By Pastor Hal Mayer
This is Pastor Hal Mayer, bringing you another vital message to help you understand the times in which we live, so you can prepare for the coming of Jesus.
My dear friends, this month I felt very impressed to bring you a message that I hope will be a great encouragement to those who have struggled with their feelings about being mistreated by others. We will look at one of the most fascinating stories in the life of Christ. Yet it is vital for us who live in these last days when we will be persecuted for Christ’s sake and our worst enemies may well be our former brethren.
But before we begin, let us bow our heads in prayer. Our Father in Heaven, we humbly come to you for spiritual food today. May our hearts warm to the love of Jesus for outcast souls. May we sense His great love for us. And may we prepare for what is surely to come upon every faithful follower of Jesus. This is my prayer in Jesus’ name, amen.
Turn with me in your bibles to the book of John the ninth chapter. Here is a most precious story of how Jesus deals with outcasts and those who have been rejected and mistreated by others. Jesus spent much of His life working with outcasts and with those who were downtrodden and oppressed. We can certainly take comfort that He will be with us when we experience similar mistreatment.
Reading from vs. 1 the scripture says, “And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?”
As this story opens Jesus is traveling with His disciples. Their question was a result of their mentality. The Jews had taught that all suffering was a result of the punishment of God against sinners. But this was a perversion of the truth. The gospel writer was inspired to tell us this story because it will help us understand the enormous love and mercy of God in our own day. When we suffer, and all is dark in our lives, we can turn to this story and take encouragement.
The disciples wanted Jesus to clarify who was the cause of this man’s suffering. This shows a little about the attitude and teaching of the Jewish leaders. They were always looking to find the one to blame. And of course, they were never going to blame themselves. Yet their very teaching concerning the cause of suffering was also the cause of much added hurt and pain to those already suffering with disease or handicaps. Imagine the guilt parents must have felt in their hearts when they thought they were the cause of a handicap involving one or more of their children. Think of the stigma that was attached to them, and as they lived their lives coming and going, people would whisper behind their backs perhaps guessing at what kind of sin must have caused this or that handicap. And the more difficult the suffering, the greater their sin must have been. The tongues must have wagged creating even more hurt, pain and discouragement, all brought on by the prevailing teachings of the Pharisees.
Here is a great lesson. It is so easy to jump to conclusions about other people and not take into account the things that God sees. We will listen to rumor and evil surmising long before we will check into the facts. Gossip is a great plague. What others tell us, we are often ready to believe, especially if it is disparaging of another. Even among God’s people we can become judgmental of others just because we don’t like their appearance or because they have limitations that we do not have. Often unkind words are said while forgetting that we have our own sins to worry about. No doubt this man and his family suffered greatly from the tongues of their own church members who thought them to be under the judgment of God.
But we need to see suffering as a blessing. God turns it for good. God allows suffering for many reasons, one of which is that it will help us let go of this world and cling to Christ and eternal things. God designs that we should let go of our affection for worldly things and worldliness. It is part of His plan. When we get old, we have suffering. Often at the end of our lives there is an enormous amount of pain and difficulty. I watched my mother die of cancer. I saw her pain and it was hard for me to bear. I had questions about why all this great suffering of one who had been such a good woman. But then my father said something to me that really made this clear. He said, “At the end of our lives, we all have suffering, unless our lives are taken instantly in some sort of accident. But this is God’s way of helping us to let go of whatever worldliness we still have and place our hand in the hand of Christ and cling to him.”
Then I realized that the great time of trouble ahead of us is for that very same purpose. God’s people need their earthliness removed. They need to maturing for heaven that will purify them of any lingering vestige of affection for this world, whether it be a family member, our possessions, or any thing else.
Speaking of the time of Jacob’s trouble, the Holy Spirit inspired Ellen White to make this interesting statement. It is found in the 5th volume of the Testimonies page 474. “The assaults of Satan are strong, his delusions are terrible; but the Lord’s eye is upon His people. Their affliction is great, the flames of the furnace seem about to consume them; but Jesus will bring them forth as gold tried in the fire. Their earthliness must be removed that the image of Christ may be perfectly reflected; unbelief must be overcome; faith, hope, and patience are to be developed.”
This is not referring to sin. At this time they have no sins to confess. They have all gone before hand into judgment. But there is a familiarity with this world, affections that have not been severed entirely, maturity of faith and patience that needs to happen. These things, in God’s mercy, are all resolved through suffering. He wants to turn our emotions away from this world entirely, and help us to long for heaven. You know, I suspect that those who have suffered the most are going to enjoy heaven the most, and are going to love Jesus the most.
Jesus however, wanted to teach us some important lessons in healing this blind man who had been blind from birth. His response to his disciples was significant. Verse three says: “Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.”
Why is it that this affliction was brought upon this man? It is to reveal the works of God. Why does God allow pain and suffering? It is because He wants to reveal Himself. He wants to show us His great love and mercy, especially in what He can do in a soul that trusts in Him through the difficulty.
Many painful things happen to us because God wants to give us a wonderful gift, the gift of a mature character. The gift of being an example to others. Often we read stories about people who have overcome great difficulties. We admire the inner character that gives them the stamina and force of mind to overcome human difficulties and trials. But these are but faithful illustrations of what God can do in your soul to make you truly happy.
