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Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Light of the World Opens Blind Eyes: The Healing that Declared Messiah!

The Beauty of the Word and the Healing of a Man Born Blind.

By the time one of the Gospels concludes it is noted that the things that Jesus did, healings, miracles, and such, if they had all been recorded could have filled volumes.

john 21:25 And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.

That mention in Scripture, referred to only the things he did in the last three years of his life, his 'earthly' ministry as many call it, and doesn't even include every healing, anointing, work or miracle which has happened since by his power in those who believe. Among all the miracles and healings though, while others were more eminent and astounding such as walking on water, of all the healings in the Bible save for the raising of Lazarus, the healing of the Man born blind since birth carries an eternal significance, for in addition to the act of healing, it heralded the declaration that Jesus, Yshua Ha Meschiach, was the Messiah of Israel, the Holy One of Israel, expected for centuries.

After Jesus heals the man at the Pool of Bethesda, and after he teaches about tolerance and forgiveness for the woman caught in adultery, following the feast of Tabernacles, in Chapter 8 of John, he pronounces that he is the "Light of the World".
(See Promise of Messiah: Light of the World) This also is no small pronouncement, for he explains what that means to the darkness that holds this world so tightly, John 1:5,9
Jhn 1:4 -5 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. and...

John 1:9 That was the true LIght which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

So soon after celebrating the feast of Tabernacles, the Light of the World which lasts beyond one feast, explicates his role as the Light of the Whole world, forever.
Now the Light of the World can do many things excellently, but a magnificent feature of Yshua was that he could make darkness flee. Spiritual darkness, Social darkness, the darkness of sin, and the darkness of the physical body in blindness. The declaration of his being the "Light of the World" precipitates, the healing of the man born blind since birth.

The True Test of the Messiah

Why is the healing of a man born blind since birth so significant? Because, as shall be seen, even the common people counted this as the sure sign that the Messiah had come. Why this sign and not another?

1. The sign had been prophesied, notably in Isaiah, and
2. It was the one 'impossible' task, that even the great prophets of God, since Abraham, Moses, Elijah and Elisha had not performed.

It was not to be merely the opening of blind eyes: Jesus opened many blind eyes. In his role as liberator, much of his ministry was spent delivering people from the bondage of deafness, blindness, lameness, mental and spiritual afflictions and most critically the bondage of sin and unbelief.

Isaiah and the Messiah Who Heals the Blind

The verses and promises Israel clung to in Isaiah as a litmus test of Messiah were:

Isaiah 29:18 "the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity"
Isaiah 35:5 "the eyes of the blind shall be opened..."
Isaiah 42:7 ...to open blind eyes
Isaiah 42:16: I will bring the blind by a way they knew not...
Isaiah 42:18- "look ye blind that you may see"
Isaiah 42:19 "Who is blind but my servant or deaf....."
Isaiah 43:8 "Bring forth the blind people that have eyes"
Isaiah 56:10 His watchmen are blind..."
Isaiah 59:10 "We grope for the wall like the blind...

and in other passages:

Lamentations 4:14 They [referring to Israel] have wandered as blind men..."
Malachi 1:8 blind not allowed for sacrifice.

Two important issues arise here: one is the test of Messiahship in the healing of one born blind since birth, and one is that the blindness that Yshua meant to heal was more than mere physical blindness, but the spiritual blindness that had beset Israel since her birth: there eyes had been darkened at many times in history to who they were, to what they were, to who and how great their God was, and to the Salvation and Deliverance of God which came to be repeated over and over in the course of God's wilderness people. Note a few lines above where he compares Israel to the blind:

Lamentations 4:14 "They have wandered as blind men..." or in Is 56:10 where even the watchmen are blind.

The porch of Solomon was not the only place God had declared that He was the Light of Israel. Remember the burning bush of Moshe or the pillar of fire in the Wilderness of Zin: there were other times the Light of Israel and the world appeared. Between the theophanies though, there were great periods of darkness in Israel, when eyes were darkened. It was that Spiritual darkness that Messiah came to deliver out of, and He did it first, by performing the long awaited miracle of the opening of blind eyes, or a man who had never seen a thing, who was born blind.

