At Boomerang we have just started a bible reading plan that is simply 1 chapter a day. It will take us a long time to get through the whole bible (3 years & 94 days to be exact), but I have already seen more commitment to this plan than I have any other. Also MANY have already told me about the great things that they were getting out of the chapter each day. I’m pretty happy about that 🙂
Today we read John chapter 9. Right as we started this chapter there are a few verses that are regularly debated on whether or not God puts sickness on people for His glory & I wanted to discuss that with our folks, so anyone reading this also gets to be the beneficiary of that 🙂 Here are the verses:
John 9:1-7 NASB As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. (2) And His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?” (3) Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him. (4) “We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work. (5) “While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.” (6) When He had said this, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and applied the clay to his eyes, (7) and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went away and washed, and came back seeing.
So… I have found that many people from their backgrounds, teachings & sin consciousness come to this with the idea that God put this sickness on this man so that He might gain glory for Himself. This is exactly what Jesus’ disciples were doing as well. It is funny how the sin nature of man always wants to apply blame somewhere. I have found that the more I understand that we, as born again believers, were made the righteousness of God in Christ (see 2 Corinthians 5:21) the more blame does not matter to me. I just want people to experience His great mercy!
Do we need to judge ourselves without bias? ABSOLUTELY.
Is there someone to blame usually? Sure.
Do we always need to point it out? Surely NOT.
Even if we DID mess up, God is SO merciful! Jesus’ answer seems to point them to the fact that the disciples were approaching the situation in a wrong heart & could use some course correction. Look at how the Message translation words this:
John 9:3 MSG Jesus said, “You’re asking the wrong question. You’re looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do.
Have you ever heard someone say, “I was born this way.”?
Many times when you hear that, the person is saying in essence, “God made me this way & I can’t change it.” I have seen many use this as an excuse to not change habits in their life that really did need changing. Another way this thought is misused is when people assume that God created them that way, so He must have done it for a purpose. The verses in John above become the backbone of their defense & generally someone will put up a fight over this, if it is challenged. I think a truth that society needs to grab a hold of at this time are some truths that has been in the bible all along.
God created YOU in perfection.
You were, however, born into a flesh that has some issues based upon a corrupted world.
This means that 1- God didn’t put this bad stuff on you. 2- It is our responsibility to believe God for change necessary in our lives, whether it be a sinful nature or a sick body, etc. BUT here is the GREAT NEWS: God has paid the whole price already for you to have the TOTAL freedom that you need! Just go after Him & He WILL BLESS you! I think the Contemporary English Version really captures this dialog in the way that we would say this today:
John 9:2-3 CEV Jesus’ disciples asked, “Teacher, why was this man born blind? Was it because he or his parents sinned?” (3) “No, it wasn’t!” Jesus answered. “But because of his blindness, you will see God work a miracle for him.
Knowing that Jesus ONLY did what He saw the Father do & say, we can really see the heart of the Father right here in the next verse. It really unlocks the question, “What does God really want?”.
John 9:4 NASB “We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work.
Jesus was saying, “No, his parents didn’t sin. The man didn’t sin. He was born into a sinful flesh that has death built into it. This blindness is a part of the curse. (see Deuteronomy 28, particularly vs. 61) But I have come to reverse that curse for good! (see Galatians 3:13) So while I’m standing here & I have this guy with the curse on him in front of me, God is going to get the glory because HEALING THIS MAN is what the Father is all about! That IS HIS WORK, and I MUST work His works!” And He healed him! Praise God!
Lots of times even if we believed the wrong thing, if we would just believe to finish out the story of the bible, we would still be healed and delivered! Even IF this man had that sickness from God, which He didn’t, the end result was: he WAS healed! Same thing with Job. Stinks badly what happened to him. (God didn’t do that either, btw.) BUT what was his end result? Double what he had before. Lets believe on God to finish our own story, not stop at the problem point, but believe to the salvation point.
One of the things that makes this easy for me to believe is because very early on, the Lord showed me a couple of foundational truths to interpreting the Bible that I wish every believer would grasp. I have found without these truths, the bible seems to be very contradictory, but with them, it flows seamlessly!
- God loves us with an everlasting & absolutely unwavering love.
(1 John 4, James 1:17, Jeremiah 31:3)
- We are to believe in THAT kind of love from him as a child would.
(Think of a baby bird gobbling up whatever the loving parent brings back for food to the nest. If God is the Love He says He is, then that kind of Love CAN be trusted & it is easy to gobble up everything He has for you. see Mark 10:14-15)
As I have applied belief to those two points, I have seen scripture & experience prove them to be true, over & over & over again. God really does love us immensely & when we believe on that, we give THAT LOVE access to our lives to perform His GREAT & LOVING will in our lives.
What should we get out of this?
To the non-believer: God wants you well & He has provided the solution in Jesus! He is not counting your sins against you & hasn’t been for quite some time! (2 Corinthians 5:17-19) Accept Christ as your Savior & you can have the good works of God in your life today! Simply confess Jesus as your Lord (the director) of your life & believe that God raised Him back to life from the grave. (Romans 10:9-10) That’s it! God will move into your life & bring new life to you.
To the believer: We have a responsibility to be about the Father’s business. We need to believe on Christ & His great goodness in EVERY area & we need to follow Jesus’ example that says we must work the works of Him who sent us! I saw some great friends from Growing Family Church posting yesterday that “We are not all called to preach, but we are all called to reach!” Go grow in the wonderful love of God & reach people with that love!