THE BAKER OF
a new novel,
plays out in the time of Jesus. How does the baker
of the village perceive the young rabbi?
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top. Scroll down for previous ones.
3. Main pillar of early church
History in the making often seems confusing; looking
back on it, improves perspective. The gospels tell the story of Jesus; the
Acts and Epistles of the apostles interpret his life with hindsight.
When the risen Christ appeared
to his disciples, he emphasized that he had to suffer and die according to
the scriptures. Although Peter blamed the religious leaders for his Master’s
death, he conceded that Jesus’ death happened with the fore-knowledge of God
the Father (Acts 2:23). The death and resurrection of Christ became the
cornerstone of the Christian faith.
Paul affirmed that he focused
on nothing else in the Corinthian church than the crucified Christ (1 Cor.
2:2). When Paul scolded the Galatians for straying from the true gospel, he
reminded them that they had heard the gospel so clearly as if Christ was
crucified before their very eyes (Gal. 3:1).
Paul’s song on God’s love
reiterates that nothing can separate us from that love: “It is Christ who
died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God,
who also makes intercession for us” (Rom. 8:34). The apostle underscored
that Christ died for us when we were still sinners (Rom. 5:8). He pressed it
on the hearts of the Ephesian elders to shepherd Christ’s flock, which he
purchased with his own blood (Acts 20:28). Paul referred 9 times in his
epistles to the blood of Christ that was shed on the cross for the
redemption of believers.
Peter spoke the same language
when he said, “You were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or
gold… but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish
and without spot” (1 Pet. 1:18-19). John concurred: “If we walk in the light
as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of
Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin” (1John 1:7). On the isle of
Patmos, John received visions of heaven. He saw a great multitude who came
out of the great tribulation. They were robed in white and praised God. An
angel confirmed that they made their robes white in the blood of the Lamb
(Rev. 7:14). In another vision, John saw the angels and believers triumphing
over Satan and his demons – they overcame them by the blood of the Lamb
The letter to the Hebrews
confirms that Christ went into the heavenly Tabernacle with his own blood to
reconcile believers to God, once for all (Heb. 9:12).
“Now all things are of God,
who has reconciled us to himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the
ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor. 5:18).
2. Greater love has no one
While protecting their country’s freedom and values,
many sick soldiers in muddy trenches, and starving prisoners in
concentration camps, suffered unspeakable torment, hoping against hope their
suffering was not in vain and that relief would soon arrive. Others put
themselves deliberately in harm’s way by going to West Africa to fight the
spread of the Ebola virus, knowing they may lose their lives in the process.
Jesus also wilfully put his
life on the line for sinners – and he knew exactly what was waiting for him.
John wrote his gospel about 15 years after the synoptic gospels had seen the
light; therefore, he did not repeat what was already known, but added new
information. That also applies to referrals concerning Christ’s death.
When John the Baptist pointed
Jesus out as “The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John
1), he was thinking of the Passover lamb in particular, and the sacrificial
lambs in general. These animals pointed to the ultimate atoning sacrifice
that the Son of God would bring.
In his talk with Nicodemus, a
Pharisee, Jesus compared himself to the bronze snake Moses lifted up to
relieve the Israelites of snake bites – likewise, Jesus would be lifted up
(on a cross) to save people from sin (John 3). Jesus later repeated this
metaphor to the Jews in Jerusalem (John 8, 12): “When I am lifted up from
the earth, I will draw all to myself.”
In the synagogue of Capernaum,
Jesus compared himself to the manna that fell from heaven, feeding the
Israelites for 40 years in the desert. Whoever eat his body and drink his
blood has eternal life (John 6). Many of his potential followers were
offended and stopped following him. That brought his popular 2 year Galilean
ministry to an end.
After Jesus had healed the
blind beggar in Jerusalem, he depicted himself as the Good Shepherd, who
leads his flock to abundance, protects it against robbers and predators, and
who in the end lies his life down for them (John 10). He emphasized that his
life is not taken from him without his will – he would lie his life down of
his own accord.
After the Last Supper, Jesus
said his goodbyes and informed the disciples about what was coming (John
14-16). He was going to the Father’s house to prepare a place for them.
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for his friends.
For a little while, they would not see him and be sad (his death and
burial); but then he would appear again (resurrection), and they would be
Christ shared his feelings
about his sacrifice, but nobody understood.
