Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Second Exodus, Part 6.

The time of the second exodus would not only be a time referred to as "Jacob's trouble" but also would be a time God would bring physical healing. Isaiah 35:5-6 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, And the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then the lame shall leap like a deer, And the tongue of the dumb sing. For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, And streams in the desert.

God also would bring spiritual healing and open their minds to peace and the truth. Jeremiah 33:6 'Behold, I will bring it health and healing; I will heal them and reveal to them the abundance of peace and truth. There is no denying the fact that the Bible has much to say about divine healing. God is represented as a Great Physician who heals all the diseases of his people. Psalms. 103:3-4 Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies.

There was a man born blind from birth and everybody knew it. The story of this dramatic event is one of the funniest stories in scripture, about the fulfillment, of a prophecy told the entire ninth chapter of John.

Here is how it goes: As Jesus walked by one day, He saw a man who was blind from birth. Immediately, this man born blind became for the disciples an object lesson. They treated him, not as a man, but as an example, for their own understanding. "Rabbi," they ask, "who sinned-this man or his parents-that he was born blind?"

Notice how attention is so quickly diverted from the need at hand, which is the man himself, to a fleshly argument of "Who caused this to happen? "This man or his parents? Who is to blame here? Jesus, as he so often does, answers the questioners with something they did not think of because they had not yet received “the Spirit of Truth. Jesus answered and said, "Neither this man sinned, nor his parents. This man is here, before us blind, so that the marvelous works of God can be shown." Jesus turns their questions upside down.

Jesus’ miracles were a testimony not only to the fact that He was doing the marvelous works of God, but that He also was the anticipated Messiah in prophecy. God's work is revealed, in an act of mercy, in an act which pays close attention to the need itself. Jesus spits into the dirt, makes a little mud, and then smears it into the man's eyes! Jesus says, "Go wash your eyes in the pool of Siloam."

The scene is as if Jesus rubs that mud directly into the affected area of human need, so that it can be understood only God can bring clear sight. The man goes away, performs the task, and returns able to see. The miraculous deed is done.

Now listen to how his neighbors tried to interpret this! The neighbors ask themselves. "Isn't this the man who used to sit outside and beg? Some of the neighbors claim, "he is the man." Others said. "He just looks like the same man." And finally someone has the sense to ask the man himself.

Again, notice how the neighbors first, talk among themselves, about the man, without paying actual attention to the marvelous miracle of the man himself. And when they do finally ask the man, he responds very simply, "Yes, I'm the man."

Then they asked how were your eyes opened?" He answered and said, "A Man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, 'Go to the pool of Siloam and wash.' So I went and washed, and I received sight. "Well, where is he?" they ask. And the man replies, "I don't know." His replies to their question are honestly and directly.

So they took the poor man to see the Pharisees, the ruling class of Israel’s religious leaders who tended to have everything all figured out. The man repeats his simple story. The Pharisees argue among themselves. "This Man (Jesus) is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath." Others said, "How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?" And there was a division among them.

The Pharisees should have known what was prophesied in their scripture about the Messiah, but due to the fact that the children of Israel had developed a carnal conception of the expected Messiah to conquer all their oppressors and give them a preeminent place in the world. For the most part, most Jewish people of that time would have preferred much more spectacular signs - like calling down fire from heaven upon a Roman Legion.

Then the Pharisees asked the blind man again, "What do you say about Him because He opened your eyes?" He said, "He is a prophet." The blind man had more knowledge of scripture even though he could not read, than these religious leaders who tended to have everything figured out.

They decide to get the testimony of the poor man's parents. Maybe the man was not born blind after all; let's get the parents to tell the truth. Well, the parents do tell the truth, again in its simplest and most elegant form. They say, "Yes, we know that this is our son. Yes, he was born blind. But as to how he can see now, we have no idea."

They say, "Ask him; he is of age." He will speak for himself." The blind man was of full age to tell the truth! All they had to do was stop speculating among ourselves. So the Pharisees go back to the man that is now "Giving glory to God." The Pharisees say the man Jesus is a sinner. How do you now see?" It is here, the healed man begins to grow bolder. "Whether he is a sinner or not, I do not know. All I know is that I once was blind, but now I see."

The discussion becomes more intense. The Pharisees again ask. "What did he do to you?" "How did he open your eyes?" The healed man replies to them with more boldness. "I have told you already and you did not listen. Do you also want to become His disciples?"

Then the Pharisees try to put Jesus down."You are his disciple," they say. "Not us. We are disciples of Moses. As for this man Jesus, we do not know where he comes from." The healed man begins to see all the more clearly. He says, "Why, this is an astonishing thing. A man heals my eyes, but you do not know where he comes from. The Pharisees should have known where Jesus came from because the events are foretold in prophecy (Isaiah 35:5-6)

The healed man gets even bolder with a history lesson of truth. He tells them, "Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind. "If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing." Now keep in mind the Pharisees comprised the ruling class of Israel who would have known what happen in the history of Israel. Yet the healed man is now teaching them a history lesson of truth. A sinner teaching Pharisees who believed they were righteous before God and had no sin. (John 9:34 They answered and said to him, "You were completely born in sins, and are you teaching us?" And they cast him out).

The Pharisees have had enough. They drive him out. Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said to him, "Do you believe in the Son of God?

"Who is he?" responds the healed man, just as honestly as he always has been. And Jesus said to him, "You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you." Then he said, "Lord, I believe!" And he worshiped Him. With that proclamation, the healing is indeed complete from Jeremiah 33:6 'Behold, I will bring it health and healing; I will heal them and reveal to them the abundance of peace and truth.

The man born blind sees not only the world around him, with utter and complete honesty. The man born blind now also sees Jesus himself, standing in front of him the anticipated Messiah. (Isaiah 35:5-6)