Wednesday 31 August 2022

John 12:9-19

9 When all the people heard of Jesus’ arrival, they flocked to see him and also to see Lazarus, the man Jesus had raised from the dead. 10 Then the leading priests decided to kill Lazarus, too, 11 for it was because of him that many of the people had deserted them and believed in Jesus. 12 The next day, the news that Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem swept through the city. A large crowd of Passover visitors 13 took palm branches and went down the road to meet him. They shouted, “Praise God! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the LORD! Hail to the King of Israel!” 14 Jesus found a young donkey and rode on it, fulfilling the prophecy that said: 15 “Don’t be afraid, people of Jerusalem. Look, your King is coming, riding on a donkey’s colt.” 16 His disciples didn’t understand at the time that this was a fulfillment of prophecy. But after Jesus entered into his glory, they remembered what had happened and realized that these things had been written about him. 17 Many in the crowd had seen Jesus call Lazarus from the tomb, raising him from the dead, and they were telling others about it. 18 That was the reason so many went out to meet him—because they had heard about this miraculous sign. 19 Then the Pharisees said to each other, “There’s nothing we can do. Look, everyone has gone after him!”

This passage is about the aftermath of Lazarus being raised from the dead and Jesus entering Jerusalem. Word had spread Lazarus was alive! Both locals and those coming for the festival of Passover were going to see Lazarus for themselves and hailed Jesus as the possible coming Messiah. All except some Pharisees who wanted them both dead.

Crowds can be fickle. I’m wondering where I would be in the crowd. Would I be a friend and believer, would I be ‘just looking’ or would I be part of the Pharisee mob not liking the popularity of Jesus and seeing him as a threat? Regardless, Jesus knew where he was headed, he knew his purpose and goal. He fulfils scripture and enters Jerusalem.

This passage has challenged me, how do I respond to miracles today? Am I a sceptic, critical even, or do I praise God for his grace, goodness and kindness for the supernatural taking place, rejoicing and telling others so that they might believe? Or perhaps worse yet, being ‘ho-hum’ not really engaging in the joy or being astounded at what has taken place?

Lord Jesus, may I never become cynical of your grace toward us or doubt your hand in miracles occurring. Lord, I thank you and praise you that miracles of healing, transformation and restoration are constantly occurring today. Amen

Written by Suzie Hodgson

2 replies
  1. Richard says:

    Thanks Suzie

    There are two differing thoughts I have as I read this passage. The first is the envy and jealousy that is on display from the Pharisees. I find myself wondering what happens when the status quo of authority or power is challenged, what happens for me. Do I come out swinging, jealous or do I react differently. I have no doubt that jealousy is one of my reactions and more commonly than I like. The priests go so far in their jealousy as to think about murder, wow jealousy can get extreme!!

    My other thought is the power of hindsight. I am taken with the fact that the disciples didn’t put 2 & 2 together about the coming Messiah and the colt of a donkey until after Jesus was glorified.

    This gives me more than a little encouragement about the disciples and the Bible. The disciples were normal people, and it is heartening that they are portrayed that way. And the Bible is not all niceness and light here it records how the disciples didn’t get it! How this encourages me that it is real and presents the reality of life not some sanitised version of life for religious purposes.

    Father, thank You that You encourage me to be real not run an Instagram A reel only for others to see but the reality that is me. Yet Lord where that reel shows my sinfulness please show that to me quickly that I may repent and look to You for transformation.

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Tuesday 30 August 2022

John 12:1-8

1 Six days before the Passover celebration began, Jesus arrived in Bethany, the home of Lazarus—the man he had raised from the dead. 2 A dinner was prepared in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, and Lazarus was among those who ate with him. 3 Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet with it, wiping his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance. 4 But Judas Iscariot, the disciple who would soon betray him, said, 5 “That perfume was worth a year’s wages. It should have been sold and the money given to the poor.” 6 Not that he cared for the poor—he was a thief, and since he was in charge of the disciples’ money, he often stole some for himself. 7 Jesus replied, “Leave her alone. She did this in preparation for my burial. 8 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”

Bringing Lazarus back from death to life isn’t something you can ignore – especially when Lazarus is standing there “as large as life”, so to speak. It demands a response.