Not long ago, I visited a friend of mine that is suffering with Muscular Sclerosis. Eventually she has become totally dependant and is confined to a care home in Philadelphia. My wife and I decided to take the time to visit her so we can be a blessing to this dear soul. We spent time reading our favorite Bible verses, singing and sharing soul-winning experiences. Though she had difficulty speaking, we were inspired with her wonderful spirit. I could see in her eyes the love of Jesus and her genuinely positive spirit. She did not seem depressed, though her circumstances were very challenging. I think the important thing for me was that she never complained, or expressed her disappointment with her difficult problems and almost total dependence on others. Christ had done a wonderful work in her life. She is really going to appreciate heaven and what Jesus has done for her, perhaps more than most.
I left her room full of joy. Even though Betsy and I went there to bless her, I was the one that was perhaps the most blessed by the visit. I could see in her inner character, a maturity that far surpassed my own. It was inspiring! Her suffering had greatly strengthened her spiritually.
While I was there at the care home, I noticed a sign in the hallway. It said “Be content by nature, because you rarely have the opportunity to be content by circumstance.” This notice was a powerful reproof to my soul. How often in my life I have complained about my circumstances and difficulties, and I have no really serious outward problems to overcome. I need to overcome my inward problems of heart and mind. It is suffering, difficulties, trials, persecutions, rejection, pain and sorrow that God often uses as tools to help us overcome our inward problems and give us a mature character. While we don’t often like these things, they are the very things that a merciful God gives us to make us the most happy in this life and in the life to come. It is character that we need most, not better circumstances. It is the inward man that God is most concerned about. When we have gone through these things, we come out with much more spiritual power. I can see that I need trials. How about you?
Jesus said in verse four and five, “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
Here is another powerful lesson. Jesus knew that His time was short, and He knew that He needed to impress upon His disciples the important lessons to help them understand how to minister to others. Here we are at the end of time. Time is again short. Do you think Jesus did this miracle so that we too might learn how to minister to others while it is yet day? We must work the works of Him that sends us too. Have you been sent? Have you been called to bring others to the truth of God and His salvation?
Jesus said, “Ye are the light of the world.” Matthew 5:14. When you have Jesus in your heart, you become as a light in this dark, sin-burdened world. So long, then as you are in the world, you become the light of the world, so long as Jesus lives in you. We are to follow in Jesus’ example. We are to look for cases that most need our care. Often these are the ones that are outcast, rejected and downtrodden. They are the ones that are in need of your spiritual care. It is easy to sit at home and justify our selfish neglect with one excuse or another. We can spend a lot of time doing things that gratify self, when we should be getting the blessing of helping those less fortunate. Teach your children to look for ways to reach out to others that need their friendship and personal interest, especially those that hurt or have pain.
Jesus was about to perform a wonderful miracle, not just for this blind man, but for every outcast soul through the end of time. He was going to show them how much He loves and especially cares for them. Verse 6 says, “When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.
Can you imagine the thrill in this poor blind man’s heart when he could suddenly see. He had acted in faith upon the instruction of Jesus and his eyes were opened. What a powerful lesson for us. When we act in faith on the instructions of Jesus, we suddenly begin to see spiritual things that we could not see before. Things make sense that we didn’t previously understand. In obedience to the word of Christ, spiritual power is supernaturally infused into us by the Holy Spirit and we have a new perspective. It’s thrilling! Conversely, those that refuse to obey Christ have the hardest time comprehending the simplest principles. They argue and cavil over Christ’s instructions. Some times they will excuse themselves and their sins on the basis that Christ’s instructions were not meant to be taken literally. Some say that the writings of Paul or Ellen White are not really relevant for our own times because they were writing for their culture. This really means that the counsel of the infallible scripture and the instructions of Jesus Christ are not necessary for our salvation and we don’t really need to follow them. Do you believe that? I don’t. Christ’s instructions are just as important today, not so we can earn our salvation, but because we are saved, and want to become as much like Christ as possible.
The blind man didn’t try to reason about Jesus’ instructions. He just followed them. He didn’t say, “Oh, that spit and clay business is a lot of hocus pocus. It will never heal my eyes.” He didn’t say, “I can’t imagine that washing in the pool of Siloam will give me my sight again.” He didn’t argue. He didn’t try to figure out what was going on. He just obeyed. In faith he went and did what Jesus told him to do.
My brothers and sisters, if we would just simply obey what Jesus has told us to do, don’t you think our lives would be a lot happier, and more satisfying? Don’t you think we would be thrilled as the Holy Spirit works miracles for us just like He did for this blind man? It makes me sad to think about all the times in my life when I have not obeyed Christ, and the sense of His supernatural hand in my experience was lost. The poor blind man not only came seeing, but he was awed by what had just happened to him. Do you think he had even greater faith in Christ after he was healed? He certainly did. The little bit of faith He exercised in following Christ’s instructions was greatly rewarded. But he was about to have that faith tested, and he would need more faith to stand the test. As always Satan will try to test our experience, especially when something happens to us that clearly involves the obvious supernatural workings of God.
