The Gospel of John #3
“Lord, I Believe”
Today we continue our look at John’s Gospel, and the divinity of Jesus.
Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve seen that Jesus is the Word of God... and that God’s Word is authoritative and true. We’ve read in Scripture about how Jesus was there, with the Father and Spirit (as an equal part of the Trinity) before the creation itself.
We’ve acknowledged the unique and exclusive claim that Jesus is God and he’s the only way for us to experience restoration with God, and that Christ came to save “whosoever” believes.
Our Lesson today centers on a miracle... a blind man receives sight! But, the miracle in all this talk of who Jesus is... for us... is the fact that Jesus actually allows us to understand, to a degree, Who he is.
He gives us... He bestows upon us... He gifts us... with the ability to believe. And most often that ability seems to develop over time. Very few people develop an abiding, and enduring relationship with Christ instantly! For most of us... we grow into our relationship with God thru the ups and downs, the ebb and flow, the good and bad, of life.
Take, for example, the blind man’s testimony about Jesus from our scripture lesson. His testimony about Jesus actually progresses throughout the story (it changes, and grows). The first time this man gives testimony about Jesus to the Pharisees, he refers to Jesus as simply, “the man called Jesus.” Then, as the inquisition continued, he calls Jesus “a prophet” - and later, a man “from God.” Before finally professing to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of man and Son of God, and he falls at Jesus’ feet in worship.
This progressive, ongoing, growing revelation concerning the divinity of Christ is something that will continue to develop throughout the life of a faithful believer. The Bible speaks of “working out our salvation with fear and trembling” - which is to say, it’s a never ending process... we keep discovering God‘s character, as we keep longing to know God‘s heart, through an ever increasing experience with Him.
Think about it for a moment: is your relationship with God the same today as it was 20-years ago? Are you routinely learning something new? Gaining some new insight... or understanding about Christ?
There are so many people, good people, Christian people… who base their experience of God, and their relationship with Christ, on emotions. They’re always looking for a new “spiritual high” in order to confirm their faith (or at least that’s the way it seems).
If they feel particularly blessed, then at that moment, at least, they’re blessed. If they feel particularly happy they believe God’s blessing them, and walking with them. If they’re sad, lonely or depressed... God has somehow abandoned them. In other words, their entire relationship with God seems to be based on feelings. So much so, that some faith tradition stress walking down the aisle, to make emotional and Public display of one’s faith in Christ.
And don’t get me wrong… We’re called to profess our faith, to live it outwardly and openly... to express it. Romans 10:9 reminds us, “if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” We’re called to never be ashamed of the gospel of Christ to profess it with our lives... including our mouth! But that profession, that belief… is not exclusively an emotional response. And God doesn’t reveal himself to us solely through our emotions or feelings.
Of course, on the opposite end... there are people who try to divorce their feelings from their faith. They try to make faith about knowledge and understanding... they try to make faith an academic pursuit in rule keeping! And that’s no faith at all! The Pharisees failed miserably at their attempts at a rules only/knowledge only kind of faith...
God’s Word reminds us - the Words of Jesus, no less, red-letters and all - that we’re called to “love the Lord your God with all our heart, soul, and mind, and strength.”
Of course, to say we love something with all our heart, for us, means to love something completely. The word, “heart” in the context of our scripture... means “Feelings” - which, of course, for us is represented by “emotions.”
The soul, is a reference to spiritual nature of our relationship with God. To “love with all our soul” means there’s a deeper dimension to our relationship with God that transcends the physical or natural world...
And, of course, the “mind” represents the intellect... our cognitive ability to reason and think!
So we’re to love God with all our faculties (all of our strength), so-to-speak, emotions... spirit... and intellect!
It’s not one or the other... it’s all of the above!
And that’s the conclusion the Man Born Blind reached... after being healed... saved... restored - he found his faith questioned by those who didn’t understand (and refused to believe)... before being found by Jesus... and falling at his feet, in worship.
Sometimes, all we can ultimately know... is like the blind man said... “I was blind, but now I see.” Jesus’ divinity is evidenced through miracles... including the miracle of helping us understand who He really is.
Jesus is God. And you and I should keep discovering God’s character and heart through an ever-growing knowledge of Him - no matter where we are in our journey of faith.
“I once was blind, but now I’m found, was blind... but now I see.”
What a testimony to the healing, restoring power, of God in Christ!