Martha declares that Jesus is the Messiah (11:27). Many people who saw it all happen believe in Jesus (11:45). The chief priests and Pharisees are terrified by where they think things are going and decide that Jesus has to die (11:45-57). Lazarus’ family honour Jesus with a dinner (12:2). Mary honours Jesus as she humbly anoints his feet with perfume (12:3). None of them realise the profound significance of what they are doing.

It’s the beginning of Passover week. The chief priest is preparing for the death of Jesus, the Passover lamb who will die for all people once and for all. Another meal at the end of the week will remember how God redeemed his people from slavery as Jesus redeems all people from sin. Mary is anointing Jesus in preparation for his burial … and then he will begin the resurrection and the rolling back of death for all.

Jesus demands a response from me too. I’m with Mary. I choose to love and honour Jesus with everything I have. I’m with Martha in declaring that Jesus is the Messiah who brings the resurrection. I’m with Lazarus’ family in celebrating and worshiping Jesus. I’m not terrified with where things are going – I’m looking forward with hope to joining Jesus in his resurrection.

Jesus, thank you that you brought all of life together and through death to real unbounded everlasting life for all who believe in you. Thank you that you bring me through to the fullness of life in you. I choose to live it for you today. Amen

Written by David Cornell

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Monday 29 August 2022

John 11:45-57

45 Many of the people who were with Mary believed in Jesus when they saw this happen. 46 But some went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47 Then the leading priests and Pharisees called the high council together. “What are we going to do?” they asked each other. “This man certainly performs many miraculous signs. 48 If we allow him to go on like this, soon everyone will believe in him. Then the Roman army will come and destroy both our Temple and our nation.” 49 Caiaphas, who was high priest at that time, said, “You don’t know what you’re talking about! 50 You don’t realize that it’s better for you that one man should die for the people than for the whole nation to be destroyed.” 51 He did not say this on his own; as high priest at that time he was led to prophesy that Jesus would die for the entire nation. 52 And not only for that nation, but to bring together and unite all the children of God scattered around the world. 53 So from that time on, the Jewish leaders began to plot Jesus’ death. 54 As a result, Jesus stopped his public ministry among the people and left Jerusalem. He went to a place near the wilderness, to the village of Ephraim, and stayed there with his disciples. 55 It was now almost time for the Jewish Passover celebration, and many people from all over the country arrived in Jerusalem several days early so they could go through the purification ceremony before Passover began. 56 They kept looking for Jesus, but as they stood around in the Temple, they said to each other, “What do you think? He won’t come for Passover, will he?” 57 Meanwhile, the leading priests and Pharisees had publicly ordered that anyone seeing Jesus must report it immediately so they could arrest him.

Jesus was, and still is, a controversial figure. This passage occurs just after he raised Lazarus from death – a huge miracle – and one to which people needed to respond. It prompted many to believe that Jesus was the Messiah. It prompted others to report Him to the Pharisees, and it threatened the power structure of the ruling Jewish council, prompting them to decide to arrest and kill Jesus. Three very different responses to what was originally a very positive occurrence.

Think about people’s reactions to Jesus today. Some hear and believe in him. Some tattle and scoff. But maybe more are threatened by him than are willing to admit it. Think of nations who rigorously persecute Christians. Think of new atheists who don’t just want to ignore Christianity but want to stamp out any semblance of faith. Why do some people feel so threatened by Jesus? Maybe because, like the high council, he threatens our power structure. Our natural selves want autonomy. We want to rule ourselves, oversee our own lives, feed our self-importance. Jesus asks us to surrender to him – to be living sacrifices and to trust him with our lives.

So, I ask myself – in what parts of my life do I try to take back control from Him? What do I need to surrender afresh? Where do I need to trust him more?

Lord Jesus, I’m sorry for the times when I haven’t fully trusted you. I’m sorry for inflating my importance. Jesus, I surrender afresh to you today. Please show me where I withheld parts of my life from you. I ask you to be Lord over all of my life today.

Written by Megan Cornell

2 replies
  1. Kim Fleming says:

    Thanks for that insight Megan. May we continued to proclaim the truth despite what the leading rulers of our day tell us.

