Archive for April, 2011

Open for Business – JUMC – Easter 20110424

Colossians 3:1-4 So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, 3 for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.

Matthew 28:1-10 After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2 And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4 For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. 5 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ This is my message for you.” 8 So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

Jeremiah 31:1-6 At that time, says the LORD, I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people. 2 Thus says the LORD: The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness; when Israel sought for rest, 3 the LORD appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you. 4 Again I will build you, and you shall be built, O virgin Israel! Again you shall take your tambourines, and go forth in the dance of the merrymakers. 5 Again you shall plant vineyards on the mountains of Samaria; the planters shall plant, and shall enjoy the fruit. 6 For there shall be a day when sentinels will call in the hill country of Ephraim: “Come, let us go up to Zion, to the LORD our God.”

The Opened tomb is our way in, into the heart and relationship God

Recognition of Jesus through view of grief… Loss of self

An opened door is a possibility..

  • Graduates are completing school work that will open a new door in their lives.
  • New sweethearts begin a fresh relationship that opens a new door into a shared life together.
  • New business owners start with the possibilities of what might be walking in faith through a new door.
  • Others just stand at the same door and almost decide to open it.

Mary from Magdala and the other mysterious Mary go expecting to find a closed door. 

Through event beyond their own power and control, an earthquake, the door is opened for them.

How much time, energy, money and effort is used with inaction or apathy?

It would seem that if we are doing nothing that nothing is lost or expended.

How many tomatoes will your garden have if you plant none?

How much will you have saved for a time of crisis if you spend all you have?

How many friends will be there for you if you are not a gracious friend who loves unconditionally?

How much does it cost to wait, when people are hungry today? Does it matter if we can’t see them?

What if the two Marys had not gone to the tomb, what would they have missed?

Bottom line, even a crisis / earth quake is an opened door.

  • Would we feel compelled to reach out to families in Japan, Hati, or even the Gulf coast if it were not from some great force that moves us and opens that door?
  • The economic crash is not one person’s fault. There are tipping points that individuals could have changed and can change.. but it is a reality brought upon us, and it is an opportunity for faith and faithfulness instead of despair and fear.
  • It’s not what I would do if millions were my lot, its what I will do with the dollar that I’ve got.

Take littlest step away from the tomb, toward that world

Mary and Mary, (sounds like a law firm) took their own witness, their own message of the risen lord, power, gift, life, of God with us.. to the world. [These two women were the first to preach the resurrection: make sure you tell every Baptist that one.]

Door is not an escape, but a process in progress, (Argus – vigilant guardian)

The angel invites Mary to enter the door, to have faith, to see, to understand, to experience, to know.

When we are looking for a door to escape, we try to drink, eat, spend, talk, sleep, worry, save, ignore, or punch our way out. The doors Christ opens for us, are the doors our spirits are drawn to find.

This what we are the community of faith, the church are to be, “Open for Business”

We are Open for God’s Business.

We find our way into the empty tomb..

Being emptied of our brokenness and sin. (Cleaned our slate)

Being filled with the promises filled for us by God through Jesus

Walking through grief, hurt, loss, fear, disappointment, shame, rejection, even death, violent-unjust death…

That we turn toward the world with our own little steps

Sharing our own message of the rise Lord.

We are open for the business of sharing our faith with a hurting world.

The Easter Question for us is: What are you going to share?

Jesus saved me from intellectual affirmations, social acceptance and familial pleasing. What has Jesus done in your life? If nothing, have you asked him to, or is that door closed from our direction for a reason?

Jesus has given me family and friends who have loved be when I have not deserved to be loved.

Jesus shows me how to love folks I don’t want to learn to love.

Jesus touches my heart through neighbors right here at home and strangers around the world, reminding me of God’s presence and working.

God gives the foundation for living in the teachings of the Word.

God opens heaven and warns me of the hellish lonliness of not choosing to follow.

God sings to my spirit through hymns, praise, music, anthems and symphony and repetitive lyrics how much more I/we are with God

God’s Spirit reaches past language and economics, beyond history and culture to share power, love and hope in my life and in yours.

God’s Spirit breathes hope and life when I have given up or worn out.

Jesus lives so that John Brantley, most fully. Jesus lives for you too.

Easter is our Open for Business sign.. you are invited to come on in, empty yourself and be filled to live fully, even in a world that tries to close doors, close hearts and close minds.. we are open for Christ.

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Good Friday Readings 2011 Jackson UMC

1. Father forgive them, for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34).

2. Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise (Luke 23:43).

