John 9:35-41, NIV

35 Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found
him, he said, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?" 36 "Who is he,
sir?" the man asked. "Tell me so that I may believe in him."

37 Jesus said, "You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one
speaking with you." 38 Then the man said, "Lord, I believe," and
he worshiped him. 39 Jesus said, "For judgment I have come
into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see
will become blind."

40 Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and
asked, "What? Are we blind too?" 41 Jesus said, "If you were
blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim
you can see, your guilt remains."


September 14, 2011
The followup on this story is unusual. I don't remember any other time
when Jesus pursued a person he had healed and spoke further with
them. This is intentional. Jesus heard our hero had been abandoned
by his parents, his neighbors and friends, even his community of faith,
so he went looking for him. With a direct question. "Do you believe
in the Son of Man?" (Some other translations say, "Do you believe in
the Son of God?" Whatever - we get the gist of the question.)

This unnamed man quickly replies, "Who is he?" He was ready and
eager to believe in such a person, whoever it was. Jesus replied, "I am
he." I doubt if the man was flabbergasted by this revelation. Surprised
probably. Both that he had to be told, and also that Jesus revealed
this truth to an unworthy person such as himself.

The man with his new eyes quickly knelt to worship Jesus. Jesus
ended the encounter with something about judgment and the reversal
of fortunes. The gifted lose; the losers gain. The blind recognize God;
those who think they see, don't get it. Those who believe become
children of God; those who refuse to believe live in darkness. The
humble are embraced, the proud stumble and fall.

Some Pharisees were eavesdropping and became indignant about
what they heard. No way could they be in the wrong, blind, or
misguided. But Jesus judged them guilty. And guilty they would
remain until they acknowledge their blindness.


                                                                                  More thoughts


September 15, 2011
Do you believe in the Son of Man? Son of Man is a title Jesus gave to
himself. According to Scofield, Jesus used it 79 times in the Gospels.
If I asked a group of church people to brainstorm what this image might
mean and why Jesus chose it, there would probably be many differing
opinions.

Since Jesus was steeped in the Old Testament scriptures, we should
note that the phrase was used by two prophets, both in visions.
Whenever Ezekiel experienced the presence of God throughout his
many years as a prophet, he heard a voice addressing him as "son
of man." Then the voice would give him a message to convey to God's
people, usually a difficult message for their difficult times.

Here's how Daniel described what he saw in one of his visions,
"I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with
the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led
into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power;
all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His
dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his
kingdom is one that will never be destroyed." (Daniel 7:13-14)

These are two very different connotations of the term, son of man--
one very human and the other highly exalted. Ezekiel was never known
as anything greater than a prophet and may be best remembered for 
"seeing" a valley of dry bones which rattled back to life and became
a mighty army for the Lord.

Daniel's vision is futuristic, related to what some people refer to as
"the end times" and highlights the hope of many people of faith that
there will come a day when throughout the world evil will be destroyed
and righteousness will reign forever and ever.

So when Jesus asked this poor blind beggar who could now see better
than the religious leaders of his day, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?"
this unnamed man was only too happy to believe in him.

This chapter began with the blind man being sent to the pool of Siloam
to wash. Siloam meaning "sent." He had just been in the presence of
God but didn't know it yet. In the visions of Ezekiel and Daniel, the "son
of man" character stood in the presence of God and also was sent on
a mission to do God's work.

How familiar are these images of the human and the Divine,
commingling, intertwined and inseparable within the Biblical narrative!
Human always subject to divine. The divine loving us with such a
passion that we are welcomed to approach as we would a trustworthy
father or a faithful friend. True sons and daughters is what God wants.
And a world where good triumphs over evil is what we long for. Maybe
it all comes together in Jesus, our Son of Man.


No date
The hero of this story was blind, always had been blind. Sitting by the
roadside, listening as life passed him by, he was outside the
mainstream of normal life. At the end of the story we see him again,
excommunicated, and once more on the outside, but this time actively
participating in the happenings.

What did it mean for this man to see and believe in Jesus? He's the
only one in the story who experienced a change in identity. From sitting
by the roadside, to standing before Jesus, following the instructions to
go and wash in Siloam, being able to see the light of day for the first
time, then telling everyone what Jesus had done for him. He definitely
became more confident as the story developed. Re-created, you might
say. All the other characters remain the same, unchanged.

Something that really stands out is that no one rejoiced with this man!
No one was happy for him. Maybe because trouble just seemed to
follow him around.


No date
Most of John's chapters contain an overriding topic and everything in
that chapter helps to develop the key point. The theme in this chapter
is stated in verse 5 - Jesus is the light of the world. This is illustrated by
a man born blind who miraculously received the gift of sight, contrasted
to sighted people who remained in the dark and were blind to the
realities of God.

The issue causing much debate is - Who is blind and who can see?
The one who could not see had his eyes opened and those who
thought they could see become blinded by their unbelief.

Having physical eyesight is not enough. That's why Jesus sought out
this man and made sure he knew and believed in the light of the world.
Jesus had told Nicodemus he had to be born anew in order to enter
God's kingdom. Jesus had offered the woman at the well his living
water which would be like an eternal spring inside of her. Now Jesus
wants this man to know he can live free from guilt and be fully
accepted into God's family. This is a gift more precious than his new
eyes and is received by faith in the one sent by God.

Who? It is Jesus, right here in front of me, working in my life every day,
calling me to greater things. Only in believing do I begin to "see" all
that Jesus is about. When I don't believe, I miss out, I shut God out,
I live in the dark instead of the light.

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