March 14, 2011
Bishop Ogles' Lenten Devotions
It is in the constitution of fallen man to seek out and find a fault to explain the misfortune of others. It is a habit whereby we feel ourselves to be better justified than our fellows, but we miss the mark of righteous judgment and bring the wrath of God upon our own heads. Modern religion presents itself as positive and efficacious in the accrual of worldly wealth and esteem. Those who are poor, regardless their relationship to God, are considered to be out of the will of God. What a travesty of the Word of God to judge so! Innocent Job suffered, not for sin, but to the very glory of God. Jesus suffered – the just for the unjust. The apostle Paul died daily to self and lived unto others. It is the story of the Christian life. Physical affliction and want of riches is never a measure by which we are loved of God. Good and evil are judged of God, and His Word is a measure by which we apply judgment. As Christ has counseled: “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24) It is not by our opinions, but by God’s truth, that we know righteousness.
Jesus, in passing, sees a man who was blind from birth. Those about Him considered the infirmity to have arisen from personal sin. Christ informs them that neither the man nor his family has sinned to cause this blindness, but God will be glorified in weakness. The light of the body is the eye; therefore this man presents a contrast in utter darkness and effulgent Light. The young man has suffered darkness his entire life. Not even a single ray of light has been permitted to enter his sightless eyes. But the Light of the World is near in whose presence no darkness can exist. “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Christ is the Day Star and while He is with us, He is the life-giving Light. In His physical absence, we become His reflected Light and, in this way, we are the Light of the World. (Matthew 5:14). The Lord lifts our unbecoming yoke of sin and depression, He removes the darkness from our eyes, He places our feet on solid ground, and we are made whole in Him. Instead of itinerant beggars, we become the very children of God – the owner of all the cattle on a thousand hills, and all that is.
Jesus now spat upon the ground, made clay of the spittle, and anointed the eyes of the blind boy therewith. He then tells him to go wash in the pool of Siloam. How strange! How affronted did powerful, but leprous, Namaan feel when Elisha sent him word by his servant to wash in the Jordan waters seven times. How ridiculous in his manly mind! “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! 34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord?”( Romans 11:33-34). Man, poor mortal, must come to know that “God’s ways are not our ways, and God’s thoughts are not our thoughts.” The soldier trainee, undergoing basic combat training, is conditioned to obey without question. The secret to a fulfilling Christian life is total obedience to God even though we may not fully understand His reasons. This young man, unlike the mighty Naaman, promptly obeyed Christ and was healed! He questioned not why the mud was placed over his sightless eyes, or why washing in the pool of Siloam would benefit. He simply obeyed the voice of Christ. Amazing how the vision of the blind often surpasses that of the one with 20/20 vision in both eyes!
In the verses that follow (vv 13-23) the detractors of Christ attempt to demean the miracle. Our Bishop for South American missions, +Garth Neel, in giving the keynote address at our 2006 Convention, stated: “The Main Thing is to keep the Main Thing, the Main Thing.” The Main Thing is Christ – not considerations of Sabbath, or of method. In fact, Christ IS our Sabbath rest. He is the Sovereign and Ruler. His proclamations are to be obeyed without question.
Have you heard the Voice of Christ? Have you obeyed the Voice? This Lenten Season is one which, though a time for deep thought and meditation, may also be the very Season that the Seed of God’s Word takes root in your heart of hearts. God has spoken: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.” Matt 17:5
Jerry L. Ogles