HOPE CHAPEL - Sunday, March 6, 2022
utube link... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQGAet2rVlw
Teaching Series - “Doing Life with Jesus"
Weekly Topic - “Jesus’ Power to Create”
Texts – John 9
Can you think of some ways that God’s nature and humanity’s are not the same? [God cannot die; people do. God cannot sin; people can. God is omnipresent, which means God is everywhere all at once; but we can’t do that--we’re stuck to being in one place at a time.]
Even just a few examples can leave us struggling to understand how Jesus could be both God and a man at the same time. As humans we have wrestled with the question for 2000 years. I believe that on one level, we can never know this side of the grave; however, on the other hand, there are some things we can observe and know.
Some in our world challenge the fact that Jesus existed at all. How can we answer this challenge? [Today, we still possess accounts outside of biblical text that attest to the fact that a man named Jesus lived. Both Flavius Josephus, a Jewish-Roman historian, and Tacitus, a Roman senator, wrote about Jesus and the early church.] Jesus did in fact live and breathe on this earth as a man.
But how do we come to the conclusion that this man who lived actually was who he claimed to be? Through his teachings and the miracles he performed. We are forced to wrestle, not with whether or not Jesus existed, but whether or not he was delusional, a conman or really and truly the Son of God.
So how are we to understand his miracles? According to the Bible, we know that Jesus, who was God, chose to give up his ‘divine privileges’ when he became human. So, how could he perform miracles? [This ‘giving up’ doesn’t mean that he gave up being God—he was still fully God when he also became fully human; but rather, he chose to submit the use of his divine abilities to God the Father’s will.] He chose not to act on his own, but only as directed by God the Father.
So, when Jesus and his disciples came across a blind beggar and the disciples asked why the man had been born blind, Jesus responded, “So that the power of God might be shown through him.” Here was an opportunity that the Father had arranged for the Son to prove his deity.
Jesus knew what God wanted him to do: the Father wanted his Son, Jesus, to use some of his divine attributes. He wanted this man, who had been born blind, to receive his sight; but first, he must be given eyes to do so! Jesus was about to demonstrate his power as God to create.
“NO CHANCE MEETING”
John 9:1-6 – “As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. 2 “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?”
3 “It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him. 4 We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work. 5 But while I am here in the world, I am the light of the world.”
6 Then he spit on the ground, made mud with the saliva, and spread the mud over the blind man’s eyes.”
Though this isn’t the only man that Jesus healed who had been blind, he is the only one who the Bible says was ‘born blind.’ The disciples could tell, just by looking at this beggar, that he had been born blind. How? We don’t know for certain, but something was missing. He had been born with an obvious abnormality—possibly he suffered from a condition known as ‘anophthalmia’ which is a birth defect where a baby is born without one or both eyes. Whatever his condition, it was obvious and the disciples wanted to know what had caused God to allow this man to be born misshapen. Was it a punishment from God for sin? Not so! Jesus told them that there was a far more important reason. The healing of this man would show the power of God in him, the power that Jesus would use, to create new eyes for this man.
The first thing Jesus did was to mix dirt with his own spit to create a thick mud, which he then spread over the man’s eye area. What does that sound like? [Yes, the creation of Adam, the first man, who God created from dirt.]
When God created the world, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit were all involved in the process. As the God-man, Jesus remained one with the Father and the Spirit and still had the ability to create; even though now possessing a human body and nature as well, he chose not to work independently. God the Father used this opportunity to prove to everyone, that Jesus was God, and Jesus as God had the power to give this man new eyes. Which is exactly what happened!
“THE NEWLY SIGHTED MAN’S TESTIMONY”
John 9:7-34 – “7 He told him, “Go wash yourself in the pool of Siloam” (Siloam means “sent”). So the man went and washed and came back seeing! 8 His neighbors and others who knew him as a blind beggar asked each other, “Isn’t this the man who used to sit and beg?” 9 Some said he was, and others said, “No, he just looks like him!” But the beggar kept saying, “Yes, I am the same one!” 10 They asked, “Who healed you? What happened?” 11 He told them, “The man they call Jesus made mud and spread it over my eyes and told me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash yourself.’ So I went and washed, and now I can see!” 12 “Where is he now?” they asked. “I don’t know,” he replied.
13 Then they took the man who had been blind to the Pharisees, 14 because it was on the Sabbath that Jesus had made the mud and healed him. 15 The Pharisees asked the man all about it. So he told them, “He put the mud over my eyes, and when I washed it away, I could see!” 16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man Jesus is not from God, for he is working on the Sabbath.” Others said, “But how could an ordinary sinner do such miraculous signs?” So there was a deep division of opinion among them. 17 Then the Pharisees again questioned the man who had been blind and demanded, “What’s your opinion about this man who healed you?” The man replied, “I think he must be a prophet.”
