As always, you can find all our previous posts in this series, going through the Gospels chronologically to find the real Jesus, here.
And as always you'll find the scriptures for today are here.
(Note that you can change the human-translation version on this scripture page, as suits you. I have NO theological or other tie to the online-bible site I use for this blog – it just lists many human translations to choose from, including the NASB, KJV, The Message, and the NRSV, which are the ones mentioned by those I chat and email with.)
This week's scripture should be a warning to those who discount Jesus' ability to do miracles beyond what we normally expect from the standard "physics" of this world – and that's almost all of what calls itself "Liberal" or "Progressive" Christianity today. It also gives warning to those "Good Religious People" we've come to see so often in the Bible now, as well.
In this week's scripture, two guys who are blind are following Jesus (and we assume the crowd of disciples, God-seekers, gawkers, etc also following Him), hollering out for help. Note that they call Jesus "Son of David", which meant they understood Him to be the Messiah promised to Israel (and the world).
They followed Him all the way into somebody's home (or other indoor place), still clamoring for Him heal their blindness supernaturally. They aren't asking Him for a pill, or a better doctor, or a good hospital, after all. They've heard from others that He can raise the recently-dead, throw demons out of people, heal disabilities, and more – and they want the same kind of miracle for themselves.
Jesus gives them what they want – but He first asks them if they truly believe He can do it.
If these men had been like many "Liberal" or "Progressive" Christians, though, they would have had to tell Him something like, "Well, Lord, since I'm a modern-believer, with science and reason at my disposal, I've risen above superstition and mythology. No, I don't believe you've actually done anything supernatural. But I do give you greatest honor as an awesome teacher whose teachings inspire me to live a loving, moral life. I also appreciate the lessons to be learned from the metaphorical or figurative 'miracle' stories told about you by well-meaning but backward human beings who lived in a pre-science culture. I suppose if my blindness is actually being caused by some psychosomatic distress, then you might be able to 'cure' it with what's really a spiritual 'sugar pill'. But if my blindness isn't purely psychosomatic, like I'm sure the so-called 'demon possession' of the guy behind me is, then, no, Lord. I know better than to believe you can cure me."
And, since Jesus healed the blind men in our scripture to the extent they believed He could, the literal-miracle-rejecting "Liberal"/"Progressive" Christian would get – what? Nothing.
Now, does this mean that every time someone prays for a blind person (or anyone with any kind of illness, disability, trouble, etc) Jesus will automatically heal them? No. The Bible itself shows us that Jesus walked all over Israel, and only a tiny number of the many, many who suffered there received healing. We might be tempted to say that people get healing depending on how close they are to Jesus Himself or to His praying-people, but the Bible never shows us 100% healing even of every believing-person. Timothy, for example, had gut and other problems that apparently were accepted as just a part of life to deal with. Paul, for another example, had some kind of ailment God simply wouldn't heal because otherwise Paul risked becoming as worthless to God as most "ministers" are today.
The Bible does show us that God acts supernaturally in this world when it works for His plan. Jesus acted supernaturally (in healing and more) 2,000 years ago – just as He does today – when that supernatural action illustrates God's power, His nature, or His intentions for our future, or when that supernatural action freed a "trapped" worker who was unable to continue working towards God's plan as s/he was. So, even if we do have big ailments or disabilities and don't get healing in this life, we know God has the power to heal, and that our healing will come – when Jesus returns for us, if not before.
If, that is, we are willing to believe He can and will.
- Nothing in the Bible says science or reason should be thrown out - but everything in the Bible says that God isn't limited by anything we can understand. Are you able to appreciate and use science and reason in ways that benefit yourself and others, without denying that God can act outside the rules He created for this world when He created it?
- Have you had times of refusing miracles in your life because it didn't seem "reasonable" to expect them? What would it take for you to open up to God's ability to show His power, nature, and future intentions through your life, as fits His plan for the world?
- Since even Timothy and Paul (who were great workers of wonders in Jesus' Name) had ailments and other physical problems that were apparently never healed while they lived on this earth - and yet never believed that meant Jesus couldn't do supernatural things or that God didn't love them beyond measure anyway, why do we?
The scripture story today ends as they often do – with the Good Religious People accusing Jesus of using demonic power to accomplish what doesn't elevate and sanctify their way of being "godly". If you've been following along in our study, you can easily shake your head and say, "Same stuff, different day!" And truly, Good Religious People never change. Through the Old Testament, the New Testament, the centuries since, and even today, they proclaim themselves as God's People even as they reject living the way God has said His people must live. They also claim to be the one's He's using in His plan, even as they act against Him at work in the world when it doesn't please their own religiosity. An easy example today is the Holy Spirit action in the lives of Gay people today, as God heals more and more of them of the spiritually alienating and deeply wounding false-witness and intentional Bible-mistranslation Good Religious People have bludgeoned them with. Just as God called the Gentiles, even when it torqued off the Jews, God calls Gay people, even when it torques off straight people. And witnessing God at work, all Good Religious People today can do is screech "Satan's power at work! Satan's power at work!"
They truly never change.
- What lessons has the Bible taught you so far about Good Religious People and the mistakes they make (intentional and otherwise)?
- What dangers do we face when we do follow along with or let ourselves be guided by Good Religious People?
- Have Good Religious People spiritually injured you or someone you love? Are you more able now to understand their attack as part of Satan's work, and not God's? What help can you find today to get you the additional spiritual healing you still need, so you're no longer a trapped and inured worker who can't help in God's plan?
Until next week, and in His love!
This article written by Lynne at http://NoJunkJustJesus.blogspot.com/. You can contact Lynne at NoJunkJustJesus@gmail.com.