Thursday, December 3, 2015

Hero Number 1

We’re studying the book of John, looking at some familiar stories. As we talked about the man in chapter 9 who was born blind, I said, “He’s great. He’s one of my heroes.”

Now I don’t know if I’d ever realized that before, but the more I thought about it, I knew it was true. I think I’m going to start a Hero List, so the man in John 9 is Hero number 1, not because he’s the most important, but because he’s the first.

Mark, who leads the Bible study, said, “When this man encountered Jesus, his life was transformed.”

That is so true. Not only because he gained his sight, though that is glorious. But look even closer at this man.

He was a beggar, very low in the ranking of society. But as the day moved along, his life took on amazing changes. The disciples wondered who sinned to cause this man to be blind. Once healed, no one rejoiced with him in the fantastic miracle which had happened to him. Some who knew him before didn’t even believe it was him. His parents refused to support him, fearing they would be kicked out of the synagogue.

And the religious leaders were mad because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath. They were trying to talk Jesus down anyway, so this just gave them another excuse. They repeatedly questioned the man who was healed, trying to get him not to give the credit to Jesus. But he began to transform in front of everyone’s eyes.

One thing we know about this man from the beginning is that he was willing to “give it a try.” Did he know about Jesus before this? Regardless, here somebody spits and rubs mud on his eyes. Strange, but he is willing to follow directions and go to the pool and wash.

At first, he just explains what happened. Verse 11” He replied, “The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.” Simple facts.

When asked where Jesus is, he admits, “I don’t know.” But after having to explain his story again and again; after the crowd argues and his parents refuse to be a part of his miracle; after the leaders do nothing but blast Jesus as a sinner—our hero shows boldness, and I’m guessing frustration and impatience, by challenging the leaders: Verse 27: He answered, “I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?”

And when they insult him and Jesus, he shows remarkable bravery and insight: Verses 30-33: The man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will. Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”

The picture I get is as if the leaders spit at the man. They convict him as a sinner and throw him out of the synagogue.

But Jesus finds him and offers him a whole new opportunity. And this man, rejected by so many, shows a beautiful faith and acceptance. Verses 35-38: Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” “Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may 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.

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