Not Blind

John 9: 25

The man responded, “I don’t know if he’s a sinner or not. But I do know one thing. I used to be blind, but now I can see.”

Jesus healed a blind man. Of course, the Pharisees’ response was to scoff at them both, even accusing Jesus of being a sinner. “Well,” said the blind man, “that may or may not be but this I know, he healed me.” Of course, that was a paraphrase the point being, the blind man, now the seeing man, was not interested in the Pharisees’ theology or judgments. He was interested in the reality of having been blind from birth but given his sight by Jesus. That is the fruit of God’s theology, setting people free.

In this story, the man was literally blind, but it can be equally applied to all who are figuratively blind for which we all qualify at one time or another. Sometimes we are blind to a certain issue or person, but it doesn’t matter because Jesus came to give us sight in every aspect of life.

This is part of Jesus’ lordship. He intends to have an active role in our lives, daily. One function of his role is to lead us into increasing knowledge, awareness and revelation. He does not intend that being Lord means that he sits upon a throne and awaits servants who will bow and kowtow. He doesn’t need or want that. It isn’t all about worship. That may sound outlandish to you. We are to worship our Lord, sure, but not because he is a weak self-esteemed ego maniac. He doesn’t need our worship. We do. And it is just and proper for he has certainly earned much praise. What he longs for, though, is the day by day partnership. Every time something blinds you, he wants to step in right then and remove the shingles. He cannot though. He is bound by your will so he must await an invitation. He will attempt to speak to you, but he will not invade your space. He is not allowed and wouldn’t violate it under any circumstance.

We have to redefine the idea of Jesus’ lordship in our generation. The story of the former blind man shows us he way. We needn’t be hung up on theology or religion. All that is needful is a simple request. Lord, show me my blind side. Enlighten me and lead me daily as my lord and best friend. Amen.

Love Quantified

John 17: 23

I am in them, and you are in me. So they are completely united. In this way the world knows that you have sent me and that you have loved them in the same way you have loved me.

This is one of those verses you may want to read in several translations. Although, the same point is made in all, they have slightly different nuances. As you will have perceived, these are the words of Jesus. This speech is conversation with the Father. The first observation we may make is how normal Jesus’ dialogue with the Father sounds. It is not stilted, formal prayer. He is simply talking.

Then, as we begin looking at his words, we learn that he is in us as the Father is in him. If we stop right there, we have a very powerful concept to meditate on. What does this mean to our lives? Jesus is to us as the Father was to him in his walk on the earth. Everything the Father is resided in Jesus. He is the all in all. Then all that Jesus had, which included the fullness of the Father, came to reside in us. Isn’t that what Jesus says in this passage? He is in us in like manner to the Father in him. This joining of the Father in Jesus and Jesus’ residence in us is supposed to bring us into complete, and even perfect harmony or unity. It does not say that we agree on all doctrine. It does not say we do not have differences of opinion. It does say, though, that we are united in him, completely and totally. If we are not in unity, I hazard to say we are not truly in Christ or allowing him to abide with us. There is no disunity for all who are in Christ and in whom Christ has made his home. I don’t care if you are Catholic, Baptist or even a Messianic Jew. There is only one body and we are either in or out, it is our choice.

This is a crucial message of the times. As we approach the end of this age, we must come into a united purpose in Christ Jesus. Only a united body will reach the world with the good news of Jesus, the risen Christ. As long as we are back biting and disparaging one another, the world will not come to know that God sent Jesus or that He loves us all, even the heathen unsaved, as much as He loves Jesus. Only our love and tolerance of one another will show the world the love of God. The doctrinal and theological points we tear the house apart over are of no importance to God. In fact, I very much believe we will get to heaven, run to Him and argue our case only to find we were all wrong. Those things just don’t matter. What matters is that the world, which is suffering and broken, sees the love of Christ. If we cannot love our brothers, if we constantly fight with one another, then how is the world ever going to believe in the love of God?

