Jesus Heals a Blind Man, Sunday School Lesson April 10, 2011

The Son of Man
Image by Mike Rawlins via Flickr

Listen to Deaconess Pam Nielsen of Concordia Publishing House discuss this week’s Sunday School Lesson with Todd Wilken on Issues Etc.

In John 9, Jesus heals a man blind from birth.  As they pass near this man, Jesus’ disciples pose the question — “Who sinned?  This man or his parents?”  The disciples recognized that man is sinful, but linked the physical disability to a specific sin of the parent or the child.  And while there is a kernel of truth here, namely that our sin has consequences that are felt in this world both physically and spiritually, Jesus, acknowledging that kernel of truth, tells His disciples they miss the bigger point:  This man is blind, so that God’s glory may be revealed in Him. And Jesus, pulls the man aside, spits in the dirt, creates mud, puts the mud on the man’s eyes, and tells the man to go wash in the pool of Siloam.  When he returns, the man can see.

The Pharisees are shocked and dismayed by this act.  They argue that a sinner like this man Jesus, a carpenter’s son whom they know, cannot heal the blind.  Only God can do miracles such as these.  But it is in the creative work of Christ, coming to the blind man, making a healing salve out of spit and mud, speaking to the man the Word of God, and the washing of water which gives the blind man faith to believe.  It is a pure gift of God in Christ and through the Holy Spirit which leads this man to confess that Jesus must be a great prophet.  And when the pharisees finish their questioning, Jesus again seeks out the man, and being the Christ, he confronts the man, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”  His reply, “Tell me who He is Sir, that I may believe.”  The Spirit has not only opened this man’s eyes to see the world, but his heart has been opened to draw on the well of spiritual knowledge from which he has been fed throughout his life.  And so when Christ, the Cross itself, comes to him and confronts him, the blind man has a sense of hope welling within him.  Having been made ready to receive salvation by the law, Christ reveals Himself to the man.  This was done in the presence of some Pharisees, and Jesus takes the opportunity to reiterate His purpose in coming into this world — for judgment — that those who see or think they see may be made blind, and that those who are blind may be given sight.

Just as Jesus comes to the blind man to heal him, He comes to us, creates in us the faith to believe and receive Him.  Christ openly confronts each one of us with the reality of the Cross and our sinfulness — He  makes us ready to receive salvation, giving us the faith to receive Him.  Blessed are they who have not seen, and yet believe!  Keep us humble dear Christ, that in faith, we may receive you and carry you to others.

Listen to Deaconess Pam Nielsen of Concordia Publishing House discuss this week’s Sunday School Lesson with Todd Wilken on Issues Etc.

Just Heard on Issues Etc. 24: When you raise a child like he is the Messiah, you get Cain.

Dr. John Saleska, Director of the Concordia Bible Institute at Concordia University Wisconsin, just made a brilliant point in his talk on the book of Genesis on Issues Etc. 24.  Referring to the children of of Adam and Eve, Dr. Saleska observed that “when you raise a child like he is the Messiah, you get Cain.”  And who was Cain?  A selfish murderer of his very own brother.  He was jealous of his brother Abel’s sacrifice, and had no difficulty in killing him out of pure rage and spite.  And that was simply with the first children of our forbears.   Just imagine what we do to our children when we raise them as if they were like a Messiah.

Dr. Micah Parker of Trust Guy Ministries at Our Savior Lutheran Church Nashville — Saturday and Sunday April 9 & 10 2011

Saturday, April 9, 2011, a fundraiser is being held to benefit Our Savior Lutheran Academy.  The event will take place at Our Savior Lutheran Church, 5110 Franklin Road, Nashville, Tennessee.  Tickets are $50.00 at the door.  Grandparents $25.00.  There will be dinner and entertainment featuring our very own Jennie Williamson and Ben Glover, 2010 ASCAP Christian songwriter of the year.  The keynote speaker will be Dr. Micah Glover of Trust Guy Ministries.  Dr. Parker will also be leading Bible Study for all ages Sunday morning.

