Summary: God is the God who heals us in every way.

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God Stories – Attributes of God June 8, 2003

God the Healer

John 9:1-12

WHO SINNED HERE? – Story by Bob Lupton found in “Theirs is the Kingdom”

Who sinned?" the disciples asked him. A tragedy like this doesn’t just happen-it’s caused. The man was born blind. It couldn’t be his fault, could it? It must be something his parents did. Perhaps venereal disease. Or incest. That causes blindness sometimes. If we can get to the root cause of this, maybe we can find the key to its prevention. Or at least we can see it for what it is: God’s judgment upon sin.

A homeless family. Destitute. Wandering the city streets looking for shelter, any shelter, to brace against the night chill. "Who sinned here, Lord?" Why were they evicted? Was it the father’s drinking that made him lose his job? Are they just irresponsible, poor money managers? Perhaps we should check them out before we open our church to them for a place of shelter.

Hungry people starving in Ethiopia. Women with no milk left in their breasts, babies dying in their arms. Do tragedies like this just happen or are they caused? Is it drought? But why do they stream by the thousands into these desolate desert places? They flee civil war, you say. Their government sells grain to the Russians in exchange for guns. These people starve because their sinful leaders engage in bloody political power struggles. "Is this who sinned here, Lord?"

"No," Jesus answers. "His blindness has nothing to do with his sins or his parent’s sins. He is blind so that God’s power may be seen at work in him."

Blindness, homelessness, hunger. Although there may be discernible causes and people to blame for the painful events of human history, these events are also opportunities for the glory of God to break through. In the midst of human misery, healing and hospitality and sharing are visible manifestations of the kingdom that has come. And the essential method of that kingdom is personal touching.

Is Jesus uninterested in "the bigger picture?" Surely he is concerned about mass prevention and not just individual cures. Certainly there is a need to understand cause and effect relationships, how personal and corporate sins impact people.

Yet for some reason Jesus directs our attention to a Samaritan who binds up a victim of violence rather than to a founder of a neighborhood crime watch program. He chooses to show us his kingdom by personally feeding a hungry multitude rather than examining their motives or teaching them budgeting. He heals sick men and women and children without instructing them in preventive medicine.

Why is this? Perhaps he knows the tendency of his followers to use our knowledge, our cause and effect theories, to pronounce judgment upon the suffering ones instead of healing them. He may know that we would prefer to create a program of service or champion a cause for the needy instead of risking the contagion of personal involvement. But he does not allow us to withdraw to the theoretical or theological. He forces us to feed, to clothe, to give a cup of water-to touch the undesirable ones. His words and his life push us to the very place that will change us and fit us for kingdom use.

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