Do You See Him?
It’s Palm Sunday and I just discovered an interesting fact. Palm branches were symbolic of political rebellion in Jesus’ day. Many people believed Jesus would deliver them from oppressive Roman rule. They imagined him riding in on a warrior’s stallion to conquer their enemies, not on a donkey. Their expectations were met with disappointment and anger. Because of this, the people who waved their branches and cried, “Hosanna,” later turned on Him and cried, “Crucify Him.” The lesson here is that our image of Christ should not be based on our expectations of what He can do for us. Do you see Jesus only through needy circumstances, reducing Him to your own image? Or do you understand who He really is based on Biblical revelation?
The Lord gave us a sweet little glimpse of Himself last year in Florida. Our son had just experienced some major health issues the week before we were to leave on spring break. Seizure. Blood clots. Broken vertebrae. Blood disorder. It was a scary time, to say the least. Yet, we were surrounded by prayer and thankful for God’s protection over him. God blessed us with several days at the beach while he recuperated and awaited test results. We’ve spent spring break in the Panhandle of sunny Florida for years. But last year we made an amazing discovery. We saw Jesus! Right in the middle of a framed photograph displayed on a shelf in our condo. Kind of like a shroud image or religious relic (things to which I have never given much credence)! Don’t laugh! I promise I’m not crazy.
One by one, each of us saw Jesus in a picture. Right in the midst of some of the darkest hours our family has faced. In a strange way, He opened our eyes to see He was with us through these trials, like He always had been. We needed a little assurance of His presence and found it in someone’s family photo. (I have no idea whether the owners of our condo have seen Him too)! And do you know what? We’re in the same condo again this week. The photograph still sits displayed on a kitchen shelf. And we can still see Jesus! All seven of us! Kids included. It makes us smile.
The theme of this study is not religious relics or crazy apparitions. It’s about opening our eyes to see Jesus in every circumstance of life. Even when we’re disappointed. Or hurting. It’s about knowing who He is from the whole counsel of His Word.
In these lessons, we’ll look at the seven I AM statements of Jesus to discover more about Him. I AM the Bread of Life was last week’s focus. Now we’ll consider another aspect of knowing who Christ is as He shines His light in our darkest hours.
John 1:4-5, 10
In him was life and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it…He was in the world and though the world was made through him the world did not recognize him.
I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.
As Jesus went 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?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” Jesus said, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Having said this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam,” So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.
John 9:18, 28-29, 32
The Jews still did not believe that the man had been blind and had received his sight…they hurled insults at him and said, “We know that God spoke to Moses but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.” (The blind man then answered), “Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”
John 9: 39
Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind…If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.”
Questions to Consider:
1. Even though Jesus came to bring light, why did people not recognize or receive him?
2. Why do you think Jesus healed the blind man on the Sabbath? What sign was Jesus giving to the people?
3. How does Jesus describe the Pharisees? Though the Pharisees claimed to see, what indicated their blindness?
4. Who are the spiritually blind?
5. What do you think Jesus meant when he said the blind will see and those who see will become blind?
Prophesy predicted the coming Messiah would give sight to the blind. This kind of healing was evidence that Jesus was the Messiah but, because Jesus healed on the Sabbath, the Pharisees claimed He was not from God. Yet the miraculous signs ruled out he could be a sinner. The Pharisees wondered who Jesus was. They didn’t recognize Him as the Light of the World. So they rejected Him. They were so prejudiced against Him, they couldn’t recognize that giving sight to the blind man was a sign of who He was. So they tried to discredit the miracle. Even though the Pharisees claimed to see, they were spiritually blind. Their actions were evidence of their blindness. Jesus said, I Am the Light of the world. Do you see Him? Do you know Him as the Light who dispels darkness? Even your darkness? Look for Him. You might find evidence of His presence in the most unusual places…I know we did!