Thru the Bible – Day 262

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Day 262 – Thru the Bible

Today we continue John.

John 9Before Jesus healed the blind man, He challenged the prevailing notion that there is a one-to-one correlation between our physical maladies and our character. We live in a fallen world where even good people experience terrible loss and pain. But though the gospel of grace doesn’t immediately negate the reality of painful consequences resulting from poor choices or a corrupted creation (Galatians 6:8; Romans 8:22–23), it does place us in a larger story. We are not blind to our world’s present brokenness, nor are we fatalists about our future. Rather, we are followers of Jesus, graciously incorporated into His redeeming purposes for our world.

Instead of asking, “Why did this happen to me? Who’s to blame?” we begin to ask, “Where is God in this situation? What is He up to? How may His glory ultimately shine through this?” Grace leads us to ask more vertical questions and fewer horizontal ones. Only the gospel of eternal purposes and hope beyond this world can enable us to accept suffering as a normal part of the Christian life. For the ultimate suffering, condemnation, and separation from the Father in hell has been undergone by Jesus in our place. All current suffering in the lives of those who are in Jesus can therefore only be by the loving hand of a caring Father, who is training us to walk with Him—and enabling others touched by our lives to do so also, as they walk through this broken world with us.

He who said, “Let there be light!” now says, “Let there be sight!” The spit and clay used in this miracle echo the elements of the first creation (Genesis 1–2). Even more profoundly, they also announce that, in Jesus, the new creation order has arrived. He who created man from dust now uses dust to restore him. The “sent one” (Jesus), sent the healed one to the pool of “Sent” (Siloam). He who was sent into the world to lift the curse of sin is here. Superstition is trumped by the truly supernatural, and the saved are sent in witness.

Jesus’ miracles are reminders of the day when there was no brokenness (Eden) and of the firstfruits of the day when all brokenness will be removed forever (the new heaven and new earth; Revelation 21:1). Miracles are not primarily for our comfort but for God’s glory—for declaring the power present in and the praise due to the person and work of Jesus.

The conversation between the healed man and the Pharisees is filled with gospel irony. He who sees for the first time in his life reveals the long-standing blindness of the Pharisees. They only see the law, but the healed man sees the Messiah, to whom the law points. In their hubris, the Pharisees can only boast about Moses; in his humility, the healed man only boasts about Jesus. The Pharisees charge the healed man with walking in the darkness of sin; but he sees the Light of the World—the Son who made the sun and everything else. The Pharisees excommunicated him from the life of the temple; Jesus made him a living stone (1 Peter 2:4–12) in the only true and lasting temple—Jesus Himself (John 2:19–22; Revelation 21:22).

The whole of the Christian life consists of getting to know Jesus better and better. Jesus sought out the healed man in order to confirm his saving faith. Once again for John, the prevailing question in his Gospel, and in our lives, is, “Who is Jesus?” Jesus is the promised Son of Man (Daniel 7:13–14; Matthew 26:64), who one day will rule over all nations (Revelation 11:15). The gifts of God must lead us to the true and final gift of God: Jesus.

How has Jesus given you spiritual sight to see Him and the world around you?

 

John 10The imagery of sheep, shepherd, and sheepfold was a central part of Israel’s heritage—both as a Bedouin people and, more significantly, as the people of God (Psalm 23). By choosing this symbol, Jesus accomplished two things. He drew a strong contrast between Himself and the shepherds of Israel. He also declared Himself to be the messianic Shepherd for whom Israel hoped (Zechariah 13:7–9).

The sheepfold was commonly attached to the shepherd’s home. Thus, to enter the sheepfold was to come home. As the “door of the sheep,” Jesus is the only means of coming home to God—of becoming a member of the household of faith. Jesus is the merciful Shepherd who provides shelter, security, and pasture for His beloved sheep. The shepherds who preceded Him in Israel’s history were mercenaries—fleeing the sheep quickly when under threat; and fleecing the sheep regularly for personal gain.

Jesus is the Good Shepherd, whose “goodness” cannot be overstated. Like David, the shepherd-king, Jesus risks His life to care for His sheep (1 Samuel 17:34–37). He knows His flock by name, and each of His sheep recognize and love His voice. Though the gospel is not a private story, it is most definitely a personal one. Jesus delights in His whole flock, and in each one of His sheep. Jesus’ flock and sheepfold is enormous, exceeding the borders of Israel. He has come for lost sheep from every tribe, language, people, and nation (Revelation 5:9).

But as the promised King, the greater David, Jesus literally laid down His life for the sheep on the cross. What a glorious paradox: The Good Shepherd became the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world. Even throughout eternity, Jesus will be known as the Lamb who shepherds His people and guides them to “springs of living water” (Revelation 7:17).

The Lamb of God is God the Lamb. Could Jesus have been any more explicit about His identity and purpose as the Messiah? Apparently many Jews still felt He was veiling His identity. But the issue wasn’t one of information but of illumination. Jesus’ sheep hear His voice. They understand Him because they know Him.

But more glorious than knowing Jesus is being known by Jesus (Galatians 4:9). To be known by Jesus is to be held secure by the grip of His grace. No one can snatch believers from Jesus’ hand or from the Father’s hand. Why? Because Jesus and the Father are one—they are both divine, acting with power and purpose that human forces cannot negate. This is an affirmation both of Jesus’ deity and of the biblical doctrine of the Trinity. The Jews certainly took it as such, because they wanted to stone Jesus for blasphemy.

How does Jesus as your Good Shepherd bring you comfort?

 

What other thoughts or questions does today’s reading bring up?

 

Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.

Videos produced by www.TheGospelProject.com.

All links you need to be a part of this are here – Thru the Bible in 2018.

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