Thursday, March 23, 2017

John 9:1-41 Faith in Action

KEY TEXT: John 9:1-7 As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" Jesus answered, "It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world."  Having said these things, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man's eyes with the mud and said to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam" (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.

KEY THOT: When they passed a man who was born blind, the disciples asked Jesus who was responsible for his condition--his own sin or his parents' sin. But Jesus refused to engage in theological speculation but instead focus on how to redeem sinners from their present predicament rather than speculate how they got into the situation. While it is true that "the curse causeless shall not come" (Proverbs 26:2)--that is, every effect has a cause--in this particular case, the cause is neither in the sin of this man nor his parents. But we can be sure that sin and Satan are behind every sickness in the world of darkness, whether directly or indirectly. But Jesus came to save sinners from sin and its consequences, not to speculate about these issues. But what is more important in today's lesson is how Jesus healed this man who was born blind. He made a mud-pad with his spittle and applied it onto the man's eyes with this command: "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam" (v.7). When the man went and washed his eyes, he came back seeing. 

Here we see how faith operates. Jesus made a mud-pad for the man's eyes but it was not the mud-pad that healed the man but his obedience to Jesus' command: it was as he obeyed his command to go to the pool of Siloam and washed away the mud that he was healed of his blindness. So as Paul explains in Romans 10:17, "faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ." They key to operate in the realm of faith is hearing God's voice. God may speak through his written Word (Bible) or directly through His Spirit (via our spirit). In places where Bibles are not available or forbidden, the Holy Spirit has been known to speak directly through dreams and visions. To limit God's voice to Scripture is like saying God only writes, He doesn't speak. God speaks in five ways: through Scripture, the Spirit, other believers, circumstances and even common sense. But it is important we are tuned to the Spirit to discern God's voice in all these five means God uses. If we use only our unenlightened reason, we may draw the wrong conclusion.

Once we have heard God's voice as revealed to us through His Spirit, we must act on it. God's voice usually comes in the form of a command. Even the still small voice that Elisha heard said: "Go, return on your way to the Wilderness of Damascus; and when you arrive, anoint Hazael as king over Syria" (1 Kings 19:15). Faith is a response of obedience to hearing God's voice. The man who was born blind obeyed Jesus' word. Jesus used the mud-pad as a point of contact, for this man could not see but could only feel the mud on his eyes. So he knew what he must do with the mud: he washed it off as instructed and he was healed.

Whether in ministry, business or at work, we must walk by faith and not by sight. Walking by faith is not walking blind--it means walking in obedience to the voice of God as spoken in Scripture, by supernatural means of the Holy Spirit, in messages heard in sermons or counsel from other believers, in circumstances and also with common sense. To hear God's voice, we must learn to walk by the Spirit, allowing Him to interpret what we read in Scripture, what we receive in dreams and visions, what we heard from other Christians, what we experienced through the circumstantial signs and finally in applying practical wisdom. Walking by faith means acting in obedience to God's command.

Father, teach us to walk by faith and not by sight. Help us become sensitive to Your Spirit's prompting in everything we do, that we may hear the word of Christ and act on it by faith. Amen.

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