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John 9

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

MONDAY, JUNE 26

SCRIPTURE: John 9

In some ways this is a unique chapter.  One of those is the entire chapter actually revolves around the story of one man’s encounter with Jesus.  There are other characters in this story but there really is only one story.

Obviously Jesus is at the forefront of this story which is where He should always be.  But there is another man who is an important character.  It is a man who was born blind.  

It is interesting and telling to look at what the disciples had to say about this man.  They took his blindness as evidence that either he or his parents had sinned.  And they asked Jesus who was responsible for this man being born blind.

As odd as that may sound in our modern ears, there are a couple of things that we should talk about.  First, all illness, sickness, handicaps, etc. are indeed the result of sin.  That certainly doesn’t mean those things are the result of the specific sin of an individual.  It simply means that all of humanity’s health and physical problems are the result of the fact that we live in a fallen world.  And the fact that we live in a fallen world is the direct result of sin.

Second, some illness, sickness, handicaps, etc. are actually the result of the specific sin of an individual.  There are instances of addictions leading to physical illness and handicap.  For example, cirrhosis of the liver is a debilitating illness that is often the result of drinking too much alcohol.  There are other instances of an expecting mom using drugs and the baby being born addicted to that particular drug.  

Jesus’ solution to this situation was to heal this man of this blindness.  In this instance, Jesus spit on dirt to make mud, put the mud on the guy’s eyes, and sent the man off to wash the mud off of his face.  As far as I know this is the only time that Jesus used this method to heal blindness.  There is the one account in Mark 8 where Jesus used spit.  But this appears to be the only time He made mud for healing.

I am more than convinced that Jesus used a variety of methods to heal a variety of problems so we wouldn’t be tempted to worship the method instead of the Master.  It would be so easy for us to focus on the details of the method instead of looking for the meaning behind the healing.  So, Jesus used all sorts of methods to heal folks.

Our friends, the Pharisees, soon showed up on the scene.  The Bible never says nor does it allude to the possibility that the Pharisees were excited, glad, or happy that this man had been healed of his blindness.  Instead they were upset that Jesus had the audacity to make mud on the Sabbath Day which they were convinced violated the Sabbath law.

They did everything they knew to get this healed man to discredit Jesus.  I love his answer in verse 25: “One thing I know.  I was blind but now I see.”  In other words, he was not going to get sucked into their petty arguments.  He was going to stick with what he knew.  He was blind but now he saw.

That’s a pretty good strategy for us.  It is increasingly easy to duped into religious arguments about all kinds of stuff.  Instead of taking the bait and getting bit, we would be better off just to stick to what we know.  And here’s what I know.  God loves me.  Jesus died for my sins.  Jesus saved me.  I’m not sure a whole lot else really matters.

Posted by Joe Ligon with 0 Comments

John 8

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

FRIDAY, JUNE 23

SCRIPTURE: John 8

As with most chapters in the Bible there is much that happens in this chapter.  It appears that the entire chapter happens within the Temple complex, particularly in the Court of the Women which is where the Temple Treasury was located (see verse 20).  As I was thinking about this chapter, I decided to pick up the story in the middle and see how far we can go. 

Obviously after Jesus “saved” the woman caught in adultery in the early part of the chapter, the rest of the chapter is filled with conflict.  The pattern is simply Jesus teaching truth and the Jewish religious leaders wanting to argue with that truth because it didn’t fit their paradigm.

When you get to verse 31, Jesus makes the amazing promise that the Truth will set us free.  The religious leaders make an incredible statement in response to Jesus’ offer to set them free.  They said, “We have never been enslaved to anyone.”  

In a nice way, let me that just wasn’t true.  The Book of Judges is a story of reoccurring enslavements as different nations would conquer Israel and enslave them until God raised us a judge to deliver them.  Later on the nation of Israel would be enslaved by Babylon and then Assyria.  And, actually, at the very moment those religious leaders made that statement, the nation of Israel was being occupied by the Roman army.

Interestingly Jesus didn’t respond to that.  He just kept speaking truth.  Maybe that means we don’t have to correct the mistakes of others if we just keep speaking truth.  If you skip down to verse 39, the religious leaders’ response was “Abraham is our father”.  Then in verse 41, they said their only Father was God.  Jesus didn’t argue about that one either.  But He did explain to them what it would be like if God really was their Father.

As you might imagine, that didn’t set well.  So, in verse 48, the Jewish religious leaders resort to name calling.  They said Jesus was a Samaritan which was like one of the worst things a Jewish person could be called.  It was not only a racial slur but it was also an accusation of heresy since the Jews didn’t think Samaritans were true to God’s Word.  Then to top it off, they said Jesus was demon possessed.  

Religion, of any sort, can be one of the meanest, cruelest, most divisive things in the human experience.  And religious people will go to great lengths to stamp out anything and anyone that presents a challenge to their religious system.  In our story these religious people were even willing to destroy the only Son of the One, True God to protect their system and their place in it.

I want to wrap up this chapter by calling your attention to verse 58.  Jesus made a very important statement here.  He described Himself with the phrase “I am”.  That is a direct, unmistakable claim to be God.   It is the very way God identified Himself in the wilderness when Moses asked what His name was.  

This statement of “I am” defines God and, therefore, Jesus as self-existent.  In other words, they are not the progeny of anyone.  They exist apart from anyone including any ancestor.  Secondly, it defines God and, therefore, Jesus as eternal.  There is no mention of “I was” or “I will be”.  God has always existed and will always be.  

That is difficult for us to comprehend because we are so bound by time, space, and even our ancestors.  But God exists above and beyond that.  And yet, He chooses to enter our time and space to make an eternal difference in our lives.  He didn’t do that because He needed to.  He did that because we desperately needed Him to.

Posted by Joe Ligon with 0 Comments

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