Blind and Now I See

Do you ever feel like you hear something someone – like Pastor Dave – says, and it comes through so loud and clear, you are convinced it is from God Himself?  Many things Terry Hershey said (this past Sunday) poured over me like it was God talking.  Maybe God was just telling me it’s okay that I can share my perspective with my GGCC friends.  So here is my leap of faith:
Living with and loving my family of Orthodox Jews for a decade or so makes me understand many of the good ol’ Biblical stories much differently.  I can honestly say I have a whole new understanding of what was happening back them.  So, here is my new perspective of the miracle healing of the man, blind at birth:
Right out of the gate, the disciples asked “who sinned?”.  To us this seems like nothing much to comment on, and it’s just a goofy question.  Not to me, now.  Jews believe the most important thing in life is pleasing God, and everything in their day-to-day decisions and tasks are extremely black and white—you are either pleasing God or you are not pleasing God.  So, if you are not pleasing God, you are sinning, and therefore you will be punished for it.   They do not have Jesus in their hearts dying on the cross to take away the sins of the world.  They do not have holy communion where they can repent and be clean; they do not have a prayer anytime during the day when they can say, “Lord forgive my sins.”  They have one day a year – Yom Kippur where they can ask forgiveness for all of the sins from the past year.  (We’ll talk more about this holiday another time.)  The disciples truly believed the blindness at birth was a result of a sin by either his Mother or Father, and that is that—black and white.
Next, Jesus does as he often does, he hints at how rules are going to change going forward – as he is shows himself as the Son of God and brings forth a new covenant.  He says: “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.  As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. 
There are two points in this statement:
1.       Night is coming, when no one can work (meaning Shabbos/Sabbath is coming).  The story goes on to explain that Jesus performed this healing during the Shabbos, and the Pharisees are catching him doing this act and proclaiming that he is a sinner and not a man from God.  Jesus has broken the rules, black and white, and this is a BIG No NO! 
Most people today say that Jews are not to “work” on Shabbos/Sabbath.  There is more to it than just “work”:  Jews believe that since God created the world and asked us to rest, we are not to “create” anything in honor of God and in honor of all of his creation during the Shabbos.  They are not to turn on a light, because that would create a spark; they are not to drive a car or work on a computer or talk on the phone; get this:  they are not to cook or even stir the meal, because stirring is cooking, and cooking is creating a meal.  …and trust me, there are a LOT more Shabbos rules.  Therefore, Jesus was not to  stir “create” mud and definitely not to “create” eyesight. 
2.       Jesus goes on to say “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”   (This is me, the layman talking:  to me this last statement tells me that Jesus is going to change the way of thinking and the way of love.)  The “works of God” are being displayed, so Jesus can be visible disrupting the “rules” of Shabbos and the rules of the Jewish thinking – all to bring forward the New Testament and Covenant.
Terry explained on Sunday that when we have situations and grace in our life, it leads us to change the way we see.   Amen to that!  We all have situations that are “not ideal” perhaps they feel like being blind at birth.
Lord, fill us with your spirit that brings us understanding and clear sight.  We thank you for shedding your light on us when we feel like we are having tough times.  Help us to change our perspective and see the world differently and –most important—to change the way we live going forward.  Thank you for our spiritual leaders that show us our scotoma, so we can realize how we were blind and now I see.  In Jesus name—Amen.
Jill Maclay

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