3. Woman, behold your son: behold your mother (John 19:26-27).

4. My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?, (Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34).

5. I thirst (John 19:28).

6. It is finished (John 19:30).

7. Father, into your hands I commit my spirit (Luke 23:46).

Sunrise at 7am at Dauset Trails
Easter Worship 9a and 11a

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Matthew 21:1-11 “Jesus Got on His Ass” How about us? JUMC 04172011

When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, just say this, ‘The Lord needs them.’ And he will send them immediately.” This took place to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet, saying, “Tell the daughter of Zion, Look, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, “Who is this?” The crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”

The Affirmation of Jesus
The new translations make a subtle change on this emphasis of one verse. Modern translations emphasis that Jesus was sitting on people’s coats that were thrown on the back of a donkey on which Jesus road into the city of Jerusalem. The older translations simply say that Jesus sat on his ass. Modern readers are often offended or at least thrown off by hear a phrase in scripture that contains the word ass, and particularly one directly speaking of Jesus.

I suggest that modern readers/hearers need to be thrown off their own donkey so as not to miss the significance of Jesus’ entrance into the city and the hearts of the people.

1) Wisdom from the high school chemistry class: “Proper prior planning prevents poor performance.”
It is with specific intentionality that Jesus chooses a donkey, the foal of an ass to be his means of transportation.

As a matter of transparency in government spending, President Obama had new presidential limousine ordered by the secret service beginning at his inauguration. These cars must have had pentagon toilet seats because each cost $300k and they need fleet of ten or twelve. This no green hybrid fuel econo-commuter coup. But it is the type of vehicle we might expect the leader of the free world to have especially during the era of terrorist attacks. Jesus chooses a different approach, with intent.

The picture of Jesus entering the city of Jerusalem is not behind bulletproof windows and thick armor. He is not on a large bright steed adorned with emblems of gold and encrusted with gem deserving of a king. He is riding in on four wheel drive, untested first year model pickup. No HEMI engine, just basic work horse ride, clade not in steel rather in people’s coats.

2) Moab Mentality

SIDE NOTE: Have you wondered if they followed along to get their coats back at the end?
Bottom line: Jesus was coming into THE city of faith as a king, on purpose, planning to make a statement.

ANOTHER SIDE NOTE: Have you ever wondered about the crowd of followers stopping to cut down the branches off the trees in the city? Who did the tree belong to? If a parade walked down your road/street and the people started taking limbs off your trees would you mind? What would you say?
Bottom line: Jesus was coming into the city and the people give the respect and recognition of Jesus as prophet and king,

STILL ANOTHER SIDE NOTE: but why not trumpets, soldiers and colorful banners?
Bottom line: Jesus was welcomed with respect be the have-nots and masses rather than the few who have.

3) Imagine a Parade with no decorations.

No permits, no approved traffic routes, no advance warning for the merchants, school buses, or out of town travelers.

The whole city was in turmoil over Jesus being present.

This may indeed be the very heart of the Palm Sunday message.

What gets our town all stirred up into a state of turmoil?

• Storm damage.
• High School Playoffs.
• Mileage Rate increases.
• Tragic Deaths.
• Atlanta Traffic in Jackson.

But turmoil is a state or condition of extreme confusion or agitation.

What could Jesus have to do with EXTREEM confusion or
EXTREEM agitation.

It is fascinating to me that one third of the space inside a clothes washing machine is taken up with a hard and ridged piece of plastic called that agitator. It moves around stirring things up and breaking the dirt and oils loose with the detergent.

We usually work hard to keep the peace.

We don’t want our community to be confused.

We would usually rather have things stay just the way they are, broken or not, than to have MASS CONFUSION.

BUT HERE IS THE HEAT OF PALM SUNDAY>>

Jesus shows up and his very presence turns things upside down and God side up.

Matthew’s Gospel continues by telling the Jesus cleansed the temple. He turned the religious folks upside down and threw them out.

This is not a children’s Sermon Sunday… unless we are teaching our children to take on the establishment when it is complacent, controlling or self-interested.

WHAT DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH US? Today?

Look at your hands, your palms.
What is within your influence, control or responsibility?

It is there you have the greatest chance of PRAISING KING JESUS.
DO IT! DO IT NOW. DO IT ANY WAY.

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John 11:1-45 Unbind him, and let him go. Harvest: JUMC 04102011

NOTE: We look forward to Debbie Bell Sharing her own message at the 11am worship service this week. Keep her in your prayers as well. jTB

John 11:1-45
11:1 Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. Mary was the one who anointed the Lord with perfume and wiped his feet with her hair; her brother Lazarus was ill.So the sisters sent a message to Jesus, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” But when Jesus heard it, he said, “This illness does not lead to death; rather it is for God’s glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Accordingly, though Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, after having heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now trying to stone you, and are you going there again?” Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Those who walk during the day do not stumble, because they see the light of this world. But those who walk at night stumble, because the light is not in them.” After saying this, he told them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going there to awaken him.” The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will be all right.” Jesus, however, had been speaking about his death, but they thought that he was referring merely to sleep.
Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead.
For your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” Thomas, who was called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, some two miles away, and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them about their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.”
Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.” When she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary, and told her privately, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.”

