16 June 2014

Encountering Jesus ~ muddy spittle grace ~

How then were your eyes opened?” they asked. 
He replied, “The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.” 
“Where is this man?” they asked him. 
“I don’t know,” he said. 
They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind. Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man’s eyes was a Sabbath. 
Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. “He put mud on my eyes,” the man replied, “and I washed, and now I see.” 
Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” 
But others asked, “How can a sinner perform such signs?” So they were divided. 
Then they turned again to the blind man, “What have you to say about him? It was your eyes he opened.” 
The man replied, “He is a prophet.”

Some might find this funny, but it's true... 

I've experienced very intimately the miracle of birth eight times. 

Yet I'd never actually seen real live "birth" occur until recently. 

Finally observing (for a change), I lay on my tummy, watching into the wee hours of the morning - literally, staring at eggs in an incubator, mesmerized the entire time. Pretty amazing to watch a little turkey chick finally break free from the shell and stretch free all the while blinking madly in the light and suddenly silent from the mad chirping of just a moment before.

I kinda wonder if the blind guy in this story felt at all the same. 

He'd experienced a miracle, quite intimately. After all, he could now see! Yet he didn't really see that miracle happen. People, and then later the Pharisees, were wanting details - some of which he couldn't give precisely because he was the one who'd received the miracle. His comments include "the man they call Jesus" - he can't even give a specific to the "they" here. It seems like he just heard people using Jesus' name. 

And I kinda wonder if he really hoped in faith that his eyes would be opened as he stumbled... or was led... to the pool. After all, if someone had just mixed spit and mud and plastered it on my eyes, I'd be heading for someplace to wash as quick as I could get there. After he washed, then he could see... then his blind faith or his desperate "obedience" to rid himself of the "yuck" was rewarded. 

He's given no name in this story. This isn't the first time such a thing happened - I seem to recall the same being true with other miracles Jesus performed. He's simply known as "the man born blind" or later, "the man who had been blind." But Jesus, knowing just what it would take so spur this man to obedience and/or to a tiny hope - a flint-scrape sort of spark of faith - gave him just that.

There's something else I see in these verses. When the Pharisees, totally blinded to the beauty of the miraculous by the fact that all of this took place on the Sabbath, asked him what happened, the man replies: "He put mud on my eyes and I washed, and now I see." 

Can you see the parallel to the saving work of Jesus?

First, He helps us to "see" that our blindness is due to sin - filth, due to mud and spittle caked over those instruments we rely on to perceive this world. When we truly recognize the filth of our sinfulness, we immediately want to wash it off. Once we do, then we see.

Muddy spittle caked on unseeing eyes prompting a rush for water to wash.

That's grace. Saving grace. Wonderful grace. Unbelievable grace. Infinite and matchless grace.

this week's gratitude list

(#'s 4579 - 4599)

grace that doesn't look like grace

seeing baby turkeys growing strong and healthy

middle schoolers performing "The Little Mermaid"

little girls watching and enjoying watching those middle schoolers performing

mocha frappé, strawberry shake and oreo cookie blizzard to celebrate the occasion

great week in Chicago for our big girls

making lots of beds, setting up lots of place settings, washing lots of dishes and meeting lots of new people

henna-ed arms

working at an animal rehabilitation center with my two oldest

taking the family to see "How to Train Your Dragon 2"...

...meeting friends at the movie theater...

...and thoroughly enjoying both our friends and the movie

munching on popcorn

listening to the basketball pounding the pavement as girls work on the drills for camp

a new-to-me song that I just love

visiting a new church last weekend - and enjoying catching up with some folks I've not seen in a very, very long time

loving finding things in common where I didn't think there really were

thunderstormy morning

finding a recipe for rhubarb compote

daredevil mini-bike rider

enjoying summer and Farmers' Markets

  Ten most recent posts in this series: 
Click here for all of the titles and their corresponding links in the Encountering Jesus series.

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