Notice what happened to him after he obeyed Christ’s instructions and was healed. An argument arose among his neighbors. Listen to verses eight through twelve. “The neighbours therefore, and they which before had seen him that he was blind, said, Is not this he that sat and begged? Some said, This is he: others said, He is like him: but he said, I am he. Therefore said they unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He answered and said, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash: and I went and washed, and I received sight. Then said they unto him, Where is he? He said, I know not.”
Keep in mind that the man had never seen Jesus face to face, so he had no idea what he looked like. But the argument of the neighbors brought attention to the miracle and to Jesus. This is what often happens when God does something wonderful. There are always those standing around that are rather unbelieving. They want to have all sorts of certification of the facts. They often ask questions in such a way as to cast doubt upon the story. Unbelief cannot see Jesus’ easily. Those who are unspiritual will have a hard time recognizing the hand of God. What is obviously God’s intervention will be misinterpreted, misrepresented, misunderstood and this often causes pain to the one who has been so greatly blessed by God’s power.
Remember that the main issue in people’s minds concerning such a severe handicap is that the man or his parents had sinned, and probably very greatly, for this evil to befall them. Since he was blind from birth, no doubt the people assumed that it was his parents that had sinned and he must suffer the consequences. The result of this disaster was that this poor man would be a life-time beggar. There was no mechanism to help the poor “sinner.” The church had no genuine interest in any kind of special care for this physically damaged man, because they had condemned him. He felt alienated from them.
He was already an outcaste just because he was blind. He knew what it felt like to be the lowest caste of society. He knew what it was like to be rejected and live on almost nothing. He knew what it was like to have both leaders and people pass him by without so much as a kind word. There were times when he sensed they didn’t even want to acknowledge his existence. He felt keenly the insult when a rich man put a few pennies in his cup, when they could have afforded to give far more to his care and upkeep. He knew in his heart that they often gave alms so that they can say that they had done a good deed for the day. He knew that his existence depended on an artificial system.
But now he was free of his burden of guilt. He was free of his blindness. He was free to live a normal life. His joy knew no bounds and he fully expected others to rejoice with him. But instead of rejoicing, the neighbors were cool toward him and there were these strange, almost accusative questions. They knew who he was! They had known him all along. Suddenly, they were confronted with their own unbelief. Would they accept this miracle as from God? And if so, could it be that Jesus was also from God? This is the central issue. If Jesus was not of God he could not do such things. And the Pharisees were making sure that the people knew that Jesus was not of God (at least in their judgment). They had probably been whispering it around so that the people would not be deceived by Jesus and his little self-supporting ministry offshoot.
Verse 13 says that they brought him to the Pharisees. There is always someone that is going to want the pastor’s opinion, or the church board’s opinion, or the conference opinion. How many times have I been asked during my 20 plus years in self-supporting work, “What does the General Conference think about your ministry?” This is not the criteria for anything in this world to be approved of God. What is important is what God thinks? Yet there are always those that want to know if this great thing is approved by the authorities. So what if it is, that is no criteria to determine if someone or something is of God. We have to test the fruits for ourselves.
Asking the authorities is the easy way. We don’t have to study our bibles. We don’t have to check it out in the Spirit of Prophecy. We don’t have to be discerning. We don’t have to go to any length to test the spirits. We just have to listen to what the authorities say and we’ve got it, we know for certain. We know if it is of God or not, just by asking. This is the beauty of depending on man. It’s so easy. We just depend on people that we think are credible to us and ask no further questions. That makes it so simple. Why go through all the trouble to decide for ourselves. Besides, we’re too busy to take the time. Let the religious authorities handle the matter. We’ll support them in whatever decision they make.
Have you ever heard these kinds of sentiments? Well, perhaps they are said another way, but this is the idea. The problem was that this man had been healed. Jesus hadn’t put a penny in his tin cup. But he gave him something of far greater value, his own eyesight. And Jesus was about to give him something of even greater value that his eyes. Jesus was going to give him a lesson in spiritual eyesight, one that he would never forget. He was going to come face to face with those that should have been able to see that Jesus was of God, and yet they were trying to kill him. He was going to come in conflict with the very ones who should have rejoiced in his new-found sight, but who would even do to him what they wanted to do to Jesus if they could.
The next verse gives us the reason why Jesus’ miracle was so offensive to the Pharisees. Verse 14 says, “And it was the sabbath day when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes.”
The Sabbath was encumbered with a great many restrictions. The priests and people were so blinded by their own interpretation of the law that they could not comprehend who Jesus was. They saw Him as a Sabbath breaker. But every time they tried to confront Him and find some way to condemn Him, Jesus managed to get out of it by exposing their own lawbreaking. He always embarrassed Him.
The Pharisees weren’t willing to believe either. They knew the implications of accepting this miracle as genuine. They were looking for all kinds of excuses to reject Jesus and get everyone else to reject Him too. In fact they had already made plans to disfellowship or excommunicate, and therefore condemn anyone that was following Christ.
The scripture says, “Then again the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. He said unto them, He put clay upon mine eyes, and I washed, and do see.” Since it was on the Sabbath day when this miracle was performed, they tried to accuse Jesus of breaking the Sabbath. “Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day.” The Pharisees had made the Sabbath a burden, but especially so for the sick. For to help them, a Jew would risk “breaking the Sabbath” according to their rules. This made the Sabbath a special burden for the very ones who needed the refreshment it brings most.