11:29 And when she heard it, she got up quickly and went to him. Now Jesus had not yet come to the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. The Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary get up quickly and go out. They followed her because they thought that she was going to the tomb to weep there. When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.”
11:35 Jesus began to weep.
11:36 So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?” Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus looked upward and said, “Father, I thank you for having heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.

As one of the most amazing of all the miracle stories of Jesus, the restoring of life to his friend Lazarus is the most moving for Jesus himself.

The famous, “Jesus wept” – the shortest verse of scripture, contains a powerful witness of the compassion and heart of Jesus.

There is a possibility that we as the reader of this story mis-read the reasoning of Jesus with “Himself” for the sake of the witness as too calculated. Meaning: He cried on-purpose so the faithless would have faith. When this is likely a later revision to the text in the first place, it is ultimately for faith that Jesus has raised not only his friend, but that Jesus himself is raised for us, and us with him through…faith.

We see both the humanity and the divinity of Jesus in this passage. The two fused together.. knowing with certainty and tears of grief and loss at the same time. This is where many of our friends and neighbors are living. They have the assurance of the resurrection and the promise of heaven’s welcome, but miss those who have gone before.

Hear the command that Jesus gives to the family and bystanders; “unbind him, and let him go.”

This is the heart of the observance of our worshipful practice of this Lenten season. Finding what bind us, letting it go, that we might grow closer to God.

The tradition of giving up food, drink or some activity for Lent is a practicing of letting God of the truly weighty, heavy stuff that bind us in our everyday life.

Imagine a five pound bag of sugar.. how heavy is that? Imagine ten of them. Still further imaging carrying ten, five pound bags of sugar with you where ever you go.. ( I have lost 50 pounds since charge conference this fall, not to brag as I have hit a plateau and it is taking a greater commitment to go further.)

But loosing weight is not the end, in itself. Loosing weight, for me, is increasing health, decreasing blood pressure and risk of stroke, which is increasing time and energy with family, friends and you good people. The weightier issue is being faithful to my relationships rather than to my stressful eating in the name of self preservation. That is eating to live rather than living to eat.

But the body is more than food.. it is also breathe. Jesus breathe inwardly in prayer, outwardly in command and invitation and the spirit of all life fills a body that we dead four days. Laz is revived, restored, and living again.

A side note, one that is not in the text is what is missing in this story. Had Lazarus been tormented in fire and brimstone it seems the text would have contained Lazarus’ appreciation for his return. Had Lazarus been welcomed into the arms of God and he was getting settled in his mansion, not made with hands, he would have been a bit grumpy to come back. In either case the text does to inform us. (Though it is a curiosity of mine.)

The exercise for us today is to identify what Binds our living. For it is proper for one who is not living to be bound or entombed. Is it fear? pride? greed? gluttony? lust? vanity? anger? some combinations?

Anger Management: Jack Nicolson names Adam Sandler’s trouble with anger:

Dr. Buddy Rydell: Dave, there are two kinds of angry people in this world: explosive and implosive. Explosive, which is the most common, is the type of individual you see screaming at a grocery store cashier for not taking his coupon. Implosive, the least common, is the cashier at the store who remains quiet at his job day after day until he then finally loses it and goes after everyone in the store. You’re the cashier.

Dave Buznik: No, no, no. I’m the guy in the frozen food section dialling 911.

Anger about what some one did or what some one didn’t do or didn’t say: How do you deal with anger. It troubles me when couples say, we never fight… someone is not being honest and open with their anger.  (That was the movie’s message)

But it is clear that improperly expressed or avoided anger binds relationships. Jesus comes to unbind us.

Back to the real question: what binds you. Are you the only person in the world or even this room who deals with being bound? Are the things in  your life more binding than the things the bind me? I think not.

SO WHAT are we to do? Here is where the passage comes together. Everyone in the story is bound up in some fashion: Grief, Doubt, Fear, Anger, etc. Jesus is moved

(1) Hears our prayers.. come help us now.

(2) meets us where WE are… Jesus shows up at their points of need.

(3) model following God’s timing rather than our own timing… not always on our schedule, but always on Gods.

(4)  Jesus turns to God’s strength and shares the power of the Spirit… breath on each other blessing, not curse.

What is the best way to address anger? blame? sarcasm? or personal attack? None of the above… that ties the knots tighter.

Speak words the loosen the grip, the roll back the stone, that make room for life.

Let him go. Let him live. Let us Go.. Let us Live.

