Are you blinded by religion? What is religion? Religion is an institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices. Religion can keep me from seeing and experiencing Jesus. In the last post we looked at two attitudes that may blind us which were prejudice and skepticism. Today we’ll look at two more: religion and fear.
- Am I Blinded By Religion?
16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man Jesus is not from God, for he is working on the Sabbath.” 18 The Jewish leaders wouldn’t believe he had been blind, so they called in his parents.
What happened when the Pharisees were confronted with the man who was born blind but now sees?
– They debated the fact that the man was blind at all.
– They said Jesus must be a sinner because he healed on the Sabbath.
They were trying to make the blind man feel like some ungodly force, some unholy entity had brought about his healing. They were discrediting his sight as though he had no reason to be so jubilant about his miracle. They were so hung up on their doctrines that they were blind to what their doctrines were doing to real people. They were blind to the guilt they were heaping on a man that Jesus had just made whole. They were hurting the man. Where he had just been physically healed, they were emotionally and spiritually wounding the brother. And they couldn’t see it.
It is easy to sit back and point the finger at the Pharisees for using their tradition and religion to remain blind to the work of God. However, I contend that the same thing can happen to us. We can make the same mistakes the Pharisees made.
We can rely on our traditions and heritage to get us through. Jesus condemned the Pharisees and Sadducees many times in His preaching and teaching. Why? Because they were more concerned with their traditions and religion than they were with God.
Traditions in and of themselves are not all wrong. It is when we make manmade traditions as binding and the Scriptures. What are some of the traditions that we have that could cause us to make the same mistakes the Pharisees made? How church services are performed, Music style, decorations, Service Order, dress code, to name a few.
We cannot allow our tradition and religion to blind us. God can and will do things differently than what we may think of believe and if there are no Scriptural errors that are made, we should see the power of God working and praise Him for it.
How, much more enjoyable would it have been for the Jewish leaders to praise that work. In the same way, we should learn to celebrate the work of God, even when it is done differently than what we are used to.
- Am I Blinded By Fear?
20 His parents replied, “We know this is our son and that he was born blind, 21 but we don’t know how he can see or who healed him. He is old enough to speak for himself. Ask him.”
22 They said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who had announced that anyone saying Jesus was the Messiah would be expelled from the synagogue.
When the Pharisees wanted answers they were not getting from the man himself, they called his parents in. How did they respond? Well, they wanted no part of it. Why, because they were afraid. What were they afraid of? Being thrown out of the synagogue.
Before we are quick to judge here, we should understand that things were different in the Jewish culture. In our culture, if someone is removed from the church, they can go to the church down the road. However, in the Jewish culture, once you were removed from the Synagogue, you were out. You couldn’t go down the road to the other Synagogue. Not only that, the other people were not allowed to speak or do business with someone who was removed from the Synagogue.
It is no wonder the parents were afraid. Imagine for a moment what it must have felt like for them. On one hand your son who was blind from birth can now see, on the other hand, if you acknowledge that this was from the power that was in Jesus, your were removed completely from you community.
Fear is a crippling agent. Fear keeps up from experiencing the work of God completely. Not only in our personal walks with Jesus Christ, but in our corporate walk with Jesus as well.
What would happen if God’s people and God’s churches stopped being fearful? Lives would be changed because we would no longer fear rejection or persecution because of the message of Christ. Churches would be living on the edge of faith, using every dollar they have to make a difference for the cause of Christ.
Are you blinded by prejudice, skepticism, religion or fear? It’s happens easily. Now let’s see how we can find our way out of the dark.
HOW TO FIND MY WAY OUT OF THE DARK
One of the most important factors necessary for this man’s to get out of the dark was his dependence on Jesus, he wanted to see, he wanted to change so he had to allow Jesus to touch him in the most sensitive part of his body and do whatever He wanted to do there even if it did not make sense. He had to allow Jesus to smear mud on his eyes. If you desire to get out of the dark, then you have to be willing to come to Jesus and allow Him to touch your life in those most sensitive areas that no one else is allowed to touch. It may be humiliating. It may be painful. But you must allow Jesus to touch you. You see, it is those areas of your life that you have been resisting his touch that have been creating the pain for you. If you don’t allow Jesus to touch there, He can’t heal you. First of all,
· Believe in Jesus
35 When Jesus heard what had happened, he found the man and said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 36 The man answered, “Who is he, sir, because I would like to.” 37 “You have seen him,” Jesus said, “and he is speaking to you!” 38 “Yes, Lord,” the man said, “I believe!” And he worshiped Jesus.
Jesus goes looking for the once blind man who had been excommunicated from the synagogue and when he finds him he asks him, not whether his eyesight is better, but whether he believes in the Son of Man. You see the discovery he’s made, that Jesus is a prophet sent from God, needs to be grounded in the reality of who Jesus is. He’s the Son of Man, the one who in Daniel 7 is given all authority and dominion, who in John’s gospel is the one who will be lifted up, and who will judge all the earth. And it’s important that he doesn’t just acknowledge that the son of man exists but that he puts his trust in him.
The response of the man is to not only acknowledge his belief in Jesus, but to worship him. His eyes have been opened to the whole reality of who Jesus is. His worship, in fact, is a sign that here is not just a prophet, but truly the Son of Man, the one whom all peoples will worship on the last day.
Notice how the man’s spiritual sight improves as the story goes on. In verse 11, he refers to Jesus as “The man they call Jesus.” In verse 17, he calls Jesus a prophet. In verse 27, he is someone who has disciples. In verse 33, he is a man from God, and finally, in verse 38, he refers to Jesus as Lord. So Jesus didn’t just give the man his sight. He gave this man INSIGHT. Seeing the truth with your heart is even more important than seeing the truth with your eyes.
If you believe and trust and keep following Jesus, coming to church, keep reading your Bible, serving, and giving; the eyes of your heart will open more and more. And like the man who was born blind, you will clearly see Jesus for who He is.
In the next post we’ll look at two more ways to find our way out of the dark.