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Sunday 28 August 2022

John 11:28-44

28 Then she returned to Mary. She called Mary aside from the mourners and told her, “The Teacher is here and wants to see you.” 29 So Mary immediately went to him. 30 Jesus had stayed outside the village, at the place where Martha met him. 31 When the people who were at the house consoling Mary saw her leave so hastily, they assumed she was going to Lazarus’s grave to weep. So they followed her there. 32 When Mary arrived and saw Jesus, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping and saw the other people wailing with her, a deep anger welled up within him, and he was deeply troubled. 34 “Where have you put him?” he asked them. They told him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Then Jesus wept. 36 The people who were standing nearby said, “See how much he loved him!” 37 But some said, “This man healed a blind man. Couldn’t he have kept Lazarus from dying?” 38 Jesus was still angry as he arrived at the tomb, a cave with a stone rolled across its entrance. 39 “Roll the stone aside,” Jesus told them. But Martha, the dead man’s sister, protested, “Lord, he has been dead for four days. The smell will be terrible.” 40 Jesus responded, “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?” 41 So they rolled the stone aside. Then Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, thank you for hearing me. 42 You always hear me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here, so that they will believe you sent me.” 43 Then Jesus shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 And the dead man came out, his hands and feet bound in graveclothes, his face wrapped in a headcloth. Jesus told them, “Unwrap him and let him go!”

Now grief is something I am very familiar with. However, we are all affected by grief at many points in our lives- whether it’s the loss of someone we love or have connection to, or maybe we experience the loss of a dream, a goal, a relationship or an item that is precious or important. Whatever the case these losses invoke a response in us that is emotional, physical and mental. Jesus and his friends are here confronted by the loss of Lazarus, and their grief is profound. What I notice is that Mary’s faith in Jesus was not dependent on the outcome- she didn’t ask for a miracle, but she knew He was capable of it none the less. Secondly Jesus/God was greatly moved by the grief. In the same way I believe Jesus demonstrates his love and compassion to us when we are hurting. Just as he did not abandon Mary and Martha, neither does He abandon us in our despair. Jesus never tells Mary not to cry- he is moved by her grief and honesty but not uncomfortable with it. Lastly Jesus allowing Jesus into the situation brings the unexpected. Mary expected a really bad smell, but Jesus bought life. We can be real with God about our feelings and disappointment, but it’s also good to always allow God to move.

Heavenly Father, thank you that you are always close to me even when I can feel you. I thank you that in all things and at all times we can trust you to love and care for me. I ask for strength to keep going when I feel lost and help me to see your hand at work. In Jesus name I pray. Amen

Written by Christine Knight

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Saturday 27 August 2022

John 11:17-27

17 When Jesus arrived at Bethany, he was told that Lazarus had already been in his grave for four days. 18 Bethany was only a few miles down the road from Jerusalem, 19 and many of the people had come to console Martha and Mary in their loss. 20 When Martha got word that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him. But Mary stayed in the house. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask.” 23 Jesus told her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 “Yes,” Martha said, “he will rise when everyone else rises, at the last day.” 25 Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. 26 Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?” 27 “Yes, Lord,” she told him. “I have always believed you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who has come into the world from God.”

I love how Jesus explains what he means by the resurrection and the life.

The person who believes in Him will come to life (spiritually) even though that person will die (physically).  This is the true meaning of resurrection—it forever frees the believer from final death.  The raising of Lazarus is an illustration in the natural realm of a truth that is essentially spiritual.  Jesus then makes plain that whoever comes to life (spiritually) by believing in Him will never die (spiritually).

While resurrection counters the dread enemy death, eternal life is the glorious result of sharing the destiny of Jesus, the Resurrected One.

So, Jesus puts the question to Martha: “Do you believe this?”  Not, “Do you believe that I can raise your brother from death even before the general resurrection at the end of time?” but, “Do you believe that by faith in Me a person is raised to a new level of life that is spiritual and that there is no end [death] to this relationship?”

Martha’s answer is a great confession, that Jesus was “the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.”  Martha has come to the firm belief that Jesus is the Messiah, that he is the very Son of God, and that he is the fulfillment of Jewish expectations. Even though Lazarus lies dead in the grave, her confidence in who Jesus is and what He can do is not diminished even the slightest. Sorrow fills her heart because her brother is dead, but faith reigns supreme in her confidence that, with Jesus at hand, all is well.

Oh, that this would be all our confession!

