Summary: Scripture informs us that this evil is not a blind force, or human calculation, but that it is personified in the person of Satan.
Note to reader: I have hot -links to background details that may be helpful on various subjects in this sermon. The document with the active links can be found in PDF form at this web address: http://www.firstpresanchorage.org/Sermons.htm (The sermon is titled the same: "Blind Bar-Jesus") The links are not active in this document on sermon central. May our Lord Jesus empower you as you write your sermon for your congregation. -Peter
There was a man who had heard about a new procedure which would enable him to get a new brain. So he went to the hospital where the surgery had been perfected and asked the hospital administration if he qualified for the procedure.
"Well, we can give you a new brain, but the cost is prohibitive,” said an administrator.
After, showing the administrator that he indeed could afford a new brain, the man was escorted into the hospital’s Brain Depository by the chief of administration. The chief administrator, pulled a brain off the shelf saying, "Here is an excellent engineer’s brain--a finely honed, precise bit of gray matter. It will cost you $500 an ounce." "What else do you have?" the man wanted to know. So the chief administrator brought him deeper into the depository, "This," he told him, "Is a pastor’s brain--a collection of contemplative, reflective little gray cells. It is $1000 an ounce." "Is that all you have?" "Oh No," he said. "Here is a doctor’s brain, packed full of anatomical knowledge. It goes for $5000 an ounce." "I’m not sure," the man said. "Don’t you have anything else?" The chief administrator held his breath and motioned for the man to step over to a covered container. "This," he said in hushed tones, "is a Congressman’s brain. It costs $250,000 an ounce." "Wow!" exclaimed the man. "Why so expensive?" "Isn’t it obvious?," said the chief administrator, "it is hardly used.”
When we approach our Christian life are we fully using our brain?
When we apply our intellect to our Christian life, we do not rely only on our intellect, that would be foolish, instead, we use our intellect in combination with the power of the Holy Spirit. See, we are more than intellect and emotion, we are spiritual as well.
As we start this morning, we need to reflect for just a moment: You and I, we live in a material world, we are human after all; We live, see, hear, breath, think and touch this material world. We have been equipped by God in amazing ways to deal with the material world around us. However, though you and I are human, made of flesh and bone, we are also spiritual creatures, there is much more to us than what we see when we look in the mirror. We are body, soul and spirit. You see me, Peter as flesh and bone, and you know me through my personality, but I also am more than a body and a personality, I am spirit too. You are the same.
We are created by God as spiritual beings and as such we seek spiritual things. We hunger for spiritual things, and need to be satisfied by spiritual things. You know this, you hunger and seek for these things yourself. However, let us not be naive, and imagine that there is only one kind of spiritual being. Let us not imagine that there is the person of God and us humans alone. We are spiritual beings, and we live in a spiritual world and we are not alone.
You know, many Americans will acknowledge that there is God...and they will not move beyond that reality. There is God, and then there is us humans they theorize, and so they believe that anything that they run into that is spiritual is of God. That is a big mistake, that is not thinking things thought very well. Just because something is spiritual in no way means it is of God.
There is good, and there is evil in this world, and this good and evil rises beyond social conventions, human interactions, and ideological ideals. There is a good, which is holy and there is an evil which is anything but holy and is it seriously detrimental to your spiritual life. This evil opposes the Gospel at every turn and has done so since the beginning. Scripture informs us that this evil is not a blind force, or human calculation, but that it is personified in the person of Satan and his fallen angels, otherwise known as demons. This evil is as real today as it was in the biblical world.
In our first story we see Herod, perhaps unintentionally, aligning himself with this evil and then in our second story, we see Paul directly confront spiritual evil that has blinded the people of Paphos for ages. These stories inform us about how to live our Christian life now and are not merely of historical interest. Let us work through these two stories and see what God is teaching us today through his word.