Shine! – John 9:1-41
When our interpretation of the Bible conveniently condemns those we disagree with and pats our own attitudes on the back, there’s just about a 100% chance that we’ve fallen into the same self-righteous trap that this lesson illustrates. The Pharisees see a blind man being healed and their first reaction is, “Who authorized this? Sounds suspicious! Can’t have that!
So, maybe we need some self-examination. This lesson is intended to be a challenge to folks who hate to be wrong, and I think most of us probably fall into that category.
Jesus says, “If you were blind, you would not have sin. But now that you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.” Anybody who thinks they have God and God’s world all figured out and contained in a nice, neat little package is wrong. Period. We can only testify with humility to what we know from our own encounter with the holiness in Jesus Christ.
So, here’s the sermon I’d give to myself, and if you recognize anything that might shine some light into your own life, so much the better.
1) Beware of getting stuck in your comfortable framework and thinking that God can be contained within it.
2) Be conscious, in every encounter, of the presence of God in Jesus Christ, especially if it seems unlikely.
3) Beware of imagining that you have the authority to judge the reality of another’s blessing, for those who position themselves as judges of others bring themselves under judgment.
4) Remember that the most important question we can ask in any situation is not ‘How does this advance my agenda?’, but instead ‘What do I see in the light of Christ, and how can I testify to the light?’
5) Beware of constantly finding fault and living as a critic, listening more for weaknesses to attack than for truth that might change you.
6) Be conscious of, and concentrate on, the most charitable possible interpretation of the choices you disagree with, and practice looking for the good in those who oppose you.
Today’s lesson is the story of deepening faith on the part of the no-longer-blind-man, as he stubbornly trusts in his own encounters with Jesus despite the constant pressure from everyone around him to conform to their expectations. In this new-born disciple’s understanding, the one who brought light into his world went, from simply a ‘man called Jesus,’ to ‘a prophet,’ to one who comes ‘from God,’ to the ‘Son of Man’ who was worthy to be worshipped.
The invitation to stay engaged with Jesus and to deepen our own faith is open to us as all. Some of us are blinded by the light, while others reflect it back into the world. Maybe it’s more accurate to say that we each have our own blindness, and our own potential to shine.
Jesus Christ, light of the world, is seeking us out. So, listen, look, believe and worship. Dispel the darkness and shine!
Shine! – John 9:1-41