Father, help us to all experience Jesus as the Way, the Truth and the Life and may we join with Martha in her confession – that Jesus is the Son of God!

Written by Ps. Richard Botta

2 replies
  1. Andrew says:

    Thank you. This passage and those around it, tell the story of Lazarus. Both Martha then Mary have a similar message to Jesus. ( My paraphrasing) Thanks for coming Jesus but you are 5 days late! That is what it feels like because my brother died 4 days ago. ….. And if only you had been here. ….

    And sometimes that is how I feel. Jesus where are you? Where is your timing. It’s too late.

    But then, this Lazarus story shows me. … Jesus is never late. Always his perfect God timing.

    Jesus is never late.
    God never makes mistakes.
    A few truisms I need to repeat to myself in the hope that they sink in.

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Friday 26 August 2022

John 11:1-16

1 A man named Lazarus was sick. He lived in Bethany with his sisters, Mary and Martha. 2 This is the Mary who later poured the expensive perfume on the Lord’s feet and wiped them with her hair. Her brother, Lazarus, was sick. 3 So the two sisters sent a message to Jesus telling him, “Lord, your dear friend is very sick.” 4 But when Jesus heard about it he said, “Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death. No, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this.” 5 So although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, 6 he stayed where he was for the next two days. 7 Finally, he said to his disciples, “Let’s go back to Judea.” 8 But his disciples objected. “Rabbi,” they said, “only a few days ago the people in Judea were trying to stone you. Are you going there again?” 9 Jesus replied, “There are twelve hours of daylight every day. During the day people can walk safely. They can see because they have the light of this world. 10 But at night there is danger of stumbling because they have no light.” 11 Then he said, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but now I will go and wake him up.” 12 The disciples said, “Lord, if he is sleeping, he will soon get better!” 13 They thought Jesus meant Lazarus was simply sleeping, but Jesus meant Lazarus had died. 14 So he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. 15 And for your sakes, I’m glad I wasn’t there, for now you will really believe. Come, let’s go see him.” 16 Thomas, nicknamed the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let’s go, too—and die with Jesus.”

John writes about one of the most dramatic miracles Jesus performs during His ministry. Jesus has turned water into wine, healed and restored numerous people, multiplied loaves and fishes, calmed storms, and walked on water. And unlike the relatively immediate resurrections of the widow’s son or Jairus’ daughter, this miracle occurs a few days after Lazarus has died, well into the decaying process.

As modern-day Christians, we realise that Jesus is Lord over everything, including the grave. I can’t help but think of how Jesus called me from a life in which I was dead in my sins. And one day, God-willing, He will call me to eternal life.

This passage also reveals the purpose for which Jesus performs miracles: they are to glorify God and point people to Him.

Lord, thank You that nothing can separate Your love from Your people. May we always be reminded that You are the one who has given us life, and life to the full. In Your precious name, Jesus.

Written by Sven Bessesen

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Thursday 25 August 2022

John 10:22-42

22 It was now winter, and Jesus was in Jerusalem at the time of Hanukkah, the Festival of Dedication. 23 He was in the Temple, walking through the section known as Solomon’s Colonnade. 24 The people surrounded him and asked, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus replied, “I have already told you, and you don’t believe me. The proof is the work I do in my Father’s name. 26 But you don’t believe me because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, 29 for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand. 30 The Father and I are one.” 31 Once again the people picked up stones to kill him. 32 Jesus said, “At my Father’s direction I have done many good works. For which one are you going to stone me?” 33 They replied, “We’re stoning you not for any good work, but for blasphemy! You, a mere man, claim to be God.” 34 Jesus replied, “It is written in your own Scriptures that God said to certain leaders of the people, ‘I say, you are gods!’ 35 And you know that the Scriptures cannot be altered. So if those people who received God’s message were called ‘gods,’ 36 why do you call it blasphemy when I say, ‘I am the Son of God’? After all, the Father set me apart and sent me into the world. 37 Don’t believe me unless I carry out my Father’s work. 38 But if I do his work, believe in the evidence of the miraculous works I have done, even if you don’t believe me. Then you will know and understand that the Father is in me, and I am in the Father.” 39 Once again they tried to arrest him, but he got away and left them. 40 He went beyond the Jordan River near the place where John was first baptizing and stayed there awhile. 41 And many followed him. “John didn’t perform miraculous signs,” they remarked to one another, “but everything he said about this man has come true.” 42 And many who were there believed in Jesus.

