Thursday, November 14, 2013

Light and Blindness

Here‘s the lesson from 2013-11-10. I was really concerned to separate the (related) ideas of sins (things we do or don’t do) and sin (our condition since Genesis 3).

Sin leads to suffering (but not sins)

  • SAY Remember a few months ago when we were working our way through Job?
  • ASK What was the central idea Job’s “friends” had? (There’s a one-to-one correspondence between sin and suffering.)
  • READ 9:1–2
  • SAY Apparently, Jesus’s disciples apparently thought Job’s friends were right. But Jesus had a different idea.
  • READ 9:3–7 (Mandatory Eye Roll)
  • SAY Jesus repeats what he said in chapter 8: “I am the light of the world.”
  • ASK Why mud (or clay or whatever)? (Many commentators: Jesus is repairing a man with the substance all men were made of, Genesis 2:7 tells us it was from the “dust of the ground”; also, “Adam”, which means “man” is in Hebrew a pun on “red earth” or “red clay.”)
  • ASK If there were no sin in the world, would the man have been born blind?
  • SAY We use the word “sin” in 2 distinct ways:
    • Things we do.
      • This was the view of the disciples (and Job’s friends).
      • They wanted to connect some particular action of sin to the man’s blindness.
      • If this were true, it would be really convenient: You would know who the real sinners are.
      • Be glad this isn’t so. Consider yourself. Do you want to suffer in direct relation to your spiritual condition?
    • The condition of all humans (except Jesus) since the Fall (Genesis 3).
      • Romans 5:10 starts with “For if while we were enemies …”
      • We were enemies of God.
      • It is this natural condition of being God’s enemy that allows suffering in the world.
      • This is what Christ died to save us from.
      • Part of our charter is to exhibit God’s mercy on the suffering of people inside and outside the visible church. This recalls God’s mercy to us and to the whole world.

Divided Pharisees

  • READ 9:13–17
  • I know which group of Pharisees I’d rather be in. But I worry that I am actually in the other group.

Cowardly parents

  • READ 9:18–22
  • ASK What do you think of how the parents responded?
  • ASK Why do you think the parents were afraid? Possibilities:
    • Social position
    • Place in the economy
    • Being in church is good for business

Forcing the hand

  • READ 9:24
  • When the Pharisees said “Give glory to God,” they were essentially threatening to stone the man.
    • In Joshua 7, after the Israelites were defeated at Ai, when the man who had kept and hidden treasure from Jericho was found, Joshua told him, “Give glory to God.” Then the man confessed.
    • The leaders of the Jews were telling him, “This is really serious.”
  • READ 9:25–27
  • Did you hear the Mandatory Eye Roll?
  • READ 9:28–29
  • Where does authority come from?
  • ASK If authority comes from God’s word — as the Pharisees said (!) — why should they have paid attention to Jesus? (Because he was fulfilling prophecy.)
  • READ 9:32
  • The man understands this. If I were blind, just one of the OT scriptures I would know by heart would be Isaiah 29:18: “In that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see.” SAY Giving sight to the blind was a sign of the Messiah, and the Pharisees refused to see it.

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