In John chapter 9 we read about Jesus healing the man born blind. Why ever did Jesus spit to make mud? It was Jesus directly challenging the Sanhedrin, the rabbis ruling the nation. Long before Jesus’ time the rabbis made laws intended to be ‘a fence’ protecting the Jews from inadvertently breaking the Law of Moses. By Jesus’ day they’d made thousands of these rules. But more than that, they exalted these man-made rules above the authority of Scripture, also exalting themselves, claiming that their authority superseded that of Moses, while thinking they were still honouring Moses. It was pure deception. Jesus’ strategy is to directly confront them with the truth, both in word and in deed.
One of these rules, incredibly, forbad spitting, and then putting the mud on the eyes of a blind man. Jesus deliberately did this. Then He instructed the blind man to go and wash off the mud. The nearest water was the pool Siloam. He obeyed Jesus and was totally healed. It happened to be at the Feast of Tabernacles, when a multitude of Jews were at the pool witnessing the miracle. The word travelled like wild fire.
But that’s not all. The Jewish understanding was that the only person who could heal a person born blind was the Messiah! Now the rabbis were in deep trouble, as the multitude of Jewish witnesses were proclaiming Jesus the Messiah, because of what they had just witnessed. Then the rabbis judged the Messiah a sinner for desecrating the Sabbath by healing him.
The healed man is twice interrogated and belittled by these furious rabbis who are determined to condemn Jesus. His naivety is so appealing: ‘One thing I know. I was blind and now I see!’ Contrast this with the enormity of the event and the faith it’s instilled: ‘Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind! If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.’
The young man’s faith wins the argument: ‘“Lord I believe,” and he worshipped him.’
Today, we’re immersed in a world that doesn’t know Jesus, which rejects Jesus, and which is totally blind to him. Tragically, that attitude has permeated the church. Jesus concludes the chapter with a frightening statement of intention: “For judgment I have come into this world.” Peter was later to understand that judgment begins ‘with the family of God:’ that is us.
Have you been seduced by the rewriting of the Bible, widely prevalent today? The narrative goes like this. ‘Euthanasia is showing mercy. Abortion is delivering the mother from awkward circumstances. Marriage is redefined and obsolete: let’s live together as partners. The Ten Commandments are out of fashion. All religions lead to God’.
These values are based on circumstances, not absolutes, and are justified by stating “After all, God is a loving God”. Yet Jesus said, ‘For judgment I have come into this world.’
Billy Graham’s daughter was interviewed soon after Hurricane Katrina. The interviewer asked her “How could God let something like this happen?” Anne Graham replied, ‘I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we’ve been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?’
Prayer: Dear Lord and Father of mankind, forgive my foolish ways! Would You ignite fire for Your Word within me. Renew my hunger to live it, impart to me passion to model it and compassion to pray it in the place of my abode. I pray that truth will triumph over deception, that honour will supersede disrespect and shame, and forgiveness conquer bitterness and hate. In Jesus’ name.
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