Mag's Thoughts

Close Encounter

JOHN 9:1-7

1 As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6 Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man's eyes with the mud 7 and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.

There are two important  lessons in the passage above.   Jesus stops as he sees a man  blind from birth. Now Jesus speaks  to great crowds, of people heals many, and is followed from town to town by multitudes of people during his ministry on earth, yet He stops to heal the one.

The disciples question Jesus as to whose fault or sin is the blindness in  the blind man.  Jesus answers his disciples explaining that it was not the sin of the parents or the  son. It was "that the works of God might be displayed in him." 

So, was this man blinded so the works of God might bee seen, that His glory is manifested?  This is indeed a difficult passage to understand, but look carefully at what Jesus is saying. Those tragedies that happen in our lives happen in an imperfect world. Jesus is  careful to say in this instance it was not the sin of either party.  The importance of the blind man being healed is that  God through His Son's work is manifested, glorified!

The lesson is to  allow God to work in our lives even in the most difficult of times, to use those difficult times, tragedies and the lessons learned to help others, to glorify God as we serve in His kingdom. Yes, it is a matter of faith, but is that not the  crux of our belief in our Lord and Savior?

A second lesson is seen in the singular attention that Jesus gave the one man.  Jesus stopped and and healed the man. Often we look for the big things in serving God, the attention-getters. Yet, it is in the one-on-one encounters that people see up close God's glory reflected in you.  Those big events are extremely important, but it is the body of Christ working in the everyday world that God cherishes.  It is indeed those close encounters that bring countless people into  relationship with our Savior!


In the Darkness

John 3:1-6 and 14-21
Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.  This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him."   Jesus answered him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God."   Nicodemus said to him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?"  Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit...

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.  For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.  But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

From John 3, we read the disciple's account of a conversation between Jesus and a man who came in the darkness. Please sit down with your Bible and read the whole chapter as there is much meaning in each verse. Nicodemus, a prominent member of the Sanhedrin, a Pharisee, came at night to talk privately with Jesus.  Some surmise that he came at night because he did not want to be seen. John does not elaborate. He came and he listened as Jesus answered his questions! Jesus explained to this man in the darkness that God loved him and sent His own Son so he could have eternal life. It was personal, just as it is for us!

This passage, first read to me as a child, keeps popping up in my head. We live in a dark and confusing time at present. Yet, just as Jesus told Nicodemus how he could be born again and what God, through His perfect love, gave him, Jesus shares with each of us the offer of salvation.   We have John 3:16 and the promise of eternal life, if we believe and accept what Jesus explained in the darkness.

We who do believe and follow Jesus must grow  beyond the first  steps as new Christians,  and as disciples, be Christ's light in the darkness.  We are commissioned by Jesus Christ in Matthew 28:19-20 to make disciples of all nations, to bring the light of Jesus to the world!  In this world of chaos right now, we are commanded to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ.  Is this not the answer to fear, to hate, to injustice, to darkness?  Dare we not put aside all our worldliness and make Matthew 28:19-20 our mission? We are called to action by our Heavenly Father. In the darkness of this present world, we can reflect the glory of God and share the Good News of Jesus Christ.  

The most important event in history was the appearance of Jesus Christ on earth.  May God make us bold this spring and summer, bold in proclaiming our Savior to the World!  

New In The Morning

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Lamentations 3:22-24

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”
As I took my evening walk tonight, I turned to see my house as the sun  began to set. Peeking  through the trees was the sun that had warmed the earth all day, yet shadows of the approaching night began to lengthen across the yard. As the sun set tonight, the promise of a new sunrise could be seen in the beauty of the sunset. 

Our  week here at Hilltop seemed dark as we lost a cherished friend and much of the world continued in chaos. Yet, God promises in Lamentations that with every sunrise comes new blessings from our Lord. Just as our passage above says, God's faithfulness to His children is assured. Our hope through Jesus Christ is reality! And yes, even as the sun sets, we know with every new day that comes, the Lord God Almighty is indeed our portion.

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