Saturday, May 21, 2016

Our Job as Members: Giving God the Glory

Our Job as Members:  Giving Glory to God                      5/22/16

John 9, Colossians 3:15-17


Our Job is to give God the glory.

Webster's Defines Glorify:  to make glorious by bestowing honor, praise, admiration

               to light up brilliantly

 Paul tells the Colossians how to do this:

          Every word, every deed, all in the name of Jesus.  Thanking God through Jesus.

Why should we glorify God?
Because of who God is, and what God has done.
“The Lord is good, and his love endures forever”

Life is about engaging that idea of giving God the glory as we live through the seasons of life, as we live in our historical context, and as we navigate the culture and society that we are part of.   How do we give God the glory when we are uncertain about the future?  How do we give God the glory when we are tired?  Or hurting?  Or confused?

“Every word, and every deed in the name of Jesus Christ, thanking God for Jesus”.   The practical answer:  Your next word, your next deed in the name of Jesus Christ.  And after you’ve offered your next word to God’s honor, do the same thing again.

Let’s look today at the characters in this Gospel story.  In preparation I listed them, and the word that seemed to characterize what we know of them from the story.

In this story, Jesus did God’s work:  a miracle, a healing.  He is worshipped at the end of the story.  As the story unfolds, there are several different reactions.


The Man Born Blind
The descriptive word is HEALED.  Ultimately, the man receives healing from his blindness, but more importantly, he receives healing of his soul through a relationship with Jesus Christ.

His lot in life difficult, he was a beggar.  And when Jesus commands him, he obeys.  As a result, he receives sight. 

When people are talking about him, he speaks plainly:  I am the man.  Hi people, hello, over here, It was me.

Yet he didn’t go back at first to find his healer.  When asked what he thought of the healer, he replies simply:  He is a prophet.  You and I would say something similar. 

The man, when before the religious decision making group, is on the end of a fascinating command:  Give Glory to God, tell the truth.

What is his answer:  I once was blind, and now I see.  (that is an answer that gives God the glory)

The healed man even has a little feisty side.  When asked to repeat his story:  I’ve already told you that.  Are you asking because you want to follow him too?

After being thrown out of the presence of the Pharisees, the man meets Jesus.  When asked if he believes in the Son of Man, he replies, tell me who it is and I will believe.

Being told it is Jesus, the man worships.  “Lord, I believe”, and he worshipped Jesus Christ.

The descriptive phrase is DRAWING CONCLUSIONS.  They ask a question of Jesus which was the conventional wisdom of the day, and is still something people today wonder:  Who did something wrong for this person to be blind?

Even if the question seemed legitimate to them, it wasn’t.  Jesus quickly corrects them and redirects their understanding to God’s ways, and not human understanding.

Neighbors that see a New Man
The descriptive word is TALKING.

In the story, there is a discussion going on between those that think one thing and those that think the other.  The problem is:  the answer was right in front of them.  It seems that they have more of an interest in sharing their opinions than in seeking the truth.

The Pharisees                                
The descriptive word is DIVIDED.  Upon hearing that this miracle occurred on the Sabbath, their classic stumbling block came up once again.  And some said that this proved that Jesus wasn’t from God, and the others used the same logic to declare that it shows he must have been from God.   But needless to say, someone got it wrong along the way.  Could God really be that upset that his Son healed a person?

Their inability to understand the Sabbath quickly deteriorates into inappropriate thinking.  Is it God’s will to hurl insults at someone with whom you disagree?  Is it God’s will to throw someone out of a group?  Is it God’s will to ignore a person when God speaks wisdom through someone?  Is it God’s will for us to feel so superior over another person?   

The conflict within the souls of these leaders leads them to do things that aren’t God’s will.

The Parents
The descriptive word is REDIRECTING.

Surely, it would have been difficult to consider the social consequences of being thrown out of the synagogue.  It was the social center of the Jewish life in the 1st century.  But it is simpler to tell the truth than to be afraid. 

(truth will always win out.  It might be beaten up, dismissed, ignored, challenged, but truth endures.  Because if something is true, then its true)

In this case, the pressure was too much for the parents:  Ask him, he is of age.

The descriptive word is WORKING AND HEALING.   Jesus’ self-understanding of his mission was perfect.   And as a result, he understood time, and lived with the perfect balance of urgency and intentional behavior.

“As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sends me”.

He says this after dismissing the disciple’s misunderstanding.  The man was going to display the works of God.  Jesus was going to do that work, for he was the light of the world.

(earlier, the 2nd definition of glorifying was to light up brilliantly.  By doing the works of God, Jesus lit up brilliantly his father’s character and mission.  He brought light to the story, and as a result, the blind man could see, but so could anyone willing to look and believe.)


He healed the man.  He worked God’s work.  And he healed the man’s soul.  

Jesus also taught his followers to not think more highly of themselves than they should.  Doing so can lead to blindness. 

Finally, there were PHARISEES with Jesus, and the descriptive word of them is OFFENDED.

We can easily imagine the scene, they were around Jesus, hanging on every word, when Jesus declared a truth which they weren’t expecting.  “Uh, uh…uh, uh.  Yep…wait, WHAT?   And that is when they get defensive:  So you’re saying that we are blind too?

Being offended is a oft-recorded response in the Bible.  Many people were offended and are offended today.  When we encounter the truth of Christ, we can choose to be offended, and distance ourselves.  Or, we can open our hearts by faith to believe in him, and even if he pronounces a judgment that is hard for us to hear, we should remember the one who speaks.  He has come into this world for judgment, that is, to announce a verdict; that the blind will see. 

We have these people in the story with their reactions.  In some ways these reactions reflect our faith in the 21st century.  Words like DRAWING CONCLUSIONS, SPEAKING (without discerning), DIVIDED, REDIRECTING,OFFENDED:   these do not have to be the words we use for ourselves.  They are words we might chose for ourselves, much to our shame.

Rather, the man who once was blind, but now saw:  He was healed.  That is a true statement for all who are in Christ.  We are healed. 
And Jesus, coming to work and heal invites us to follow him:  we can work for God’s glory, we can bring Christ’s healing to the world.


How do we do that?


Your next word, your next action. All in the name of Christ. Then repeat.















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