18 The Jewish leaders still refused to believe the man had been blind and could now see, so they called in his parents. 19 They asked them, “Is this your son? Was he born blind? If so, how can he now see?” 20 His parents replied, “We know this is our son and that he was born blind, 21 but we don’t know how he can see or who healed him. Ask him. He is old enough to speak for himself.” 22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who had announced that anyone saying Jesus was the Messiah would be expelled from the synagogue. 23 That’s why they said, “He is old enough. Ask him.”
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.”
Jesus told the man born blind to go and wash in the pool of Siloam and after doing so, the man came back seeing! When he was taken to the religious leaders, he refused to change his testimony. The man who healed him had to be sent from God.
How did the Pharisees respond? What effect did this miracle have on them? [The Pharisees refused to acknowledge Jesus as God, or as even ‘good.’] They came up with all sorts of excuses to remain in their spiritual blindness:
· This man’s healing took place on the Sabbath, and everyone knew that only sinful people worked on the Sabbath, so Jesus must be a sinner.
· They refused to believe the man’s testimony—he couldn’t have been born blind. So, they demanded to speak with his parents, who confirmed his condition from birth, yet they still refused to give Jesus credit for the miracle.
· They questioned the man again, but when his answers took on a tone of exasperation, “Do you want to become his disciples too?” they cursed him and threw him out of the synagogue.
· They held onto their authority as students of Moses’ Law which they knew came from God; this Jesus was an outsider, a nobody, not to be trusted.
This miracle of creating new eyes for the man born blind, brought physical sight to him, yet plunged the Pharisees into deeper spiritual darkness. The miracle had only convinced them that Jesus was a greater danger to them than they had previously assumed.
“CONFIRMATION OF JESUS’ DEITY”
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.”
Can you imagine the emotional roller coaster the man born blind had been on that day? Picture yourself as this man who has been healed. How are you feeling throughout all of this? [discuss]
The morning had started like every other day. He had made his way to his usual spot for begging. He had miraculously received the gift of his sight through Jesus’ provision of new eyes…and then spent the next hours attempting to detail the facts, all the while being disbelieved by those who questioned him. He is then ejected from the synagogue, banned from being able to return to worship …all the while still in the dark about who had actually healed him.
When Jesus introduced himself to the man, who finally had a chance to see the one responsible for his new eyes, he didn’t hesitate. He worshipped Jesus. Jesus had used his power as God to create new eyes for this man and the man who had been born blind was not about to deny the gift he had been given.
In the face of this miracle and the others that Jesus performed during his life on earth, we are also presented with one of two choices. To reject the proof that Jesus was in fact God and remain spiritually blind, or allow it to reassure us of both Jesus’ undeniable humanity and deity. We can be confident that Jesus wasn’t just a man pretending to be more than he was, because he showed that he had the power to do things only possible for God to do. He convinced the man born blind. We can be convinced too!
So back to my original question. How are we to understand Jesus as both fully man, yet also fully God? Possessing both all the attributes of the created, while remaining the Creator. What do we know?
· Jesus submitted his divine abilities to the Will of the Father, without being any less God.
· The miracles Jesus performed were not demonstrations of his own freewill, but were a result of the Son working within the Will of the Father. “At my Father’s direction, I have done many great works” (John 10:31).
· The miracles Jesus performed were not done in isolation. When Jesus performed miracles the fullness of God was present—Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Jesus himself testified, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30) and “If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father” (John 14:9). He did not do miracles as the ‘Son’ only, but as the Three-In-One.
· Jesus’ nature is unique. We are fully human. He was fully God, but he became fully human and God…together. He didn’t have two natures, but a new unified one—a nature that is wholly unique to him.
Challenge – Can you think of any other ways that Jesus proved he was both fully God and fully human? There are many stories to choose from if you read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Advent is traditionally seen as a time of year to do without something in memory of Jesus’ great sacrifice to us at Easter; this year, why not challenge yourself to read through the Gospels to become even better acquainted with Jesus—the God-man.
References and for further study / inspiration…
“How Did Jesus Do Miracles—His Divine Nature or the Holy Spirit?” https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/jesus-miracles-who-how/
“Facts About Anophthalmia / Microphthalmia”
Sunday, March 13, 2022 – 2022 Theme - “Doing Life with Jesus – Jesus’ Power Over Death” – In-person and Online
Pastor Jane Peck, Hope Chapel
(Collingwood EMCC Church)
"Learning and Living the Way of Jesus!"
First licensed for pastoral ministry in 1994, Pastor Jane Peck has served in camp and church ministries in three denominations, five provinces and in a variety of roles. Her most recent position is that of Pastor at Hope Chapel which she began in 2020. She is excited to see what God can and will do in the days to come!