Remember being in elementary school and doing Show And Tell? I went to First, Second, Third, and Fourth Grades at Pioneer Elementary School in Quincy, Washington, and I remember some great Show and Tells.
One day in Second Grade, a kid named Bobby brought something in a bag that he was really excited to TELL us about and then SHOW us. But I’ll never forget the collective gasp that sucked all the oxygen out of the room when he opened up the bag and shook out a dead bunny that he’d found the night before. It wasn’t bloody or anything. It just basically looked like it was sleeping. And Bobby (along with most of the kids) thought it was so cool. But the teacher? Not so much.
Then in Third Grade, when it was GRANDPARENT WEEK, a girl named Janet wanted to bring her grandfather to school for Show and Tell. I guess our teacher thought that maybe Janet’s grandpa could tell the class about all the ways he’d seen the world change since the turn of the 20th Century or something instructive like that. But of course that wasn’t what happened. Because Janet brought her grandfather to class all right – but he was in an urn. Which of course was something that most of us in the class hadn’t ever seen before. Again, very cool. I remembered those two Show And Tells, that’s for sure.
Well this morning the story John tells us in JOHN 9 is kind of like Show And Tell. Actually it’s more like Tell And Show … I did the Tell earlier in the service when I read through JOHN 9:1-41 and shared a bit of commentary with you along the way. And now I’ll do the Show part of the equation, as I share with you some of the things I believe God wants to teach us through this story …
- SOME IMPORTANT LESSONS ABOUT JESUS
- SOME IMPORTANT LESSONS ABOUT US, AND …
- SOME IMPORTANT LESSONS ABOUT HEALING
- WHAT WE LEARN ABOUT JESUS FROM JOHN 9 …
His COMPASSION enables Jesus to see us as we really are, and love us anyway. And His HOPE enables Jesus to see what we can become if we’ll surrender our brokenness and our pain to His touch.
Sometimes Jesus invites us to put our faith in Him and THEN He brings healing into our lives. And sometimes He brings healing into our lives and THEN He calls us to faith in Him. It’s not a fixed formula that has to be followed.
Jesus is God. He can do this however He wants to do it. I don’t want to KNOW, SERVE and SURRENDER MY LIFE to a God that I can completely understand … a God that I put into a box. Because that would mean that I’d be KNOWING, SERVING and SURRENDERING to a God who is less powerful and wise and me. And believe me, I know how low that sets that bar!
I want to KNOW and SERVE and SURRENDER my life to a God who is full of mystery, and who doesn’t do whatever I ask Him to do … but Who’s character is consistent, whose compassion is deep, and whose plans can be trusted.
vv. 6-7 … SECOND, JESUS LONGS TO TOUCH US (WE NEED TO BE WILLING) … GOD LONGS TO INSTRUCT US (WE NEED TO BE TEACHABLE) … GOD LONGS TO HEAL US (WE NEED TO BE OBEDIENT). WILLING, TEACHABLE, OBEDIENT … they’re all about SURRENDER.
vv. 1-41 … THIRD, JESUS WANTS TO TEACH US ABOUT HEALING, AND ABOUT WHO HE IS AS JEHOVAH-RAPHA, “THE GOD WHO HEALS”.
God first revealed this “healing” part of His nature to the Israelites in EXODUS 15 …
After God took the Children of Israel out of Egypt and through the Red Sea, He brought them into the wilderness of Shur, where for three days they wandered around without water. For seventy-two hours the scorching sun of the desert beat down on them, and the sand burned their feet. Their livestock was dying, their children’s tongues were swollen, and their lips were parched to the point of cracking.
Then, they came to the waters of Marah. Imagine how their hearts must have leaped in their chests when they saw it! They could almost taste it, and feel it cooling them down and refreshing their swollen mouths. But when they got there, the water was bitter, dank and literally undrinkable.
And so immediately they turned on Moses and started to blame him. And isn’t this what we do when we come into hard times, when we have an area of our lives that isn’t working out the way we thought it should, or the way we hoped it would, or even the way we prayed it would? We all too easily grumble, murmur, and complain … instead of believing, hoping, and praying. And yet, God still has plans for us, just waiting for us to discover and live into.
Yes they were in a hard chapter of their lives, but God had brought them out of Egypt, and He would take care of them. And that day God used Moses to make the bitter water sweet by taking a nearby tree and placing it into the water. Mysterious. God-like. God’s care and provision made visible.
And just like the Israelites, God has brought you and me through so much. He hasn’t turned His back on us . Not by a long shot. And so it was here at the waters of Marah that God taught the Israelites that He was Jehovah-Rapha, the God who heals.
FIRST CORINTHIANS 10:11 (CONTEMPORARY ENGLISH VERSION)
11 These things happened to them as a warning to us. All this was written in the Scriptures to teach us who live in these last days.
v. 31 … FOURTH, OUR SIN BUILDS A WALL BETWEEN US AND GOD. CONFESSION AND REPENTANCE REMOVES THIS WALL, AND OPENS US UP MORE FULLY TO THE LIFE OF REDEMPTION GOD HAS FOR US. THE RESULT OF CONFESSION AND REPENTANCE IS THE RECEIVING OF GRACE AND PEACE.
Maybe you’re here this morning and God wants to bring His healing to your life … but there’s something in the way, there’s some sin you need to confess, repent of, and move away from. If that’s you, what are you going to do about it?
v. 35 … Jesus knows us and stays in touch with us in the midst of our pain and our rejection. We’re not alone. HEBREWS 4:13 …
FIRST CORINTHIANS 10:13 (THE MESSAGE)
13 No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.
HEBREWS 4:13, 15-16 (NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE)
13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.
15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.
16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
vv. 39-41 … FIFTH, JESUS CAME TO TURN THE WORLD UPSIDE DOWN, AND TO RIGHT THE WRONG THAT SIN HAS BROUGHT INTO THE WORLD.
Again, this bring us back to the great COMPASSION and HOPE Jesus has for us … that He brings to us, that motivates His desire to bring His healing to our lives.
In the next posting I'll share with you what I'm learning about myself as a human being from JOHN 9. Godspeed.