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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

5/24/11- John 9:18-23 Fear Burying Grace

18 They still did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they sent for the man’s parents. 19 “Is this your son?” they asked. “Is this the one you say was born blind? How is it that now he can see?”
20 “We know he is our son,” the parents answered, “and we know he was born blind. 21 But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don’t know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself.” 22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who already had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. 23 That was why his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”

Thoughts: The parents knew of the past, but had no real hope for the future for their son.  They also were afraid of any change- especially being kicked out of their synagogue where their friends attended.  The previous generation needs to be careful not to slow down the next one out of mere fear. We should also not be afraid of religious powers- that- be when they threaten to kick out.  Jesus was excommunicated, Paul was stoned by religious leaders, Stephen was stoned, Luther was hunted as a heretic, and John Calvin fled for his life from France because of a sermon he helped write.  Calvin was kicked out of Geneva then brought back in- and Geneva became a city on a hill.  Athanasius was kicked out of the church, but was brought back in and was used of God to help save the church (helping to author and uphold the Nicean creed).  But if we should be kicked out, it should be for being faithful to God, not for unbelief.  The power of God to change the world goes on despite those who will not believe.  The blind man knew the power of God, and would not back down from testifying to what he knew even though he might have consequences for his faithfulness. 

Prayer: May I be strong for you, O Lord.  May I be aware of what you have done in my life- how you have helped me along my way, protected me, strengthened me, encouraged me, healed me- so that I will testify to you.  Keep me from being afraid of what people can do to me.

John Calvin Abridged: The religious leaders 1) do not believe a miracle was performed and 2) out of hatred for Christ, they do not perceive what was manifested right in front of them.  Their blindness was voluntary- caused by an inward malice of their hearts.  To keep the truth from being heard, the leaders ask a multitude of questions, and the parents answer only half.  In their acknowledgement that he was their son and was born blind, they subtly but not openly, acknowledge the miracle.  But the way they answer shows their ingratitude to Christ.  Struck with terror, they bury the grace of God. 

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