My paraphrase of this passage goes like this:

People: “Tell us Jesus, are you REALLY the promised one of God?”

Jesus: “Yes, I have already told you, and proved it to you through miracles, I AM the Son of God, God and me, we are one and the same”

People: “Aargh! You can’t say that, now we will kill you!”

The meme phrase “well that escalated quickly” comes to mind!

On first read, the people who are asking Jesus if he is the Messiah seem strange in their response and behaviour, but I wonder if I might have had interactions with people today who have had similar responses to the message of Jesus. 

In my own experience, I often try to fit Jesus into a certain shape that suits my worldview and expectations. I can be tempted to expect that Jesus will just give me comfort and blessing and power and authority without challenge or struggle or responsibility. Often, he blows that apart! My response can be one of frustration and indignation, or wonder. 

Lord, when I try to fit Jesus into a box that suits me, rather than having Him on the throne with all of my life in sacrifice to Him, please gently correct me, and lead me to see how glorious and wonderful You are in your sovereignty.

Written by Ps Justin Ware 

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Wednesday 24 August 2022

John 10:1-21

1 “I tell you the truth, anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than going through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber! 2 But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. 5 They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.” 6 Those who heard Jesus use this illustration didn’t understand what he meant, 7 so he explained it to them: “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who came before me were thieves and robbers. But the true sheep did not listen to them. 9 Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. 10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. 11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. 12 A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. 13 The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep. 14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, 15 just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd. 17 “The Father loves me because I sacrifice my life so I may take it back again. 18 No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.” 19 When he said these things, the people were again divided in their opinions about him. 20 Some said, “He’s demon possessed and out of his mind. Why listen to a man like that?” 21 Others said, “This doesn’t sound like a man possessed by a demon! Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”

There are four words in this passage that so beautiful, so monumental. Four little words so unexpected and shocking. Here is Jesus talking to the Pharisees about the Jewish nation, God’s chosen beloved people, being led astray and left abandoned by ‘thieves’ and ‘hired hands’. No more! The good shepherd is here now! Or, as the Passion Translation says, “the beautiful, virtuous, excellent, genuine” Shepherd is here. He has come to “give you everything in abundance, more than you expect, – life in its fullest until you overflow!” v10. We let out a cheer but then Jesus says these four incredible words and our breathe catches in our chest…

“I have other sheep…”

He’s talking about me!

2000 years ago, Jesus described the flock that he would shepherd. A people that he would lead and protect and never leave or abandon. Can you hear the passion and love he has for you in his words? He may as well have used our names! “I have other sheep too. Their names are Boudy and (insert your name here). They are not of this sheepfold. I MUST BRING THEM.

Oh Jesus, how unexpected and amazing. Be my shepherd today. Thanks for never abandoning me.


Written by Boudy Van Noppen

2 replies
  1. Richard says:

    Thanks Boudy

    Jesus says plainly “I am the good Shepherd” and then gives a job description which is all about laying one’s life down for the sheep. This job description is all others centred. It is sacrificial.

    For almost 28 years this has been my privilege and wrestle. There have been many times I have failed to lay my life down. Where my flesh has gotten the better of me. Yet there have also been many times this sacrificial shepherding has produced people who have truly known the Good Shepherd, which is the ultimate goal.

    Father, may I continue to serve Jesus, the Good Shepherd, with a clear heart, a good conscience, abundant love and grace and faith in all I do in Yiur kingdom.

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Tuesday 23 August 2022

John 9:35-41

35 When Jesus heard what had happened, he found the man and asked, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 36 The man answered, “Who is he, sir? I want to believe in him.” 37 “You have seen him,” Jesus said, “and he is speaking to you!” 38 “Yes, Lord, I believe!” the man said. And he worshiped Jesus. 39 Then Jesus told him, “I entered this world to render judgment—to give sight to the blind and to show those who think they see that they are blind.” 40 Some Pharisees who were standing nearby heard him and asked, “Are you saying we’re blind?” 41 “If you were blind, you wouldn’t be guilty,” Jesus replied. “But you remain guilty because you claim you can see.