But there was a problem. Some Pharisees could see how their theology was going to get them in trouble. They were thinking ahead. They knew the people were going to ask a tough question, a question that even bothered some of them. “Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles?” The scripture says that this caused a division among them.
Let us think about this for a moment. Here Jesus was being accused of breaking the Sabbath, making Him a sinner in their eyes. But they knew that if they accused him of breaking the Sabbath, it would hurt their argument because the people were going to ask the real question. “How can he be a sinner and do this great thing, on the Sabbath of all days? If it is a sin to do this kind of thing then on the Sabbath, then how does Jesus have the power to do this if He sins in the process?” This would expose their illogical conclusions about Christ. They couldn’t afford that. The only other possibility is that Jesus heals by the power of Satan. Now you can see how the Pharisees came to that conclusion.
So, in frustration they decided to change the line of questioning. In verse 17 they asked, “What sayest thou of him, that he hath opened thine eyes? Since they could not gain their argument by logic and reason. Now they wanted the man to take a stand for or against Christ. They resorted to pressure tactics hoping that he would buckle under the pressure. The blind man knew this, and saw what difficulty they had. “He said, He is a prophet.”
Since that didn’t help their argument, they tried to suggest that the formerly blind man wasn’t the one that was blind. They were grasping for any little straw they could by which to get a negative testimony about Christ. They wanted to paint Christ as an imposter and a deceiver. Perhaps Christ had done some slight-of-hand and had exchanged people on them and pretended that he had healed the blind man when it was really a look-alike. The Pharisees perhaps weren’t really sure what the blind man looked like anyway. After all, his appearance and the way he carried himself was so different now that he could see. They insisted on a birth certification. “Call his parents. They will tell us whether this is the man or not.” They knew enough about him to know who his parents were, so in reality they were playing a charade.
The scripture says in verse 18 and 19, “But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind, and received his sight, until they called the parents of him that had received his sight. And they asked them, saying, Is this your son, who ye say was born blind? How then doth he now see?”
The Pharisees were obviously trying to pressure the parents to give a negative testimony about Christ. The parents knew that if they confessed that Jesus had done this miracle they would be cast out of the synagogue. To them this was the worst thing that could happen. Being disfellowshipped was an evil to be greatly feared. In those days, to be disfellowshipped was essentially to be excommunicated. They would have no access to heaven, no spiritual benefits. They would be lost if they should die in this state. The parents of the man born blind had gone through enough harassment all of his life because of the guilt they felt because of his blindness. They felt condemned all the time by the church and its leaders. They felt that they were outcasts even within the church. They had been whispered about, misrepresented, and shunned. They had continually defended themselves as best they could against the prevailing theology of the day. Yet they could not escape the fact that their son was born blind and the implication that it was their fault. They didn’t want any further problems from the church. So at all costs they must not say any thing that would get them disfellowshipped.
Do you know anyone thinks like that today? Instead of speaking the truth, they will mind their own business, and neglect God’s business. Instead of standing for principle, they will go along with all the compromises that are brought into the church, so that they won’t come under suspicion. They watch silently as the churches, schools and hospitals conduct events and do things that God Himself has forbidden. They claim neutrality in any controversy. They say, “let the theologians sort it all out.” They are praised by their pastors and elders. Every one thinks highly of them because they are so “supportive of the church.” Yet their very neutrality is condemned by the God of heaven.
Listen to this statement from the pen of inspiration. From the third volume of the Testimonies we read on page 280, “If God abhors one sin above another, of which His people are guilty, it is doing nothing in case of an emergency. Indifference and neutrality in a religious crisis is regarded of God as a grievous crime and equal to the very worst type of hostility against God.
Meanwhile, those few who do have the fortitude to address the sins and the compromises of the church; those who, at the risk of their reputation, call sin by its right name; those whose lives are lived in harmony with God’s counsel; and whose voice is raised in concern when error is brought into the church are criticized, ostracized, and maligned. They have a genuine sorrow for the sins of God’s people and try to prevent them, but are accused of being troublemakers, negative, and unsupportive of the church. They are shunned by fellow church members whose tongues wag behind their backs. They are not invited to be on the Board or on any church committees because they just don’t go along with the prevailing direction of compromise. Yet these are the ones that God honors.
God says these are the kind of people needed most in this world. Listen to God’s prophet in the book Education, pg 57. ”The greatest want of the world is the want of men,—men who will not be bought or sold; men who in their inmost souls are true and honest; men who do not fear to call sin by its right name; men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole; men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall.”
Here is another very serious statement from the pen of inspiration. It is found in the first volume of Selected Messages, page 162. After quoting 1 John 1:1-10 Ellen White comments, “I am instructed to say that these words we may use as appropriate for this time, for the time has come when sin must be called by its right name. We are hindered in our work by men who are not converted, who seek their own glory. They wish to be thought originators of new theories, which they present claiming that they are truth. But if these theories are received, they will lead to a denial of the truth that for the past fifty years God has been giving to His people, substantiating it by the demonstration of the Holy Spirit.—Letter 329, 1905.
