28 July 2014

Encountering Jesus ~ When your past comes back to haunt you...

photo credit: Salmando via photopin cc
He answered, “I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?" 
Then they hurled insults at him and said, “You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses! We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.” 
The man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will. Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” 
To this they replied, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out. 
Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said... (John 9.27-35a)
As I was studying and meditating on this passage the past week, I stumbled across a sermon by John MacArthur. His text was this exact passage...

I really appreciated his summary of everything that has happened in chapter 9, up to this point, and as I've been plodding my way very, very slowly through this chapter, it seemed prudent to do a quick recap here... before moving into the previously blind man's second encounter with Jesus.

"Jesus is in Jerusalem. 
He’s going through one of the temple entrances, temple gates.  And He comes across a blind man who has been born blind.  [That man has] never seen.  He has some kind of congenital blindness.  He is reduced to being a beggar.  So, he sits there with the rest of the beggars at the temple entrance because that’s where most people come and go who are concerned about honoring God, and who may be more sensitive to doing what they should do, doing right, and giving alms to beggars.  [Therefore] those entrances and exits were occupied by beggars. 
Jesus comes across this man who is blind, who obviously can’t see Him.  Jesus walks up to him, gives him eyes, gives him new eyes, creates new eyes. Because as John tells us, nothing was made except what He made.  Everything that was made, He created, and He is still the Creator, and He creates eyes for this blind man. 
[The man] is immediately able to see, and then some encounters begin. 
First of all, his neighbors are trying to figure out how this happened, how this man they know who is blind can now see.  So, he goes through an interrogation with his neighbors, and he can’t really answer who did this because he never saw Him, doesn’t know just exactly how this happened. But, he is convinced that whoever did this is from God.  
He then is brought to the Pharisees, who are supposed to render some kind of explanation, some kind of spiritual explanation or religious explanation, or some kind of divine explanation as to how this could happen.  Because, as the blind man says, it’s never been heard in the history of the world that anyone blind was made able to see. 
And so, there’s an interrogation by the Pharisees.
They already have their verdict before they start the questioning. 
They believe that Jesus is an insane, demon-possessed, satanic imposter.  And with that conclusion, their investigation is going to go nowhere.  They reject the testimony of the man, they reject the testimony of the neighbors, and they eventually end up throwing the man who can now see out of the building, and really, out of the life of the nation, out of the life of Israel. 
He’s already been an outcast, because anybody who was born blind was believed to have been cursed by God for sin.  Maybe the sin of his parents, maybe his own sin, and so he’s already been out of the synagogue, unable to interact in the synagogue.  He has been a pariah and an alien, and consequently a beggar. 
His own family is embarrassed by him. We know he has a mother and a father. They show up in the story and they throw him under the bus to protect themselves.  But think about it: if they had any love for a blind son, he wouldn’t have been a beggar. They would’ve cared for him, as any sensible, normal parent would do. 
So, this is a man who has been completely rejected by everyone.  And now, when he can see, he’s struggling to get people to accept what has happened. 
  • Those who are his neighbors see it, but can’t explain it.   
  • The Pharisees see it but refuse to see it for what it is.  
  • His own parents treat him with disdain.  
And finally, when the interrogation is over, verse 34, the Pharisees’ last words: “You were born entirely in sins, and are you teaching us?”  So they threw him out.  They reject Jesus.  They reject the Man.  They reject the miracle.
Jesus is not there at this point.  He had healed the man, and then He fades out of the story, and the man is taken to the Pharisees by the neighbors for this interrogation, which ends up with him being thrown out, continuing as an outcast, even though he can now see. 
Jesus enters the scene, THEN, in verse 35..."

this week's gratitude list

(#'s 4686 -4711 )

that there are so many "THEN Jesus" moments in my life

a wonderful visit with Joe and Andi this past week

wandering Barnes & Noble with my littles and loving that they love books

being part of the release of a rehabilitated red fox this past weekend (little guy was hit by a car and taken to the center where we've been volunteering this summer)

watching Jon play 3 on 3... shirts and skins... with his shorts pulled right up to his belly button... at Triple C basketball camps last week

summer campfires with friends while the kids play in the pool

Brendan's registered for classes... and thankful that the $$ damages were even less than I'd been expecting

finding this house available for rent up in Quebec... and dreaming about the possibilities next year

snuggly parrot-type birds that make my girls smile

listening to Bren play his flute for the parrot

a free-standing perch built by Joe (with a little bit of help from Tori and Anna)

gorgeous Michigan summer weather

a what we thought was minnow catch and release project... until Jon discovered that they weren't minnows

bike rides around the block

watching Divergent with my girls late into the night (I really like that book series and the movie, too!)

new books to read

encouraging partnership meetings

a 30 minute nap that turned into 1.5 hours

finally making doughnuts just the way I like them for the first time since we moved back to the States and I've had to adjust to different flour and cooking on electric versus gas

taking Nadia up to volunteer for the first time

naming Henri - and knowing that he really looks just like an Henri

no bee stings for my guys, even though they were harassing a hive just a bit while painting

new friends

kids who aren't afraid of work... when they are motivated

jobs and paychecks

  Ten most recent posts in this series: 
Click here for all of the titles and their corresponding links in the Encountering Jesus series.

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