Monday, June 20, 2016

While it’s still light

I recently was asked about the man born blind, and Jesus’ response to the disciples’ question of who’s sin was to blame for his blindness – the man himself, or his parents?  Jesus answered, neither of them, “…but it happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. I must do the works of Him who sent Me while it is day. Night is coming when no one can work.  While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” (John 9:3-5)

So that raises a lot of questions. How could neither he nor his parents ever have sinned? Did God purposefully make the man suffer years of blindness so He could perform a miracle just to impress people? What’s this “night” that Jesus says is coming when no one can work?  Does that mean that after Jesus ascended into heaven that no more miracles could happen and we’re all now plunged back into darkness? So much for such a small passage!  

The whole reason the disciples asked Jesus this question is that the Jewish culture of the day saw a spiritual reason behind every illness. Barren women were cursed, and the blind or lame must have committed some sin to deserve the wrath of God. If someone committed suicide, it meant a curse lay upon the entire family for generations so that no one would do business with them or step foot inside their house. So when they came across this man, the disciples wanted to understand how to view this sad situation.  

Jesus replied that neither he nor his parents sinned, not to mean that they were perfect, just that his blindness wasn’t a punishment for any specific sin. He was blind because the entire world is under a curse, because all of humanity has chosen to rebel and live in sin. Because all human beings are sinners, Satan has had freedom to infiltrate the world with sickness, disease, evil desires, corruption and death. The sins of the world open doors for evil to harm others – even innocent children. That man born blind never had a chance to choose to sin before the illness had destroyed his sight. Satan is ruthless.

Did God make the man blind just to put on a show years later? That’s not what Jesus meant at all. God never toys with us. He was (and is) teaching that no matter what affliction comes over us, God has already provided a way to overcome it, be healed from it, and use it for His glory. Any attack of the devil, whether it comes through our own fault or not, has God’s label on it as a miraculous turnaround if we submit to Him, resist the devil and believe. It’s just the submitting, resisting and believing  part that we don’t always do.

There is a night coming when those who belong to Jesus will be removed and taken up into heaven, and the antichrist will set up his rule on the earth for a time. Jesus constantly urges us to see our days as short, and the time of His return as soon. We have much to do for His Kingdom while there is still time, because once that horrible day comes when many will be left behind, darkness will be the law of the land. Meanwhile, Jesus wants us to follow in His footsteps as long as there is still light. Let’s learn to know God intimately, and bring others to know Him too. Let’s show His power through the authority He gave us to bind up demons and principalities, and to heal the sick and perform miracles in His name. There are many suffering people who need this faith, who need someone to stand up with courage to show God’s power to them just as Jesus taught us. This is not just for pastors or evangelists, it’s a command for every Christian to obey. We are commissioned to do that until He returns, no matter what our jobs or vocations are. That is our highest goal. Praise God that we have the opportunity to be in the light while it lasts, let’s do our utmost before it’s gone!

 Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me. Or else believe Me on account of the works themselves.  Truly, truly I say to you, he who believes in Me will do the works that I do also. And he will do greater works than these, because I am going to My Father. I will do whatever you ask in My name, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.  John 14:11-14, MEV

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