Living in the Light

Still looking at this sixth sign of Jesus as given by John.  I’ll have one more message on this, then will hit “pause” on looking at the seventh sign in a John to take a look at what it is that we mean when we call Jesus “king”.  Because after all, it is the time for Christmas carols and all, so just what are we saying when we sing “Glory to the Newborn King”?

In the meantime, here we go.   As I believe this helps when I have a run-on message like this, I’ll begin with the final paragraph of the last message.

To blame the victim is the work of Satan, the work of darkness.  Jesus does not come to do the works of Satan, Jesus comes to do the works of God.  Whose work are we doing?

When Jesus and his disciples are passing by this blind beggar, and the disciples see this man who’s had the misfortune of being born blind, they have a question they must ask.  It’s an old question that comes from darkness, it’s a questions which originates with Satan.  They see a man in suffering.  They see a man born in misfortune.   And they ask their question.   Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?   Who sinned?  Who can we blame?   Whose bad Karma is this?   Is it his own?  That’s an interesting suggestion, since this man was born this way.  Yet, apparently, Rabbis had ways of explaining this.  Or maybe it’s the sin of his parents.  There was a Jewish theology that said God punished children for the sins of their parents, you can find it in the Bible.  Deuteronomy 5 and Exodus 20 will tell you that the sins of the parents will be visited upon their children until the third and fourth generation.

But not everyone agreed with this.  For example, Ezekiel did not agree with this line of thinking.   We can read about this Ezekiel 18.  “The word of the Lord came to me: “What do you mean by repeating this proverb concerning the land of Israel, ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge’? As I live, declares the Lord God, this proverb shall no more be used by you in Israel. Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die.” ‭‭Ezekiel‬ ‭18:1-4 ESV.  This is just the beginning, I suggest you read for yourself.  Ezekiel says of that theology of the sins of the parents being visited upon the children, “I don’t think that’s right, I don’t think that’s the way we should think about it.  I don’t think that’s the way we should think about God.”   Sometimes it seems as though the Old Testament is in sort of an argument with itself. It’s all inspired by God, but it’s working toward truth through argument.  So, proverbs says “Live righteously, fear God, good things will happen to you.”   Job says, “Yeah, well, not all the time.”   Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5 say “Children will be punished for their parents sins.”  Ezekiel 18 says “No, no , no, no, that can’t be right.

Well, the final, full word of God is Jesus Christ, amen!!??   So they ask Jesus “Who sinned?  Who’s at fault?  Who’s to blame?  There must be an explanation for what has happened here.  Who are we to blame, Jesus?”  

How does Jesus answer?   JESUS IS THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD.   Jesus is not going to perpetuate the old question of blame that belongs to the darkness.  Jesus, in effect, is saying “You guys are not even asking the right question.  THE QUESTION ITSELF IS ILLEGITIMATE.  When you see a suffering victim, the question IS NOT who’s to blame.  The question is How can we bring the mercy and grace of God right here?   That’s the question you need to be asking, not who’s to blame, but how do we help??!!”

Oh.  That’s a big difference.   That’s a big change.  That is, in fact, the light beginning to dawn.  By asking a new question, not who do we blame?   But How do we bring the grace and mercy of God here?  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.   Jesus, as the light of the worldbrings a whole new perspective to the works of God.  The works of God are not assigning blame.  There are plenty who think so.  There are those who think the work of God is to walk through the world and identify all the sin they can find.  There’s sin there!  And there is sin!  There is more sin over here!  And there!   And you’re at fault and you’re wrong!” And they think this is the work of God.

Jesus says it is not.  Jesus says it’s the work of darkness, it’s the work of the Satan.  Jesus says we must do the true works of God, while we can, because night is coming, when no one can work.  What is the night that is coming?  The death of Jesus.  Jesus is the light of the world, night is coming when he dies.  Because when Jesus is executed and killed, it’s as if blaming the victim has triumphed.  The whole system of blaming reaches its climax in the blaming and execution of Jesus.  

It appears as though blame has won.  Satanic blame appears triumphant.  But – on the third day, the Son rose again!  And you and I are to live in the light.  Not in the darkness of assigning blame.  We are to live in the light of extending grace and mercy to those in need.   Because the Son has risen, it’s a new day, and the light is shining.  And the darkness will not overcome it…

“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.”
‭‭John‬ ‭9:1-7‬ ‭ESV


John Lewis

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