Phil Cox

Miscellaneous


(Bible quotations are from the NIV unless otherwise stated)

Home page
Recent Columns
Previous Series
Phil's background
Preaching engagements
Creation and science
Miscellaneous
Contact Phil

Links
Stubbington Baptist Church
Acorn Christian Healing Foundation
Evangelical Alliance Basis of Faith

Look forward, not back

3rd May 2010

John 9v1-7
As he [Jesus] went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"
"Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no-one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world."
Having said this, he spat on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the manís eyes. "Go," he told him, "wash in the Pool of Siloam" (this word means Sent).
So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.

When anything goes wrong, we're so ready to look for someone to blame. Our first question is so often, "whose fault was it" and our first response is often "well it's not my fault". The disciples were no different; seeing a man in desperate need, their question is not "how can we help?" but "whose fault was it?"

Jesus would have nothing to do with such a question. He replied:

John 9v1-7
"Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no-one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world."

Of course, Jesus didn't mean that they'd stumbled upon the only three humans (except Jesus Himself) who had never sinned. He was saying that the man's blindness had not been caused by an individual's sin. When we see someone in trouble, we shouldn't assume that it's their fault - consider the story of Job. And I think He was saying something yet more profound and more relevant: the question of whose fault it was didn't matter. What mattered was: what were they going to do about it? Rather than an opportunity to judge someone, Jesus saw an opportunity for the work of God to be displayed in the man's life.

The truth is, we've all sinned, and apportioning blame is not going to help. Whatever situation you or your loved ones are in, the important question is not "who can we blame?", it's "how can we fix the problem?" It's not "how did we get into this mess?", it's "how can we get out?"

And, as with the man born blind, the way out of our problem is to seek God's power. Physical problems are just one example of situations we can't fix for ourselves. Our emotions and our relationships can be damaged beyond what we can fix. But that makes them opportunities for the work of God to be displayed in our lives.

Jesus said "As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no-one can work.". The number of days allotted to us on Earth have already been determined. As long as we remain here, we must do God's work. We must pray. We must seek God's power, displayed in the lives of the needy. We must look forward, not back. Paul wrote:

Philippians 3v13-15
... one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should take such a view of things...

Jesus didn't think about whose fault it was, he sought the healing power of God for others. And we should do likewise.