What kind of person are you? Are you like the parents of the blind man? Willing to equivocate when put under pressure? Listen to what they said. It is found in verses 20 and 21. “His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind: But by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself.
The parents of the man born blind were so fearful of church discipline that they even lied. They knew how their son had been healed. They had perhaps been the first to find out. They no doubt at first felt vindicated after all those years of being condemned as sinners. Now that their son was healed, they too were no longer under the penalty of evil surmising within the church.
But then as the viciousness of the church leaders demanded their denial of the facts, they were willing to go along and misrepresent their own certain knowledge. They may have even seen Jesus put the clay on his eyes, yet, when put under priestly pressure, they were willing to deny Christ and His wonderful miracle for their son. They were even willing to deny their own vindication. They were willing in essence to admit their continual guilt for their son’s previous condition in order to save their membership.
While I don’t think we should take church membership lightly, and though I believe that we should not let go of it without doing what we can to prevent its loss, we can never be safe in compromising principle in order to preserve it. Never should we sacrifice our Christian character and deny Christ just so we can continue as church members, or members of any other type of organization.
Notice how the word of God exposes the duplicity of his parents. In Verse 22 we read, “These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue. Therefore said his parents, He is of age; ask him.” They were so careful with what they said, that they lost their Christian dignity to preserve their reputations.
Now they openly accuse Jesus of being a sinner. Verse 24, “Then again called they the man that was blind, and said unto him, Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner.”
The man is simple and honest, but with one of the most profound statements in all of scripture, he responds, “Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.”
Isn’t that a thrilling statement? “Whereas I was blind, now I see. I may not know anything else about Jesus, but I know what he did for me. I was blind now I see. I may not be very intelligent. I may be uneducated, but I was blind, and now I see. I may be poor in this world’s goods, but I was blind now I see. I may not be the most versed in scripture, but whereas I was blind, now I see.
The amazing thing about all this is that the poor blind man could see spiritually far better than the priests and Pharisees. He knew something about Christ that they could not comprehend. Christ had used divine power to give this man his physical and spiritual sight. And the Pharisees were so blind that they would not see it. Even when the spotlight was turned on the formerly blind man, they still could not see because of their blindness. They had been in darkness so long, that when the light shown on them, it was too much for them and they rejected it because it didn’t come in the way they expected it, nor by the standard approved methods of the church.
Do you think that is happening today? Do you think John told this story because it just might have some application to our own time? “Whereas I was blind, now I see!” What a statement of the power of Christ in the life of a man who had been an outcast all his life! And it can happen to you! It can happen to me. If we let Him, Jesus will do the same for us! He will open your eyes to see things you never saw before. He will inspire you with thoughts that have never entered your mind. You may not be the brightest light on the street, but Jesus can make you see better than you could ever imagine. He can make you understand things that the brightest scholars and churchmen can never comprehend.
If we live for Him without compromise, we will often have to face the same challenges that this poor man faced. Our faith will be tested. Our hopes sometimes dashed by others. Yet we cannot let man dictate our feelings, or our mission. If Jesus brings you light and opens your eyes, you must tell others about Him and what He has done for you. After all, there are other outcasts that need your testimony to encourage them.
The Pharisees tried to come back and question him again about Jesus’ methods. Verse 26 and 27, “Then said they to him again, What did he to thee? how opened he thine eyes? He answered them, I have told you already, and ye did not hear: wherefore would ye hear it again? will ye also be his disciples?” The man knew that they did not want to be Jesus disciples, so he mocked them a little to show them their bigotry.
“Then they reviled him, and said, Thou art his disciple; but we are Moses’ disciples.” That’s verse 28. And now we see their bigotry too. They accused him of being Jesus’ disciple and he had never set eyes on Him or spent even one hour with him. Yet here is a wonderful thing. In the few minutes that Jesus was with him, He had radically changed his life for the better. In those few minutes Jesus had given him much more than his sight. He had given him hope. He had given him joy. He had relieved his burdens. And these leaders had the gall to accuse him because he didn’t go along with their theology any more. Jesus had indeed made him a disciple even though the poor man had never seen him.
They went on. “We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is.” What an admission! These leaders were so blinded by their own prejudice and bigotry that they had no spiritual eyesight to see that Jesus was indeed from God. They could not even see the blessing of the miracle that Jesus did for this poor blind man. What a tragedy! Jesus actually healed this man so that the Pharisees would see His divinity. He gave them every opportunity to know who He really was. Yet in spite of the plainest evidence, they rejected Him, turned on Him, and eventually crucified Him. Do you think that could happen again today? There is just as much spiritual blindness today as there was back then. We need to have Jesus put clay on our eyes so we can see. We are so used to the sin around us that we are unable to see how terrible it is in the sight of God. Jesus offers to do for the Laodiceans what He did for the blind man. He put physical eye salve on his eyes which represented the spiritual eye salve that He will give us.
Let us read Jesus’ counsel from Revelation 3:18. “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.” He says, “Just like I healed the blind man, I’ll heal your blindness too.” Isn’t that wonderful?
Now in verse 30, “the man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes.” You are the theologians. You should know these things. How is it that you can’t see that He is from God? He continued, using their own logic, “Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth. Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. If this man were not of God, he could do nothing.” I want you to notice that the issue here is about where Jesus was from. Was He from God or not?
Verse 34, “They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out.”
Now we see something very interesting. This man was cast out of the church. He was disfellowshipped, excommunicated for His faith in Christ. To his parents this was dreadful. Now he had less hope than he had before he was healed. He was a lost man in the eyes of all the Jews. Yet it was a blessing to the poor man, because Jesus was about to show him something about faith and worship. Now Jesus teaches us also another powerful lesson. Listen to the very next verse, “Jesus heard that they had cast him out;” I think it is fair to say that if you are cast out of the church in one way or another, and I don’t mean merely by being officially disfellowshipped. These days our churches rarely take anyone off the books anyway. But there are other ways of casting someone out. When you are cast out from your family, your friends, your fellow church members because of your obedience to Jesus (remember it was obedience that got the poor man in trouble in the first place), Jesus is going to hear about it. And He is going to come looking for you.
The scripture says, “and when he had found him.” This tells us that Jesus came looking for the poor man who was an outcast again. Jesus had healed this man with the intention that he would no longer be an outcast. But it turned out that he was now officially an outcast altogether.
Notice the question that Jesus asked this poor man, perhaps now discouraged and hurting. “He said unto him. Dost thou believe on the Son of God?” Note that He said “son of God.” The underlying question in all of this story is whether Jesus was God or not. Many bibles mistranslate this to be “son of man.” But this is a serious mistranslation that completely breaks with the context of the story and represents the erroneous bias of the translators who do not believe that Jesus was divine. If your Bible mistranslates this verse throw it away and get one the correctly translates it. I recommend the King James Bible in English and a reformation-based Bible in any other language. There are certainly many other errors in your Bible if you have this one.
Verse 36, “He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee. And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.
Notice that Jesus accepted the worship of the man that was disfellowshipped and excommunicated. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that because you are disfellowshipped or cast out for the sake of your Christian testimony, that you are lost. You can still worship Christ. Find others that you can fellowship with each Sabbath day. Let Jesus minister to you spiritually. Don’t hold bitterness against anyone, lest you lose your salvation. Just love Jesus and the truth with all your heart and forgive those who have done you wrong. You may not be able to fellowship in the same church as you did before. But the Lord will help you find a way to worship Him fully. If you can’t find another church, perhaps you will worship him under a tree with other like believers. Perhaps it will be in someone’s home. Perhaps it will be in a parking lot, or the back of a store. I have worshipped in all of these kinds of places. But most importantly, let Jesus take away all your pain, your sorrow, your hurt, anger and bitterness. He often allows painful experiences because He loves us and wants to prepare us for what is coming on the world and on the church. Look at it as a bad thing turned into a good thing.
Notice in closing what Jesus said to the man and his disciples in verse 39. “For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind. And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also?” They got the point didn’t they? But Jesus turned it around on them. “If ye were blind,” He said, “ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.”
Brothers and sisters, please don’t let any hard feelings or pain keep you from Jesus. Please don’t let what others have done or will do to you break your hold on Christ. You have everything to gain by going through trials and being and outcast for Jesus. Don’t try to be an outcast. Just follow Jesus and if it happens, you can rise higher then those around you and be a Christian, even loving your enemies.
May God bless and keep you. Let us pray. Our Father in Heaven. Your love is great. You have so much to give us, and we are so blind. Lord open our eyes, that we may see and experience your wonderful work. Let us not be discouraged by those who disbelieve. May we see your hand in every thing that happens to us, and praise your for it, even the painful things. This I pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.
For those of you receiving the CD version of this message, the following is a current events update of interest to those that love the appearing of Jesus Christ. This part of the program is only available on CD. We can see the signs of the times telling us that we are nearing the world’s great crisis. May the Lord find us faithful.
In harmony with the gradual expansion of the United States powers of surveillance, the government has added overflights to its agenda. The US Government no fly list is now applied to airline flights that are passing through US airspace. Time Magazine published the following report.
“The No-fly list created by US authorities, which singles out passengers who are potential terrorist threats, is the target of frequent criticism that it is incomplete and unreliable. But that hasn’t stopped it from expanding dramatically.
“Aviation sources say the list has grown to more than 31,000, up for 19,000 last September. And a little noticed incident on April 8 (2005), involving a Dutch KLM 747 flight from Amsterdam to Mexico City, may result in the list being used even more aggressively. The plane was forbidden by American authorities to enter US airspace because the Department of Homeland Security discovered after the flight had taken off that two of its passengers were on the no-fly list. According to government sources, the two were Saudi men who had undergone pilot training with Sept.11 hijacker Hani Hanjour. The flight was turned back and landed in London, where the men were questioned by Dutch authorities and allowed to go because they were not on any Dutch watch list.” Time Magazine, April __ 2005.
The noose tightens. Revelation 13 tell us that there will be those that will be singled out for persecution for breaking Sunday laws. It is becoming clearer that it is the intention of the United States to create a system that will even prevent those on the wrong side of the law from travel. The story in Time Magazine reveals that the United States will even prevent over flights that have people on them that are on US surveillance lists. The obvious as usual reason is to prevent terrorism. But when the laws are tested, debugged and refined, how easy will it be for them to be expanded as is usually the case, to include those who do not comply with other US laws.