Dr. Parker is a featured speaker at the wildly successful Lutheran Hour Ministries Regional Outreach Conferences.   He also speaks at youth conferences, apologetic conferences, and other outreach gatherings throughout the country. You can find out more information about him at his website.  At Cross.tv, there is an interview with him telling how he got started speaking.  Come out and support our school.  Proceeds will go to fund technology upgrades, and art and music programs in the school.

 

Don’t Forget — 24 Hours of Uninterrupted Bible Study Begins 4pm CST 4/8/2011

24 hours of uninterrupted study of Holy Scripture.  Live.  In person at Issues Etc.org This is one of the best shows out there in Christian Talk Radio.  And for 24 hours straight, without interruption, you will hear nothing but pure Gospel awesomeness, as Pastor Todd Wilken discusses 12 books of the Bible with 12 of the best and brightest Pastors and Seminary Professors God has gifted to the LCMS.  Isaiah, Revelation, Daniel, Mark, Ephesians, Psalms, and 1 Corinthians will be covered.  Wilken and guest will spend two full hours on each book.

Make some time with the family, your youth group, Bible Study class, men’s group, women’s group, spouse, friends, etc. and study the Scriptures for a couple of hours.  It will be the best time you have spent on a Friday night in a long, long time.  Your kids always beg to stay up late on a Friday night, now you have no excuse not to let them.  MarkApril 8, 2011 beginning at 4:00 p.m. Central Time until Saturday April 9, 2011 at4:00 p.m.

Jesus and the Samaritan Woman at the Well, Sunday School Lesson, April 3, 2011

Christ and the woman of Samaria at Jacob's Well
Image via Wikipedia

John 4:1-42

Click here to listen to this week’s Issues Etc. interview with Deaconess Pam Nielsen of Concordia Publishing House.

This week, Jesus meets a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well.  The disciples are off gathering food.  In broad daylight, Jesus, a Jew, meets with a woman.  Not just any woman, a Samaritan woman.

Samaritans were Israelites.  They were children of Israel from the northern kingdom who were taken into captivity by Assyria.  When the northern kingdom was overrun, the Assyrians settled in their land.  They intermarried with the children of Israel.  No longer were they pure in blood.  They were mixed with Gentile blood.

And women.  Men and women were not supposed be seen speaking together in public.   In the synagogues, they are separated — men on one side, women on another.  Usually behind a veil.  Interaction was inappropriate, against social convention.  Especially if the woman was married.

Yet here Jesus asks this woman for a drink.  The woman is taken aback, for she knows that the Jews hate the Samaritans.  They resent one another.  So she calls Jesus on it.  But as our Savior always does, He confronts her in an unexpected way — If you knew the gift of God that was speaking to you — you would have asked Him for a drink, and he would have given you Living Water.  Little by little Jesus reveals Himself to the woman, giving her the faith to believe in Him.  More importantly, Christ Himself goes to her at the well, meets her where she is, and raises her out of the pit of shame and humiliation that she has made of her life.  By exposing her sinfulness directly, Jesus confronts her with it and with Himself, the Living Water, the Bread of Life — the Cross.  Jesus beautifully shows us here both His divine and Human nature.

Jesus does not wait for us to come to Him.  Nor does He beat around the bush when it comes to our sin.  Instead, He comes to us and deals with our sinfulness directly.  He does not put the social mores and traditions of men above the lost sinner.  Nor does Jesus hide His identity from the sinner.  Rather, He reveals who He is, and embraces the sinner as he is.  He then tells the woman to be who He has called her to be.  And isn’t that what Christ wants for us?  To embrace who we are as Christians.  And if of a particular denomination, say Lutheran, embrace the heritage into which you were born and out of which you were called?  Jesus draws the heritage out of the woman, shows her how she is connected to the Messiah.  He also shows her how the Messiah is not meant exclusively for the children of Judah, but for all people — including women.  This is a point that cannot be overlooked either.  Jesus elevates women in His life and ministry.  They play prominent roles.  This woman is the witness of the Messiah for the Samaritans.  Similarly, women were the first witnesses to Christ’s resurrection.  All tribes, all nations, all races, male and female.  Christ comes to us all, even today.