John 14: 11-14
Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
John 9: 1-9 (MSG)
Walking down the street, Jesus saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked, “Rabbi, who sinned: this man or his parents, causing him to be born blind?”
Jesus said, “You’re asking the wrong question. You’re looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do. We need to be energetically at work for the One who sent me here, working while the sun shines. When night falls, the workday is over. For as long as I am in the world, there is plenty of light. I am the world’s Light.”
He said this and then spit in the dust, made a clay paste with the saliva, rubbed the paste on the blind man’s eyes, and said, “Go, wash at the Pool of Siloam” (Siloam means “Sent”). The man went and washed—and saw.
Soon the town was buzzing. His relatives and those who year after year had seen him as a blind man begging were saying, “Why, isn’t this the man we knew, who sat here and begged?”
Others said, “It’s him all right!”
But others objected, “It’s not the same man at all. It just looks like him.”
He said, “It’s me, the very one.”
SUMMARY OF SUNDAY’S MESSAGE
Time and time again, in the ordinary moments, Jesus does the most extraordinary things. However, in John 14 Jesus promised that his followers would do even greater things than he had done. The Book of Acts hasn’t ended yet, we are writing the ongoing story of the church, therefore we should expect to see these ‘greater things’ among us. Our world is longing to see the miraculous and we are the people God wants to partner with to bring his power into other's pain.
We live in a culture that loves blame. There is a whole legal sector focussed on helping us find someone to blame for any misfortune in our lives. However, as the church, we aren’t looking for someone to blame, we are looking for an opportunity to bless. It’s at that doorway that we discover the miraculous power of Jesus.
God wants us all to join in a miracle of sight for our country. We can blame others in our community for poverty, addiction and so on. We can blame politicians for our problems and those who have hurt us for our pain. But what our city needs most is people with eyes wide open looking for somewhere or someone to bless. For us to solve the problems of our past we need a miracle.
In John 9: 6 Jesus does something unusual and unexpected. He spits into the dirt, makes mud, rubs it into the blind man’s eyes and encourages him to walk to a pool to wash the dirt away. Often Jesus drags us into the places where we feel the most discomfort because we never become who we are called to be when we stay safe. In the place of greatest risk, we have to radically trust Jesus.
Originally the Jewish people were chosen by God to be a blessing to the nations. The commandments were given to provide protective boundaries within which they could thrive and flourish. However, over the years toxic religion took over, creating rules which burdened people and only brought guilt and condemnation. Incredibly, one of those rules was around spitting on the sabbath. So when Jesus spat into the dirt and made mud, in the eyes of the religious zealots, he was breaking a commandment. To make the man walk to the pool was encouraging him to break another rule. The religious leaders don’t realise that Jesus is the author of the story, the Lord of the sabbath, the one around whom everything revolves. Jesus was wanting to show people what God really looks like.
Our call is to step into the story of our community, our friends, our families, our workplaces etc. We want to have more than clever words, we need a power which is undeniably from Jesus. When we step in, we open the door for the extraordinary to walk into the ordinary. We get to show people a bigger, more accurate picture of a good and loving God.
If you don’t step into the story, you won’t see the miracle. Jesus isn’t looking for professionals, he’s looking for people who are willing to be available and obedient.
Miracles disrupt the ordinary and demand a response. Everyone is talking about the blind man. He has had an experience which can’t be taken away with an argument. The greatest thing we have to offer others is to introduce them to the presence of God.
When Jesus hears the man was thrown out by the religious leaders, he goes to him and reveals himself. Miracles are always meant to lead us to an encounter with Jesus. The miracles are a foretaste of a time when we no longer need them – when we stand face to face before Jesus.