Let’s work the works of God.
By Taisuke Usui
Potters makes plates and jars from clay. God made human being from clay.
What did Jesus Christ make from clay?
Here is the scripture— to read John9 1-12,38
This story starts these words “Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth.”
This man was born blind. It shows that he have never seen anything in his life. He has never seen his mother’s face, beautiful flowers, blue sky, and even light. He has been living in darkness. Some says that this man didn’t have eyeball itself. He was there when Jesus passed by.
And, the disciples asked Jesus “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
It might sound strange for us but it was the Jewish common view in this time.
For example, Moses says in Exodus 34:7 that “The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation. ”
Also, Eliphaz spoke to Job “who ever perished being innocent? Or where were the upright ever cut off? Even as I have seen, those who plow iniquity and sow trouble reap the same” (Job4:7-8)
It was the common Jewish view to the poor, the sick, the widow, and the disability.
Here is a big Christian question “Why does the innocent afflict suffering?” For example, new born baby with serious heart disease or three years old girl’s death with the car accident.
We can’t reach ultimate answer because we can see these matters with only this temporally world’s value but God sight is on eternal. Isaiah describes God’s sight and thought: “My ways higher than your way and my thoughts than higher than your thought”(Isa55:9)
Here, we can see one of the answer from Jesus Christ “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him” (ver.3)
I remember my car accident experience when I was a junior high school student. I was just in adolescence and I started to hate my parents and our relationship became worse. After I got car accident, I had lost my conscious for two days in the hospital. When I opened my eyes, I saw my parents crying. They had not slept and stayed by my bed for two days and I recognized that I was loved by them. The car accident was just affliction for me. However, through this affliction, God showed their love to me and I could receive it.
I felt some kind of uncomfortable with ver.4 and 5 because if we read this story without these 2 verses, we don’t feel any problem. It means this story doesn’t need these verses. However, they are there in the Bible so these verses must be important for this story.
My Bible is NKJ so ver4 is that “I must work the works of God who sent Me.” On the other hands, ESV, NAS, HCS use the word of “we” here and the Greek bible uses the word of “ημας (hemas)”, which is plural. Therefore, I don’t think it is strange that when Jesus says “I must work the works of God”, He intends that I and my disciples, including us, must work the works of God.
Day and the night represent the lifetime and death. Here are three possibilities. First, Jesus talked about his physical life in this world until his crucifixion but He is still alive so it might be strange. Secondly, He speaks to us so our interpretation will be that while we are alive in this world, we must work the works of God. It is possible. Thirdly, He deals with the Lord of the Day as night here.
“When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva: and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. And He said to him ‘Go, wash in the pool of Siloam’ (which is translated, sent). So he went and washed, and came back seeing.” (ver.6-7)
Seeing the photos of the pool of Siloam, on the way to the pool is the bumpy stone pavement and rough natural gravel road. At the edge of the pool, there are high stone stairs. It is obvious that it is hard for a blind man to walk through. However, he did.
In ver.11, we can see how this man recognized who Jesus is. He said “The man called Jesus.” Surprisingly, this man didn’t recognize Jesus as Christ, Savoir. For him, Jesus was just merely a man. Even after he received his sight, he mentioned Jesus as a prophet. (ver.17) He didn’t recognized Jesus as the Lord, Savoir, Christ until Jesus came back to him and leaded him with the dialogue. (Ver.36-38)
How could he obey what Jesus said?
How could he believe that these muddy eyes became real eyes?
Why could he walk on the long way to the pool of Siloam which was made of the bumpy stone pavement and rough natural gravel road?
It was hard way and he could doubt and quit but he didn’t.
He walked to the pool of Siloam with muddy eyes on his face and washed them.
He completely trusted what Jesus said. It is just faith.
He didn’t walk with his sight but he walked by faith.
Even he didn’t know who Jesus was. the name of Jesus gave him faith.
The name of Jesus has the power to give faith to somebody who doesn’t know who Jesus is.
Let me repeat the opening question. “What did Jesus Christ make from clay?”
My answer is “He made faith from clay.”
Paul says in the Epistle to the Ephesians that “For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” (Eph2:8)
Jesus gave this blind man put the faith on his face freely so he could walk through and received the sight. Then, he could shout “Lord, I believe” (ver.36) and was saved.
Lastly, why are verse4 and 5 in this story? What is the works of God in verse 4-5? ; To give the sight to the blind man? It is necessary that the modern doctor might be able to do with the surgery of eyeball transplant.
The works of God is not only to give the sight to a blind man but also his salvation.
Now, Jesus speaks to us “we must work the works of God”
We might not be able to give faith to somebody. We might not be able to lead somebody to our Lord but the name of Jesus has the power to give faith to somebody.
Trust the power of the name of Jesus Christ.
With this confidence, deliver the gospel to the world.
Work for somebody’s salvation.
Let’s work the works of God.