USA Today, April 22, 2005, commented that the Department of Homeland Security has proposed a new directive for flights passing through US airspace. “Under current rules, foreign flights are required to check passengers against the government’s terrorist watch lists only if the flight is scheduled to land in the USA. If there is a match the flight is barred from landing. The new proposal would impose the same passenger scrutiny on planes merely flying over US airspace. It’s unclear when – and if – the restrictions would take effect.” The directive is still being discussed with other countries. Nearly 500 planes fly across the US daily between Canada and the Caribbean, and between Mexico and Europe. From all appearances, it is only a matter of allowing other countries airlines time to ramp up their systems to comply with the US directives, and the plan will be enforced.
It is already well known that terrorists are trying to come into the US through the US-Mexico border. If there is another powerful terrorist attack in the United States, even more dramatic events will unfold, which could include substantial restrictions on personal liberties. Potential attacks discussed in various press releases and stories in recent times involve nuclear reactors, poison gas, nuclear suitcase bombs, and shoulder-fired missiles fired at domestic airplanes on takeoff or landing. We live in scary times. Only God’s spirit will protect His people ultimately.
Let’s talk about Europe for a few minutes.
In a significant setback for the European Union, France and the Netherlands voted recently against the adoption of the proposed European Constitution. The Constitution would have required a unanimous approval of all member states, reported USAToday on May 30, 2005. Now there are great questions about the future of the European Union. While this is modestly good news, it will by no means be the end of a European Constitution, and certainly not the end of the European Union. The proposed Euro-Constitution is a controlling document that essentially would make Europe a superstate, giving it economic and political power that would be very influential in global politics, but would also gut sovereignty and independence of member nations. The Euro-Constitution would give a relatively few people in Brussels, enormous control of the political and economic powerhouse of Europe to use for purposes that are not good for the people. Perhaps the French and the Dutch don’t want someone outside of France or the Netherlands telling them what to do. I don’t blame them. The Bible says in Daniel 2:43, “they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.”
The French turned out 70% of its population, of which 55% voted against the Constitution, USAToday said. This indicates a high percentage of interest in this rather emotional issue. France, interestingly was one of the key architects of the proposed Euro-Constitution, so this represents a huge defeat for French President Jacques Chirac and Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin who lost his job. USAToday quoted Jose Manuel Barroso, the head of the EU’s executive body as saying that there is ‘a risk of contagion’ [or] hostility to the treaty, spreading to other countries. He stopped short of saying that the constitution was dead.”
That doesn’t mean however, that the control of Europe is going to be split up with each nation independent of the others. There will be future attempts, perhaps with efforts to pacify or bribe the French and the Dutch and other countries that might object to a centralize Europe. While the freedom loving Dutch have always resisted efforts to control them, the French people have their own ideas about what it means to be free. They have never wanted foreigners controlling them either.
Member countries that have already approved the document include Austria, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain reported World Magazine, June 11, 2005. “This bold rebuke to Mr. Chirac and the “one Europe” crowd, is a severe blow to the EU, though not necessarily a fatal one,” the magazine said.
There are more tricks up the sleeves of those that are determined to centralize Europe which will be controlled at least behind the scenes by Rome and create the new Holy European Empire. Many people realize that a “no” vote, doesn’t mean “no” really, though a “yes” vote would be irreversible. Jean-Claude Juncker, prime minister of Luxembourg and the current EU president, suggested that the French would be asked to vote again. “If at the end of it,” he told the Belgian Daily Le Soir on May 25, “we don’t manage to solve the problems, the countries that have said ‘no’ should ask themselves the question again.” The same point was made by the former French president Valery Giscard d’Estaing who was one of the key framers of the proposed constitution. “Those who did not vote for the Constitution we will ask them to revote.” In other words, there will likely be a push for another referendum which would only include those countries that voted against the Euro-Constitution. “I don’t think [a revote] would be absurd,” he said, “because we would be asking the French people to reflect, to hear the argument or the debate in the rest of Europe and then to have a second opportunity to give their verdict again.”
Another way to force the issue, is to let Parliament vote to approve the constitution rather than submit it to a full referendum, as has been done in most countries apparently. The only country that had a referendum before the French vote was Spain. But Spain’s economy had been bolstered by the EU through huge subsidies prior to the vote. It might well be that the same would happen in France or the Netherlands in due time. Time will tell, but the European Constitution is not dead yet.
Why do the French and the Dutch not want a European Constitution? Under EU control, the people of France and the Netherlands have faced a declining economy, as has Germany. These are some of the nations that have pushed very hard to develop the EU and its constitution. Yet it has been the EU that has drained their economies in order to expand. In order to bring Poland, the Czech Republic and other poorer East European countries into the European Union, the Union has greatly subsidized those economies at the expense of the prosperity of richer western European countries.
Where is this all headed. Once The EU has overcome some of these popular obstacles to it’s unshackled control of the whole of Europe, it is easy to see how the old “Holy Roman Empire” can become the new “Holy European Empire” in which Rome’s political arm will play a much larger role.”