1. Facing death with courage
In 1773, a frigate named Jonge Thomas was
battered by a fierce winter storm, broke free from its anchors and stranded
in Table Bay, South Africa. At dawn, the ship broke in two. A German dairy
farmer, Wolraad Woltemade, ventured into the vicious surf on his horse and
rescued two desperate sailors. He risked his life six more times, thus
saving 14 from a watery grave. He and his horse shivered with exhaustion and
cold as they watched the ship falling apart. The 65 year old hero spurred
his horse into the raging waves once more. This time, they did not survive.
A well known devotional is
titled “My utmost for His highest.” Many have paid the highest price by
defending their country, by fighting crime, by rescuing others or by
spreading the gospel. Jesus knew what price he had to pay – how did he feel?
The synoptic gospels recorded
6 episodes where Jesus gave information about his approaching death. When
Peter recognized him as the Messiah, and Jesus affirmed it, he announced for
the first time that he would be killed in Jerusalem, and rise from death on
the third day (Mt. 16, Mk. 8, Lk. 9). At this time, Jesus referred to the
role the religious leaders would play. When Peter tried to persuade Jesus to
prevent this from happening, Jesus said that Satan was using Peter to block
his way. Jesus knew he could not avoid the sacrifice. This dark storm was
looming on the horizon.
This event was followed by
Jesus’ transfiguration on the mountain. Moses and Elijah talked to him about
the “exodus” he had to complete in Jerusalem – another reminder of the
They descended the mountain,
and were confronted by the calamities of real life. After Jesus healed a
demonized boy, he announced his death and resurrection again. This time he
specified that he would be betrayed (Mt. 17, Mk. 9, Lk. 9). Betrayed – by
whom? The disciples were afraid to ask. Jesus knew, but he did not reveal
the culprit. His heart must have been aching, knowing one of the Twelve
would back-stab him.
As they were heading to
Jerusalem for the last time, Jesus announced his imminent death once more,
now stressing the gory role the Romans would play: mocking, insulting,
flogging and crucifying him (Mt. 20, Mk. 10, Lk. 18). During the last week
in the Holy City, Jesus told the parable of the wicked vine dressers who
would kill the son of the owner of the vineyard.
referral to his death was made at the Last Supper: the bread pointed to his
body, and the wine to his blood, given for the forgiveness of sinners.
2. Despised and rejected by men
Jesus had a soft spot for
underdogs. He reached out to people marginalized by society at that time.
Did he see himself as a rejected person too?
Isaiah prophesied that he
would be “despised and rejected by men.” He was attacked in the synagogue
for healing on the Sabbath and for eating with sinners and tax-collectors.
He opted for open-air meetings along the shore of Lake Tiberias.
Especially in Jerusalem he was
hated for his healing miracles. The healing of the sick man at Bethesda, the
healing of the blind man in the temple, and the raising of Lazarus from the
dead caused an avalanche of attacks from the leaders.
A well-known Pharisee,
Nicodemus, was interested in the popular young rabbi, but because of the
general prejudice against Jesus, Nicodemus visited him at night. It reflects
the rejection of the prophet of Nazareth among the religious elite in
Jerusalem. Fearing reprisal from other members of the Council, Joseph of
Arimathea and Nicodemus remained secret followers of Jesus until his death;
then they stepped forward and buried him.
Paul said that Christ emptied
himself and took on the form of a slave. Jesus affirmed that he came to
serve, not to be served. He demonstrated this attitude at the Last Supper
when he took the role of a slave and washed the feet of the disciples.
People can’t choose their own
parents. As the Son of God, Jesus was part of the decision to choose Mary as
his biological mother and Joseph as his legal father. Not a glamorous royal
couple, but two poor, young people were chosen to be the parents of the
Messiah. When he began to draw large crowds, those who saw him grow up in
Nazareth played down his fame by saying he was just the carpenter’s son –
so, why all the hullabaloo?
Jesus pointed out to a
would-be follower that birds have nests and jackals have holes, but he did
not have a place to sleep comfortably. Paul says that Christ became poor for
our sakes so that through his poverty we may become spiritually rich.
