Christian Living

Spiritual Life

The Touch that Opens Doors

In a football game, men with striped shirts and whistles rule the power of big, strong, muscular men. Those officials have ultimate authority in the game. They have the power to stop the game and throw rebellious players off the field. That’s the type of authority Jesus claims for Himself. In spite of Satan’s attempts to control the universe and the affairs of men, Jesus wears the striped shirt and carries the whistle. He controls the field of play.

There are many examples of godly authority in the life of Jesus. One of the most striking is His handling of a blind man in the ninth chapter of John’s Gospel.

“As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned,’ said Jesus, ‘but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life’ ” (John 9:1-3).

The first miracle of this story is that Jesus saw the man. The disciples saw a theological problem. When reading the entire account it is apparent that the neighbors saw the man as an eyesore. The Pharisees saw him as an embarrassment, because the man’s healing contradicted their religious position. But, Jesus saw the man. Jesus saw an opportunity to do something good for a hurting person.

It is easy for us to act as the disciples did. We see a problem and, before doing something, immediately begin to analyze it. The disciples initiated a theological discussion by reflecting on a Jewish belief of that day. The popular religion of the day insisted that there was a direct connection between any personal sin of a sufferer and his or her illness. This man’s healing was Jesus’ way of correcting their faulty theology.

The point is that Jesus responded to the man’s need without heaping unnecessary guilt on him. That is still where He meets us. He comes to us at the point of our need and isn’t sidetracked by premature speculation. There is a time for analysis, but there is also a time to help. None of us would think of throwing a drowning man a book of instructions on how to swim.

The unexpected turn in this story is in the variety of characters who met his miracle with negativity and criticism. His neighbors knew him as a blind man and could hardly comprehend the fact that he could see now. Most of us have known people who tried to tie us to the person we used to be and can’t accept the fact that Jesus has changed us.

The man born blind had only one answer for everyone, and it was a great answer. He told his critics, “One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” What Jesus has done for us is our strongest answer to any opposition. The man was honest because he didn’t know much more than “one thing” at this point. He had never even seen Jesus.

The healed man didn’t have a lot of information for the critics who interrogated him. He simply referred to “the man they call Jesus” (verse 11). As his understanding grew, he knew that God was in the picture and called Jesus “a prophet” (verse 17).

He later confessed, “If this man were not from God he could do nothing” (verse 33). Before the end of his encounter with Jesus, he reached the ultimate revelation. Jesus found him after the religious leaders had excommunicated him. He had never seen Jesus and wanted to know who Jesus was so he could believe in Him.

“Jesus said, ‘You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.’ Then the man said, ‘Lord, I believe,’ and he worshiped him” (John 9:37-38).

That is a consistent pattern of God’s dealings with us. He comes to us in our blindness, our weakness and our pain. He touches us and that touch opens the door for us to believe in Him and worship Him. If we ever struggle with lethargy in our worship, all we need do is remember the words the blind man said after he was healed. Those words are found in the song, Amazing Grace. “I once was lost, but now I’m found. Was blind but now I see.” I may not know much, but I know what Jesus has done for me.

Copyright © Wally Odum 2012. Used by permission.

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