Jesus tells us in this passage that the Father loves us all as He loves Jesus. How much larger a revelation do any of us need than that. If you think God loves Jesus, then you must also accept that He loves you that much. He also loves every single non-believer in the same quantity and quality of love. Whatsmore, He even loves those crazy people in the church down the street.

We are not going to gain ground by telling the unsaved what decrepit, wicked people they are. In truth, I can’t think of much the Father despises more than that. They, like all of us, need to hear that God loves them. They also need to see us loving one another. So, regardless of our doctrinal stripes, let us wrap our arms around each other, joining in one united purpose – that is to share (and show) the love of Christ, the love that gives all for the other person. We need to major on love and learn what it means. There is a graduate study for you. It is a subject so rich and so deep that it will take the rest of our lives, here and beyond, to fathom its depths. Let’s just do our best to let a little of Jesus seep out of us today. You will have challenges today, especially if you have to drive anywhere. You will encounter unlovely people whose mind is solely on themselves. Reach in and touch Jesus within you and let him shine on those people. Let the world see for once and for all that God is love and that He loves ever single person.

Christ is in you today.

Stoned Again

John 8: 59

Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself, and went out of the temple.

Yesterday I shared a very similar verse with you. Jesus drove the Jews crazy. He inspired murderous intent in them. What was it about him that aggravated them so? Think of it this way. Jesus told them the truth, the absolute truth. Doesn’t it strike you as odd that the truth inspired such malicious actions? Here is another point to ponder. The Jews actually thought they were doing good in their persecution of him. They were trying to protect the church and the faith. They accused Jesus of blaspheme when he told them the truth and they believed that blaspheme should be silenced because of its potential damage to the church.

Another problem with what Jesus preached was that it was new. Rather than taking into consideration what Jesus proclaimed, they rejected it out of hand. What was the source of their fear? Why does a person’s articulation and sometimes even just their existence rattle people so? The Pharisees should have known that truth wills out. It will survive no matter what you do. The false will fade and wither. They even admitted that others had come previously claiming to be the Messiah but, their testimony did not last.

Jesus was aware of their justification of their thoughts and acts. He warned us that we would face this same dynamic. “They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God” (John 16: 2). There is no need to be so reactionary and persecute people for their beliefs. God is bigger than any false doctrine. Moreover, there may be truth in what is said. Perhaps, though, it is the truth which frightens people most of all. And to be honest, it is not really the church which we seek to protect by our vehement rebuttal of opposing thought. We are in truth seeking to protect our thoughts and our way of life and that is the case even if our belief is wrong. We will fight to the death for a philosophy which isn’t even truth because to entertain an opposing idea challenges us. Why are we so afraid? What can another’s opinion do to us? We don’t have to force our ideology and views down other people’s throats in order for Yahweh to be seen as the glorious God He is. He is bigger than any paradigm we have yet constructed. Furthermore, Jesus has told us that he is doing a “new thing” so we need to relax and trust him and trust that he is well able to reveal truth amongst an abundance of opinion. Believe me, the prophets God is sending into the world are going to shake us up. They are going to challenge us. That’s okay. Father is well able to care for us and lead us into all truth.

It is very easy to look back at the Pharisees and the Jews and criticize them for their shortsightedness but we have become the modern day Pharisees. We serve a form of religion rather than the truth. Our opinions and doctrines sit on the throne of our faith rather than the Word of God. We listen to old, worn out theology and never even question whether it is rooted in the Bible. So much of what we defend is from Christian culture rather than the heart of God. Jesus came sharing good news. He went about doing good, (Acts 10: 38) not beating people up with the law. The commission he gave us was to continue his mission, to spread the good news of the gospel. We don’t need to try to convince people they are wrong treat, them as outcasts or slay them with our words. We only need to share the love of God and allow them to do the same. Whatever is true will prevail and we will be a unified body walking in the glory of our Lord.