Read: John 9
Before we move on to John 10 and beyond, I have to stop and reflect on the three-part series that attempts to look at chapter 9. The conclusion that John presents provides an imperative for our lives: we have been presented with the truth of Jesus, we can see with our eyes and hear with our ears the plain message of the gospel. Will we fully commit to Christ? Or will we strap on our college degrees, our advanced intellect and cling to our guilt?
Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?” Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.’ John 9:40-41
Who are We Following?
The first question I have to ask myself is, “who am I following?” This seems simple enough, my answer hasn’t changed for decades, I’m a follower of Jesus Christ. The challenge isn’t my answer as much as the evidence of this assertion. If I am truly committed to following Christ, there should be fruit to demonstrate this conviction.
Here’s where the story gets foggy in my mind. In the past few years, my definition of success has changed. I used to think about church as a place we go to worship Christ, not as a checkbox to be checked, but as an authentic worship experience. The fruit of this conviction is therefore seen as a growing number of people who are interested in “going to church” more than actually following the commands of Jesus. In essence, many of us have gotten used to following the pastor more than following Jesus. Our measure of success is seen in human terms we can see physically.
Don’t get me wrong, please hear the whole idea. It’s great to get together and worship. Please find a place to worship, to hear the Word of God properly preached, and celebrate with others who are following Jesus Christ. Keep doing that and continue pushing the envelope to make it better and more meaningful.
But don’t convince yourself to believe that this is the goal. In my experience over the last decade, most of my effort and energy has been directed at enhancing, building, refining, and creating a Sunday morning experience that stirs people’s hearts and leads them along the journey of salvation. I’ve justified my time and money based on successfully delivering an experience, more than building relationships with people.
My challenge to churches today is to review their budgets in terms of money and time and figure out how much effort is focused on a few hours of the week. I seriously think that most will respond to this challenge with “What? Are we blind too?”
Perhaps I should rename this post, “Confessions of a Pharisee.”
The Great Commission
We’ve been commanded to go into the whole world and make disciples, to baptize and teach, and to trust that Jesus will be with us always in the process. By all means, use the church as a gathering place and make your gathering place a church that does what Jesus commanded. Both. Not either or. There is no need to wait for Sunday for anything.
No Longer Blind
We are no longer blind. We have heard the gospel clearly and the commands that follow. The modern concept of “come and see” must not forget the “go and do” part of the commission. If all we do is focused on going to church, we’ll never do what Jesus told us to do.
We no longer have an excuse. The concluding words of Jesus in chapter 9 are convicting, they demand we do more.
How you do this is between you and the Holy Spirit. What you do with this information will define your ministry as shaped by Him. I’m convinced it will look different in you than it does in me, but that’s the real beauty of the creative process we’re all a part of.
You have received power from the Holy Spirit, now go and do as Jesus commanded two thousand plus years ago:
…you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Acts 1:8b