March 14, 2011

Tuesday, Day Six

            The Lectionary

Morning - Psalm 37:1-24, Genesis 24:28-38, 49-51, 58-67, 1 Corinthians 3:18-4:5     
Evening - Psalm 46, Psalm 47, Jeremiah 4:1-9, John 9:24-41

John 9:24-41

 24Then again called they the man that was blind, and said unto him, Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner.
 25He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.
 26Then said they to him again, What did he to thee? how opened he thine eyes?
 27He answered them, I have told you already, and ye did not hear: wherefore would ye hear it again? will ye also be his disciples?
 28Then they reviled him, and said, Thou art his disciple; but we are Moses' disciples.
 29We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is.
 30The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes.
 31Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.
 32Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind.
 33If this man were not of God, he could do nothing.
 34They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out.
 35Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God?
 36He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?
 37And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee.
 38And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.
 39And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.
 40And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also?
 41Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.


In John 9:35-38 we see the conclusion toward which Christ is leading the blind man.  That is, the restoration of his spiritual sight.  Now the man can say, "Lord, I believe."  Now he can worship Christ as His Lord and God.  The Pharisees, however, remained in their blindness.  They refused to see their sin.

            Devotional Thoughts

One of the things we emphasize in Lent is repentance.  We make a great point of turning away from sin and turning to God.  Before we can repent of sin we must find our sin, and Lent is a time for finding the sin in our lives.  It is a time to put our lives under the microscope to find the tiny flaws, and to stand back far enough to see the giant holes.  Returning to our example of a journey, finding our sin is like checking the compass to determine the present course of our lives.

When we do this we will always notice a discrepancy between our professed ideals, and our practice in real life.  For example, we may say that our goal in life is to live for Christ, but our actions might show that our real goal is to be a world champion sports fan.   Obviously, this self examination is more than simply asking if a certain action is a sin or not. We are talking about a serious, intense, and honest look at the way we really live our lives.

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
Bishop, AOC