom that comes when you turn from a life of sin to the salvation Jesus offers.  Joy literally beamed off of her face and she was quick to tell everyone of the difference Jesus had made in her life.

 One night in the class, the leader mentioned that we are all ministers in our secular jobs, and that God wants to use us in our jobs to bring glory to Him. Michelle quickly and unashamedly raised her hand to ask a question.  “Okay,” she said without hesitation, “I’m a liquor distributor….How can that bring glory to God?”  She smiled very innocently as others in the room got silent and squirmed a little in their seats. 

Personally I was cheering in my heart….I LOVED the purity and honesty of this girl….You could tell Michelle REALLY wanted to make sure she brought glory to God in her work…She had no idea that that was not a ‘churchy question’ to ask.   When the amazing leader of the class, Denise, offered Michelle words of encouragement instead of condemnation, I knew that I had found a church that I would be proud to call my church family.

Another thing my sweet new friend did not know….in just three months her young thirty-something year old life would come to a sudden end because of an aneurism.  Indeed God did use Michelle to bring glory to Him.   I, a Baptist preacher’s daughter, was forever impacted by the purity of faith of my friend, the liquor distributor.   

The blind man in John 9 ended that day much like he began it…as an outcast…thrown out of the synagogue because he did not give the ‘proper’ answer to the Pharisees. 

Though an outcast in the sight of the Pharisees, he was accepted by the one who mattered. 

John 9:35-38 (NLT)
35 When Jesus heard what had happened, he found the man and asked, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
36 The man answered, “Who is he, sir? I want to believe in him.”
37 “You have seen him,” Jesus said, “and he is speaking to you!”
38 “Yes, Lord, I believe!” the man said. And he worshiped Jesus.

Sometimes it is easy to forget that God sees into our hearts.  We can easily fool those around us. . .living a life that follows rules but having a heart that is not guided by love.  Unfortunately many people live their lives in the darkness of spiritual blindness…seeing the world through the lens of rules instead of through the grace that was offered on the cross.

My prayer for myself and for each of you is that you will experience the joy of salvation today.  Like the blind man in the story and my friend Michelle, may we remember the magnificent freedom from sin that Christ has given us and allow the joy of salvation to flow out of our words, our actions, and our faces!

Grab you journal and answer these questions…

1.  John 9:3 gives us the reason for the man’s blindness.  What is the reason?  How should Jesus’s answer in this verse affect the way that we approach problems and circumstances in our own lives?  (See also James 1:2-3)

2.  In this story, the man was not immediately healed when Jesus touched him.  Instead, Jesus instructed him to go wash in the pool of Siloam.  When seeking the Lord for answers, it is important to remember to listen for God’s instructions.  What are some things that we can do to help us hear the instruction of the Lord more often and more clearly?

3.  In our study guide, Journey Into Knowing Jesus, the author writes, “As Christians, we don’t need to have all the answers before we can share our faith.  All we need to know is what Jesus Christ has done for us.  Nothing is as powerful as a personal testimony.”  What is your personal testimony?  Take some time this week to write out your story and pray that God would send people into your life this week that you could share your personal testimony with so that they may also experience the joy of salvation.

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