Letters to the Prison - Week 96

Hello, everyone!  We miss you.  We hope you’re enjoying this long tour through the gospel of John.  If you need a Bible, ask for one!  Last week, we saw the man who was born blind tell his friends and neighbors about what Jesus had done for him (John 9:8-12).  This simple testimony was nevertheless profoundly important because he was openly and plainly bearing witness to a miracle Jesus had done in a climate where everyone was afraid to talk about Jesus at all (John 7:13).  In fact, we’re about to see that even this man’s parents were afraid to testify about what Jesus had done.  Isn’t that like our culture today?  In a country like the U.S.A. that superficially promotes freedom of expression and freedom of religion, there is very often a subtle (yet powerful) social pressure to keep silent about Jesus.  Ask anyone who believes whether they have experienced that pressure.  You might be surprised by their answer.  This is one more reason why we are so grateful that people who take our freedom in this country seriously are willing to make these letters available to you.  Be sure to thank them!
Anyway, it’s one thing to testify about Jesus to people you know and are comfortable with… your friends and neighbors…  But what if you’re brought before the authorities and asked about Jesus?  What will you say?  The man born blind is about to have that experience himself (John 9:13-15).  We’re also told a very specific detail about the miracle Jesus performs:
•Now it was a Sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes.  -John 9:14
Why is that important?  We’ve already seen that this isn’t the first time Jesus does such works on the Sabbath (John 5:8-10).  Nor will it be the last.  Such acts confound the legalistic Jewish leaders who have created hundreds of man-made rules about keeping the Sabbath.  They don’t know how to understand Jesus’ behavior.  We see that they have different opinions about Jesus:
•Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” And there was a division among them.-John 9:16
They cannot deny the power or validity of Jesus’ works.  Here in this verse, we have Jesus’ enemies testifying to the truth of what he has done.  We also see that they cannot deny Jesus’ righteousness… how could a sinner do what Jesus has done?  So, if Jesus is righteous and powerful and going against their rules about the Sabbath, who needs to be corrected?  The Pharisees apparently can’t figure it out.  So, they ask the man born blind!!
•So they said again to the blind man, “What do you say about him, since he has opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.”-John 9:17
This is not the first time we’ve seen someone say that Jesus is a prophet (John 4:19).  The Jewish leaders definitely don’t like that answer, though.  But rather than question their own position on the matter, they instead question the integrity of the man born blind.  So, they call his parents to testify.  We’ll consider that next week.  In the meantime, let us consider our own testimony about Jesus.  Would we be bold and truthful about his work in our lives no matter who was asking?  Are we honest with ourselves and others about what we really believe about him?  Are we correctable about our own behavior as Christians?  These are all critical questions.  Pray, dear friends, that we would consider them carefully and honestly.  We love you!  

Dean A.

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