GOOD MORNING SIBLINGS!
Today’s readings are John 9-10
And now for an episode of Why did He do that?
At the very beginning of John 9 we see Messiah heal a man who was blind from birth. Recall that this is considered by the Pharisees to be a Messianic miracle – a miracle only the Messiah could perform.
Messiah could have healed the man any way He chose. He could have simply spoken Him into healing or even waved His hand and had it be so. But we see this very specific thing of Him mixing his own spit in with mud and applying this to the man’s eyes, why is that?
First of all, notice that He’s healing on the Sabbath again. Now Messiah had been taking a lot of heat by doing this already and so He’s pretty much making a point that He is empowered, by the Father, to do so. He has also explained why this does not “break Sabbath” time and again.
Now, notice that the Pharisees are still around Him so obviously the investigations are still going on. Although, we saw from yesterday’s readings that some have already come to the conclusion that, according to HIs deeds, He must be the Messiah.
So He is at two strikes in the Pharisee’s eyes so far:
✓Healing on the Sabbath
✓Performing a Messianic
Get ready for Him to hit strike three! (only He is making a home run rather than striking out)
Recall, though, that there are the manmade laws and doctrines that are being held as more important than the law of YHWH. Messiah sometimes refers to these as “traditions of men”.
Are traditions bad things? It depends on the tradition. If it is held up as superseding the very word of YHWH or if it goes against His commandments and is still deemed “okay” in the eyes of Believers- then clearly that is not “okay” in YHWH’s eyes. Obviously, any such doctrine that is treated as greater than YHWH’s commandments is gonna be pretty out there and here is proof and explanation of why our Messiah did what He did.
Here is the crazy thing: There is actually a talmudic law that states: “To heal a blind man on the Sabbath, it is prohibited to inject wine in his eyes. It is also prohibited to make mud with spittle and smear it on the eyes.”
So of course, that is exactly what our Messiah did! Breaking barriers and busting through expectations. That is our Messiah.
Sidenote in their defense: I’m not just picking on our Jewish brethren here. We Christians have lots of doctrines and traditions that we often treat as greater than or above the commandments of YHWH, too. It’s a familial affliction that has been repeated for generations and there is nothing new under the sun. But that does not mean we as individuals cannot follow in the footsteps of the Prodigal son and return. They were likely as oblivious to their error as we are. When you are deeply steeped in tradition and following it just as your forefathers did, it can become so ingrained that we never think to question it, and can clearly read the Word speaking against it while never realizing that it is speaking against what we are doing personally.
Another reason why, in order to spiritually mature we must learn to use the Word as a yardstick which we must always measure ourselves by first and foremost.
Now I’d like to backtrack a bit and talk about another part of this same section:
As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” John 9:3-5
The disciples automatically saw this blindness as a punishment but Messiah tells us it was given to Him so that the works of YHWH would be displayed in Him. So many of us have trials, impediments, limitations as well as gifts, triumphs, and skills for this very same reason: so that the works of YHWH will be displayed through us. Next time you find yourself pleading with YHWH to change a situation, ask Him to use you to bring glory to Him in that situation as well.
The Bible is such a personal book, letters and wisdom directly from our Father intended for us. Sometimes I read a story and I can’t help but get completely caught up in it, swept away with imagining what that moment must have felt like. The following passage is one of those moments:
35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”[c] 36 He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” 37 Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.” 38 He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him. John 9:35-38
Lord, I believe!
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. John 10:1-2
Messiah is condemning the religious leaders. They are positioned as leaders but He is pointing out that if a man gets into a leadership position of a group of YHWH’s followers any way other than to be appointed by YHWH (to go through the door), he is a thief and a robber, an illegitimate leader. The one who enters through the door is the true shepherd. Messiah clearly states that He is now the door which those shepherds must go through:
7 So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.” John 10:7-18
John 10:16 is especially moving for me to read as a Gentile by birth. Messiah has told us repeatedly that He came for the lost sheep of the house of Israel. But now He lets us know that He has other sheep, not of this fold. They, too, will be joined with Israel and the two will become one flock with one shepherd. Glory to the Father! Grace upon Grace! Scriptures have told us of this from the very beginning, we’ve spoken of it time and again, and will continue to see this concept repeatedly taught through the end of the Bible as this great restoration plays out in our world today.
John 10:22-23 shows Messiah honoring a feast which was created by man but with roots in honoring the Father- This is key. Remember when I said that not all traditions were bad? In our home, we have learned to avoid the traditions that seek to replace those that our Father put into place, those that go the way of Jeroboam by setting themselves up as counterfeits of the originals. We are also careful to avoid traditions that syncretize YHWH’s ways with those of other faiths (after we read how the Father feels about this practice). But this feast was instated to celebrate a great military victory in which YHWH used very few men to defeat Antiochus Epiphanes after a horrifying reign of terror where Antiochus desecrated the temple, tortured and murdered countless Jews, and committed such horrors that I can’t even talk about here. This battle and victory is detailed in the books of Maccabees, which used to be included in our Bibles and are still included in the Bibles of some sects of Christianity.
Here, we see Messiah going to the temple on the Feast of Dedication – wow! We talked about this feast briefly in Numbers 7 when we saw the twelve tribes of Israel making their offering of dedication as the Tabernacle was completed. A dedication offering, in Hebrew, is called a Hanukkah. Check out Numbers 7:10 in Interlinear to see that for yourself. Up until I read the whole Bible, I always thought Hanukkah was strictly Jewish. Now I see it as more Yeshuish ?.
Note: this is not a commanded feast. It is a manmade feast but one that is rooted in honoring the Father and one that the Father made it a point to let us know that Messiah took part in.
I’m going to leave the rest of the rabbit trails to you today. I look forward to your comments!
Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21
We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!
May YHWH bless the reading of His Word!