Daily Bible Reading

Better blind than guilty

It is said that ignorance is bliss. To a point, it’s true.

“If you were blind, you wouldn’t be guilty,” Jesus replied. “But you remain guilty because you claim you can see.”

John 9:41 (NLT)

There is a grace to be had in blindness. You can run right into someone and, as soon as they discover your handicap, you’re forgiven. You can get away with a lot more simply because you aren’t as aware of your surroundings as those with sight.

But if you can see… You’re on the hook for everything. You no don’t have the luxury of being able to run into someone and holding up your white can as as free pass. You are completely accountable for your actions whether they were intentional or not.

Sin is like bumping into someone. For those who are completely unaware of their actions, there is a measure of grace. But for those who have heard the truth—whether they accept it or not—there is accountability.

In a later verse, Jesus went on to say this:

They would not be guilty if I had not come and spoken to them. But now they have no excuse for their sin. Anyone who hates me also hates my Father. If I hadn’t done such miraculous signs among them that no one else could do, they would not be guilty. But as it is, they have seen everything I did, yet they still hate me and my Father.

John 15:22-24 (NLT)

As Christians, there will always be those who doubt, hate, and mock our faith. Even in Jesus’ time, those who saw his miracles refused to believe the Truth. They hated [him] without cause (John 15:25). When we encounter those who claim they can see, but are truly spiritually blind, it is not up to us to set them straight. We can speak the Truth, but only the Holy Spirit can open their eyes.

Daily Bible reading: 1 Chronicles 14-16, John 9:24-41

Daily Bible Reading

Jump up

If you knew Jesus was within shouting distance, what would your reaction be? Would you call out to him? Would you keep calling if those around shushed you? Would you chase after him? What if you called to him and he heard you? What if he called you over? Would you casually approach? Would you hurl yourself toward him?

Bartimaeus threw aside his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus.

Mark 10:50 (NLT)

This man was blind. He’d heard the stories of the miracles that followed Jesus. By this time in his ministry, Jesus had restored sight to countless blind people. Bartimaeus wanted his take!

Despite the crowd’s less than enthusiastic response to Bartimaeus’ shouts, he continued on until he’d captured Jesus attention. When Jesus finally responded, Bart didn’t wait. He didn’t take the time to weigh his options or make a list of pros and cons. He didn’t even wait for someone to help him up.

He jumped up, shed the thing that would slow him down, and approached Jesus.

Now is the time when we all expect Jesus to make him see. But look at Jesus’ words:

And Jesus said to him, “Go your way. Your faith has healed you.” And instantly the blind man could see! Then he followed Jesus down the road.

Mark 10:52 (NLT)

Jesus didn’t say, “I have healed you,” he said, “Your faith has healed you.” I wonder if Jesus’ words would have been the same had Bart decided to wait for help or if he got up a little slower or if he’d let his coat hold him down.

Bartemaeus’ response to and faith in Jesus made him well. But that’s not the end of the story. Jesus told him to go his way. So what did he do? Go home? No! He followed Jesus down the road. His old life as a blind man was over thanks to Jesus. He didn’t go back. As far as the scripture reads, he didn’t even go back for his coat. He not only left behind his blindness, he left behind the life that was attached to it.

Daily Bible reading: Numbers 34-36, Mark 10:32-52

Daily Bible Reading

Blind

When I read through the passages leading up to Jesus’ death, I am always baffled at how the very men who should have been first to recognise who Jesus was were the ones who put him to death.

Jesus is standing before the high priest and the priest demands to know if Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus, of course, says that he is. No problem, right?

Big problem!

Then the high priest tore his clothing to show his horror and said, “Blasphemy! Why do we need other witnesses? You have heard his blasphemy. What is your verdict.”