His humiliation reached its
deepest point during those hours between his arrest and his death. He was
physically assaulted by Council members. He was flogged, mocked and crowned
with thorns by the Roman soldiers. He carried his cross until he collapsed;
Simon of Cyrene helped him. He hanged on the cross, held in place by spikes
hammered through his flesh. Carrying the sins of humanity, he was the most
God accepted his atoning
sacrifice, giving him a name that is above all others. Eventually, every
knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
1. Reaching out to the rejected
Most of us will treasure a
“selfie” with a celebrity. We like to be seen with people of high social
status. The Pharisees vied for the front seats in the synagogue, and they
prayed on street corners to be seen. On the contrary, Jesus reached out to
those despised by society: the lepers, the demon-possessed, the impure, the
sinners and tax-collectors. This difference of approach widened the rift
between Jesus and his enemies.
Fearing contamination, people
kept their distance from lepers. On top of their terrible physical
condition, these outcasts lost contact with family, friends and society.
They had to indicate with bells or shouts where they were; when they came
too close, people drove them off by throwing stones at them. Jesus sought
them out and touched them. He did not contract leprosy; instead, the lepers
People feared the
demon-possessed because of their violent outbursts and spiritual impurity.
Satan, the chief of demons, tempted Jesus at the beginning of Jesus’
ministry. He urged Jesus to do tricks, such as making bread from stones, to
prove he is the Son of God. Jesus disarmed him with quotes from scripture.
After this victory over Satan, demons feared Jesus, and cried out loud that
he is indeed the Son of God.
Jesus cast demons out from
Mary Magdalene, Legion, the man in the synagogue, and the boy who had
epileptic seizures. Jesus broke the power of evil spirits and brought their
victims into the domain of the Holy Spirit. Mary and Legion witnessed to
their own people about the goodness of God.
Menstruation made a woman
ritually impure. A woman who had been bleeding for 12 years, touched the hem
of Jesus’ garment, and she was instantly cured. Contact with a corpse, made
people impure too. In the parable of the Good Samaritan, the priest and
Levite avoided this impurity by giving the wounded man on the wayside a wide
berth. Jesus raised three people from the dead, touching two of them.
The most reviled were those
living openly a sinful life. The tax-collectors were associated with them,
because they were seen as traitors. They collected taxes for the Roman
oppressor, and added their own commission. Jesus called one of them,
Matthew, to be his disciple.
When the Pharisees criticized
Jesus for mingling with sinners and tax-collectors, he told the stories
about the lost sheep, lost coin, and lost son. He emphasized that people
celebrate when lost things are found. Likewise, angels rejoice when a sinner
Jesus was not crucified for helping the less fortunate, this approach
annoyed his enemies, who envied his popularity. They searched for good
reasons to condemn him to death.
3. Choices force us to think
Preferences determine choices, and choices have
consequences. Often our taste is too expensive for our income, and we have
to scale down. Reason has to prevail over sentiment.
Another conflict Christians
have to handle repeatedly is the struggle between flesh and Spirit – which
is not the same as body and soul. Paul’s view of “flesh,” also called
“carnality” or “old man,” includes sinful inclinations of body, soul, and
sprit (1 Cor. 3, Gal. 5, Eph. 4, Col. 3). The tastes of the new nature have
to be developed to override the old nature. Like Christ’s death and
resurrection, Christians have to crucify their old nature, and nurture the
Satan is quite successful in
reeling us in with the help of others. All people have the need to give and
receive love, to have the feeling of belonging. This makes Christians
vulnerable to social pressure, urging them to go along with a group.
However, the conscience may block the way, so it has to be dulled by alcohol
or other drugs. Then the old nature is set free to do things the new nature
will not allow – doing things to one’s body that is pretty bad for one’s
To avoid negative peer
pressure, we have to replace it with positive groups. Satan will whisper in
your ear that these groups are boring, but what he fails to point out are
the after-effects – on the short and long run. Those who participate in
healthy group activities, can still look and feel fabulous in their fifties,
while those who misused drugs and alcohol through their adult life, will
show the effects in body, soul, and spirit.
The facts of life speak
clearly. It is interesting that the truth, “we reap what we sow,” is
stressed by all major religions. Cultures all over the world learned it the
hard way, and included it in their values.
Many people hold the viewpoint that their
personal preferences are their own business, and they allow nobody to
dictate to them about their choices. Yes, we all value freedom of choice.
