Wednesday, January 20, 2010

No Wonder They're Confused

I listen to podcasts to help keep me alert in the car. Sometimes I listen to them while doing work in my office that does not require concentration (like cleaning and neatening). Most of the podcasts I listen to are sermons from people like Andy Stanley, Rob Bell, Francis Chan, etc. Right now I’m almost through listening through a series of messages from Mosaic, a faith community in Los Angeles led by Erwin McManus. This morning as I was neatening up my desk some, I opened up iTunes and started listening to the sixth message in the 7-part series on the miracles of Jesus as recorded in the Gospel of John.

1As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

3”Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. 4As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” (Jn. 9:1-5, NIV)

The disciples were just thinking as most people in that time did; namely that any suffering that anyone experienced was a result of someone’s sin … usually their own or that of their parents. McManus notes that it didn’t occur to any of Jesus’ followers to ask Him to heal the blind man (which, by the way, He did). Here they were walking and talking with the embodiment of God’s love, mercy, and grace … and all they could do was to use the blind man’s suffering as a point of conversation. McManus goes on to note:

This conversation exposes what is in so many of our hearts all too often: an inclination to judge and condemn the world, to try to attribute blame rather than to act with compassion and mercy and kindness.

In light of some very public (and very embarrassing) statements that a prominent televangelist made in the wake of the first earthquake in Haiti, what McManus then said caught my attention.

It’s funny how thousands of years later we’re still in the same rut. You still hear people who represent Jesus talking about famines and diseases and tsunamis and droughts and plagues as if they were God’s punishment on humanity, His acts of vengeance and violence. No wonder the world is confused about who Jesus is.

So here’s the question: What do people think about Jesus based on what we, His followers, say and do? Do we confuse them, or clarify the issue?

That’s enough to think about for now. The peace of Christ to you.


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