Matthew 26:65 (NLT)

I’m not sure why the priest got so upset when Jesus told him exactly what he wanted to hear. The priest should have been thrilled to finally meet the promised Messiah. Instead, he is enraged because the Messiah doesn’t look like expected. Jesus didn’t come to promote the law, but rather to fulfil it. This went beyond what the priests were able to comprehend.

I wonder if we don’t sometimes act like the high priest at this time. Do we get so caught up in doing church that we forget why we do anything at all? If Jesus were standing in front of us proclaiming himself, would we see him for who he is or would we, like the priest, cry, “Blasphemy!”?

Let us not let the how blind us to the why. Rather than being so concerned about the rule book, let us instead focus on the fact that we’ve been invited to join in action.

Daily Bible reading: Leviticus 14, Matthew  26:55-75

Uncategorized

Do it again

Yesterday, we discussed knowing Jesus’ voice. That, even if we don’t recognise him in appearance, we should know his voice and trust in it.

But what if we don’t recognise him or his voice?

Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.

John 21:4 (ESV)

Here were men who had just spent the better part of three years with a man and, even though he was only a hundred yards off, they did not recognise him.

Then the man on the shore tells the disciples to cast their nets on the other side of the boat – this after they’d been fishing all night and caught nothing. Does this sound familiar? A strangely similar situation happened back in Luke 5 when Jesus first called his disciples to follow him. Now here he is again telling them to cast their nets one last time. And, as with the first time, the nets came up full of fish.

When the disciples experienced something at the command of Jesus that they’d already seen before, they recognised him for who he was.

That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!”

John 21:7a (ESV)

So if you don’t recognise Jesus by his appearance or by his voice, at least know him for his works.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday today, and forever.

Hebrews 13:8 (NCV)

If Jesus is the same, don’t you think we’ll see the same things happen again and again? Are not sick still being healed? Blind being made to see? Lame being made to walk? Dead made to live? All of the things Jesus did in the Gospels are still happening today. We can still see his fingerprints on the miraculous.

So if you’re not in a place where you can see his face. If you can’t hear his voice, look for the things he’s doing. If you look for him, you will find him.

Daily Bible reading: Ezra 6-8; John 21

Uncategorized

Night is coming

For most of us, the voice of Jon Snow is in our heads telling us that winter is coming. In a way, it is. That is if we, the Church, don’t stop it.

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.

John 9:4-5 (ESV)

Can anyone work in the dark? This isn’t a philosophical question. Can you actually do your job in complete darkness? I can’t, off the top of my head, think of a single vocation that would require anyone to work in complete darkness. And any job that takes place at night or in dark places requires light. The more light the better.

Taking a very practical approach to what Jesus said regarding the coming of night, we need to get to work, Church! And we need light to do it. If Jesus is the light of the world and Jesus is in us, that means that we are the light of the world. That light seems to be dimming in many places. This Little Light of Mine isn’t sung as loudly as it used to be. In fact, many people filling the pews of churches have no idea that they are supposed to be a light in the darkness.

The principle is simple. Much like kinetic energy, once you get going, it’s easy to keep going. So long as we are doing the work God called us to do, the light keeps shining. It’s when the work dwindles that the light fades.

In the passage we read today in John 9, Jesus comes upon a blind man. The disciples, thinking as the rabbis were teaching at the time, assumed that the man or his parents had sinned resulting in the man’s affliction.

Jesus answered, “It was not this man’s sin or his parents’ sin that made him blind. This man was born blind to that God’s power could be shown in him.”

John 9:3 (NCV)

What would happen if the Church stopped trying to reason out why things happen and started doing what we were meant to do – show God’s glory and power? I imagine that our little lights would become glowing beacons lighting up the night pushing the power of darkness back. One miracle would lead to another miracle and soon it would snowball and the world wouldn’t be able to help but take notice. It’s difficult to ignore a spotlight in your eyes.

Let your light shine. Let it shine. Let it shine. Let it shine.

Daily Bible reading: 1 Chronicles 11-13; John 9:1-23