by Tad Lindley
Oftentimes the truth is stranger than fiction, and this case is no different. The man had been blind from birth and to make a long story shorter, Jesus spat on the ground and made mud. Then he wiped the mud on the man’s eyes and told him to go wash it off. When he washed the mud off, he could see. It is another in a long list of New Testament miracles.
You don’t do miracles on Saturday!
Now you would think if somebody in your church had been blind from birth and God restored their sight, that everybody would be overjoyed. And rightly so. But that was not the case in turn of the millennium Jerusalem. In fact the leaders at the synagogue (a synagogue is a precursor to the Christian church) were hot as a biscuit. Instead of celebrating the miracle of God, they hated it. You see, the religious leaders had modified the word of God to such an extent that making mud and healing a blind man on a Saturday, the Sabbath, was a sin against their religious tradition. “You won’t do miracles on Saturday and be a part of our church!”
The healed hero becomes a hated heretic
The Pharisees already had shunned Jesus. Now they interviewed the man that was healed. They interviewed him a second time, and at that point they decided to kick him out of the synagogue, because he would not denounce Jesus as a sinner. The previously blind man went from healed hero to hated heretic in the space of one or two days. Things would become extremely difficult for both him and his family.
Gone, but not forgotten
Now he was gone from the Jewish community of believers, but he was not forgotten by God. Jesus heard that they had cast him out and when he had found him he said, “Dost thou believe on the Son of God?”
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. (John 9:35-38)
In the roller coaster of his situation, the Lord of his miracle came and comforted him when others turned their back on him.
How could they miss the miracle?
We must be ever so careful that we ourselves do not become like the Pharisees. They had begun to teach the traditions of men as if they were equal to the traditions of God, in many cases, actually laying aside the very word of God itself and teaching only the tradition of men. Jesus berated the Pharisees for “making the word of God of none effect through your tradition…” (Mark 7:13) They were so focused on keeping things just the way that they wanted it, that there was absolutely no room in their religious life for Jesus and because of that, they completely missed the very fact that God had been in their midst. In fact, you will see if you read on in the book that, so zealous were they for their religious tradition, they were literally willing to “kill” God to hang on to it.
Not everyone will be excited about your miracle…
I have worked in prison ministry long enough that I have seen this pattern repeated over and over again. God starts moving in someone’s life, and although the family never said a peep when the person was selling dope, or shooting heroin, or stumbling around the home town, then suddenly when they have repented of their sins and are contemplating getting baptized in Jesus’ name for the remission of sin (see Matthew 28:19, Acts 2:38, 8:16, 10:48, 19:5, 22:16, Romans 6:4, Galatians 3:27) people are coming out of the woodwork telling them that they were sprinkled as an infant according to the traditions of men, and therefore they do not need to and in fact should not follow the Biblical teaching of baptism in the name of Jesus.
…but God will be
No, not everybody will be excited about a mighty move of God in your life. Many will deny it and try to discourage it, but God will be excited about it, and in the end that is all that will matter. Jesus showed up shortly after the formerly blind man was shot down by his church, because the man refused to deny the God that saved him from blindness. The Lord will also come to our aid when we make a stand for him though the cost to us be great, that in the end we too might hear those precious words, Well done thou good and faithful servant. (Matthew 25:23)
Reverend Tad Lindley is a minister at the United Pentecostal Church in Bethel, Alaska.