Tuesday, 5 June 2012


One day Jesus encountered a man blind from birth. He was begging at the side of the road. Jesus took some mud and spat into it and put it over the man's eyes. The man went to the pool of Siloam and washed his eyes and saw. When he testified that it was Jesus who had given him his sight it caused a controversy. Not much later the Pharisees, the resolvers of great controversies came and questioned him. They told the man that Jesus was not from God. He does not keep the Sabbath [John 9:16]. Some doubted that this was the man born blind but others asked if a sinner could do such miracles. To settle the matter the parents were summoned. They testified that this was their son and he was born blind. When asked who had healed their son, they were intimidated and said their son could answer for himself.

The blind man was called upon again to explain his healing. The man born blind knew what they did not want to hear. He mocked them by suggesting they wanted to become Jesus disciples. But the Pharisees replied that they were disciples of Moses who came from God. We know not where this man comes from. The blind man replied that we know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly man who does his will. This reasoning is common in religious circles. To gain access to God you must have good faith and good deeds.

We must be careful when biblical characters make statements like this. We need to keep them in context and not turn them into spiritual laws that keep God in our box. Now God actually exists outside our little boxes. They do not stop Him from doing miracles. What it does do is it keeps us from seeing what God is doing, when He operates outside our box. It is the Pharisees who could not see the great miracle of God because the power to do this miracle had not been given to somebody they knew and respected. Without knowing if Jesus had sinned they called him a sinner - incapable of doing anything worthy of attention. They missed the God that got out of their box.

Let's fast forward to modern times. A Christian prophet named Graham walks into the neighbourhood delicatessen. He picks out a pound of cheese for his dinner guests. He starts to pay for his cheese when God reveals something personal about the store owner, a middle-aged lady with lines and sorrow on her face. God has a message for you he says to her. Her jaw drops open. He says you have been an atheist all your life but last night you prayed to Him for the first time. God wants you to know that he has heard your prayer. Her silence is deafening. He says he knows where your 19-year-old daughter is, who ran away 3 years ago.  She is alright. If you believe and sit at your telephone at 2 p.m.on Thursday, she will call you. The woman could hardly believe her ears. It had been less than 24 hours since she prayed and this was more than she ever expected. Was it too good to be true?

What would you do? Well, if you really love your daughter and are desperate to hear from her it is a small risk to take. She sat there at 2 p.m. Thursday, hopefully anxious. Meanwhile, at 1:55 p.m., not having thought of her poor old mom all day, all week or even all month, her daughter was shopping when she had a sudden desperate need to call home. After several minutes she found a public pay telephone.  She rummaged through her purse for some change. Then she could not remember the number. Urgently, she flipped through the telephone book until at last she found the number and dialed it. At exactly, 2 p.m. the shop owners' telephone rang. The two were reunited. Their story soon began to circulate among her friends and neighbours. They both have become Christians and testify to God's goodness. So now what is your answer to the question: does God listen to sinners?

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