We’ve been challenged the past few weeks about faith. There are a few different ways that we see faith manifest itself. We learned last week about showing our faith by our works and asking God what our next step of faith is. We were reminded that faith is what enabled Jesus to bring healing and deliverance throughout His earthly ministry and how it is still by faith that we receive everything from God.
Faith can be seen through the immediate and miraculous receipt of God’s promises. Just as in this case:
8 In Lystra there sat a man who was lame. He had been that way from birth and had never walked. 9 He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed 10 and called out, “Stand up on your feet!” At that, the man jumped up and began to walk.
We don’t have the details of how this man and Paul ended up together. We don’t know what Paul was preaching about for sure. Since God chose for them not to be recorded, they need not be our focus. Whatever the circumstances, God made sure that we knew that God healed this man because he had the faith to accomplish it. We know that Paul was speaking about the Kingdom of God and that God revealed to him what He wanted to accomplish.
God working through the faith of Paul and the faith of the lame man to do the impossible! This man had never learned to walk; never walked a day in his lifetime from birth on. However, at the simple command of Paul, by the leading of God, he JUMPED up onto his feet and began to walk! This was a radical act of obedience and a literal huge step of faith!
For just a moment, imagine yourself in this man’s situation. Commanding someone who never, ever walked in their life is just like commanding you or I to fly. It was impossible. It would seem outright rude or cruel to some. Yet by faith, Paul commanded, the man obeyed, and the impossible became reality!
There are so many unanswered questions, but I doubt that any of them mattered to that man from that day on.
We find a similar account in the gospel of John. Disputes are breaking out among the Pharisees about the testimony that Jesus is sharing, who He is, and what He is doing. A common side-effect of faith is the critique, condemnation, and dividing of those around us. Our own faith in the Lord often reveals where the faith of others is as well.
1 As Jesus went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
So much is revealed by these two simple sentences. Clearly, this guy was well known and Jesus and the disciples knew him and that he had been born blind. Why this was the case clearly revealed that God’s thoughts are not our thoughts.
The disciples assumed that the blindness was a result of God’s judgment for sin and they likely would have just kept on walking. They didn’t display any compassion toward this man, showed no interest in helping him in any way, and probably felt a little better than him walking around with Jesus.
Jesus thought and responded much differently! In fact, He shifted the responsibility for this man’s blind condition back onto themselves. An act of empathy!
3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
Now not only were Jesus’ thoughts not the same as our thoughts, His ways were far, far from our ways. I’ve never seen anyone act in this way toward a blind person…
6 After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. 7 “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.
Although the method is highly controversial at best, no one can win an argument about the results! Although if you really think about it, this might have brought back some memories of Jesus of when Adam was created from dirt. Maybe this was a creative miracle and not just a healing?
Also, we again see a radical act of obedience as not only did this guy just have to get spitty mud rubbed on his eyes, he had to leave it there and go wash in the Pool of Siloam. Yes, Jesus told a blind man to make his way to a pool and to wash his eyes in it.
8 His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, “Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?” 9 Some claimed that he was.
Others said, “No, he only looks like him.”
But he himself insisted, “I am the man.”
10 “How then were your eyes opened?” they asked.
11 He replied, “The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.”
12 “Where is this man?” they asked him.
“I don’t know,” he said.
The Pharisees Investigate the Healing
13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind. 14 Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man’s eyes was a Sabbath. 15 Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. “He put mud on my eyes,” the man replied, “and I washed, and now I see.”
16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.”
But others asked, “How can a sinner perform such signs?” So they were divided.
17 Then they turned again to the blind man, “What have you to say about him? It was your eyes he opened.”
The man replied, “He is a prophet.”
18 They still did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they sent for the man’s parents. 19 “Is this your son?” they asked. “Is this the one you say was born blind? How is it that now he can see?”
20 “We know he is our son,” the parents answered, “and we know he was born blind. 21 But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don’t know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself.” 22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who already had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. 23 That was why his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”
24 A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. “Give glory to God by telling the truth,” they said. “We know this man is a sinner.”
25 He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”
26 Then they asked him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?”
27 He answered, “I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?”
Maybe it’s just me, but I read a bit of humorous sarcasm in this question. 🙂
28 Then they hurled insults at him and said, “You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses! 29 We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.”
30 The man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will. 32 Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”
34 To this they replied, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out.
Leave it to the church to deny the works of Jesus and throw out the ones that Jesus brought in…
Now we love, love, love the miraculous power of God! Divine healing is one of our distinct doctrines here at New Hope. However, physical healing is meaningless if that simply means that a man goes to hell seeing instead of blind! The end condition of this man is no better…
35 Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
36 “Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.”
37 Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.”
38 Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.
39 Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”
40 Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?”
41 Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.
Jesus was speaking about their spiritual condition. In fact, this spiritual condition issue is why Jesus often spoke in parables.
Matthew 13:13; Luke 8:10; Isaiah 6:9
Jesus said, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that,
“‘though seeing, they may not see;
though hearing, they may not understand.
Paul said it this way:
2 Corinthians 5:7
For we live by faith, not by sight.
According to Hebrews 11:1, faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This has everything to do with more trust in God, who He is and what He says, and less trust in our natural senses and our own understanding.
Nothing reveals our faith more than how we respond when we are in a state of waiting. One of these men was lame from birth, the other blind from birth. Then, Jesus healed them and radically changed their lives! They waited a lifetime, but their healing came quickly.
1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”
6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
Crying out to God day and night for justice, but God sees that they get it quickly. This is the paradox of faith!
God made the promise, we are in need of that promise, and every promise is received by faith. Seems simple, right? It really is, but the time between our need and the provision for our need is what complicates and tests our faith. For Abraham, it grew his faith (Romans 4:18-21) the longer that he waited and the more impossible it became by his own ability.
What promise of God are we currently waiting on? Seriously stop and take a moment to consider a few.
Are we maintaining our faith and enduring in faith while we’re waiting? Are we fully convinced and confident that God can and will do what He promised? Are we keeping ourselves built up in the faith so that, though we cry out day and night for it, when God’s time is right, we receive it quickly?