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Be Encouraged—God Never Takes a Day Off

Kristi McLelland

Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
Published: Jun 14, 2022
Be Encouraged—God Never Takes a Day Off

The Bible was given to us that we might know who the living God is, what He’s like, and what it’s going to mean for us to walk with Him. The story of Jesus healing the blind man offers an encouraging reminder that God never takes a day off and He’s always contending for us.

Imagine taking a friend who is battling cancer to church with you. After the service, you approach your pastor, ask him to pray for your friend, and he responds, “What did you do to get cancer?” 

In the time of Jesus, this was the way many people believed. Chapter 9 of the book of John tells the story of Jesus healing a man who was born blind. “As [Jesus] went along, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi who sinned, this man or his parents that he was born blind?’” 

The Bible was given to us that we might know who the living God is, what He’s like, and what it’s going to mean for us to walk with Him. The story of Jesus healing the blind man offers an encouraging reminder that God never takes a day off and He’s always contending for us.

I love the way Jesus responds to the question without answering it. He answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. I must perform the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

Jesus Upsets the Religious Establishment

Jesus’ healings on the Sabbath enraged the religious teachers who classified healing as “work” and therefore prohibited it. 

If I could take you back 2,000 years to the world of Jesus at that time, there was a sect of leadership known as the Sadducees. They were the wealthy aristocrats in the first century AD, basically in cahoots with the Roman Empire. Several of them served on the Sanhedrin court we read about in the Gospels. They were generally corrupt and very wealthy (often illegitimately wealthy).

The Sadducees believed that if you were wealthy and healthy, you had God’s favor on you. If someone had some kind of malady or was poor, it was a sin issue. (Isn’t it great how that theology works out for them?)

Spoiler alert: Jesus is going to heal the blind man and he’s going to do it quite publicly. Moreover, and much to the dismay of the local community, He’s going to heal the man on the Sabbath.

Jesus Gives Them Something to Talk About

It’s interesting that this miracle—this healing on a Sabbath—happens at the Pool of Siloam. In Jerusalem at the time of Jesus, there were two pools where everyone hung out all the time, the Pool of Bethesda, where Jesus healed a lame man a few chapters earlier, and the Pool of Siloam. I often like to say it this way: these pools functioned like the CNN and Fox News of their day. If you want all of Jerusalem to talk about something, do it at one of the pools, because everybody’s there.

Not one to avoid controversy, Jesus decided to perform a miracle there, where all of Jerusalem would have the opportunity to see it. The Pharisees’ response to the man born blind being healed on a Sabbath wasn’t one of awe and wonder, though. They proceeded to question the formerly blind man and even go so far as to find his parents and badger them. They’re not celebrating the restoration of his sight. Rather, they’re upset that Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath.

Jesus knew that healing this man on the Sabbath would bring opposition from the religious leaders who already wanted to silence Him. Yet, His compassion for the man prompted Him to do it anyway. It was simply manmade traditions that defined Jesus’ healing as “work.”

The Pharisees called the man back and attempted to intimidate him, claiming that they had evidence against Jesus. “Give glory to God,” they demanded. “We know that this man is a sinner.” Ignoring their accusation, the formerly blind man responds, “Whether [Jesus] is a sinner, I do not know.” Yet he states: “One thing I do know, that I was blind, but now I can see” (John 9:24-25).

Following more debate about the nature of the man’s healing, the Pharisees threw him out of the synagogue. Can you imagine being the recipient of a miraculous healing by a Rabbi of Israel only to have other religious leaders kick you out of the synagogue?

John chapter 9 tells us that Jesus heard the man was thrown out, and when He found him, He said, “Do you believe in the Son of God?” The man was understandably bewildered at this point. Who was this guy? The man asked Jesus, “Who is he, sir? Tell me so that I may believe in him.” Jesus says, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.” The man accepted his words and worshipped Him.

Jesus Contends for God’s Children, Every Day

Personally, I'm glad that Jesus did some really good work on the Sabbath! Apparently, He defines work differently than you and I do. Jesus doesn’t view miracles as work; they are something else entirely. He’s in the business of contending for God’s children, every day. God created the Sabbath for man, not for himself. He never takes a day off.

To Jesus, the Sabbath is a time for torn things to be mended, for dead things to be brought to life, for broken and fractured things to be made whole and for light to come to the dark. You definitely want to hang out with Jesus on the Sabbath!

The story of Jesus healing the blind man stirs faith within me. It tells me that I’m going to make it through this life because of who Jesus is — the Son of God. You are going to make it through this life because of who Jesus is, too. He is contending for you.

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Photo Credit: ©LightFieldStudios

Kristi McLelland is a professor at Williamson College in Nashville, Tenn., and serves as a biblical culturalist, teaching God’s Word in its cultural, historic, linguistic, and geographic context. After more than 10 years leading biblical studies trips to Israel, she has now launched the Pearls podcast, bringing her contextualization to the AccessMore curated content platform. Learn more about Kristi at www.kristimclelland.com.

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