Now let me say few words about the European Police force.
Are the European Union Police above the law?
Europol, which is the European Union Police force, has been given immunity to break British common law with impunity. In the European Communities Order 1997, there is a provision entitled “Immunities and Privileges of the European Police Office.” This provision gives Europol, and I quote: “immunity from the legal process of any kind in respect of words spoken or written, and of acts performed by them, in the exercise of their official functions’.” In other words, British citizens no longer have any legal recourse if their rights are abused by the European police. This is completely foreign to historic British common law. Furthermore, being part of the European Union gives the British the privilege of having foreign police officers operating on British soil free of any oversight or constraint. Veritas Group, a London political organization that opposes British integration in the EU, contends that this act, which is already in force, grants Europol officers “authority to steal, lie and even kill in the course of their duties,” and that “the public will have no right of redress.” Imagine how this kind of law can be abused. (See
Now a few words about the US Supreme Court
In a startling statement, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor defended the practice of relying on foreign law when making decisions that apply to court cases in the United States. “This is much ado about nothing,” she said. “Our Constitution is one that evolves.”
Imagine that, an evolving constitution that can be constructed and reconstructed at the will of the Supreme Court justices. Justice O’Connor’s statement essentially repudiates the long-standing view that the Constitution of the United States actually means what it says.
Using foreign laws and court cases as precedent for US court decisions about the Constitution of the United States is the one of the latest attempts to erode that most important US document. Foreign law does not apply to the United States. But this practice, if allowed to continue, will gradually shift the interpretation of the Constitution toward a far more global concept of law, which generally disregards civil protections and liberties. Rather than protect the principles on which the United States was founded, the Constitution will change them and justify the removal of the liberties of its people.
Justice O’Connor no doubt understands that the US Constitution must not be interpreted according to the founders intentions if the US is ever going to align with Rome. The Spirit of Prophecy clearly states that every principle of the Republican and Protestant government of the United States will be repudiated. Read Great Controversy, pg 451. By declaring the constitution an evolving document, Justice O’Connor opens the door to its demise as a valuable and guiding document and places the control and direction of US law in the hands of the courts. Furthermore, using international law to guide court decisions erodes the vital principles that made the United States a prosperous nation in the first place.
Now let us turn our attention for a moment on the Patriot Act which was enacted in the wake of the terrorists attacks and gives the federal government wide latitude to violate or remove the civil liberties all in the name of defending freedom.
In a gesture of concern, the House of Representatives voted, on June 15, 2005, to repeal certain provisions of the Patriot Act, reported USAToday. Those legal provisions had made it much easier for federal agents to find probe what books people have purchased from bookstores or borrowed from libraries. Think about it. The Patriot Act actually gives the federal government the freedom to snoop in bookstore and library records to see what customers purchased. The provision was defended on the basis that it was necessary in the war on terrorism, but 199 Democrats and thirty-eight republicans were concerned that the law allows to much intrusion on personal liberties. The White House threatened a veto the bill if it is also passed by the senate. Imagine how this law can be used in the future, especially when legal definitions are expanded to include some of your religious beliefs. Do you have books that might be added to the government’s watch list? Could this also be a harbinger of a change in what bookstores sell and what libraries stock? Perhaps books and materials on government watch lists will eventually disappear from the shelves.
The Washington Post reported on June 16, 2005, that the patriot act also allows the FBI to collect “a wide variety of personal records about a suspected terrorist, with an order from a secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, where the government must meet a lower threshold of proof than in criminal courts,” the Post said. While this law specifically applies to foreign terrorists as defined by the special secret court, what is to stop the law or the secret court from being used against US citizens? The US government has already used laws designed to help stop foreign terrorists against US citizens, specifically in the case of Jose Padilla, whose rights as a US citizen were ignored when he was detained by the Justice Department merely on suspicion of being involved in planning a terrorist attack. He was detained indefinitely without access to a lawyer and without the government filing any charges against him.
The Justice Department stated in a letter to Congress that the new provision of the Patriot Act “has been used only 35 times so far” the Post said, “and that it has never been used to obtain bookstore, library, medical or gun-sale records.” The Justice department admitted however, that “it has been used to obtain records of hotel stays, driver’s licenses, apartment leases and credit cards.” These are all very common activities that US citizens do every day. The new provisions could easily be expanded so that they can be used against US citizens who are being investigated for any reason.
This sounds very ominous to me. This Patriot Act, with its intrusive provisions will likely one day be used in ways not originally intended. The trouble is that the House of Representatives’ vote to repeal this law is not likely to get into the final version of the bill. The repeal provision was part of a larger appropriations bill before congress. The Washington Post continued, “House Republican leadership aides say they plan to have the [repeal] provision removed when a conference committee meets to work out differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill,” said the Post. “The administration [that is; President Bush] has threatened to veto the bill…, and there are too many important initiatives in the bill for that to happen,” said John Scofield of the Appropriations Committee.
My friend, every day we get closer and closer to the coming of Jesus. What a wonderful time in which to live. I pray that you will prepare you life so that you will be ready for the challenge of your faith. Until next month, may God bless and keep you as you watch and pray.