This whole chapter records Jesus healing a blind begging man.  It records the religious blindness of the Pharisees through the interrogation of this man.

He was blind and Jesus (and his disciples) see him, and Jesus heals him, transforming his future.  Jesus uses this situation to teach His disciples.

The Disciples ask, “Why was he blind”? 

Jesus answers, “It happened to him so that YOU could watch him and experience God’s miracle.”

Jesus spits on the dirt, makes some clay, puts it on his eyes and says go, wash your face in the ritual pool of Siloam.  I love the fact that the man never saw Jesus.  When the Pharisees interrogate this man, he says:  I met the man named Jesus and he healed me. 

The Pharisees continue to have an argument about “healing on the Sabbath”!!  They are so stuck in their religion and rules they could not rejoice with this man who could now see.

John loves this story.  A whole chapter record this miracle.  John wants to overturn the fact that blindness, disability, tragedy, etc. are not always results of “sin” but everyone experiences challenges and difficult situations in life.  BUT GOD. BUT JESUS.

God is able to come into any situation no matter how long it has been and transform our future – Jesus Christ still heals today, still transforms, still changes situations.

PS:  I love the fact that this blind man gives the Pharisees a bit of sass … “Are you wanting to be his followers too?”

Jesus connects with this “seeing” man and he falls at his feet, saying “Lord I believe in you.”  He receives not only his physical sight but his spiritual future.  I am looking forward to meeting this man one day in heaven and he can tell me his story. 

Lord, I thank you for these amazing stories – it reminds me that you heal today.  You are the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.  Be with me so that I can reveal you to others.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen

Written by Ps. Sue Botta

2 replies
  1. Andrew says:

    I have never seen that before. The blind man had the mud on eyes, off to the pool of Siloam, but never got to see Jesus.
    Well not until later when Jesus tracks him down in the context of the subsequent issues created by the Pharisees. Once he sees Jesu he says I want to be saved, I believe.

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Monday 22 August 2022

John 9:24-34

24 So for the second time they called in the man who had been blind and told him, “God should get the glory for this, because we know this man Jesus is a sinner.” 25 “I don’t know whether he is a sinner,” the man replied. “But I know this: I was blind, and now I can see!” 26 “But what did he do?” they asked. “How did he heal you?” 27 “Look!” the man exclaimed. “I told you once. Didn’t you listen? Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples, too?” 28 Then they cursed him and said, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses! 29 We know God spoke to Moses, but we don’t even know where this man comes from.” 30 “Why, that’s very strange!” the man replied. “He healed my eyes, and yet you don’t know where he comes from? 31 We know that God doesn’t listen to sinners, but he is ready to hear those who worship him and do his will. 32 Ever since the world began, no one has been able to open the eyes of someone born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he couldn’t have done it.” 34 “You were born a total sinner!” they answered. “Are you trying to teach us?” And they threw him out of the synagogue.

It seems that people generally don’t like to have their ideas and beliefs challenged. In this passage today, we read of the Jewish leaders displaying agitation and anger with a blind man for claiming that he was healed by Jesus. These men had closed their minds to the possibility that the blind man’s testimony could be true because it did not fit with what wanted to believe about Jesus. Ironically, their fixed ideas made them the blind ones.

I recently read of a study where scientists studied brain scans of people to see what parts of their brains were most engaged when they were being challenged by differing political opinions. Researchers saw that people who were more resistant to another person’s viewpoint had greater activity in the parts of the brain that are tied to emotion and decision-making.

In a situation where we perceive that our ideas are under threat, apparently our brain has the same reaction as if we are physically in danger. Stress hormones flood our system preparing us for fight or flight. Complex decision-making disappears, as does our ability to see multiple perspectives.

As Christian seekers of God’s truth, we need to be aware of the temptation to become fixed in our beliefs like the Pharisees were.  I have been particularly challenged with this recently in multiple areas of my life.  

Let’s continually remind ourselves that we do not know all the truth or have all the answers. An openness to consider things from a different perspective is not a lack of faith, it’s humility. We can probably all remember multiple times in the past where we were convinced that we knew the truth yet found out later that we were completely wrong.

Lord, help us to be seekers of truth who are willing to learn and change our perspectives. May we let go of the need to be “right” and grow in empathy and humility.

Written by Shelley Witt

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