John 9:1-7 ESV
“As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ Jesus answered, ‘It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.’ Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud and said to him, ‘Go, wash in the pool of Siloam’ (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.”
That God’s Works Might be Displayed
There was a belief at that time which viewed all such calamities as someone being born blind as being the result of someone’s sins. And so that is why the disciples asked this question of Jesus. But Jesus assured them that this was not the result of anyone’s sins, but so that the works of God might be displayed in him. And this reminds me of the story of Job, and how his friends assumed that his suffering was a result of his sin, but it wasn’t.
Another factor that comes to mind here is that of the sovereignty of God over our lives, and of Paul’s pleading with the Lord three times to remove a thorn from his flesh, which appears it may have been his physical blindness. But the Lord’s response to Paul was that God’s grace was sufficient for him, for God’s power would be displayed in Paul’s physical weakness (not sin), just as the works of God were displayed in the man born blind when Jesus healed the man of his blindness, and in Job when his faith was being tested.
And this reminds me, too, of what the Lord had me write on last from Acts chapter 4. The rulers and the elders in the Temple of God, when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and they had perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus. Now, Jesus doesn’t call us because of our abilities, but because of what he plans to do in and through our lives in the power of the Holy Spirit within us.
So, to me, the message here is that God allows some people to be born with physical anomalies. He allows others to be born with mental deficiencies, which are also of a physical nature, and not emotional or psychological. He allows others to go through tragedies in their lives, or to be abused, or to be misunderstood and rejected by others. Or he allows them to be lacking in formal education, or in wealth, or in acceptance by the populace, etc.
And this is, I believe, so that if and when God does display his work in them it will be quite apparent that the work is from God and not from themselves. It will be apparent that they are speaking or teaching or singing in the power of the Holy Spirit and not in their own strength and wisdom. And this is why, I believe, that God sometimes chooses not to heal so that he can display his work in us and show that he is the one doing it because we aren’t able to.
We Must Work the Works of God
It is a popular belief in the market-driven institutional church of today here in America that if we believe in Jesus that we are to do no works. For they take some of Paul’s teachings out of context to say we are to do nothing and that Jesus does it all. One of the big examples of this is Ephesians 2:8-9 which states that we are saved by God’s grace through faith and that this is not of ourselves, not of works lest anyone should boast.
But then they leave out the next verse, Ephesians 2:10, which says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” The difference is that these are the works of God, but we still have to do them in his power and strength. They also leave out a whole lot of verses that talk about the works we are to do as followers of Jesus, including Titus 2:11-14 which says,
“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.”
[Eph 2:8-10; 1 Co 15:58; 2 Co 9:8; Gal 5:6; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:9-14; 2 Thess 1:11-12; 2 Tim. 2:21; Tit 2:11-14; Jn 15:1-11; Tit 3:8; Jas 2:17; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-32; Lu 9:23-26; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:19-20; 2 Co 5:15; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Jn 14:15-24; etc. etc.]
We are to repent of our sins, forsaking them, and we are to follow Jesus Christ in obedience to his ways and to his commands (New Covenant). We are to honor Christ as Lord of our lives and submit to his will and purpose for our lives, and to go where he sends us, and to say whatever he commands us to say. And we are to present ourselves to God as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to him, and we are to no longer be conformed to the ways of this sinful world, but we are to be changed in heart and mind.
And we are to be spreading the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ (the whole counsel of God) to the people of this world, and we are to be encouraging the body of Christ to maturity in Christ with the use of our spiritual gifts given to us by the Spirit, and via the body parts that God made us to be and called us to do, in his power and strength and wisdom. And we are to be loving people with the love of God, and helping to meet some people’s legitimate needs, and the list goes on and on.
And we are to be healing people, too, with our words, with our actions, with kindness and thoughtfulness, and with the truth spoken in love, etc. Sometimes the Lord will lead us to pray for healing of someone and he or she will be healed miraculously. Or the healing he wants in their lives is more in the way of them learning to trust the Lord with their circumstances and to not let bitterness overtake them, etc. But we can be instruments of healing in other people’s lives when we yield to Holy Spirit control.
But when we do the works of God which he prepared beforehand that we should walk in them, and when we teach what Jesus taught and what his NT apostles taught, in context, we will also be hated and persecuted as Jesus was hated and persecuted, because there are going to be people, even within the gatherings of the church, who are not going to like what we are doing and saying. And they may be aggressive in going against us. But we must persevere in being the light of Christ to the world, for time is short.
An Original Work / June 19, 2013
Based off Acts 20-22, 26; Mt. 28:18-20; Ac. 1:8
Why are you weeping and breaking my heart?
I’m fully ready to suffer for Christ.
If I must die for the sake of His name,
I am convinced it will not be in vain.
Glory to God and to His Son Jesus,
Who has redeemed us; bought with His blood.
May I speak to you? Jesus came to me;
Asked of me, “Why do you persecute me?”
He said, “Now get up and stand on your feet.
Go, and you’ll be told all I have for you.
I have appointed you as a servant,
And as a witness; you have been sent.”
“Go into the world and preach the gospel.
Open the blind eyes. They will receive sight.
Turn them from darkness to the light of Christ;
From power of the evil one to God,
So they may receive forgiveness of sins,
And a place among those who’re in heav’n.”