Wednesday, September 4, 2013

State The Facts, Jack!

                Have you ever found yourself arguing with someone about Jesus? Perhaps they have questioned you about your faith, or quizzed you on your knowledge of the Bible, and you found yourself stumbling over what to say. There was a time, not too long after I became a Christian that I too found myself in similar
situations. My mother had given her life to Christ, and then found out she had terminal lung cancer. My sister came down that week from Iowa to North Carolina to visit with her and spend some time with her. My mom was telling her about Jesus, about how He had saved her and was changing her, even though she was dying on the outside, her inward man was being born anew. She was excited and wanted to share her faith.
                I had been a Christian for almost five years at the time. I had been radically changed by Jesus and many of my family members were amazed at the transformation. My mom continued to talk to my sister about Christ, but my sister would throw out questions that were hard for my mom and even me to answer because we were so young in the faith. We found ourselves beginning to argue the facts and the faith of Christianity. My sister then stated to me and my mom, “I just need proof.” I remember so clearly how I stood in my kitchen, my arms spread wide and replied, “Am I not proof enough?” At that point, the conversation ended and she changed the subject.
                I would love to say that now my sister is a believer in Christ and walks with Him, but that is not the case. I love my sister dearly, but I also know that she must find Jesus for herself; I cannot force her to believe when she chooses not to. This leads me to the scriptures that I have been studying in John 9. Jesus has just healed the blind man who was born blind at birth, and the Pharisees begin to question the blind man about what has happened and who has healed him. They even bring in his parents because they think he may be telling a tall tale.

                “They brought him formerly who was blind to the Pharisees. Now it was Sabbath when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. Then the Pharisees also asked him again how he had received his sight. He said to them, “He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.” Therefore some of the Pharisees said, “This Man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath.” Others said, “How can a Man who is a sinner do such signs?” And there was division among them.” John 9:13-16
                The Pharisees are confused. This man says that he was blind, and they are pretty sure that he was born blind, but now all of a sudden he can see. Something is up and they want to get to the bottom of it. The blind man tells them in the previous verses that it was a “Man called Jesus” (vs. 11) that had healed him, but the Pharisees refused to believe him. So they called for his parents to come and tell them whether or not this was their son.
                “But the Jews did not believe concerning him that he had been blind and received his sight, until they called the parents of him who had received his sight. And they asked them, saying, ‘Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?’” John 9:18-19
                I find it interesting that they do not take the man’s word for it. They have seen him day after day begging and blind, yet they just cannot believe that this “Man called Jesus” could have done this because He broke the Sabbath day to do it. Therefore, there must be some other explanation. How many times have we, as Christians, tried to convince others about Christ, but they just cannot understand how this “Man called Jesus” could be who He says He is. They just refuse to see that He is God and that He came to heal their blindness and save them from their sins. It can get frustrating to say the least.
                “His parents answered them and said, ‘We know that this is our son, and the he was born blind; but by what means he now sees we do not know, or who opened his eyes we do not know. He is of age; ask him. He will speak for himself.’ John 9:20-21
                His parents tell the Jewish leaders that they have no idea how he has received his sight, all they know is that he was born blind, and that this is their son. This happened to me as well. Some of my family were amazed at the radical change in my life, and could not believe that it had happened. They would give me the credit for getting my life back together, but they would not accept that it was Jesus who had changed my life. There had to be some other explanation. Jesus just didn’t make sense.
                “So they again called the man who was blind, and said to him, “Give God the Glory! We know that this Man is a sinner.” He answered and said, “Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know; that though I was blind, now I see.” John 9:24-25
                The Leaders call him back into the room and tell him to give the honor and praise due to God, not this Man called Jesus. For only God can give sight to the blind, and this Man called Jesus must be a sinner and not of God because He healed this man on the Sabbath. But the blind man more convinced by the minute that the Man called Jesus who healed him is indeed God and states the facts- what he knows to be true, and it infuriates the Jewish leaders.
                He states what he knows. He does not try to make it make sense to them. He tells them what he knows and stands on that. There are those who are going to want to drill us about our faith. But the Bible tells us in 2 Timothy 2:14 “not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers.” This blind man gives us an excellent example to follow when we are up against unbelievers who want to debate and question us about our faith. He did not try to prove Christ, he replied with what he knew…”Though I was blind, now I see.”

There is no form of debate that can come against the simple truth of a radically changed life for Jesus Christ.  “The blind man said, ‘You may be able to trip me up intellectually and outmaneuver me logically, but all I know is this: Once I was a miserable, blind, wretched sinner like you- but now I see!” We too can refute the arguments that come against us with the same simple facts of our radically changed lives for Christ. All we have to say is, “One thing I know- though I was blind, now I see!” (Jon Courson, Application Commentary of the New Testament)

There are going to be those that oppose us, as we are witnessing to them and telling them about Jesus, and they are going to do everything they can to trip us up. But, we can learn much from the blind man. He stated what he knew and left the rest up to God. These Jewish leaders took their stand on their preconceived ideas, and refused to open their blind eyes to see anything else. So will many to whom we witness do the same thing. Does this mean that we stop witnessing to them? No, it just means that we state the facts that we know, and leave the rest up to God. Do not strive and argue with others about Christ, it is of no profit to you and no profit to them. It only makes them more determined to prove you wrong. Therefore, share what you know about Jesus and leave the rest up to God. This blind man shared what he knew, that once he was blind, but now he sees. Against that there is no argument. To God be the Glory! Amen and Amen.