But there are many situations where we do not have much freedom of choice:
the genes we received from our parents and ancestors; the place, time and
culture we grew up in; the problems we faced and the opportunities we got;
the people who helped or hindered us in pursuit of our goals; and the
decisions that are made for us by powers beyond our control, such as
governments, economics, and natural disasters. All of these can have a
tremendous influence on our lives and choices. We should cherish the
remaining free choices, and use them wisely. Often we have to choose from
2. Group and personal interests
Group preference often overrides personal taste,
because majority rule is the cornerstone of democracy. Therefore, protecting
minority rights should not impede majority rights.
The Charter protects certain
personal rights against injustice. Generally accepted values, like freedom
of speech, outweigh generally unacceptable behaviour, like oppression – even
when it comes from a majority government. It is a values-contract agreed
upon by the population in a referendum.
In the war against terrorism,
certain personal freedoms have to be sacrificed to improve the safety of the
community. It happens in all wars. Before one makes too much noise about it,
one should remember that even in times of peace, we give up a lot of freedom
for the common good. We obey traffic rules and signs to prevent crashes.
Complete freedom on the road will quickly cause chaos. And that goes for all
terrains of society: peaceful communal living depends on controlled freedom.
Consequently, the rights and freedoms protected by the Charter are not
without limits. Freedom of speech does not give a licence to slander. So,
people may attack the views of their opponents, but they may not attack
their personal integrity.
The Bible shows that one
person can make a huge difference for the better or the worse. Achan gave
himself the freedom to take gold and silver from Jericho – contrary to God’s
command – and Israel lost their next battle (Joshua 7). Elijah stood alone
against the idolaters (king, nation and priests), prayed fire from heaven,
and won the day for Yahweh (1 Kings 18). When it comes to God’s will, the
majority cannot out-vote the Almighty. In the final judgment, he will be the
Judge, and their will be no appeal.
Parents know the experience to
give up personal preferences and agendas for the sake of the family. That
cherished coat, smart-phone, laptop, car or house has to be put on the
back-burner so that necessary clothes and equipment can be provided for the
children. Sometimes church members postpone their personal plans in order to
help disaster victims.
Jesus remains the best example
of someone who gave himself totally for the common good of saving the
undeserving. Looking at the crucifixion with adoration is not enough. The
haunting question remains: If he did that for me, what do I do for him? He
extended the line from him to us when he said, “Love one another, as I have
loved you.” That means that personal preferences must sometimes be reigned
in so that the needs of others may be met.
Personal and communal
preferences should both be met; but often it is a matter of priority.
Individual rights have to be served within the framework of the common good.
1. Unity amid diversity
Our values and preferences affect our behaviour and
lifestyle. These will determine how 2015 unfolds. Tastes differ: some
prefer certain foods, drinks, clothes, sports, jobs, faith and art; others
dislike the same.
Age and culture shape
interests and activities, for instance: boys and young men in Mongolia
strive for excellence in horse-riding and wrestling while in the West this
age group may be more into social media and skateboarding. Seniors lose
interest in youthful activities, and spend more time reading and watching
Despite the variety of
tastes and preferences, most people strive for excellence in their own
endeavours and in the lives of those they adore. Many athletes and
students push themselves hard to reach the top. When we or our heroes fall
short, we are disappointed and slip into critical mode, ignoring all the
achievements of the past. This overemphasis on mistakes and lack of
recognition for good behaviour can ruin a marriage as well as the
self-esteem of children and adolescents.
The Bible shows us how to
correct without rejection, and to appreciate despite imperfection. Israel
grieved God’s heart many times, and yet he called them the apple of his
eye. Paul had an axe to grind with the Galatians concerning heresies in
their midst, but he still addressed them as brethren, and greeted them
with his usual “Grace and peace to you from God the Father and our Lord
Paul’s letters to the
Corinthians show that this first century church battled with many
problems, but Paul still regarded them as saints – not perfect, but set
aside for God. King David and the apostle Peter made grave mistakes, but
God did not cast them away; he led them to remorse, repentance and
How do our preferences and
dislikes compare to those of God? Does it matter? He allows us to live on
his planet, and will in the end hold us accountable. He alone will decide
whether we fulfilled or missed the purpose of our lives.
He did not leave us ignorant
about his wishes. He gave us the Great Command to love him with our whole
being, and to love others as we love ourselves. Thus the golden rule is to
treat others as you want them to treat you – with courtesy and kindness.
Isn’t this what all cultures and age groups want?
So, despite the wide variety
of tastes and preferences in different cultures, there seems to be a few
basic universal values that all people aspire to, such as good health,
good relationships, and the necessities of life: air, water, food,
clothes, shelter, income and safety. We are not all that different.
