Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Monday, 8 November 21:
John 9:2-4 — And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work.”
Jesus and His disciples passed by a man who had been blind from birth, and the disciples took advantage of the opportunity to ask Jesus a question that has perplexed mankind since the Garden of Eden: “Why?” The disciples questioned Jesus about the cause of the man’s plight – Whose fault was it? Who was to blame for this man’s suffering? Much like Job’s friends, the disciples assumed there had to be a direct connection between someone’s sin and the malady. Certainly, all pain and suffering is ultimately the product of sin, the effects of a broken world, and often we experience the direct, obvious consequences of our own sins. However, we have all experienced situations where suffering was simply unexplainable, and we were left with “Why?” Our human nature wants to find someone or something to blame, an easy answer, and too often, when no scapegoat can be found, people blame God or conclude life is only meaningless chaos.
Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” The disciples were asking the wrong question. Instead of getting stuck in “Why,” staring hopelessly at the problem, they should have been focused on, “Who,” and “Now what?” Trusting the Sovereignty of God (the “Who”), they should have been asking how they could serve God and glorify God (the “now what”) in this situation which was otherwise outside of their control. Jesus said, “We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day,” and He began to minister to the stranger’s needs, ultimately healing Him and bringing Him to salvation. Following Jesus’ example, we must deal with suffering by working the works of God.
- Ephesians 5:15-17 — Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
- Ephesians 2:10 — For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
- Titus 3:14 — And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful.
- Hebrews 10:24 — And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works….
- Romans 8:28-29 — And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
- John 16:33 — I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.
- 1 John 5:4 — For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
In this broken world, there is much suffering, and we will suffer too. However, victims become victors in Christ Jesus. “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58) Make the most of every opportunity to minister to the needs of others while leading them to Jesus. Be strong and courageous in the Lord — “As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” (2 Timothy 4:5)
- 1 Peter 4:19 — Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.
- Romans 8:18-28 — For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 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. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 8 November 21: Make the most of every opportunity today to tangibly help others in need while leading them closer to Jesus. Speak Hope into the lives of the hopeless, Victory into the lives of victims, and Peace into the lives of the harried. Proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ.