Summary: Not everyone is called to the mud-in-the-eye ministry, but if you are then you’ll be a miserable failure trying to do anything else. John 9 offers us an opportunity to spend time with Jesus in the school of ministry.
TITLE: With Christ In The School of Ministry
TEXT: John 9
SCRIBE: Louis Bartet
PLACE: Point Assembly of God
The disciples must have been feeling overly spiritual that day, for as they passed the blind beggar they offered Jesus an observation framed in the form of a question: “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents that he should be born blind?” (2).
It must be wonderful to have everything in life figured out.
The disciples are sure that they have assessed the root issue accurately. It is sin. What they want Jesus to do is help them understand the actual source—is it…
the blind man’s sin or
the sins of his parents?
These guys must have gone to school with Job’s friends.
When Eliphaz saw Job, he concluded, “…Have you ever known a truly good and innocent person who was punished? Experience teaches that it is those who sow sin and trouble who harvest the same” (Job 4:7-8, TLB). Job, you’re getting what you deserve. You reap what you sow!
To be sure, some physical maladies are directly related to personal sin, but to say that all blindness, lameness, and deafness is the result of personal sin is incorrect.
The disciples are not concerned about the blind man; what they are focused on is their theological view of blindness. What they are unaware of is that their statement reveals their own blindness, or at best, it revealed their inability to see the more important issues.
An attractive young woman on the fast track toward a lucrative career felt compelled to step out of the corporate world and pursue her desire to work with inner-city youth. She was hired by a church where the ethnic mix was changing, and within weeks she found herself working with gang members. She successfully convinced a few of them to attend a Bible study at the church. One night, as she was teaching, one of the gang members was so into what she was saying that, after hearing those words, he reacted violently by throwing his arms back and accidentally broke a window. When the church found out, they were very upset at having to pay $26 to fix the window, and they restricted the gang members from using the room.
A few weeks later, the pastor accidentally interrupted one of the Bible studies. He spent a few minutes talking and joking with gang members and left. One of the gang members said, “Hey, I like that guy. Let’s go hear him preach this Sunday.” So, the next Sunday the youth worker decided it might be best to seat the gang members in the balcony rather than with the congregation downstairs. When the minister stepped to the pulpit, one of the gang members jumped up and yelled, “Hey, dude, you’re cool!” The congregation responded in shock and after the service, she was reprimanded and fired. (Yaconelli)
The Church should have invited the gang members downstairs. They should have applauded this young woman who was doing an amazing job of reaching out to young people. Instead, they were focused on the wrong issues and missed a great opportunity.
TRANS: When Jesus opens class in Chapter Nine, it is not to discuss His theology of blindness, but to demonstrate the power of God; to do something about the blind man’s problem.
>First, Jesus must deal with religious blindness.
Like the disciples, many in today’s Church are great at discussing problems, but short on meeting needs. In Acts 4, the lame man that Peter ministered to was seated at the Gate Beautiful, in the shadow of the Temple with its priests and rituals. This man didn’t need a theological treatise on the spiritual reasons for congenital lameness. What he needed was a healing.
The dilemma has always been one of perception. Religion tends to assess blame, while Holy Ghost ministry focuses on God’s grace provision in Christ. Peter’s statement had nothing to do with the man’s lameness. As seen in Peter’s statement to the man, it had everything to do with God’s provision: “Such as I have give I thee. In the name of Jesus, rise up and walk.”
Assessing blame and giving a theological reason for someone’s blindness does nothing to eliminate the problem.
The disciples probably expect a pat on the back for their appraisal of the blind man’s situation, but instead Jesus gives them a failing grade. He says…
· This man’s blindness is not the result of personal sin: “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents” (9:3).
· This man’s blindness is about God’s purpose: “…it was in order that the works of God might be displayed in this man” (9:3).
If this man’s blindness is a punishment from God, then any attempt to restore his sight would be an act against the will of God. Such reasoning gets me off the hook, as I don’t want to be found opposing God’s will. But if this man’s blindness is God’s way of presenting us with an opportunity to display His power, then we cannot pass him by. We must do more than talk about his problem or give a lecture on the Theology of blindness, we are now duty bound to minister God’s provision to him.