Unfortunately, we sometimes do get confused about priorities.
4. Crumbs from the Master's table
Jesus sometimes taught by
paradox, using words that sounded self-contradictory, such as: “Whoever
desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my
sake will save it.”
He also used extreme contrasts
to make a point: “Remove the plank from your own eye, then you will see
clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
This apparent contradiction of
terms is evident in his interaction with the woman in Phoenicia. It was
Jesus’ first trip to a region outside Israel. How did it happen?
After he had ministered for
two years in Galilee, he fed the five thousand. They wanted to make him king
right away, but he moved higher up on the hill to pray.
A few days later, he spoke to
the crowd in the synagogue of Capernaum, explaining that he had to die to
fulfill his task. What they needed was not more bread or manna but the bread
of life, his body and blood. Those who would eat his flesh and drink his
blood would have eternal life.
The crowd took his words
literally, and was offended; the eating of blood was prohibited by the Law
of Moses. Many turned away from him, realizing he was not the leader that
would help them to throw off the Roman yoke.
Rejected by Israel, Jesus went
to the Gentiles. However, he knew that his disciples were not yet ready for
this shift of focus. So, in his contact with the Phoenician woman, he used
phrases that were still part of the disciples’ philosophy: “Israel should be
our first priority; we should not give the children’s bread to the dogs.”
This woman’s problem was not
policy or philosophy. Her little daughter was suffering in the clutches of a
cruel demon. She had heard enough about this healer from Galilee to throw
herself at his feet and plead as only a desperate, loving mother can.
God gave her the words that
would soften the hardest heart: “Yes, Lord, but the puppies under the table
wait for the crumbs falling from the master’s table.” She saw herself as a
little dog waiting for the crumbs. She was not demanding; she was begging.
Jesus’ heart did not need
softening, but those of the disciples. When that happened, Jesus granted her
request and her daughter was healed.
However, the disciples still
had to chew their cud, so to speak. The good news had just flowed to someone
outside Israel’s borders – the gospel had become available to the Gentiles
Long before Philip and Peter
baptized the first Gentiles, Jesus introduced the disciples to this notion
with an object lesson they would never forget.
3. Salvation has come to this house
The greatness of a person is
not determined by body size. The small David slay the gigantic Goliath; the
short guy from Corsica became the feared Napoleon; and the stumpy Winston
Churchill was Britain’s prime minister during World War II.
Although the story of
Zacchaeus starts with his short stature, that was not his real problem. He
accepted his shortness with humour. When he could not get a glimpse of Jesus
because of the crowd, he did not hesitate to make a fool of himself by
climbing in a sycamore tree to get a better view. He knew the crowd would
also get a good view of him, and being a tax-collector, he was not their
Why would a rich man risk his
dignity in such an impulsive way? Maybe he was inspired by the healing of
the blind beggar, who was still jumping with joy alongside Jesus. The rich
man wanted what the poor man enjoyed—a new life.
It must have been quite an
awkward moment when Jesus stopped beneath the branch where Zacchaeus sat.
When the renowned healer-preacher looked up with a smile, all eyes turned to
the rich man in the tree. The hated tax-collector grinned self-consciously
and shrugged his shoulders, as if to say, “Well, Lord, here I am.”
Jesus called him on his name
and invited him into a friendly relationship: “Zacchaeus, come down, I want
to stay at your home today.” Jesus still does that: He stops at the place
where you watch as a curious outsider, calls you by the name, and invites
you to become an involved insider.
Jesus saved Zacchaeus from
gross embarrassment by asking him to come down and serve some refreshments
at his opulent home. This turned the whole situation around. The
tax-collector became joyful and the crowd turned grumpy. How could Jesus
dare to eat with such a sinner?
When Zacchaeus heard the
criticism, he vowed to turn his life around and refund those he cheated.
Jesus knew his change of behaviour was the result of his change of heart. He
affirmed that salvation had come to that house, when the owner invited Jesus
into his home and heart. The reviled tax-collector was restored as son of
The story started with
Zacchaeus’ physical shortness; it ends with his spiritual greatness, thanks
to God’s Mediator. God wants to use his children as ambassadors to reconcile
sinners with God (2 Cor. 5:18).
