We may see Jesus at his most compassionate when He is performing miracles. Jesus performed miracles for a number of reasons:
- to express love
- to provide a springboard to teach spiritual truth
- to give evidence of His Messiahship
In this passage before us we see a man born blind. This man experiences a great healing and through this miracle we can learn several lessons:
This Account Reminds us of the Devastating Nature of Sin
In the very first verse we see that Jesus encountered a man born blind. This man had never seen a sunset, a rainbow, the early morning sun. He had never seen his mother’s face or his own reflection in a mirror.
The prevailing opinion in regard to sin today is that we shouldn’t get to disturbed about it. Why? “Because I am not hurting anyone but myself.” But, I want you to know that this is a bold-faced lie. Sin brings corruption, disease, destruction and death into our world.
This man did not suffer from blindness because of a particular sin he committed but His blindness was certainly the result of sin in general. God did not make all the evil in the world . . . it is the result of evil.
This is important. The next time you walk the hallways in a hospital or nursing home, or the next time you see a prison, or even the next time you stand at a cemetery. . . instead of asking “Why would God allow this?” we should ask ourselves: “After seeing the devastating effect of sin on the lives of those around us, why do we continue to play with sin? Why don’t we get serious about rooting sin from our life? Why are we so slow to take aggressive action?
We see the All-Surpassing Power of the Savior
Jesus cured a variety of needs. He healed the blind, lame, demon-possessed. He brought health to a woman with an issue of blood, relief to Peter’s mother-in-law with her fever. He brought a little boy back from the dead and returned him to his mother. There was no infirmity, no weakness, no problem that Jesus could not address and heal. Jesus hasn’t changed. He is more than sufficient for your situation and mine.
Jesus used a variety of methods. On some occasions he laid hands on a person, on others he said a prayer, in still others he put his fingers into a man who was deaf. Here he uses mud on a blind mans eyes. Why did He use so many different methods? I think I know. Jesus wanted to make sure we were not concerned with the method but were concerned with the one doing the healing.
Recently I went to a Christian bookstore and saw that you could buy a little bottle of anointing oil that came with instructions on what to do and what to say. It was very tempting. There was the temptation to believe that if I knew “how” I could do the things that Jesus did. It’s like a magician . . . if we can figure out how they did their trick we believe we can do it also.
In our text the Pharisees and other people keep asking the formerly blind man the same question: “how did He do it.” My friend, Jesus did what man cannot do on their own. They should not have been concerned about the how . . . . they should have been seeking the “Who?”.
God works in a variety of ways in a variety of circumstances. We should marvel at His power and diversity.
The Passage Shows our Stubborn Resistance to God’s Work in Our Lives
The neighbors and leaders of this man’s community were suspicious of the healing . . .they thought something fishy was going on. Look at what they did to escape the reality of what happened:
- they questioned the reality of what happened (v. 8)
- they called Jesus a law breaker (v. 16)
- they sought to intimidate the parents of the man (v.22)
- they attacked the integrity of the witness (v. 28)
All these things to keep from giving credit to God for a great miracle. We use many of the same devices to keep from recognizing God’s work in our lives.
We walk between two extremes . . . .
Gullibility……………………………. Pharisaical Hardness
On the one hand we are taken in by every charlatan. Anything someone says comes from God we believe. There is no discernment, no weighing what is said by the grid of Scripture. At this extreme we are open to all manner of deception. Satan can lead us astray simply by making things sound godly.
But on the other hand is a Pharisaical hardness that says we will not believe or acknowledge anything that is outside of our experience. At this point we are trying to put God in a box. We have Him narrowly defined and will not allow anything new to expand our picture. This too is wrong.
This account reminds us to
1. Listen to what others have to say . . . even when their experience is different…God may be teaching you.
2. Be careful not to close any doors . . . it may be a door leading to a deeper walk with God
3. Refuse to put God in a box . . . He doesn’t belong there and He won’t fit.
Our hunger should be to know God in His fullness. To do this we must maintain an openness tempered with discernment. An admittedly difficult road to walk.
Finally we see the Simple Nature of Personal Witnessing
Christians often view sharing their faith as the dissemination of textbooks of information. If we are not armed with tons of scripture and have answers to every conceivable question we feel we must remain silent. But that is incorrect.
In our account we see this man share his simple testimony. The Pharisees say: “Give glory to God, We know this man is a sinner.” Now listen to the man’s simple and beautiful response: “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”
Did you see that? He doesn’t worry about what He can’t answer. He simply testifies to what he has seen and knows to be true. Jesus does not ask us to teach theology he asks us to testify of our relationship. He is not asking us to propose theories but to tell the truth.
We can learn much from this man. Our simple expression of what Christ has done in our lives will impact those around us for the gospel.
Chuck Swindoll gives us some good advice on giving a personal testimony:
- You want to be listened to, so be interesting. We should avoid spiritual words and phrases which the non-believer would not understand.
- You want to be understood, so be logical. The best way is to tell what your life was like before you met the Savior, how you came to give your life to Him and what has happened since.
- You want the moment of your new birth to be clear so be specific. We must point to Christ, not the church. The church is important but only Christ can save.
- You want your testimony to be used, so be practical. There is no sense making empty promises such as “all your problems will go away.” It’s not true and it won’t help.
- You want your testimony to produce result, so be warm and genuine. It helps to smile and show love for the one you are talking to.
[The Finishing Touch by Charles Swindoll (Waco Tx. :Word) p. 510 (Week 42-Wednesday)]
If you are like me you may feel that you have little to share. Perhaps you have nothing flashy in your testimony. You weren’t rescued from drug addiction, you never lived in the gutter, you weren’t on death row when you were saved. Maybe, like me, you have always gone to church… and enjoyed it. I loved our church. And one day at our youth meeting the youth Pastor introduced me to these words from Rev. 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock, if any man hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to Him.” At that moment I understood for the first time that God was not looking for church members, He was looking for people who would turn to Him for salvation and follow Him with their lives. It was a short time later that I invited Christ to be Lord of my Life.
It doesn’t seem like God can do much with a testimony like that. However, there are thousands of people just like me who are in our churches and communities today. They can’t relate to the drug offenders but they can relate to one who has gone to church all their life like me. . . and you. Our simple testimony can be used by God to reach those who are lost. It is time to speak up!
Here are some questions to ask yourself
1. Do you need to stop playing with sin and begin to attack it? Are you deluded into thinking that the wrong you are doing isn’t hurting anyone but yourself?
2. Do you need to be less rigid and become soft so that you can see and hear the things God is doing in your life and in the lives of those around you?
3. Do you have a handicap (physical, emotional, inter-personal, mental, financial) that needs the skilled attention of the Savior?
4. Have you put God in a box? Are you worshiping your system of belief instead of God himself?
5. Is there someone who is willing to hear your testimony of what God has done in you?
6. Are you lacking a testimony because you have yet to personally surrender to the offer of salvation and forgiveness that is extended by Christ? Have you ever made that personal decision to trust Him for eternity and to follow Him in daily life? If not, it’s time to do so.
There are a variety of lessons to be learned because there are a variety of people with a variety of needs. I pray that God would enable you to learn the lesson He has for you.