Summary: God's Power, Our Weakness, Suffering, Thorns
John 9:1-12 (p. 747) June 8, 2014
The Macuma People of Southeast Columbia in South America were “animists.” “Animism” worships the Gazelle for its speed...the eagle for its vision, the lion for its power...and because of this the Macuma’s viewed individuals as worthless if there was a physical weakness that hindered them from being “strong.”
That is until the Word of God was brought to these people by Bob and Jan Smutherman, Wycliffe Bible translators, for 5 years they worked to translate John’s gospel, the chief’s son was engaged as the language helper...each portion of scripture had to be checked and rechecked for meaning and clarity...and then as it was being finalized for publication the chief’s son read it to the tribe, when he got to John chapter 9 and the verse concerning the man being born blind “in order that the works of God might be displayed in him.”
The chief stood up, raised his hand for silence and declared, “we must stop killing our babies!”
To a people, steeped in Animism, the normal procedure was to take any non-perfect baby to a desolate place, desert it, and expose it until dead. But God’s Word has a convicting way of revealing truth over the power of a lie.
The lie is only perfect, strong & beautiful people have value and can accomplish great things.
The truth, “That’s not the precedent God set throughout history. In the OT Israel was the weakest and smallest and the Lord said, “I am making a covenant with you...before all you people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the Lord will do for you.” (Ex. 34:10)
It’s the power of God the nations will see, not the power of Israel.
Paul says God does the same thing with individuals under the covenant of grace.
1 CORINTHIANS 1:26-31 (p. 793)
God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong...why? So no one will boast about their own power...but His power...
Broken people cannot repair themselves..we are restored through the power of Christ and this is one of the greatest truths:
I. OUR WEAKNESS ALLOWS GOD TO PROVE HIS POWER
When something bad happens in most people’s lives we think, “what did I do to deserve this?” God must be punishing me for something!”
But things happen to bad people, right? Well Job and Jesus will tell you that’s not exactly true!!!
Even Jesus’ closest followers thought like this:
As they travel they come across a man blind from birth...”His disciples ask Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents that he was born blind?” (v.2)
Sickness and suffering were believed to be the result of sin, but this man was born blind so he put a crimp in this belief system...except maybe God is remembering the “sin” of his parents, or grandparents, or great grandparents and punishing them!
Jesus absolutely rejects the view that all suffering and pain is due to sin.
“Neither this man or his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so the works of God might be displayed in him.”
We know without a doubt both this man and his parents have sinned in their lives...because “all of us have sinned and fell short of God’s glory.” (Romans 3:23)
But this man’s blindness...His weakness wasn’t caused by sin...it was allowed so that God could flex His muscles through it!
Here’s the important spiritual lesson (and it might be one of the hardest to learn!)
*GOD’S PLAN IS NEVER FOR OUR DESTRUCTION BUT FOR OUR REDEMPTION
Satan tries pervert and distort the picture we see of God.” He blinds the minds of unbelievers so they cannot see the light...the truth of the gospel which reveals the image of Christ...who is the image of God.” (2 Cor. 4:4) Satan tries to put a “veil” over the gospel’s face.
And one of the greatest lies is that God just wants to punish you...and if you look at some of Jesus’ so called “representatives” who look like they’ve been baptized 6 times in bad vinegar...you might believe that lie.
If you are not in a saving relationship with God through the gift of His son then your sin still seperates you from God. And there are consequences for our sin, whether in Christ or outside of Christ. If you break the law you might go to jail, get drunk and drive and you might kill yourself or someone else, cheat on your spouse and you might end up divorced.
But let me ask you all here: “Has God immediately punished you for every sin you’ve committed?” No! Me either!!!
God’s perfect...so perfect justice requires sin to be punished...paid for...but perfect love has allowed another to pay for my sins for me.