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John 9.1-41 (vs.14-30) “An Astonishing Thing” JUMC 04032011

9:1 As he walked 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?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man’s eyes, saying to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). Then he went and washed and came back able to see. The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar began to ask, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” Some were saying, “It is he.” Others were saying, “No, but it is someone like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.” But they kept asking him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud, spread it on my eyes, and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ Then I went and washed and received my sight.” They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.” They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. Now it was a sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. Then the Pharisees also began to ask him how he had received his sight. He said to them, “He put mud on my eyes. Then I washed, and now I see.” Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not observe the sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?” And they were divided. So they said again to the blind man, “What do you say about him? It was your eyes he opened.” He said, “He is a prophet.” The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight and asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” His parents answered, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; but we do not know how it is that now he sees, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.” His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that anyone who confessed Jesus to be the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.” So for the second time they called the man who had been blind, and they said to him, “Give glory to God! We know that this man is a sinner.” He answered, “I do not know whether he is a sinner. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” They said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” He answered them, “I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?” Then they reviled him, saying, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.” The man answered, “Here is an astonishing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but he does listen to one who worships him and obeys his will. Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” They answered him, “You were born entirely in sins, and are you trying to teach us?” And they drove him out. Jesus heard that they had driven him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered, “And who is he, sir? Tell me, so that I may believe in him.” Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and the one speaking with you is he.” He said, “Lord, I believe.” And he worshiped him. Jesus said, “I came into this world for judgment so that those who do not see may see, and those who do see may become blind.” Some of the Pharisees near him heard this and said to him, “Surely we are not blind, are we?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would not have sin. But now that you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.  -NRSV

Wow, its a long passage so let’s look at the heart of the message for us today:  Jesus said, “I came into this world for judgment so that those who do not see may see, and those who do see may become blind.”

Jesus reveals his work and mission through this great healing story. I see said the blind man. I don’t understand said his parents, the teachers, and leaders.. Jesus ask us are we blind?

Jesus contrasts the astonishing thing of a man born without sight receiving sight with people doubting and becoming divided over this extravagant act of wholeness.

Have you ever known someone to miss the forest for the trees? Don’t throw your pearls before swine. Waste not, want not. Practical and logical responses get thrown out the window, with the baby and bath water. When looking at the obvious thing, and the case of this text, it is literal ‘seeing’ that is to be understood and seen clearly.

We belittle the miraculous acts of God when explain them away by some other force or explanation. When some one heals someone who is ill we point to medicine and even chance. Who created the elements that made the medicin and who formed the mind and body of the ones who discovered, formulated, prescribed, and administered the medicine in the first place?

Rather than getting hung up in a debate about what is and is not a miracle, the question is: Can you see, hear, experience, find God at work in the world?

In a world filled with war, famine, disease, tsunami, earthquake, poverty, hunger, fallen economies and political unrest around the globe… can you see God’s hand at work in any way?

And when we do find the examples, even if it is in the life of one person… will we be suspicious, blame-seekers, and grump gossip groupies looking for the flaws? Or will we prize that one flower in the mud as the gift and treasure that it is?

Look at this story:  the parents of the blind man, when asked how did their son gain sight, said, we don’t know, ask him.

On one hand, it could be the truth. they didn’t know. But the knife in the heart, is that they don’t believe their child. The are not willing to stand behind his story and witness.  The man, now with sight, has joy to share and can’t share it with his family. (What’s up with that?)

He wants to share it with his faith community and the they are more concerned with blame than with praise.

The man, now with sight, has joy to share and can’t share it with his faith family nor his community. (What’s up with that?)

He is able to share this joy with Jesus.  Do you see? he says, YES, and worships Jesus.

That is what everyone should have been doing in response. but some were blinded by the light…

SO WHAT?

How do we make certain we are in the camp with the seeing believers?

1) keep looking and listening and sharing where the Good News of God at work is found and shared.

2) Keep getting your spiritual eyes checked. read the chart, the Word, ask for study and examination: accountability

3) Speak up with others share doubt and seek blame over worship and faith.

4) Ask Jesus, “Am I looking? Am I seeing? What am I doing about what I have seen?

Do the astonishing thing.. believe, give witness and welcome the Light of the world, Jesus Christ.

The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight and asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” His parents answered, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; but we do not know how it is that now he sees, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.” His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that anyone who confessed Jesus to be the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.” So for the second time they called the man who had been blind, and they said to him, “Give glory to God! We know that this man is a sinner.” He answered, “I do not know whether he is a sinner. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” They said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” He answered them, “I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?” Then they reviled him, saying, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.” The man answered, “Here is an astonishing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but he does listen to one who worships him and obeys his will. Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” They answered him, “You were born entirely in sins, and are you trying to teach us?” And they drove him out. Jesus heard that they had driven him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered, “And who is he, sir? Tell me, so that I may believe in him.” Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and the one speaking with you is he.” He said, “Lord, I believe.”

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