– Great Question: Why do bad things happen to good people?
Cancer effects 11 million people; Disabilities effects 49 million people; Death effects 100%
- We live in a fallen world, tainted by sin and the effects of human choice. Suffering, sickness, disease, disability and death are a reality not because God is out to punish humanity but more so because of the natural consequences from sin.
- The real question is not why suffering exists by how does God’s love exist in a world that rejects him?
In John’s Gospel we see the beginning of a new creation. Jesus enters the world through the incarnation (Jn1:14) and immediately begins pursuing its redemption. God did the same thing in the Garden of Eden (Gen3:9) and repeats his pattern with Jesus.
- John 1:11-12 “He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”
- Romans 8:19-23 “For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.”
EXAMINE In John 9 we discover 3 reasons we can see God.
We see God because He sees us (9:1-5)
Along Jesus’ travels he met people in great need. He saw a man blind from birth. Jesus was in constant contact with those in need of His touch.
Often when individuals (or those surrounding person) endure suffering, sickness, disease or disability they doubt God’s existence or goodness. They feel alone and perhaps even victimized. They ask questions like, “Why are you doing this to me God?” “God, don’t you care about me?”. They have become short-sighted and even blind to God’s sovereignty.
Job 28:24 “God looks to the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens.”
Exodus 2:23-25 “During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the people of Israel – and God knew.”
Psalm 33:13-15 “The Lord looks down from heaven; he sees all the children of man; from where he sits enthroned he looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth, he who fashions the hearts of them all and observes all their deeds.”
Psalm 34:15 “The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry.”
Here too in John 9, Jesus had compassion seeing a person; whereas the disciples, and later the Pharisees, saw a problem. Unfortunately, it is often the case that when people have needs and request the church to help they see problems rather than people. The Bible warns us differently.
1 John 3:17-18 “But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”
ð As God sees us, trust His plan and purpose for His glory in your circumstances (John 9:3).
ð When you see other’s suffering, do you see a person to help or a problem to escape?
We see God because He acts toward us (9:2-34)
Jesus responds to the blind man by approaching him and touching him. He puts spit and mud together and anoints the man’s eyes, then telling him to go and wash. The Gospel writer John is also pointing back to creation where God created life from the dust of the earth; as Jesus is giving this man sight and new life.
During OT times and in Jewish teaching, general belief was held that God punished sinful people with suffering, sickness, disease, and disability and of course ultimately death. Such individuals would live as outcast, condemned to beg or depend on others for assistance. When these individuals Encountered Jesus, He responded in two powerful ways: 1) He touched them. He drew near them, treated them with dignity and respect and loved them. 2) He healed them. And not just their physical bodies but also their spiritual souls. He proved that they are not less human or any less worth giving compassion and forgiveness. With Jesus there are no insignificant people.
God has a design for every disability; whether genetic, circumstantial or from infection. His purposes are higher and beyond our understanding because they are about His glory and not our personal comfort. In fact, sometimes God chooses not to bring healing on this side of eternity but will do so in the resurrection.
Php 3:21 “Jesus will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.”
2Corinthians 4:16-18 “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
ð 9:11,15 Encountering Jesus responds with a simple testimony: “I went and washed and received sight.”
ð 9:21 Parents of children with disabilities are tempted to remove responsibility; need support (autism group 2nd Tues each month @ SPBC)
- Gospel Parenting: acceptance based on grace not abilities
ð 9:25-33 Children who’s parents don’t support them don’t use that as an excuse to not live with bold faith.
- Psalm 27:10 “Though father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.”
We see God because we believe (9:35-41).
Jesus meets former blind man and reveals Himself as Son of Man (Divine Messiah). In response, man says, “Lord, I believe” and worshiped.
Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”
ð We do not see to believe but we believe to see; Jesus calls us to live by faith.
I) I once was blind but now I see. What is your testimony and with whom are you sharing it?
2) God teaches even in trials. What trial are you facing and what is God teaching you?