Jesus summarized his ministry
in a few words, “The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was
lost.” A week after this incident, Jesus paid in full for the sins of
mankind on the Cross of Calvary.
2. I believe you are the Christ
First impressions of another
person are often one-sided and unfair. At the moment of introduction, we
have only external clues to assess. We may be misled: people usually put up
a façade when introduced; we don’t know the real self and history of the
person; and sub-conscious prejudices, spawned by our past experiences, may
make us either too positive or too negative about a stranger.
I’m sure many of us can recall
instances where we changed our mind about someone when we had the
opportunity to discover the real person. Then we had to conclude: “He/she
did not appear friendly, but actually he/she has a heart of gold.”
Many remember only Luke’s
picture of Martha: the woman who was so focused on housekeeping and cooking
that she missed out on fellowship with Jesus. Not quite. John shows another
side of Martha: her understanding of the person and power of Jesus.
Look at John’s story: Martha’s
brother Lazarus is critically ill. He’s weakening fast. Desperate, Martha
sends a messenger to Jesus in the Jordan Valley. He promises to come but
tarries two days before heading for Bethany. When someone tells Martha that
Jesus has been spotted near Bethany, she leaves her household chores
immediately and runs to her friend.
Out of breath she hugs him and
blurts: “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I
know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” She blames Jesus for
coming too late, but affirms her trust in his power – even now nothing is
impossible for him.
When Jesus promises that
Lazarus will live, she takes it as a referral to the resurrection of the
last day. Then Jesus conveys to Martha truth that will comfort many through
the ages: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will
live… Do you believe this?” Martha responds with amazing insight and faith:
“Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to
come into the world.” Martha has been illuminated.
When Martha’s sister joins
them, Jesus weeps with them and with all who mourn. He has the tomb opened,
and calls Lazarus back to live, to his old body. Martha’s faith has been
vindicated: God gives Jesus what he asks (Ps. 2:7-8).
Martha and her family are
overjoyed. When Jesus arrives for the Passover, Martha organizes a welcome
meal for him, and her sister Mary anoints him with expensive aromatic oil.
Lazarus is at the meal too, telling the guests about his death and
Later, Jesus rose from death
with a new body. He is the first-fruits of the resurrection (1 Cor. 15:20).
1. I was blind but now I see
Many disabled people have
astonished the world with their incredible adaptation to a handicap. Some
without arms developed dexterous feet and toes. Some amputees broke records
as blade-runners. The deaf can learn to speak and lip-read; the blind can
transverse city streets with guide-dogs, and read with the help of Braille
In the time of Christ, these
options were not available. The man born blind needed a friend every day to
take him to a temple gate. His only hope was charity. He had no hope of
improving his situation.
He had some factors in his
favour, though. With no visual image of his world, this man finds his way by
hearing and touching. Taste and smell enables him to enjoy the morsels
obtained by begging. Lack of vision sharpens his other senses. He identifies
people by the sound of their voices, footsteps, and actions.
One day, sitting at a temple
gate and begging for alms, he hears a clear voice addressing the crowd in
the temple court. Then people start shouting angrily. The hasty foot-steps
of a small group tell him they flee from the angry mob.
Though rejected by the crowd,
the person with the clear voice notices the beggar and says, “I am the light
of the world.” The blind man is puzzled when clay is applied to his eyelids.
“Go, wash in the pool of Siloam,” the voice says.
Two people grab him by his
arms and lead him to this place. As he washes, a strange sensation overcomes
him: he sees light for the first time in his life. More washing, more light
– until the full vision of the surroundings overwhelms him.
Jumping for joy, he shouts, “I
can see! I can see! Praise God! I can see!”
Overjoyed, he hurries to the
area where he lives to share the good news. He is rebuffed by sceptical
friends and hostile Pharisees who refuse to believe the most fantastic
moment in his life. Despite the putdown, he joyfully testifies, “One thing I
know: I was blind but now I see!”
When he reasons with the
Pharisees that a person who can open the eyes of the blind must be sent by
God, they ban him from the synagogue.
Seeing but lonely, he wanders
back to the temple. He has not seen his healer but he knows his voice. He
wants to thank him for the wonderful gift he received.
A friendly person suddenly
asks, “Do you believe in the Son of God?” Aha! Unmistakably, his voice! The
former blind man sinks to his knees and worships, relishing the privilege to
see his Redeemer. “Yes, Lord, I believe,” he confesses from the heart.