Friday, November 02, 2007

Seeing the light

John 9 @ Falmouth CU

How do you catch the bad guys? It's the source question for a good proportion of TV shows and films. It's one of the things I like about 24. How can Jack Bauer stop the terrorists winning. You know he will succeed so the interest is in how. When we encounter Jesus on his mission on planet earth 2000 years ago he seems to have a two-fold aim. He comes to save some, but also to expose 'bad guys'. Not in the classic sense of that – because actually everyone is a 'bad guy'... God in Jesus has a different test in mind – the test is what do you make of Jesus. What we find here in John 9 is the rescue of one man and a sting operation to bring down the establishment.

Not because Jesus is anti-establishment but because the religious establishment of his day had become thoroughly unbelieving, though it looked very religious. Guilty of unbelief – which meant they set the glory of God as worthless rather than glorious. Step into the action in John 9 and see how it unfolds.

9v1-12 The Event – one man sees the light for the first time

See what happens here. Walking along there is a blind man by the road, v1. Someone poses the question, v2 – who sinned to make him blind, him or his parents? It's a classic question. The instinctive human question - why? Jesus responds: Jesus says that the blindness is to show the work of God in his life, v3. And the work of God is what Jesus has come to do. This should warn us against karma-theology that assumes bad things happen to bad people. Life isn't like that.

It's wisely observed that the answer to every 'WHY' question – like why is this man blind... is 'For God's glory'. That's not always easy to understand or accept but it should be our default position. This man was blind for a lifetime for this purpose. Here we get to see the specific reason, as this story unfolds. Sometimes we simply don't get the explanation – nonetheless God is working in all circumstances for our joy in him, for the displaying of his glory. You might have questions about this issue of suffering and that does need more exploration than we have space for here.

In saying this, v5, Jesus identifies himself: “I AM THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD” This is not altogether surprising. On page 1 of his book John tells us that Jesus was there as light shone into the darkness at the start of creation. That Jesus is the light of men. Jesus the light shining in the darkness. The light who gives light to every man. Like the sun in the sky the light has two effects. As the sunrises it enables some to see. Jesus comes sent from his Father to reveal God to us. But, the second effect of the sun is to blind people. What will we find here? Look at v6-12. Jesus makes mud from the dust and uses it to remake the mans eyes.

He, like Jesus is 'sent' and, v7, the man sees! His eyes, once blind are re-created and now he can see. It's remarkable, but v8, some are dubious. They suggest alternate explanations but he speaks for himself, v9. They decide to take him to the religious authorities. That's not a particularly negative thing but the natural course of action then – and often still today. Seek wise council to explain things.


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