Thursday, February 28, 2008

Here’s Mud in Your Eye!

When you start thinking about it, mud is used a lot of different ways.

You can build a mud hut, take a mud bath, or make a mud pie.
You can wrestle in mud, you can go “mudding” in your 4x4, and you’ve probably noticed there are a few politicians who sling mud.
And of course, there’s Muddy Waters the blues band.

Of all these uses, I would’ve never thought of using mud as a salve to heal a blind guy, but Jesus did.

Walking along the dusty road, the disciples encounter a blind man. Going with their existing religious framework they asked Jesus, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

Jesus shatters their framework and another Lenten lesson for life comes to light: Jesus makes mud from dust and spit and spread the mud on the man’s eyes. After following Jesus’ instructions to go wash in the pool of Siloam, the man is able to see. Everyone was rightly amazed.

Jesus began the mud-healing by saying that the man was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed through him. Sometimes God does things for reasons that aren’t so obvious to us. Sometimes it’s not our sing that’s in the way; sometimes it’s not others who are in the way. Sometimes God is simply waiting for the right time to show God’s glory – like that day in the mud. Whatever you await, whatever your struggle, be sure to hang in there. Even if you don’t understand what is taking God so long, rest assured that God has a plan and your welfare is included in it.

I’ll have more to say about this on Sunday morning at 10:45am when the family of faith called Willow Meadows Baptist Church gathers for worship. The Bible text is John 9.1-41 and I’m hoping you’ll find encouragement for the living of these days.

Oh yeah, we’ll have a second worship service this Sunday evening. Here’s the scoop: We’ll gather for coffee and live music from the band The Autumn Film at 6pm. That will be followed by a casual worship service at 6:30pm. We’ll celebrate communion and I’ll be giving a message called “Questions to All Your Answers” – and I’ll be discussing why it’s not good for Christians to say, “Oh, you can’t figure it out, it’s just part of God’s mystery.” The idea is for us to make a journey for folk religion to a reflective faith. That service will be in “the Loft” which is the opposite end of the building from the sanctuary and is out youth space. They’ll be raising fund for summer missions by selling coffee, so come out and give them your support!

Daubbing Away,
Pastor Gary

Not a Sermon – Just a Thought is a weekly column written by me, Gary Long. I’m the pastor of Willow Meadows Baptist Church in Houston, Texas. To subscribe or unsubscribe contact me at

John 9.1-41

Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind
1As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"
3"Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. 4As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5While I am in the world, I am the light of the world."
6Having said this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man's eyes. 7"Go," he told him, "wash in the Pool of Siloam" (this word means Sent). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.
8His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, "Isn't this the same man who used to sit and beg?" 9Some claimed that he was. Others said, "No, he only looks like him." But he himself insisted, "I am the man."
10"How then were your eyes opened?" they demanded.
11He replied, "The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see."
12"Where is this man?" they asked him. "I don't know," he said.
The Pharisees Investigate the Healing
13They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind. 14Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man's eyes was a Sabbath. 15Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. "He put mud on my eyes," the man replied, "and I washed, and now I see."
16Some of the Pharisees said, "This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath." But others asked, "How can a sinner do such miraculous signs?" So they were divided.
17Finally they turned again to the blind man, "What have you to say about him? It was your eyes he opened." The man replied, "He is a prophet."
18The Jews still did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they sent for the man's parents. 19"Is this your son?" they asked. "Is this the one you say was born blind? How is it that now he can see?"
20"We know he is our son," the parents answered, "and we know he was born blind. 21But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don't know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself." 22His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews, for already the Jews had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Christ would be put out of the synagogue. 23That was why his parents said, "He is of age; ask him."
24A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. "Give glory to God,]" they said. "We know this man is a sinner."
25He replied, "Whether he is a sinner or not, I don't know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!"
26Then they asked him, "What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?"
27He answered, "I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples, too?"
28Then they hurled insults at him and said, "You are this fellow's disciple! We are disciples of Moses! 29We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don't even know where he comes from."
30The man answered, "Now that is remarkable! You don't know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. 31We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly man who does his will. 32Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. 33If this man were not from God, he could do nothing."
34To this they replied, "You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!" And they threw him out.
Spiritual Blindness
35Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?"
36"Who is he, sir?" the man asked. "Tell me so that I may believe in him."
37Jesus said, "You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you."
38Then the man said, "Lord, I believe," and he worshiped him.
39Jesus said, "For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind."
40Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, "What? Are we blind too?"
41Jesus said, "If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.

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