The Blind Guides of Israel

As soon as the eyes of the man are opened, without even completely knowing who Jesus was or where he was from, he began to expound his way and light to the Pharisees, who at another time Jesus called
"Mat 15:14 Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch"

In Matthew 23:16 he refers to:

Mat 23:16 Woe unto you, [ye] blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor![Ye] fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold? And, Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty.[Ye] fools and blind: for whether [is] greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift?

Before any confrontation with the Pharisees and other leaders of the Temple, Jesus, Yshua, rebukes them for being blind themselves, and for leading Israel into Spiritual and moral blindness. It is no small wonder that the Great Love of God incarnate would do that, as he had seen firsthand what those men had done to Israel: selling the holy things of God as merchandise, merchandising their positions, buddying up to Rome while young zealots gave their lives for Israel, and breaking every law of man and God. They were merciless, though keeping Shabbat by refusing to lift even a finger lest it be declared work. They made sure the Temple's coffers were filled with the paltry riches of widows they had swindled with 'corban' laws. The high priest Caiaphas and his cohort Annas were not even from Levitical lines: they had bartered their positions from Rome, and yet these were the men , who by the end of the healing on Solomon's Porch, were declaring that no true prophet came out of Galilee!---showing they did not even know the Word of God very well, for several had including Jonah, Elijah, Elisha and others of the 'minor' prophets. Yet these men, who had taken the Spiritual leadership of Israel by force and merchandising, patronizing Roman authorities, were sitting in judgment, of one who had just healed the eyes of a man born blind. While this is getting ahead of the study, the blind man, who can now see, retorts against the Pharisees:

Jhn 9:30 The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and [yet] he hath opened mine eyes.

So the Scriptures to this point, have noted that Israel was too wont to walk in darkness herself, and that by this time in History, even the leadership was blind to God's true ways, or to a real, living, breathing, powerful Messiah. Sounds familiar.

Luke 4:18, further notes that a part of Messiah's "inaugural address" is the 'recovering of sight to the blind:, a reflection of the passage in Isaiah 61.

Blindness and Sin

Messiah came to deliver from sin. There is no question even in unbelievers' minds that this is the essential task of God's Christ, or Messiah. [Meschiach in hebrew].
Nor should there be doubt that sin is equated with darkness and blindness. Even in descriptions in Zechariah of the Anti-Christ, it speaks of him having one eye darkened:

Zec 11:17 Woe to the idol shepherd that leaveth the flock! the sword [shall be] upon his arm, and upon his right eye: his arm shall be clean dried up, and his right eye shall be utterly darkened.

The Hebrew word 'kahal' for darkened refers to a dimming, or darkening, in which the light is decreased, and while that seems very straightforward and it indicates that sin, which is often defined as 'missing the mark', is a dimming of the glory which we were meant to have, and the more one sins, the more darkness prevails. Darkness leads to confusion, chaos, the dissension of the Spirit and an inability to hear from God in prayer not to mention trouble in the world: it is often the case that before a number of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit work in power, sins may need to be repented of. Darkness also, is found at the edge of Glory, including God's abode we call 'Heaven'. (see Genesis 15: The Horror of Great Darkness)

Sin and Punishment: Who Did Sin?
As Jesus encounters the man born blind, the people who gather want to know the following:

9:2 ...Master, Who did sin, this man or his parents, that he was born blind."

In Ancient Israel as today, we often assume that when we see trial or trouble the person must have deserved it somehow, and while that can occasionally be true, it can also be from happenstance, providence or even as a test of faith. Note that

1. Blindness since birth was equated with sin
2. A Generational Effect is noted-that the sin of a parent could cause a consequence in the child's life.

The second point is indicative of a lack of teaching about sin, for in Jeremiah, God does a new thing:

Jer 31:29-30 In those days they shall say no more, The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children's teeth are set on edge.But every one shall die for his own iniquity: every man that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge.

Basically, the sins of a father were to be no longer visited upon the son, although initially this was the case:

more to follow....
2. 84.