PARTNERS WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT: PART XLVI

Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would be “a Counselor” and not a commander or even a servant. The Holy Spirit does not bear a person’s cross, but the Holy Spirit enlightens him/her how Christ lived and what Christ taught. And the most profound service Christ rendered was for the benefit of his fellow men. John, the Evangelist, injected Jesus’ promise of a Counselor four times:

And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you for ever, even the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you, and he will be in you” (John 14:16-17).

These things I have spoken to you, while I am still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you’ (John 14:25-26).

But when the Counselor comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, he will bear witness to me; and you also are witnesses, because you have been with me from the beginning” (John 15:26).

Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. And when  he comes, he will convince the world of sin and of righteousness and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in me; of righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you (John 16:7-15).

HOW DID JESUS CURE SPIRITUAL BLINDNESS?

Man is physical and carnal! And so are the obstacles, which are in the way of seeing clearly his own and his neighbor’s problems. For example, a speck in another man’s eye is caused by the log in the eye of the person who has discovered the speck in the person whom he wants to fault. All the fault finder has to do, is remove the log from his eye and the speck in the other person just disappears. The guilty party may even be likeable. No doubt, there are specks and logs in our eyes, but let us deal first with the logs. This was a serious problem for the Jews, Jesus faced. This was what Jesus asked:

Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is a log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye (Matthew 7:3-5).

THE EXAMPLE OF THE HEALING OF THE BLIND MAN IN THE JOHN’S GOSPEL

Jesus and his disciple came across a man who was blind since birth and they wondered out loud as to who had sinned to cause the blindness? Jesus did not believe that God, in any way, caused physical impairments or illness, but God used the physical problems for good purposes. Jesus intended to clear up the problem with moral blindness in his generation. Jesus’ answer to his disciple and to the Jews must have been a shock.

As Jesus passed by, he saw a man blind from his birth. 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 made manifest in him. We must work the works of him who sent me, while it is day; night comes, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” As he said this, he spate on the ground and made clay of the spittle, and anointed the man’s eyes with the clay, saying to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which mean Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing. The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar, said, “It is he”; others said, “No, but he is like him.” He said, “I am the man.” They said to him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” He answered, “The man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash’; so I went and washed and received my sight.” They said to him “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know” (John 9:1-12).

TO GIVE BACK SIGHT TO THE MAN BORN BLIND, JESUS HAD TO VIOLATE THE SABBATH

Jesus merely spat on the ground to form mud and covered the man’s eyes and told the blind man to go and take a bath in the public pool. These were outright infractions of the “Sabbath Law,” and both were subject to stoning. But, Jesus also performed a miracle, that only God could do and that impressed the people; and especially, the man who could see again. And he began to believe that Jesus was the “Prophet” who was to come. The Jewish leaders were blinded by their interpretation and application of the Law regarded Jesus as an evil agent. And they also regarded the healing of the blind man as a false miscarriage of their justice, and also an insult to God and to their religion. Jesus had two previous encounters about the “Sabbath Law;” and therefore, Jesus informed the Jewish leadrs that the Sabbath was made to benefit man and not hurt man.

One sabbath Jesus was going through a grainfields; and as they made their way his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. And the Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the sabbath?” And he said to them, “Have you never read what David did, when he was in need and was hungry, he and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God, when Abiathar was high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those who were with him?” And he said to them, “The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath; so the Son of man is lord even of the sabbath” (Mark 2:23-28).

One sabbath when Jesus went to dine at the house of a ruler who belonged to the Pharisees, they were watching him. And behold, there was a man before him who had dropsy. And Jesus spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying “Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath, or not?” But they were silent. Then he took him and healed him, and let him go. And he said to them, “Which of you, having an ass or an ox that has fallen into a well, will not immediately pull him out on a sabbath day?” And they could not reply to this (Luke 14:1-6).

The Jewish legalists were contradictory in their enforcing of the “Sabbath Law.” It was illegal to heal and bathe, but it was legal to condemn, excommunicate, and even stone on the Sabbath. The man in question had to appear a second time before his judges and he gave a stunning defence of Jesus. Jesus did identify Himself to the man and He explained to them what the real blindness was.

He (the man) answered them (the second time), “I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you too want to become his disciples?” And 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 “Why, this is a marvel! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners but if any one is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him. Never since the world began has it been heard that any one opened the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” They answered him, “You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us?” And they cast him out.

Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of man?” He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who speaks to you.” He said, “Lord, I believe”; and he worshiped him. Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.” Some of the Pharisees near him heard this, and they said to him, “Are we also blind?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains (John 9:27-41).

WHAT DO WE LEARN FROM WHAT JESUS DID FOR THE BLIND MAN BY OPENING HIS EYES?

The blind man, of course, saw Jesus as a man with gifts only God could give, and then as the One God had intended to come. But, look at all the people who looked through their natural eyes. The disciples, even though they had been with Jesus, still tried to explain the condition of the man as a human transgression. Jesus, to the contrary, saw the man as an opportunity to serve God and do something good for him. The Jewish leaders did not see their own miserable attitudes, heartless righteousness, and their accumulating guilt. Yet, they regarded themselves as God’s chosen people because they were of the seed of Abraham. They were born of the flesh, and but not of the Holy Spirit (John 3:6). These fathers of Judaism assigned meaning and tradition to their law, which stopped them to attend to the needy on the Sabbath, and also to others not of their faith or race. Spiritual blindness halted them from rendering services that God favored and so did Jesus. Both, a priest and a Levite could not attend the victim by the road, but the Samaritan, who was not restricted by a falsified law, could (Luke 10:25-37).

Peter, the head apostle and the head of the Christians, could, not in good conscience, rub shoulders with the Gentiles (Galatians 2:11-16). The Risen Lord wanted Peter to go to the Roman officer Cornelius in Caesarea. Cornelius sent messengers and while they were approaching where Peter was staying, Peter went on the housetop to pray. The Lord had a lesson for him on spirituality. He opened Peter’s eyes:

And Peter became hungry and desired something to eat; and while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance and saw the heaven opened and something descending, like a great sheet, let down by four corners upon the earth. In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and wild birds. And there came a voice to him, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” But Peter said, “No, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.” And The voice came to him again a second time, “What God has cleansed, you must not call common. This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven (Acts 10:10-16).

Cornelius and his people were ready to amaze Peter and his companions, and received him as if he were an angel of God:

And Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I perceive that God shows no partiality, but in every nation any one who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. You know the word which he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace by Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), the word which was proclaimed throughout all Judea beginning from Galilee after the baptism which John preached: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. And we are witnesses to all that he did both in the country of the Jews and Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; but God raised him on the third day and made him manifest, not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that he is the one ordained by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness that every one who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

While Peter was still saying this, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. And the believers from among the circumcised who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared, “Can any one forbid water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days (Acts 10:34-48).